There’s always one question people ask as soon as a new Doctor is announced. What will their costume look like? Something familiar, or something new entirely? Unsurprisingly, the situation surrounding Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor was no different. But while we did get an official costume reveal, that was only the beginning of the story.
You see, The Twelfth Doctor seemingly has a greater passion for fashion than he lets on. While at first glance he’s an older and starker Time Lord, at heart(s) he really wants to leave an impression. Believe it or not, he’s, even more, fashion conscious than the other modern Doctors. Ten had brown and blue suits, and Eleven had different colour bow ties and coats. But Twelve out-dresses them all in terms of sheer numbers. In Series 8 alone there’s a costume change almost every episode, and even more variations were added in Series 9. There’s likely, even more, coming in Series 10, too – but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Join us as we count down our Top 5 favourite looks for The Twelfth Doctor so far, as seen in Series 8 and Series 9. Please note: this list is for outfits worn specifically by Peter Capaldi’s incarnation, so there’ll be no “Twelve in Eleven’s clothes” or Sanctuary Base spacesuit here. Everything else is fair game – but just in case you were wondering, the Wee Willie Winkie nightdress from Deep Breath didn’t make the cut. Sorry.
Get the catwalk ready, because here we go…!
5. “100% Rebel Time Lord”
First seen: Deep Breath Last seen: Before the Flood
In a strange twist of fate, The Twelfth Doctor’s “official” costume only makes it to number five. However, there’s no denying the effectiveness of this sharp, stark look. There’s no frills, no gimmicks. It’s simple and to the point, making it all about the actor rather than the costume. There’s also the added benefit of how straightforward it is to replicate – just do up your top button and voila, you are The Doctor! Cheap and easy cosplay for the school playground. The pièce de résistance though, of course, is that lovely navy blue coat. We’re pretty sure that red lining was more than a little inspired by a certain Mr Pertwee. But, despite its widespread use in promotional publicity shots, the original Twelfth Doctor costume is admittedly a little plain. We suspect there must be a reason why The Twelfth Doctor hasn’t worn it at all on screen since Death in Heaven. The only times we saw it in Series 9 were in Missy’s hypothetical “consideration” from The Witch’s Familiar and an emergency protocol hologram from Before the Flood. Perhaps it’ll show up again in Series 10?
4. “The Black Hole…y Jumper”
First seen: Listen Last seen: In the Forest of the Night
The first big costume change for The Twelfth Doctor (excluding his purple shirt from Robot of Sherwood) came in Series 8, Episode 4. The camera pans up, he’s sat there on his TARDIS meditating in outer space. But what is he wearing? Why, a brand new jumper! It’s black and full of small holes, which gives it a very cosmic and starry appearance. Strangely enough, this is actually a jumper from designer Paul Smith that Peter already owned, and it somehow became part of his costume. We’re not complaining though, as it’s a surprisingly fitting look. Everything else about this outfit is exactly the same as his official costume, but we think this stands out just enough to take the number four spot.
3. “Rocktor Who”
First seen: The Magician’s Apprentice Last seen: The Girl Who Died
We were promised a more laid back Twelfth Doctor in Series 9, and what better way to get that across than by shaking up his wardrobe. You only need to look at it to see how much Capaldi’s look has changed. That stark, buttoned-up white shirt is replaced by a loose fitting t-shirt. The matching trousers are swapped out for a check pattern, reminiscent of the earliest Doctors from the 1960s. Oh, and of course, he’s wearing a hoodie – but more on that later. This brand new look was introduced almost solely for the opening two-parter, The Magician’s Apprentice/The Witch’s Familiar. It represents the new cosmic rocker vibe while also throwing back to Doctor Who’s original Dalek stories. However, it did also make a return in The Girl Who Died, and is a popular new choice for cosplayers at conventions. We wouldn’t be surprised to see it – or variations upon it – show up again sometime soon.
2. “Doctor Whoodie”
First seen: Last Christmas Last seen: Sleep No More
At the number two spot is, essentially, a combination of the previous two entries (a hybrid, if you will…). You might think that means it shouldn’t count – but, for all intents and purposes, this is The Twelfth Doctor’s costume now. Crunch the numbers and you’ll discover that this look has appeared even more often than his official outfit! It’s a fairly simple design: the black holey jumper, now with an added hoodie (first seen on its own in Time Heist, when The Doctor was revealed as the Architect). The original thinking behind this was that The Doctor would need an extra layer on the polar base in Last Christmas. However, it’s a look that’s stuck, appearing in six out of twelve episodes in Series 9 (seven, if you include The Magician’s Apprentice opening scene). Sometimes less is more, but not so here – it brings together the cosmic look while adding in some laid back flair.
Even just for its sudden influence and longevity, this costume deserves a high ranking on the list. But there’s one more outfit that pips it to the post…
1. “Red Velvet”
First seen: Face the Raven Last seen: The Husbands of River Song
Come on, it had to be this one, didn’t it? There’s a reason the Doctor Who fanbase imploded after on-location pictures leaked out from filming on Face the Raven. On paper, this really isn’t anything that exciting – it’s just the official costume but with a red coat instead of blue. We’ve seen exactly the same sort of variation before with previous Doctors, so it’s nothing new or unique. But there’s just something about that gorgeous red velvet coat that makes it irresistible to the viewer. Maybe it’s the novelty of seeing a different colour jacket after nearly two series of ol’ blue, or maybe it’s the actual quality of the episodes it appears in. This is, after all, going to go down in history as the costume worn in Heaven Sent. But whatever it is, we love it to bits. Clara herself notes how very “Doctor-y” it looks, and the bright red colour was also perfect for the 2015 festive episode. Most recently it reappeared in Pearl Mackie’s Friend From The Future reveal video, so keep your fingers crossed – we may not have seen the last of it yet…!