Friday, April 6, 2012

Things I Wish Men Would Wear: Doctor Who Edition

by frédérik

Becky brought you George Peppard’s Paul Varjak from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and I can’t argue with that. So I won’t even try. After all, Varjak has been on both sides of an argument, and won.

Instead, I’ll just present the bohemian alternative that constitutes the things I wish men would wear. Edit: An alternative that comes courtesy of that long-running British science-fantasy TV show, Doctor Who.

Back when the world was black & white, the Doctor’s sartorial presentation relied on lines and texture. And William Hartnell’s mane of white hair.

Doctor Hue?
Once colour was invented, the second Doctor played by Patrick Troughton saw those lines and textures livened up with excitement for the ol’ rods and cones. And he sported both a bow tie and a Beatle’s haircut after a drinking binge. Party on, Doctor.

Flute of the Bumble-Beatle.

The third doctor, played by Jon Pertwee, is known as the dandy of the bunch. With good reason - check out these magnificent outfits:

Theatrical, grandiose, gentlemanly…only alliteration can capture the awesomeness that is Jon Pertwee: definitively dapper dandy Doctor.

With his signature floppy hat and marvelously long scarf, Tom Baker’s embodiment of the Fourth Doctor is the golden baseline for many fans of the series. Certainly, his fashion style has been iconic for the series, to the point where if I have to wear a scarf, I wear one of two ridiculously long scarves lovingly provided by the best provider of knitted goods, my mom.

Inspired by a cricketer’s uniform, Peter Davison’s Doctor represented a significant departure from the fashion style of past Doctors. Disciplined but playful, colourful but not garish…and with a stalk of celery in the lapel, as well as question marks embroidered in the collar, to provide just the hint of eccentricity a man-of-the-universe needs. The look suited Davison’s persona; unassuming yet unmissable at the same time.

It was a hard celery, but he eventually closed the deal.

…and then the sixth Doctor happened. Colin Baker apparently wanted to dress in black velvet to reflect the character’s darker personality, but producer John Nathan-Turner opted for an anarchic explosion of colour instead. More alliteration: brave bold…boctor. Boom!

No, I'm not the guy with the technicolour dreamcoat.

Sylvester McCoy was the last actor to play the Doctor until the attempted revival in 1996. His fashion style, tacky but endearing, seems to filter the Fifth Doctor through the Sixth Doctor in an attempt to recreate the Second Doctor’s iconoclastic style. Personally, I think this version of the Doctor just didn’t care and put on any old thing that happened to be lying around, including tchotchkes from the Dr. Who gifty shop.

In 1989, after 26 years on the air, Doctor Who ended its run. An attempt to revise the series on American television failed to excite fans, but Paul McGann’s embodiment of the Eighth Doctor lived on in various other comics, books, and audio plays. Personally, I remember liking the movie well enough, but mostly I remember greatly liking McGann and wishing he’d been given a series to shine in. Dressed like Edgar Allen Poe in Victorian England by way of Lord Byron, McGann is the less theatrical analogue to Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor, and it works just fine.

Displeased with the wig he had to wear, McGann had the idea of a Doctor with short hair and a leather jacket, an idea that came to fruition when the BBC resurrected Doctor Who on its own airwaves in 2005. Played by Christopher Eccleston, this Ninth Doctor sported a gritty urban look that, in my opinion, was only generically stylish.

Along with Tom Baker, David Tennant is routinely listed as a fan favourite in the role. His Tenth Doctor shed the pared-down style of the Ninth Doctor and snazzed it up with a suit, overcoat and trainers.

For Smith, the Eleventh and current incarnation of the Doctor, the motif seems to be tweedy academic hipster with a think for bow ties. There was a brief flirtation with a fez hat but, alas, that didn’t last.

The interesting thing about the Doctors’ fashion choices over the years is that New Who trends very closely with today’s style. While it looks good, I ultimately feel that it misses the point of the character, who wouldn’t really be in tune with Earthly trends and latch on instead to whatever fancy that crosses his mind. A little bit of this, a little bit of that, and all brought together in a way that disregards the normal conventions of taste. What New Who is missing is glorious anachronism.

So there you have it: I wish men dressed more anachronistically. Explosions of colours, a mishmash of styles, blatant exaggeration…obviously, Tom Baker’s Doctor had the most direct influence on me, at least on an accessory level. But really: Jon Pertwee is the real deal.

Is there a Doctor in the...oh, forget it.

What do you think? Which Doctor rocks his splendid sartorial stylings best?

Note: Images used under fair use. They’ll be removed at the copyright holder’s request, whoever that may be.


stylish with a budget said...

i like Jon Pertwee and McGann the most. besides of a character, their style is more like a doctor to me. i just felt a doctor can be fashionable but they are not that fashion forward. or may be it's me...i can't imagine doctor wearing very colorful outfits...and i actually have a colorful doctor friend..hahaha...she's a pretty girl with a nice sense of style.

Mica said...

Love the style of Doctor Who through time! I don't watch it, but it was interesting to see how the character's style has changed over the years with each new character they get a chance to try new wardrobes. Agree with the colour though, on a whole men could be wearing more colour (says the lady with 10+ grey tees..ahem).

Frederik Sisa said...

Hi June. Although the character is called "The Doctor" (he has not other name) he is not a medical doctor, so I imagine the style rule is: there are no rules. :)

Mica: glad you liked the progression. And yeah, it's a bit ironic for me to call for my colour when personally I prefer all black. lol

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