It’s been a very long time since we’ve taken a trip into a nerdy subject, so it’s a great time to revisit some of the fun of sci-fi fashion! We’ve previously gone over visions of the future, “Star Trek” uniforms, and more, but this time we’re taking a look at a sci-fi staple that has made coming up with a new outfit every few years a staple: “Doctor Who.”
If you aren’t familiar, “Doctor Who” is a British television series about an alien from the planet Gallifrey who goes by the self-appointed title of “The Doctor,” because he sees himself as someone who helps and fixes things and people. He travels throughout the breadth of time and space in his spaceship/time machine, the TARDIS, which is broken, and so is stuck disguised as a 1963-period blue British Police Box on the outside.
The show has been running since 1963, and since actors aren’t immortal, The Doctor has been played by a multitude of actors over the years. The show dealt with this very creatively. The Doctor, being an alien “Time Lord,” has the ability to “regenerate” whenever he’s fatally injured, but not injured so severely that he dies outright. He becomes a new man, and, while still a rebirth of the same person, has a new face, new personality quirks, and new tastes, including in fashion. The Doctor tends to stick to one or two outfits throughout an incarnation’s tenure, and with the recent reveal of the newest Doctor, the 12th, and his new outfit, it seemed like a perfect time to have some fun, and look back at 51 years of a quirky, hyperactive fictional alien’s bizarre fashion choices!
The First Doctor, played by William Hartnell, favored a distinctly Edwardian style, complete with walking cane. It fits his grumpy, cantankerous personality perfectly.
The Second Doctor, played by Patrick Troughton, was scruffy, childish and mercurial. Appropriately, he dressed like some kind of space hobo. It fits him, but we’re not fans of the look!
The Third Doctor, played by John Pertwee, was basically a dandy, favoring smoking jackets, capes, and ruffled shirts. He looked like a magician, favoring Inverness cloaks in blacks and burgundy, and probably had the largest wardrobe of any Doctor…
…Which you can see.
The Fourth Doctor, played by Tom Baker, is iconic, and his frock coat, impossibly long scarf, and wide-brimmed hat, are what most people think of when you say “Doctor Who.” The look, bizarre as it is, worked well for the imposingly tall Tom Baker, and he wore it, and a burgundy variation of it, for all seven years he was The Doctor.
The Fifth Doctor, played by Peter Davison, wore an Edwardian cricketer’s kit, complete with plimsoll shoes. The look was punctuated with a stalk of celery that he wore on his lapel, an interesting choice, to put it mildly. He also sometimes wore an optimo-style Panama hat.
GAH! The Sixth Doctor, played by Colin Baker, had to suffer through wearing this… Thing. Baker described it as “an explosion in a rainbow factory,” and hated it with a passion. It even included an odd little cat badge on the lapel. Easily the worst of all the costumes.
The Seventh Doctor, played by Sylvester McCoy, takes the question mark motif that started with the Fourth Doctor a bit too far. We like the safari-style jacket, Panama hat, paisley scarf and handkerchief, and fob watch. We don’t like the pullover or the umbrella, but it fit this Doctor’s chessmaster persona well. Seven later wore a darker-colored version of the same outfit, reflecting the dark turn his character later took.
Handsome, debonair and Victorian, the Eighth Doctor, played by Paul McGann, favored an outfit of dark greens and browns, lifted straight from a production of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” The outfit later changed…
…When we saw Eight at the end of his life, in a much more desperate, but still Victorian and adventurous, state.
The “War Doctor,” a “lost” incarnation of The Doctor between Eight and Nine, wears a bedraggled leather coat over the remnants of Eight’s final costume. It’s an appropriately desperate look.
The Ninth Doctor, played by Christopher Eccleston, is probably the most modern of the Doctors, wearing a simple leather jacket, v-neck undershirt and trousers. It fit his fun but no-nonsense personality well, and was an attempt to deliberately ground the show in modern culture when it came back on the air after a long absence in 2005.
The Tenth Doctor, played by David Tennant, is probably the best dressed of the Doctors, favoring a blue pinstriped dark brown or red pinstriped blue four-buttoned suit, a shirt and a tie, with a light brown faux-suede overcoat sometimes worn over it. The Converse sneakers are an adorable touch, and a nod to this Doctor’s bouncy, fun personality.
Ten’s brown outfit, when in motion, looked appropriately heroic.
The Eleventh Doctor, played by Matt Smith, wore a brown tweed jacket with elbow patches, a bow tie, suspenders, black trousers and black, ankle-high boots. Eleven had an unhealthy obsession with bow ties, saying “bow ties are cool” whenever anyone asked about them, and was a bit “hipster-chic” in his look. The tie and shirt changed patterns and colors over the years, before…
…Eleven went full-on Victorian, switching to a purplish cashmere frock coat and waistcoat, in darker, more muted colors than before.
The Twelfth Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi, has shunned neckwear for the first time since Five, and is wearing a stylish black Crombie coat with a bright red lining, hearkening back to the Third Doctor’s magician-chic.