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Do-It-Yourself Doctor Who Costume Ideas
Doctor Who Costumes
Whether you're looking for an individual costume or a group, the Doctor and the Whoniverse give us a wide array of options.
Each Doctor has his own quirks in his costume which help set him apart, enabling us to portray them with relative ease. Key elements of some costumes could be found in thrift stores or put together from items already in your closet. Villains, aliens, and historical figures are often more difficult, but the results can be spectacular.
Doctor Who Costumes for Women
Among the options for Doctor Who costumes for women are the Companions, episode characters, and even The Doctor himself if your look will suit. Femme versions of the Doctors, the Master, and Captain Jack Harkness are increasingly popular, with some donning re-imagined costumes inspired by the male versions' on-screen attire.
Whether you choose to portray your favorite Doctor with a fairly literal version of his on-screen costume, or switch it up in skirts and heels, keeping only the general theme and trademark quirks, you join a growing sisterhood appearing on Halloween and at our local conventions.
I particularly loved this article, which has more great photos of Lady Doctors: Gender-Swapped Doctors.
New Doctor Who Costumes
The Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Doctors
Played By David Tennant, Matt Smith, and Peter Capaldi
To cut down loading time, as this page has gotten so long, I'm moving the newest incarnations of The Doctor over to my geek blog. My latest articles on the Weeping Angels and River Song Cosplay can be found there as well.
The Ninth Doctor
Played by Christopher Eccleston
The Ninth Doctor's costume was often all black: black pants, black leather jacket, usually a black v-neck shirt (sometimes the v-neck shirt was dark blue, burgundy, or green). His is by far the most stark of the costumes.
His costume matches his backstory as a brooding survivor of the catastrophic war between the TimeLords and the Daleks, but whether it was this incarnation or the previous one who actually fought in the war isn't made clear. His was the revival of Doctor Who, last seen in series as the Seventh Doctor in 1989 and in a television movie as the Eighth Doctor in 1996.
The Ninth Doctor's black leather jacket is an amazing piece. It's a vintage WW2 era double-breasted black jacket with lots of details. It has a belt, straps on the cuffs, and fairly unique styling to its double row of buttons. Like our Nine, it has clearly been through a lot, but was strong enough to survive the test.
I've found accurate vintage leather jackets on eBay, and so I've set up a feed below to display any current auctions.
Classic Doctor Who Costumes
The Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Doctors
The Eighth Doctor, played by Paul McGann, appeared in one televised movie in 1996. The rest of his time as Doctor has been portrayed in comic books, audio dramas, and novels, although the alternative media are typically treated as an alternate timeline to the televised series. He's been described as "Byronesque", wearing a long frock coat and a dark grey cravat. Click here to see the exhibit of the 8th Doctor's costume.
The Seventh Doctor, played by Sylvester McCoy, wore an off-white safari style jacket over a plain white shirt and a yellow pullover with blue-green zigzag patterns and red question marks. His pants were sand-colored tweed plaid; his shoes white/brown brogued spectator shoes. His hat was a white colonial-styled Panama hat with a paisley hatband and an upturned brim. A red paisley tie, red paisley scarf worn under his jacket lapels, and a matching handkerchief tied up the paisley theme. He also carried a fob watch chained to his left lapel and an umbrella with a red question mark-shaped handle or bamboo handle. His is one of the most complicated wardrobes, though much could be done with the right hat, jacket, and umbrella, with red paisley accessories. Exhibit of the 7th Doctor's costume.
The Sixth Doctor, Colin Baker, would have preferred to wear black but was instead costumed in tasteless, mismatched, garish clothes he described as "an explosion in a rainbow factory". Best seen for yourself, check out this photo of the 6th Doctor's Costume.
The Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison, wore a variation of an Edwardian cricketer's uniform, complete with a cricket ball in one of his pockets. He favored a cream-coloured frock coat edged with orange, brightly striped trousers, and a celery stalk in his lapel.
Great Resources for Cosplayers of Five
3) The BBC America Blog has an awesome post with insight into his costume and behaviour: A Companion To The Fifth Doctor.
Make Your Own Frock Coat
First and Eight both wore frock coats. They're an uncommon item, but crafty types can whip up their own with this pattern.
The Fourth Doctor
The Fourth Doctor's Costume
Played by Tom Baker
The Fourth Doctor Who is known for his mass of curls escaping beneath his broad-brimmed hat, and his impossibly long scarf.
He wore three distinct coats: a reddish-brown blazer that he wore throughout his first season, a full-length dark brown coat for the darker horror stories, and a full-length light gray for more action-packed stories.
In his last year on Doctor Who, they changed Tom Baker's costume to a full-length burgundy overcoat, a wide-brimmed fedora, a matching blazer, and a new, redesigned, and even longer scarf of varying of reds and purples. Before long, he'd ditched the hat and blazer, leaving the hat to be seen in the background on a rack.
Fourth Doctor Accessories
Our Fourth Doctor is pictured in many hats, some appearing more stiff or new and others more battered. There is a retail "4th Doctor hat" to consider (pictured to the right). If that doesn't match your preference for your Four, you might give a look to the fedoras styled as Indiana Jones hats - their color and style is similar.
Destroying hats for fun and profit: A Fourth Doctor hat tutorial is helpful if you can't find just the right hat.
At the same forum I found Customizing a Pattern for a Season 17 Coat - In Detail which describes how to alter a Simplicity retail pattern to recreate one of the Fourth Doctor's coats.
Doctor Who Style Scarves - Like the scarf worn by Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor
Whovians seeking their own version of the Fourth Doctor's scarf are in luck. There officially licensed replicas in a two lengths.
The 6 foot version is much too short for costume purposes. The 12 foot version gives you the insane abundance of drape and loopage a Four needs.
Or, if you're a crafty type - or know one - and would like to make your own, check into the old Doctor Who Pattern Book for a pattern.
Don't forget your Jelly Babies.
The First Three Doctors
The Third Doctor, portrayed by Jon Pertwee, wore frilled shirts, velvet smoking jackets in blue, green, burgundy, red, or black, evening trousers in colors that matched his smoking jackets, and Inverness cloaks. His shoes were dress shoes, formal boots, or riding boots, and he accessorized with bow ties, cravats and leather gloves.
Resources for Cosplayers of Three
The Second Doctor, played by Patrick Troughton, wore clownishly baggy trousers, dark jackets, and a bowtie. Another of his quirks was to carry a recorder. His personality as well as his wardrobe was more relaxed than the original doctor, and he was called a "Cosmic Hobo" and a clown.
Resources for Cosplayers of Two
2) A Companion to the Second Doctor on the BBC America blog gives an interesting look into Patrick Troughton's portrayal of the Doctor.
The First Doctor, portrayed by William Hartnell, wore a frock coat and plaid trousers. Sometimes he wore a cape, an Astrakhan, or a Panama hat. He wore a blue signet ring, and occasionally used a walking stick. When in Earth's past, he would often alter his standard outfit in an attempt to blend in.
Resources for Cosplayers of One
2) A Companion to the First Doctor, takes an insightful look at his presence and personality onscreen.
Doctor Who Pattern Book
Offering both knitting and sewing projects, the Doctor Who Pattern Book dates from 1984 and includes a few must-haves for old-school Doctor Who fans. The patterns include, but are not limited to: Tom Baker's scarf; Peter Davison's cricket jumper; Nyssa's jacket; Romana's t-shirt and sailor top; Adric's tunic and anorak; a K-9 toy, cushion and shoulder bag; toy Cybermats; a TARDIS sleeping bag, tidy and cushion; clothes for action figures; a celery brooch; a console floor cushion; and Nasty puppets.
Most of these are not easy beginner projects, but offer a lot of fun for the dedicated Doctor Who themed crafter.
Although no longer in print, copies can sometimes be found on Amazon.
The Best Doctor Who?
My husband, kids, and I all love watching together, even though we have our own fave Doctors. Mine and my son's are Ten, while my husband prefers Four. Who's yours?
Which Doctor is your favorite?
Companions and Others Costume PhotogalleryClick thumbnail to view full-size
Real Doctor Who Props and Costumes
If you're still coming up empty for ideas, check out Doctor Who Props.com. I found it absolutely fascinating for the photos and discussion of real, old-school costumes worn by The Doctors and others in the series. They have close up shots of costumes and discussion of how they were made, very helpful for anyone wishing to recreate their own. The tales of how the props came to be used in the show are wonderful.
You might also enjoy the Doctor Who Experience photo stream on Flickr, which includes close-up shots of costumes from the series. You can find Time Lords, Captain Jack Harkness, River Song, and other companions and characters.