Never Mind the Bow Ties: 10 'Doctor Who' Style Icons, From the Tenth Doctor to Amy Pond
In order for the world of Doctor Who to truly qualify as a believable universe, there must be a sense of style. That’s not to say we’re judging people by what’s on the surface, it’s just to note that some people will wear clothes that suit them beautifully, and others will not. Even within the TARDIS, there are people whose appearance immediately turns heads, and people whose clothing choices appear to be purely practical (or worse, the crazed ideas of a wardrobe department trying really, really hard).
There are actually some Doctors on our stylish list - sit down Six, not you – but the most stylish of our Time Lords tend to be the ones whose clothing choices look less like a costume for a TV show and more like, y’know, clothes.
So, who are the most fashion forward time travelers? Let’s get them on our virtual catwalk right away…
1. Clara Oswald
Jenna Coleman has many talents, but one that deserves special mention here is that she can wear the heck out of clothes. Every new adventure appears to have called for a new outfit and they were all stunning. The red dress from “Planet of the Daleks,” the tartan dresses and the kilts, the Victorian dresses and the Maid Marion frock from “Robot of Sherwood” and the powder blue sweater from “Chase the Raven”. Even the waitress uniform from “Hell Bent” suits her down to a T. Everyone has a favorite Clara look and they are a constant source of cosplay ideas and – let’s face it – everyday fashion ideas too.
2. The Tenth Doctor
Again, this possibly reflects more on David Tennant the actor than it does on Ten, but he has a way with those suits, does he not? The brown one like his hair, and the blue one like his sonic, neither of them particularly rooted in a time before now. They are therefore perfectly matched to the Converse sandshoes – according to Eleven – the tousled hair and sideburns and the general air of childish glee he exudes. And let’s not forget how the big horse-riding coat (note: not a frock coat, he’s not doing fancy dress) billows out behind him like a cape. He even looks stylish in those orange space-suits, and they are almost impossible to pull off.
3. Jo Grant
Jo is a fascinating character in the development of Doctor Who. Before her, the Third Doctor was sparring with Liz Shaw – a scientist. And after her, he faced the righteous feminist fury of Sarah Jane Smith. Jo comes across as a fashionable ingénue – the sort that would’ve been termed something diminutive like ‘dolly bird’ at the time – and plays down her own intellect in the face of the Doctor’s kindly headmaster demeanor. She appears to believe she is some kind of human canary, just there to look nice and shriek “Doctor!” at the first sign of danger, and so that is how she dresses. No lab coat, no practical combat wear, just a lot of Carnaby Street fashion and a proper ‘70s rock star hairdo.
4. Bill Potts
In contrast to Jo’s beautiful plumage, Bill Potts dresses like the smart kid she is. She’s made her way independently, wants to continue to do so, has a sharp pair of eyes and knows how to accessorize a rainbow cami top with a string choker to bring out the best in that expressive face. She dresses like students dress, ready to mix lessons and leisure (and in her case, a shift in the university canteen) without stopping to change. So while Donna Noble and Martha Jones have found their style and stopped thinking about it, Bill (in common with Rose Tyler) will throw a denim jacket over a monochrome top, whack on some high-tops and she’s ready for action.
Some of the Doctor’s companions can wear anything and make it suit them, and some carry such a strongly established sense of self that their clothes become a uniform. Ace tends to fall into the latter camp. She’s a warrior. The bomber jacket with the badges on is a modern update of a World War II bomber jacket. That jacket IS Ace. So much so that whatever else she wears – the less fight-y black skirt and black tights – tends to look like warrior-wear by association. The school tie as a belt is a superb extra twist, of course.
6. Amy Pond
Doctor Who is a show about inclusion, and so it’s fitting that while the Doctor himself has spent many of his post-regenerative self-check-ups bemoaning his lack of ginger hair, his most striking companion is a red-head. We know Amy is striking because the show constantly tells us she is. She’s a kissogram; she’s a model; she’s the girl lucky Rory will wait a thousand years for and she’s one of the few modern era characters to rock a long scarf without people immediately assuming it’s a nod to the Fourth Doctor. But because we saw Amy when she was a little girl, and because Karen Gillan is the accomplished actress she is, all of that visual astonishment vanishes because she has become one of the family. That’s why Rory finds it impossible to choose between his Amy and Future Amy in “The Girl Who Waited,” because any Amy is his Amy.
7. The Fourth Doctor
The dignified dandy Third Doctor may have felt he cut a certain dash, but those ruffled shirts have not weathered the tides of time too well, and the less said about the caped orange tartan outfit from “The Five Doctors” – the one that resembles a dog blanket – the better. Whereas Four is a far greater style icon, by making an iconic style statement out of a floppy hat, corkscrew curls, rust-colored coat and a stupidly long scarf in a series of autumnal shades. No one has ever questioned whether the Fourth Doctor got too hot, rushing around with all that stuff on, because he wore it all like he needed to, even that silly scarf.
8. Sarah Jane Smith
When it comes to shifting from one iconic look to another, Sarah Jane is right up there with Clara and Amy. She can rock a medieval shift or a space-age tabard as well as anyone. But the key to Sarah Jane’s visual appeal lies in the fact that she will also don outrageous ‘70s fashions – like the pink stripy dungarees in “The Hand of Fear” – and then ignore them, focusing intently on the emotional moment she is in. It’s as if she woke up, decided to dress as interstellar candy, and then immediately forgot. Or, to give her a more generous tribute, whatever statement her clothes are making is of secondary importance to the statements SHE is making.
There are two distinct phases to the style of the Time Lady Romanadvoratrelundar – Romana for short. The incarnation we know as Romana I wears white and looks like a high ranking member of a royal dynasty. Her clothes are all fur and feathers – hugely impractical for rushing around forbidding alien landscapes. And she’s always easy to spot, unless the TARDIS arrived at the North Pole and she had her hood up. Romana II is far more playful, not only trying out a couple of regenerations until she finds a face she’s happy with, but also experimenting with looks, like her sailor suit and straw boater, or finding a tribute outfit to the Fourth Doctor – complete with long scarf.
10. The Eleventh Doctor
Cards on the table, that second outfit Eleven wore – the plum-colored Victorian get-up that marked the post-Pond years – is rubbish. The first outfit – the tweed jacket, black jeans, shirt and bow tie (with optional fez) – is a fantastic look. And it’s a hallmark of Matt Smith’s personal sense of style, given that he wore a similar tweed jacket to his Doctor Who audition. That’s where Steven Moffat realized he had found his new Doctor, because he was standing right there, Doctorishly, in his Doctor clothes.
Do you have a favorite Doctor Who style icon?