After the first Geek Chic post on fashion inspired by Star Trek, the comment box was inundated with requests for an inspiration post about another long-standing bastion of the science fiction world: Doctor Who.
How do I begin to describe the magic that is Doctor Who? All I can say is that last summer, my best friend convinced me to watch the first episode of the revived program. Six days later, I had watched all six seasons. It’s a family-friendly show with something for everyone: there’s adventure, comedy, romance, horror, drama, and of course, lots of wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey…stuff.
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Know Your Geek: About Doctor Who
- BBC program Doctor Who is the longest-running science fiction show of all time and originally ran from 1963 until 1989. After a made-for-TV movie in 1996, there were no new episodes until 2005, when producer Russell T. Davies revived the show; this “New Who” has been incredibly successful and is now run by Steven Moffat. Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the program.
- The eponymous character’s name is simply “the Doctor”, not “Doctor Who”: the title comes from a running gag where he introduces himself with “I’m the Doctor!” and someone inevitably responds, “Doctor who?” He’s a900-year-old Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey (meaning that, yes, he’s an alien, and no, he doesn’t look human, we look Time Lord; they came first) and he travels in a blue time machine called the TARDIS. For the most part, the Doctor is opposed to violence, so instead of wielding weapons, he carries a sonic screwdriver, which is kind of like a futuristic lockpick/Swiss army knife.
- When Time Lords are mortally wounded, they don’t die, but instead undergo a process called regeneration, where their physical appearance and personality change, but their mind and memories stay the same. (This is a major reason why the show has run for so long: when the actor portraying the Doctor leaves the show, he can be replaced by a different actor without destroying continuity.) The classic series included the 1st-7th Doctors, the movie the 8th, and the new show began with the 9th Doctor; the current Doctor is the eleventh incarnation of the character.
- Since all of time and space can be lonely, the Doctor generally travels with at least one companion (typically a young human female). With the past, present, and future at his fingertips, their adventures can vary wildly: one episode they’ll be in the year five billion and the next they’ll be paying a visit to Charles Dickens!
Outfits Inspired by the Doctor
Whether you’re a long-time fan of the classic show or a recently converted Whovian, there’s plenty of fashionable inspiration to be found in a journey through the Time Vortex. Allons-y!
The Ninth Doctor, played by Christopher Eccleston, is a gruff and grizzled veteran who has just witnessed (and played a part in) the annihilation of his entire species and home planet in the Time War. As the last of the Time Lords, he’s bitter and frequently rails against human stupidity. Nevertheless, he repeatedly risks his life to save the residents of Earth. On one of these missions, he meets Rose Tyler, a 19-year-old human girl. Together they save the planet, and that’s where our adventures with the Ninth Doctor start!
Unlike his previous incarnations, who accessorized with everything from stripey scarves to silk cravats to umbrellas to stalks of celery (yep, celery), the Ninth Doctor has a simple, minimalist sense of style, typically wearing a leather jacket and a neutral-colored sweater.
Capture his basic but tough look with a quilted bomber jacket, an olive V-neck, cargo pants, and combat boots. Then jazz it up with jewelry: This cool wolf ring alludes to the phrase “Bad Wolf,” a recurring theme through the first season, and the rose earrings, of course, refer to Rose Tyler. Whether you wear this outfit to attend lecture or to fight Daleks, you’ll look absolutely fantastic doing it!
The lanky Tenth Doctor, played by David Tennant, is at first glance completely different from his brooding predecessor. He’s charismatic, optimistic, and cheerfully sarcastic, but this bubbly demeanor belies a dark, unforgiving nature. Nevertheless, he’s one of the most popular Doctors (and my personal favorite), due to his cheeky sex appeal, contagious energy, and, of course, his really great hair.
Ten wears either a blue or brown pinstriped suit along with a long duster coat (supposedly bestowed upon him by Janis Joplin), glasses, and Converse All-Stars.
Get the tenth Doctor’s look with a shorter trench coat, pinstriped waistcoat, “brainy specs”, and Converse All-Stars, plus a soft blouse and pleated skirt for a feminine touch. If sneakers aren’t your thing, swap in your favorite pair of comfy flats: this Doctor does an awful lot of running! Top the outfit off with pretty blue stud earrings the color of the TARDIS light and a fob watch necklace. (You’ll have to watch the show to get the watch reference…spoilers!) You’ll look, as the Tenth Doctor would say, brilliant!
The Eleventh Doctor, played by Matt Smith, is the quintessential oddball: he’s been described as an elderly, scatterbrained professor trapped in the body of a gangly young man. He’s got a soft spot for fish fingers and custard (together), a tendency to lie, and an insatiable curiosity that often gets him into trouble. (Also, he’s got the dancing skills of a drunken giraffe.) Nevertheless, he has two hearts of gold and is fiercely protective of his companions, Amy and Rory.
Channel this lovable Doctor with a tweedy elbow patch cardigan, pink blouse, olive military coat, and skinny jeans. Matt wears AllSaints Spitalfields boots onscreen, but these heeled boots are just as cute and much more affordable.
Eleven also has a penchant for peculiar headwear (he has declared his fondness for both fezzes and Stetsons). While either of those hat choices might garner you odd looks on campus, you’ll only get stares of admiration when you don this cute cloche hat. Finally, no Eleventh-Doctor-inspired outfit is complete without a bowtie…because bowties are cool!
TARDIS stands for Time And Relative Dimension In Space, and she’s the Doctor’s first and truest love. Although Time Lord spaceships have a Chameleon Circuit, which camouflages the ship to match any time period or location, the TARDIS’s circuit broke during a trip to the 1960s, so she always looks like a blue police box from that decade.
Don’t be fooled by the small exterior, though: the TARDIS is much bigger on the inside – and has personality! In one particularly memorable episode, the sentient TARDIS matrix is transplanted into a human body, and for the first time, she’s able to talk to her Doctor, with whom she’s traveled for hundreds of years.
The Eleventh Doctor likes to call the TARDIS “Sexy,” so embrace that nickname with a sweet and subtly sexy look.
This TARDIS-blue dress with sheer sleeves lets you show some skin while keeping it classy. Idris, the TARDIS’s temporary human vessel, wears Victorian-esque clothing, so allude to that era with these 19th century-inspired lace-up heels. Gold swirl-emblazoned tights will set you apart in a crowd of solid legwear; plus, they’re reminescent of van Gogh’s [fictional] painting of the TARDIS. Accessorize with a pavé ring and a key necklace: time to explore the stars with your beloved Doctor!
What do you think?
Would you wear these looks? Do you watch Doctor Who? (If so, who’s your favorite Doctor and why?) I’m thinking of making this a three part series: are you interested in a Part 2 and 3 about the companions? Any other geeky requests? And would you like a jelly baby? Let me know in the comments!
P.S. Count the shadows…and don’t blink!