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The Doctor Changes

Doctor Who fans are obsessives when it comes to detail, and rightly so. They’ll spend ages scouring thrift stores, costumiers and the web to track down exactly the right cat brooch to go with their painstakingly hand-sewn Sixth Doctor coat, and then fret that the trousers are the wrong shade of yellow.

So, it’s no great leap of faith to imagine there is a list something like this one in the minds of every Whovian. The Doctor is an eccentric dresser, and some of the things he likes to wear are amazing and some are not.

Here are the most amazing ones, in reverse order:

11: Five’s Celery
It’s a brilliant way of firmly underlining just how alien an alien the Doctor is, that he uses part of a salad as a flamboyant decoration on the lapel of his otherwise fairly historically accurate cricketing outfit. It’s as if he’s opted to wear a Santa suit and topped it off with a live tortoise on his head. Because he’s not only not from around here, he’s not from around now.

10: Two’s Fur Coat String
After the fastidious and gentlemanly First Doctor, the Second’s outfit is deliberately wrong. The jacket’s too big, the trousers too baggy, and he seems sometimes to be wearing Charlie Chaplin as an extra invisible jacket. He also has that massive fur coat that suits him in no way whatsoever, but, in a moment of inspired accessorising, he ties it around his waist with string. Belts are for people with time on their hands, not in their bloodstream.

9: Eleven’s Tweed Jacket
Lending itself to the bow tie, the tweed goes on with that whole “I’m-an-old-man-but-also-a-child” feel and look. What I love about the tweed is that it goes beyond that and basically makes Eleven the poster-Time Lord for hipsters, but in the best way possible. This tweed is just what he feels comfortable in, and it goes with his personality so well. He’s not trying to look like a hipster, he’s just wearing what he likes and what fits him, even if it goes against the grain, and in doing so he’s become a sort of trend setter, which ultimately makes him the truest hipster to ever hipster in the history of hipsters.

8: Ten’s Pinstripes
Nine was dark and brooding, a little rough around the edges, whereas Ten is more emotional. He’s a little more tender, and the suit gives us that image of professionalism and maturity, much like a businessman—only he doesn’t have an office so much as he does a big blue box. He’s all about business, but not in the rough and tough way Nine was, but rather a more “let’s talk about this and come to a conclusion” style. Ten makes a point of mentioning he’s adamantly against guns and violence. The suit lends itself to that persona; he’ll confront you, but not with bullets, but words. He’s in the business of travelling time and space and keeping everyone safe.

7: One’s Cloak
We could have picked his walking stick, or the ring that falls from his finger after he regenerates, but nothing emphasises the gentlemanly nature of the First Doctor like his black cloak. It’s an item of apparel that is lost in time, slightly dandyish, but utterly practical. And it makes him look even more regal, when he needs to.

6: Seven’s Panama Hat
There are many Doctor hats to choose from: Two’s stovepipe, Four’s floppy felt number, even One’s upended purse affair. But Five and Seven both favor a panama hat with a red band. Five’s has a pointed brim and Seven’s is rounded. Both are endearingly bright and colorful items of headwear that once again conspire to remove the Doctor from current ideas about suitable clothing, while still resembling an attempting at personal style.

5: Three’s Ruffled Shirts
By some stretch the most dignified Doctor, Three also looks the least like a man out of time than any of his fellow incarnations, with the possible exception of Nine. He’s early ’70s Vegas-style showbusiness incarnate, and those ruffled pastel shirts suit the flamboyant show-off aspect of his personality perfectly.

Speaking of whom…

4: Nine’s Leather Jacket
Nine was the Doctor who brought back the show, and when we meet him again we find out that he’s been through the Time War and has single-handedly wiped out his entire race. That’s pretty intense stuff for anyone, even more so for a Time Lord who knows that he will have to carry the weight of his actions for the rest of his life, which may very well last hundreds of years. He feels guilty and he feels alone, so it’s only fitting that such an intense incarnation needs an intense look, and what’s more hardcore than a long, heavy, protective leather jacket? It’s almost like this durable wall he’s wearing to deflect the blows of the universe.

3: Ten’s Converse
The high-top Converse All Star sneakers are the staple of Ten’s costume. First off, he was stylish enough to change the color based on his suit, so I think we need to recognize his A+ effort at being trendy there. Secondly, he desperately needed sensible shoes because of the Doctors, he seems to be the one most constantly on the run—running not just from monsters, but also his past, as well as his future. His sneakers are worn from the running, much like he’s been worn down from the Time War, Rose, the Master, Donna, this list seems endless and I may cry if I continue going. What’s great about the sneakers is that although they’re worn out, they’re still casual and playful, much like Ten himself.

2: Eleven’s Bow Tie
“I wear bow ties now. Bow ties are cool,” a line that says more about the person saying it than it does about his choice of neckwear. He’s a 900+ year-old alien who has seen a lot and been to many places, but what’s great about Eleven is his child-like charm. And what demonstrates youth that better than his attachment and constant defense of that bow tie? Not only does he constantly (and beseechingly) remind the critics that it’s “cool,” but the bow tie gives us the image of both this little boy trying to look grown up, yet at the same time, this old man trying to look hip. It’s that juxtaposition between youth and seniority, an adult who is haunted by the past, but hides it with quirky playfulness that comes down to this one item and makes it so great.

1: The Scarf
You know which scarf. It’s the easiest way to dress like the Doctor in the entire universe. Put on a long scarf knitted from autumnal colors and you are the Fourth Doctor. Pop a jelly baby in your mouth and you’re practically travelling through time. And the brilliant thing about the scarf is that it was created by accident. No one thought making a preposterously long scarf was a good idea, it just happened from an excess of wool and happened to look great. Accidents that look like intent with hindsight. That could be the Doctor’s mission statement.

Coming soon: Archaic wardrobe choices only the Doctor could pull off.

See more: 
Quick Cosplay Guide to the Doctors of ‘Doctor Who’
‘Doctor Who’ Cosplay: How To Dress Like Amy Pond
‘Doctor Who’ Cosplay: How To Dress Like Donna Noble
How To Dress Like The Eleventh Doctor

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By Fraser McAlpine