The Doctor’s New Coat: What Does It Mean?

Peter Capaldi, the twelfth Doctor, was unveiled in his full costume yesterday. And a new Doctor, it might be argued, heralds a new wave of trends amongst Britain’s men. Think back to David Tennant’s slim suits and Converse, Matt Smith’s frock coats and bow ties, for instance. But what can we garner from just one, solitary photo?

1 | He means business

A Crombie coat and patent leather Doctor Martens – are we about to witness the first Suedehead Time Lord and hear Ambrose Slade playing on the TARDIS Dansette? There’s something vaguely criminal and underworldy about this outfit, a combination of the formal and the flash which suggests that the Twelfth Doctor will be a formidable and unsentimental character who’s not especially interested in the feelings of those around him.

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2 | He’s down with the kids

Capaldi’s predecessor, Matt Smith, was a young man dressed to reflect his 900 year age, taking the Young Fogey look to fantastic extremes – the bow ties, the specs and fez, the frock coat of his later episodes. Costume designer Howard Burden has put the older Capaldi in a younger man’s ensemble, the kind of thing an affluent twentysomething hipster might go for as they attempted to summon up the East End in 1890. At least he’s not wearing a beard. The Twelfth Doctor looks part Ted, part gangster, part Benjamin Disraeli and part Harry Houdini.

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3 | He remembers the old gods

There are nods to Doctor Whos past, too. That splash of red in the coat lining summons up the rakish velvet smoking jacket of Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor. And that sign-of-the-horns hand gesture is very Pertwee too, and not dissimilar from Marvel Comics’ master of the mystic arts Doctor Strange either.

4 | He’s not to be messed with

The downside? Those pleated pants are going to take some getting used to, and isn’t a buttoned-up white shirt without a tie a bit too Charles Saatchi for comfort? Let’s see a Paisley cravat, a pocket square, maybe a bootlace tie to crank up the Tedwardian danger factor. Still, the difference between Matt Smith’s charmingly gauche Doctor and this harder-edged, more threatening incarnation is clear. This Doctor is a rude boy.

 

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