Style Recreation: Clara in “Dark Water” and “Death in Heaven” (with bonus Missy!)

missy2

Before we get started on the fun part, I am going to let myself off the leash for a while. I have tried here to be as positive as I possibly can, because I hate to – for lack of a better expression – yuck someone’s yum, and this is a series of posts about Doctor Who, so if it frustrates me so much, then why am I watching? (Answer: because I have committed, goddammit, because I love Clara and clothes and gorgeous, underrated one-offs like “The Beast Below” and “Rings of Akhaten). My feelings about this finale and the season it summed up were … largely not positive. If you enjoyed it, that’s awesome – skip to below the picture of Missy and you’ll get all my raves and the clothes. Anyone who wants to join me in a rant, keep reading here.

On its own, the finale was a fantastically-constructed and -executed pair of episodes. Taken in the context of the show itself and this season, specifically? It was a huge disappointment. “Death in Heaven” especially felt like a retread of “A Good Man Goes to War” (Body horror? Check. Young girl who adores the Doctor and who you are kind of made to believe might be the next companion until her unfortunate demise? Check. Doctor being convinced that he is Just Like the bad guys he fights? Check. In this episode, Michelle Gomez ably played both the River and Madam Kovarian parts).

I have also been on record questioning this new Doctor, and with a full season under my belt, my opinion has not changed. He’s not “crotchety” in a cute way; he’s mean, callous, and condescending, and no amount of “forgiving” Clara for her betrayal will be enough to mitigate that for me (side note: let’s not congratulate the Doctor too much for that moment, okay? He knew Clara was out of her mind with grief  and despair and he decided this was a good opportunity to … test her? To push all her buttons even though he was always going to help her anyway? Why – for his own amusement or edification? To prove a point? No matter which way you slice it, it’s cruel). There was virtually no arc for this character this entire season: no reckoning and no consequences.

And that’s what it boils down to for me: consequences. I am consistently frustrated with the way in which the Doctor consistently avoids responsibility; in this episode, Missy shows him what a monster he has become (again, something River also showed him only two seasons ago in an episode written by this same person), and his reaction is to feel about for about two seconds and then say,” yeah, well, I am just an idiot but my friends are nice people, so they’re going to save the day this time. Here Danny, you deal with it.” He could not take less responsibility for the people he has hurt or the lives he has lost if he tried.

So if he doesn’t care, why should we care for him? Watching the Doctor wallow in his own guilt wouldn’t be bright happy fun times, agreed, but that’s why these “edgy” claims about “darkness” fall flat to me: Moffat wants to drop bodies left, right, and centre (and then raise them up in shiny silver suits), but god forbid the Doctor should actually be shown to live with that guilt. What’s the point of “going dark” if the consequences aren’t felt by your main character?

the-master

The bright spot in all of this for me was Missy. I thought she was fantastic, and my inner feminazi is just gleefully crowing at all these backwards old dudes crying their eyes out because the Master is a woman now, and everything is ruined and they’re leaving (as my mother would say, “BYE! Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out!”). Was the writing for Missy massively different from what I’d imagine the writing would be for “evil River Song”? Not especially, no. It wasn’t Moffat but Michelle Gomez who made this character the swaggering, grinning, twirling, scenery-chomping delightful nightmare she was.

On the acting front, I also have to give credit to Jenna Coleman, who did amazingly in these two episodes, and has really knocked it out of the park this entire season. She’s fantastic, and if indeed she is leaving the show, I hope there are big things in her future.

Speaking of Clara, let’s talk clothes (finally). In “Dark Water,” she repeats a couple of pieces from earlier episodes, specifically “The Caretaker.” These pieces include the teal geometric shirtdress (also seen in the series 8 promo poster), and the green Mac jacket. You’ll remember that both the dress and the jacket were sold out by the time “The Caretaker” hit the air and obviously that hasn’t changed, but you can see some of the alternatives I found here.

Moving on to the new piece Clara is wearing. It’s a navy-and-orange triangular geo-print dress; it’s by Sessun and it’s sadly sold out (and at over $200, was a little rich for my blood anyway). As in the case of other very unique pieces, this is hard to replicate exactly, so I’ve broken it down into its two elements (print and colour combo) and found a couple of alternatives for each.

claras-orange-navy-patterned-dress

As always, items that are available in plus sizes are noted with a single asterisk, like this.* Items that are exclusively plus-sized are noted with two asterisks, like this.**

First up, some geometric/”tribal” print dresses in a fit-and-flare shape. I’ve tried to stick to colour combinations that feel fall-appropriate; if you are the kind of person who rocks neon and pastels every season, get Googling because there are quite a few summer dresses on sale.

My first pick is this black-and-orange tribal print dress,* which has the same subtlety as the dress Clara wears in these episodes.

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 1.22.09 PM

Here’s a close-up of the print to give you a better idea:

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 1.22.22 PM

If you’re feeling something a bit bolder, you can always go with this colourblock geometric print dress.* This dress’s larger print and colour palette really evoke that 70s vibe that has permeated many of Clara’s costumes this season.

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 1.21.27 PM

The print might be summery, but the black-white-and-cranberry colour combo of this tribal print skater dress** give it a very seasonally-appropriate feel. In 95% cotton, this should be super-soft, but it’s got an open back, so make sure you grab a cardigan!

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 1.16.01 PM

If it was Clara’s dress’s colour combo that caught your eye, I’ve found a handful of great blue and orange dresses in a variety of different prints. Let’s start with the standby: polka dots. Here’s a great orange-on-blue polka dot day dress.

polkadot

Another classic print is floral. Clara hasn’t been wearing much floral this season, beyond the parent interview skirt in “The Caretaker.” Again, that was a floral with a definitive 70’s influence, so that’s what I found. First up is this groovy navy floral day dress with a lace upper.

c3bc9ea942d8dbeaff3c36c1903b863c

I also found this orange geometric tile-print ruched-front dress, which flips the colour combo.

geofloral

Finally, let’s end on a whimsical note. We’ve seen Clara wear a couple of slightly cooky pieces this season as well (eye-print blouse, anyone?) and if that is your style, then you are in luck, because I found this hilarious navy-and-orange dinosaur print dress.*

dinodress

However, Clara was not the only well-dressed woman in this episode. As mentioned above, I absolutely adored Missy, so I thought I’d include her in this round-up as well.

missy

Now obviously Missy’s costume was not sourced at Topshop or anywhere else; the DW costumers meant for it to look like a costume, because the character very deliberately meant for it to be a costume.  Performance and theatricality has always been a huge part of the Master/Mistress character; she never met a pose, a vogue, or a vamp she didn’t like, and her costume is just another extension of yen. I think we all know exactly who Missy’s costume was meant to evoke:

mary_poppins1

The resemblance is striking, no? And thematically it makes sense: its a nice nod to schoolteacher Clara, and really, if you’re going to swoop down on your former best friend with a bag (okay, a cathedral) full of tricks and give him a good scolding, who better to dress as than fiction’s most famous nanny?

Now there are 18,347 awesome other blogs that have the cosplay thing down pat, so I am not even going to attempt to go there. Where I will go, however, is in incorporating some Missy style into your everyday street style.

First up: a purple peacoat. Again, if you’re looking to replicate that very Victorian overcoat, a costumer or vintage clothier is probably your best bet and it is likely going to cost you. I did manage to find a handful of great purple peacoats to add that splash of Missy style to your wardrobe.

First up is this plum velvet overcoat; its colour, fabric, and cut make it the closest match I could find. Not the warmest by a long shot, but definitely very cool.

velvetcoat

If you are looking for something more practical but still with a dash of flair and you’re willing to bend on the colour a bit, check out this wine-coloured coat with the navy piping and buttons

navypipedcoat

 

… or this gorgeous ruffled peacoat,** also in a dark burgundy hue.

rufflefrontcoat

If you’re looking for something really basic but closer to that original aubergine,  I’ve also got you covered. First is this very tweedy, professorial purple basket weave peacoat

basketweavecoat

… and second is this swingy wool-blend purple skater coat.**

Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 8.43.13 AM

It looks like what Missy is wearing under that coat is a white button-down, and I know that if you are inclined to have a white button-down, you probably already have one, so I am not going to round any up for you here (besides, I already did!). Now, I said it looks like what Missy is wearing under there could be just your average button-down, but I would not be surprised if it was something like this:

shirtdress

Wouldn’t she love this? It’s got that buttoned-up nanny vibe with the side offering just the merest suggestion of bad-girl bondage, all dressed up to very, very pretty indeed.

Let’s end up on Missy’s main accessory: a cameo brooch.  As always, etsy is your friend here. Enter “cameo brooch” (or “cameo necklace” if you are not a brooch person) and you are golden. There are an array of different colours, and different cameo figures (including some great pop and steampunk ones, like Darth Vader or a Kraken). For our purposes, here is a a very classic, Missy-eque version.

cameo

 

Now that Doctor Who is done (until Christmas), I’ll probably be focusing on clothes from my favourite camp-fantasy television series, Once Upon A Time, as well as adding a few more films and opinion pieces. Hope to see you around!

Clara in “In the Forest of the Night”

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 9.17.20 PM

First things first: this episode of Doctor Who taught me that apparently you can SLEEP OVERNIGHT IN MUSEUMS? This is a thing they let you do? What have I been DOING all my life, seriously. This totally trumps my dream, fostered by Dawson’s Creek and Ready or Not, of getting trapped overnight in a department store! I am forever changed.

Ahem. Now that that’s over with: the episode.

The writers have done a great job this season really fleshing out Clara’s character, giving her depth and personality and history that go far beyond The Impossible Girl. However, the writing for Clara has also been, at times, frustratingly inconsistent. Last week she was being the Doctor and doing a damn good job of it (and she knew it) and by the end of this episode, she is leading the Doctor to safety and, on behalf of humanity, saving him for a change. But at the beginning of the episode as soon as she discovers something is amiss, she just unquestioningly punts to the Doctor, essentially saying, “The Doctor will fix it!” and then spends time in the face of grave danger worrying that Danny has seen her marking in the TARDIS and might be mad at her.

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 9.15.05 PM

It’s all over the place! Not that characters need to (or should) be uncomplicated or 100% consistent or easy, but I shouldn’t be getting character development whiplash. The same goes for Danny. In “The Caretaker,” he’s Mr. Alpha Male, telling Clara she needs to tell him when she’s had enough of the Doctor, because that way he can protect her; in this episode, he discovers Clara has been lying to him and is casually like, “You should probably tell me the truth? I mean, not like now or anything, but you know, whenever.” It doesn’t track particularly well.

All that said, I like where we ended up, with Clara essentially choosing certain death over becoming the Doctor. It’s a tacit admission that she sees what being The Last has done to him and that she doesn’t want to be him, not really; she doesn’t want to lose skin in the game. It’s an interesting, important moment for both their characters and a touching scene between Coleman and Capaldi, the latter who has been at his best in this role over the past three episodes.

“In the Forest of the Night” may have had some portentous character moments, but it was a pretty low-key episode, style-wise. Clara was sleeping overnight in a museum with some of her students (sidebar: THEY LET YOU DO THAT????? WHAT HAVE I BEEN DOING ALL MY LIFE?), so she dressed practically in a grey space-dye print sweater, jeans, sneakers, and a leather backpack. Again I applaud the Doctor Who costume design team for their realism.

Doctor Who Series 8 (ep 10)

Applause aside, this will unfortunately be a brief and slightly snoozier entry than usual. I am going to assume you all have jeans and sneakers, and focus primarily on the sweater.

As always, items that are available in plus sizes are noted with a single asterisk, like this.* Items that are exclusively plus-sized are noted with two asterisks, like this.**

The version Clara wears is from Topshop and while it is not completely sold out, it is only available in a UK 16. If that’s your size and you want it, you can pick it up from their website. For everyone else, I’ve scoped out a few alternatives.

This navy space dye crewneck is near-exact match in terms of pattern. It’s also made from lovely, breathable cotton.

spacedye1

If you’re really keen on going grey, this grey marled sweater is a dead ringer for the shade to the one worn by Clara in this episode.

marledsweater

As is this grey, multi-knit V-neck pullover.**

mixedknit

And just for fun, let’s round this up with a cool, texturized version: this cream-coloured striped open-knit sweater.**

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 2.31.54 PM

Not particularly scintillating stuff eh? Perhaps a little bit … basic? That said, any of these would be a wardrobe staple, and at least they represent a slight twist on the plain grey sweater.

The most remarkable piece Clara was wearing this episode was by far and away her black, faux-leather backpack. This style positively screams 90s to me, which is why it’s unsurprising that it’s having a moment right now. If you’re looking for the perfect purse to complement your Doc Martens and Nirvana t-shirt, well, you’re in luck: this Urban Outfitters bag in stock and affordable.

leatherbackpack

That’s all folks! Short and sweet, it gives me a chance to spend more time on Part 1 of the finale, “Dark Water.”

Style Recreation: Clara in “Flatline”

clarasonicscrewdriver

Perhaps it is true that miniaturizing anything makes it cute, because this is certainly the most palatable (dare I say endearing?) I have found this Doctor. This was one of my favourite episodes this season, and certainly the most charming.

When, through some dimensional shenanigans (band name, called it!), the TARDIS gets made wee with the Doctor inside, it’s up to Clara to take the lead and the mantle of the Doctor in the battle against the alien-of-the-week. Clara, frankly, does a bang-up job, using her quick wits to save the majority of the people around her including the Doctor himself.  It’s good to see a return to the Clara that the writers had established earlier this season: clever, determined, and brooking no nonsense. It’s on the strength of episodes like these that Clara has become one of my favourite companions (second only to Donna, of course). The whole thing made me sort of wish Danny would disappear completely, since it seems like the writers only really falter with Clara when writing her relationship with him (and how she deals with Danny and the Doctor).

This episode also provided some pointed and much-needed character development for this Doctor. In a moment of near-death weakness, he admits that Clara did a good job at being the Doctor, but later, when he sees her cheerfully celebrating the fact that “on balance,” she had not lost too many lives, he snarls that “goodness had nothing to do with it.” The implication is that the very act of being the Doctor demands and creates a certain flippancy towards life, and that when a mirror is held up to his actions and attitudes, the Doctor is troubled by what he sees. I will be interested to see how this plays out throughout the rest of the season. I don’t think “being the Doctor” should excuse some of the more callous behaviour he has displayed this series, but it is an important factor in it, and it will be interesting to see how (if) this affects the Doctor as the series moves towards the finale.

All that said – on to the outfit!

claraflatlineoutfit

The Doctor Who costumers have become very good this season at establishing Clara’s on- and off-duty looks as distinct but related styles. Very few people I know actually have one cohesive and singular “style”; I think many of us have a “work” look that is slightly different from our “play” look(s, usually plural), and I don’t just mean in terms of meeting dress codes. On-Duty Clara is quirky, scholarly, and feminine; Off-Duty Clara is a little more streamlined and with more of an edge. Certain themes – this season, plaid and a 70s influence – run through both looks. It’s refreshingly realistic about the way people actually dress and it makes me much more inclined to buy silly things like the TARDIS’s Magical Wig Shoppe from time to time.

This week’s outfit is very much Off-Duty Clara: trendy, accessible, and a little bit tough. With pants, sneakers, and a loose-fitting jacket, it’s also a down-to-business look that allows her to be as mobile as she needs to be for an episode with a lot of running (and swinging!) around.

As always, items that are available in plus sizes are noted with a single asterisk, like this.* Items that are exclusively plus-sized are noted with two asterisks, like this.**

Let’s start from the top down with a red plaid or checked button-down. This is a fairly easy look to find in the fall, but just in case you haven’t had much luck, I’ve found a couple of ultra-affordable options, both in 100% cotton (seriously ENOUGH with the polyester-izing of everything, retailers), here** and here:

plussizeplaidredplaid

If you have a slightly bigger budget to play with, consider investing in something high-quality; a plaid shirt like this is a classic piece that will never go out of style. This Scotch plaid* is gorgeous, super-soft, and will last for ages.

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 4.44.20 PM

Topping Clara’s red button-down is an army green biker- or anorak-style jacket with leather detailing on the lapel. I have to say, the Doctor Who costumers have a real knack for combining green, red, and plaid without making Clara look like a Christmas present. The jacket Clara wears is from The Kooples, so it was crazy-expensive even when it was available. And while replicating the exact look is a challenge, the general concept of green jacket + leather detail is fairly popular, and I’ve found a host of cool alternatives.

As a personal disclaimer of bias, I will say that I loveLOVE green jackets, so I might have done a little overboard here! But really, they are a fantastic, unexpected neutral, and the khaki-to-forest green range surprisingly does work for most colourings. So with no further ado, let’s start with the least (read: no) leather and work our way upwards.

First up is a simple, versatile army-green anorak with a draw-string waistband.**

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 5.21.19 PM

Another great basic is this classic parka jazzed up by a boxy cut, hood, and oversized lapels.

parka

Okay, so if the leather detail on Clara’s jacket really did grab you and you’re looking for something similar, I’ve found two options with leather epaulettes and elbow patches. As a bonus, both have detachable fur hoods for when it gets chilly out (if you live somewhere where it is not, in fact, already chilly out).

This first one is khaki green with a brown fur hood**

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 5.19.52 PMScreen Shot 2014-10-26 at 5.20.02 PM

 

… and the second is a darker hunter green with a thick, black faux fur hood.

leathershoulderparkaelbowpatchparka

If you’re looking for MOAR leather, may I recommend this lovely hooded parka with quilted leather sleeves?

leathersleeveparka

Or perhaps this hooded army jacket with leather sleeves and placket and a drawstring waist**? I thought so.

parkaleathersleevesplus

And finally, with navy colour blocking instead of leather detail, this moves a little further from Clara’s coat, but it’s a fun, unique look if navy is your neutral instead of black.

colourblockparka

Okay, I am going to breeze past the pants because I assume you all have a pair of black pants/jeans/leggings/preferred-pants-substitute, so let us then move to the most fun part of any outfit: the shoes. In this episode, Clara wears a kicky, trendy pair of black wedge sneakers from ASOS. Sadly they seem to be sold out, but I’ve found a couple of great alternatives.

The best match is this sporty, charcoal-grey pair with a white sole, just like the ones Clara wears.

blackwedgesneakers

If you like the look, but your style doesn’t usually run particularly athletic, this glam-punk gold-zippered pair of black wedge sneakers is a great alternative.

blackwedgezip

And as a bonus, I thought I would feature Clara’s great convertible black leather bag. It’s Topshop, still in stock and you can pick it up here.

blackshoulderbag

However, if you are looking for something a little more affordable in a similar style, I found this very close duplicate on sale for  $40, so grab it while you can!

blackbag

Next week (meaning a few days from now, sorry this week was delayed by family stuff): fall-ready kniiiiiits in “In the Forest of the Night.”

doctor-clara-train-mummy

If you’ll recall last week, given Clara’s dramatic exit at the end of the episode and the fact that I didn’t see her in any of the early promos, I wondered whether or not we’d get to see her (and her wardrobe) this week. Well, she’s back! For one last hurrah … or no, wait, she’s actually back for good. “For good,” of course, probably meaning “until the series finale” or “until the Christmas special.”

Overall I thought this was the sweetest Doctor-Clara episode thus far, even if I did get the impression by the end that the Doctor had specifically taken Clara to a dangerous place to tempt her into staying (rather than because he simply couldn’t resist). It’s pretty clear from my previous posts that I am NOT a fan of this “darker” (ruder, crueler, unnecessarily callous) Doctor; that said, I was impressed with Peter Capaldi’s ability to use just a few subtle gestures and expressions in the earlier scenes to belie the Doctor’s (frankly tiresome) don’t-give-a-damn, feelings-are-cooties facade and communicate how much he actually cared for Clara and that he would actually miss her if she left.

From a sartorial perspective, I was also just relieved that an episode recreating the roaring twenties aboard the Orient Express (in space!) was not wasted on just the Doctor’s giant floppy cravat. This was an episode made for me; I drool over 1920s/30s-era fashions (which probably explained why I stuck with the last series of Downton Abbey for so long). It is my #1 preferred clothes porn era. Maybe because the sparkliness appeals to my inner magpie, maybe because of the shorter skirts worn by wilder women, or maybe just because I saw Chicago at an impressionable age and never recovered. Either way, I love it and I’m happy to say that Clara’s outfit delivered.

IMG_0043

LOOK AT THIS. *dies* It is sparkly and swingy and PERFECT. Oh, and hello again to the TARDIS’s magical hairdresser/wigmaker. Lovely bob you’ve got Clara sporting there! I once had a Cabbage Patch doll with an extendable ponytail; you cranked one arm and her hair “grew” out of the top of her head, and wound the other arm and her hair … receded? Anyway, I am starting to think Clara is actually one of those dolls. What a finale that discovery would make.

Anywho, on to the outfit alternatives. Clara’s gorgeous bronze and black beaded flapper dress is from LeLuxe Clothing, who have provided outfits for Amanda Palmer and for the Nora character on the first (best) season of American Horror Story. The dresses there are all drop-dead gorgeous, but they are also all upwards of $300 dollars. If you have that kind of cash, I can’t think of a better use for it (no, not emergency savings or debt repayment or retirement), so go forth! If not, well, never fear, I have found a few more affordable alternatives. Please note that I admit I am no historian, fashion or otherwise, so my use of “flapper” or exact pinning-down of an era will likely be a little loosey-goosey. Consider it blogger’s license. Also, this is about the Orient Express in space, so…

As always, items that are available in plus sizes are noted with a single asterisk, like this.* Items that are exclusively plus-sized are noted with two asterisks, like this.**

Flapper-esque dresses tend to feature a lot of beading, embellishment, and other details, which typically jacks up the prices, but I’ve tried to give myself a budget of $150 or less. Thanks to a fall flapper sale, this black dress with gold beading* represents the closet match within the target budget range.

flapperdress

Please ignore the costume-y styling here, because if you look closely, this is actually a lovely dress. The store is chock-full of vintage-inspired pieces, so this another case of “if your budget is a little bigger, the world is your oyster.”

If you like your metallics cool-toned, I also found a black flapper dress with silver beading instead (that is also on sale!).

Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 3.15.18 PM

And if you’re looking for something a tad more subtle or wanting to forgo the metallics altogether, check out this beige dress with a black beaded overlay.

flapper2

If you want to add a little colour to your flapper look, I’ve found an emerald green tunic-style dress …

Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 3.18.16 PM

 

… and a sparkly navy shift.

flappernavy

So far these have all been pretty straight flapper dresses, equally at home at a cocktail or costume party. But what if you are looking for something a little more 20s-inspired than straight flapper? From more modern shapes to more subtle details, I’ve got you covered.

First up is this  black straight tunic with beaded neckline. It maintains the basic style elements of the classic flapper dress (loose, straight cut and beaded embellishments) but translates them into a more low-key, contemporary, and wearable piece.

 

17dafcf1a7fe4ae9d12ef7456572dd28

 

If you like the 20s-style sparkle but are looking for a slightly more modern, body-conscious cut, check out this this bronze beaded shift.

embroidered20sshift

On the other hand, if you like the loose, straight shape but want a more subtle version of flapper embellishments, this black tunic with white embroidery** is a great option.

decoembroider

If you want to channel that 20s style into something that is less busy and bling-y, a loose, flowing shift with some lace detail is a good option. One of the complaints I hear most often about the classic flapper shape is that the dropped waist is unflattering or difficult to wear; I don’t know if that’s true exactly, but at at the very least, it’s not a look many people are comfortable with, so I made sure that both the shifts I featured here have gently defined, natural waistlines.

My personal favourite is this gorgeous sea green dress.

lacetrimflowygreen

If you are looking for classic LBD though, this black shift with trendy kimono-style sleeves** is great alternative.

lacetrimflowy

The dress Clara wears in this episode is quite short, but I couldn’t help featuring a couple of 20s-style maxi dresses, because both of them are on sale for less than $100. I absolutely adore this sheer, striking cobalt maxi with art-deco-style embellishments.

longdecodress

And if you’ve got the chuztpah (and the bra/cutlets) for it, this sheer, navy, lace-paneled backless maxi is a knockout. long20sdresslong20sdressback

Finally, it’s a bit of a stretch but I figured this black bodycon dress with mesh sleeves could qualify on the basis of the art-deco-style beading alone.

artdecorobot

Wow. This dress is not so easy to wear (both in terms of comfort and the “pulling it off” factor), but it is crazy cool, like the deranged dress love child of a flapper and Rachael from Blade Runner. I just had to feature it here. Someone buy it and cherish it forever.

Moving on! In my search for flapper- and 20s-inspired dresses, I found quite a few adorable tops so I thought I would move a little further afield and include those too, just in case you want to channel a little of that look but don’t really have occasion for a new dress.

I’ll start again with the most flapper-y number of the bunch, this gorgeous dusty blue beaded tank with a scalloped hemline.

beadedflappertop

If you are interested in something along those lines that is perhaps a tad more subtle, check out this red tunic top with beaded neckline.**

beadedtopplus

Again if you like the concept but are not so into the bling, crochet or lace is a good alternative and you can’t go wrong with this soft blue quarter-sleeved top with cream embroidery.*

embroidredtop

Finally, a fun way to gesture to this period is with art-deco style prints and patterns. This geo-print t shirt** is a versatile option…

decotopplus

… as is this black deco-style leaf-patterned sweater.

decotop

One 20s-era piece that is very popular this season is the kimono-style jacket or cardigan. We see Clara very briefly in a fringed robe along those lines, so I thought I would include a couple options for that as well. First up is this  abstract patterned open jacket with geometric beading …

creamkimono

 

… followed by this fringey floral wrap.**

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 12.52.09 AM

It’s not often that we get a good clear look at Clara’s shoes, but we get a couple of good shots of them in this episode. She is sporting a classic black patent t-strap pump and I have found an affordable pair here:

midheeltstrap

You simply cannot go wrong with this kind of shoe; wear it for a costume party tonight and wear it to work tomorrow. I especially  like that the pair above are high enough to give you a little extra length, but solid enough to actually walk on.

If they’re still is a bit high for you though, I also found this cute square-heeled, pointed toe pair.

tstrapflats

And finally, if you’re not afraid of the high heel and looking for a little more personality in your pumps, check out this fun pair with ribbon and cutout detailing.

cutoutheel

Alright, that’s it for this week! Up next, more plaid in “Flatline.”

Style Recreation and Translation: Clara in “Mummy on the Orient Express”

Style Recreation: Clara in “Kill the Moon”

Just a note before I jump into the style section: typically I will include some analysis or discussion of the actual episode in my style posts, but I found the subtext of this episode too important and its presentation too alarming to respond to in a couple of paragraphs. If  you are interested in my analysis of the abortion subtext of “Kill the Moon,” take a look at my review of it here. Now back to our regularly scheduled style programming.

So this will be a fairly brief entry because Clara spent most of her time this episode in a giant orange spacesuit and I am surely not about to start looking for orange jumpsuits. If “orange jumpsuit” is your style, I am not here to play Clinton and Stacy, but I cannot in good conscience (and for the sake of my good name) recommend such an item. We are in luck, however, because we did get to see Clara in a cute floral shirtdress in the beginning and end of the episode, which is enough fodder for me.

clarakillthemoondress

Clara’s shirtdress has full-length sleeves and is black with pink flowers. The original is from ASOS, extremely affordable, and … only available in a UK size 6. If that’s your size, you can snap it up here. For the rest of us, it’s time to start looking.

As always, items that are available in plus sizes are noted with a single asterisk, like this.* Items that are exclusively plus-sized are noted with two asterisks, like this.**

My first two finds have the most in common with the original: smaller floral print shirtdresses with longer sleeves. It’s only the colours that differ: grey or red instead of black.

Screen Shot 2014-10-05 at 9.45.43 PMredfloralshirtdress

If you’re really keen on a black background but willing to compromise on the dress style and print size, I’ve found a few truly lovely dresses here:

blackfloralmidi

… and here**:

floralcurve

I have to say, this wasn’t the hardest entry I’ve ever done because this kind of floral is fairly popular with all kinds of chains and retailers right now. That means if you are looking to score Clara’s look from this episode on a serious shoestring budget, you are in luck. I’ve found a couple of cute cheapies here** and here:

Screen Shot 2014-10-05 at 9.50.37 PMScreen Shot 2014-10-05 at 9.43.18 PM

Okay, I think I’ve covered the basics, so now it’s time to have a little fun. If you like the idea of a floral and you’re interested in playing a little bit with the 70’s influence Clara has been working of late, may I recommend this groovy floral-and-plaid combo*?

plaidfloral

Or, if that is perhaps Too Much Look for you, what about this floral tea dress with crochet detailing?

floralteadresscrochet

I’ll finish off the dress section with my favourite, this gorgeous, bold, autumnal floral with a pleated skirt and striped waistband detail:

autumnfloral

So beyond the dress and the space suit, there is one other item of clothing that makes an all-too-brief appearance: Clara’s light grey wool overcoat. It wasn’t there for long, but as a devoted coat junkie, far be it for me to look a gift coat in the … buttons (???). But first I need to note how great it is that Clara starts pouring herself a glass of wine before she has even taken her coat off. Atta girl.

claragreycoat

I couldn’t find the original, but I did find a couple of great alternatives. My favourite is this cool, knee-skimming skater version**:

skatergrey

I also found a boxy, boucle single-button option, as well as a classic single-breasted peacoat:

Screen Shot 2014-10-05 at 9.54.04 PMgreysinglebreast

And just for fun, I thought I’d also show you this cool, maxi-length cardigan. Not so suited for outdoor wear, but it makes a hell of an overpiece for the office. Sweep about in professional majesty, you beauties!

maxicardigan

It doesn’t look like Clara will be back for next week’s episode, but we’ll see if anyone else offers any enviable style in “Mummy on the Orient Express.”

“Kill the Moon” – The Abortion Episode of Doctor Who

About twenty minutes into Saturday’s “Kill the Moon,” I began to feel a sensation of creeping, speechless dread that deepened throughout the episode until it settled in my stomach like a pound of lead: am I seeing what I think I’m seeing? Is this an anti-choice ad on Doctor Who? As it turns out: yes, I was, and yes, it was.

If I interpret “Kill the Moon” completely literally with absolutely no subtext or eye to metaphor whatsoever, I can admit that I enjoyed it. There have been some criticisms of the quality of the science, but that is never my hill to die on with regards to Doctor Who or basically anything. I admit that the idea of a creature hatching out of an egg and then immediately laying its own egg of almost exactly equivalent size is … a stretch, but I can handle it. If the story is well-paced and the dialogue well-written, if it pushes the characters in interesting directions, then I am happy to indulge in a little science-related hand waving.

And the rest of the episode did indeed meet those qualifications. Most notably, we got more time with and development of Courtney (aka Disruptive Influence), and we finally – finally – got the satisfaction of seeing Clara give the Doctor the verbal smackdown he has so richly deserved since the series premiere. So I wanted to like this episode. It was one of the stronger episodes of the series and if I turn my analytical brain off and squint just so, I can almost, almost like it.

But I can’t. Because it is simply impossible for me to consider “Kill the Moon” on a purely literal level. The metaphor here is so obvious and so overwhelming that any attempt to elide it would be – well, like trying to turn back the tides or defy gravity.

The basic plotline of the episode is this: the Doctor, a female astronaut, Clara and Courtney discover that the moon is actually a giant egg about to hatch into an unknown creature, whose birth and existence could prove dangerous or even fatal to Earth. The female astronaut has the nuclear capacity to terminate – I’m sorry, kill – the creature and save the earth, but the question is, should they?

This is an abortion story, pure and simple. I can’t imagine I would have to illustrate the metaphor, but just in case: the Earth is the mother, and the creature in the egg that literally revolves around the Earth and whose birth and existence may significantly threaten the well-being of the Earth, is a fetus.

I have seen some people argue that the claims of an abortion subtext don’t hold water because the egg was about to hatch; the creature was almost ready to be born, they say, so the story is about birth not abortion.This is fundamentally false.The story is set prior to hatching (birth); hatching is imminent, but until it occurs, we are still talking about is an egg (fetus). If you want to be technical, this story is about is the oft-discussed but extremely rare late-term abortion.

Late-term abortions are the most popular rallying cries for the anti-choice brigade, hurled as ammunition and condemnation against all women who demand right over their own bodies. They incite easy outrage. Late-term abortions are statistically rare; typically they only occur as a result of an unforeseen but extremely dangerous condition that will almost certainly result in a very short and extremely painful life for the child, or – in this particular case – if the birth poses a lethal threat to the mother.

“Kill the Moon” is is an abortion parable, so what is the moral or lesson Peter Harness wants his viewers to glean? I have seen people praise this episode for its evenhandedness, for it’s willingness to present “both sides” of the story. It’s true that both sides of the conflict between Clara and the Doctor are presented, and it’s true that the arguments both for and against termination are stated. However, probing a little deeper reveals that this supposed evenhandedness is superficial at best, and cheap manipulation at worst.

At a quick glance, Harness appears to check a number of progressive, seemingly pro-choice, and dare I say feminist-friendly boxes. An involved male party respectfully allows himself to be absented? Check. Women are given the ultimate power to decide? Check. The populace is polled but ultimately it is the wom(e)n’s choice to terminate or not? Check. This progressiveness and balance, however, does not bear up under scrutiny.

If this episode was truly about respecting a woman’s choice, both decisions would be presented as equally valid. It would be a matter of “What is the best, wisest decision for me/us right now?” Not, “What is the morally right decision?” Morality and rightness would not figure into the discussion. And do not be fooled – there is very clearly a “right” decision in “Kill the Moon” and it was always going to be to “choose life.”

Harness is priming viewers for this conclusion from the very beginning of the episode. When alluding to their dilemma in the cold open, Harness is careful to have Clara frame the issue by calling the creature “an innocent life” [emphasis mine]. After the credits, Clara explains to the Doctor the disastrous effect he has had on Courtney by telling her she isn’t special, and a distressed Courtney is on hand to prove Clara’s point. Aw, of course she’s special, the viewers are invited to reply. Isn’t everyone – or, to rephrase, every life – special? These emotional appeals – to protect innocence, to validate the uniqueness of every life – are designed to subconsciously align the viewer with the decision to choose life before we even know what the question is.

This episode is also loaded linguistic choices straight out of the pro-life handbook: referring to the unborn creature as a baby, uses the loaded verb kill right in the episode’s title, and even combines them by having Clara refer to “killing a baby.”

But perhaps the most telling instance of this manipulation occurs after the decision has been made. At the end of the episode, the Doctor reassures Clara that she’s done “the right thing” and that he had faith she would always make “the right choice.” But part of the reason Clara is so angry at the Doctor, she explains, is because she “nearly got it wrong.” Clearly there are not two equally valid options here; there is a right choice and there is definitely a wrong one.

And look! Everything worked out just perfectly in the end, conveniently validating the “right” choice with not a single negative consequence.In fact, the results of the decision to choose life are overwhelmingly positive: it ushers in a glorious new age of space travel and discovery!

So what is my point? Should every question of whether or not to abort be answered in the affirmative? Of course not. If Clara had made the other choice, would that have made me happy? I would have been happier had Harness actually presented issue in good faith, but even then no, not really.

Frankly, despite all its surface-level merits, I do not believe this episode should have been made. Which is not to say I don’t think a story centered on abortion has a place in broad-appeal or even family-friendly television. I simply do not believe that a) this was a well-written, thoughtful or balanced iteration of such a story; and b) that an abortion story is appropriate for this show, with its focus on the wonders of the universe and the specialness and importance of every life. In such a show, termination can only ever be presented as a negative decision, the wrong choice.

I also think it is wildly, obviously, and (if it didn’t hurt so much) laughably inappropriate to stage a television morality play about abortion that is written, directed, and produced by men.

It seems, perhaps, that someone at the BBC shared some of my concerns, or at least feared others might: Harness has apparently deleted his Twitter account shortly before the episode aired. This easy duck-and-cover move only confirms my beliefs about his cheap tactics. Frankly, I am also disappointed in both Doctor Who and the BBC for all the decisions that went into making this episode.

I never thought I’d have to spell this out, but just for future reference, let me be very clear: I am fine with the Doctor using his TARDIS to travel throughout all of time and space, but keep Doctor Who the hell out of my uterus.

Style Recreation: Clara Oswald in “The Caretaker”

So, typically I start these off with a brief character analysis/review section, but I’m going to skip that this time because a) this post is already INSANELY LONG; and b) I … do not have a lot that is good to say about the way anyone behaved in this episode, and that it was the Rant section is for. Suffice to say, I was displeased with the way all of the main three characters behaved; I was most infuriated by the Doctor, but most disappointed by Clara’s bizarre U-turn into passivity, especially in light of the excellent character development we’ve seen this series.

HOWEVER, if the BBC decides to do a spin-off of Clara and Courtney the Disruptive Influence,  I would so be down.

On to more positive things: clothes, clothes, clothes! This episode pushed the 70s-influence we’ve seen creeping up in Clara’s wardrobe to the max (well, until she starts sporting full-on bell bottoms) and I have to say, I was a fan. Some people have complained that it was a little too kitsch, but I personally prefer outfits that lean a little more towards the kitschy than the cutesy. For the most part (orange eye-print blouse excepted) the costume designers have played with pattern and texture but stuck to either a rich jewel tone palette or a crisp black-on-white contrast, which has been the key to keeping Clara’s look on the right side of kooky. Her work look established here is stylish, youthful, and a quirky, which makes total sense for a late-20s schoolteacher with a strong sense of self and a highly unique hobby.

As you may have noticed, Clara wears precisely one zillion (I counted) different outfits in this episode, but to prevent myself from going absolutely crazy and turning this post into some monstrous photo-collage thesis, I have skipped everything from that early montage and devoted myself to the three outfits Clara spends the most time in.

As always, items that are also available in plus sizes are noted with a single asterisk, like this.* Items that are exclusively plus-sized are noted with two asterisks, like this.**

The first of the three is a tailored, three-quarter-sleeved A-line shirtdress in a teal geometric tile print. You’ll recognize this dress from the Series 8 poster, and no wonder. It’s classic Clara.

Doctor-Who-season-8-promo-image

The original is Topshop and sold out (spoiler: any piece Clara wears in this episode that is from Topshop is already sold out!), but I’ve found a couple great alternatives.

First up is this blue, geometric-dot-print shirtdress. It has the same shape, the same sleeve length, the same type of pattern in a slightly different palette.

shirtdress Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 5.43.27 PM

The addition of pleats and full-length sleeves make my second find, this forest-and-turquoise triangle-patterned dress, A Lot of Look, but if you have the personality to pull it off then go for it, because it’s on sale and it’s gorgeous!

greengeodress

If you’re loving the pattern and colour palette of Clara’s dress but flexible with the dress shape, then this Dress of Many Hyphens* (short-sleeved, scoop-necked, fit-and-flare, tile-print) or this simple shift** might be right up your alley:

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 7.54.36 PMScreen Shot 2014-10-02 at 8.04.02 PM

My favourite find? It strays a little far from the theme, but it’s this green, groovy shirtdress that swaps a Peter Pan collar for a stand-up neckline. It’s on-point with the 70’s influence Clara has been working this season, and it’s a perfect halfway point between Clara’s teal dress and the jacquard skirt she sports for parents’ evening (which we’ll get to later on).

leaftiledress

As a bonus I’ve found the actual jagged-edge belt Clara is wearing with her dress, but honestly any fun, complementary-coloured skinny belt will do.

Clarabelt

The outfit Clara spends the most time in this episode is a white button-down with a black double-diamond print, what APPARENTLY are black scallop-edge shorts with black tights, and black high-heeled oxfords. Both the top and the shorts are (you guessed it!) sold out Topshop pieces.

doctor-who-caretaker-clara

However, if you are like me and you’re more comfortable in predominately black than white, the photographic inverse of Clara’s blouse might appeal to you. In which case, you’re in luck because it’s still available here (look, the model’s even wearing it with the shorts!):

diamondblouse

If you prefer more black-on-white options, then I have scoped a few different patterned picks, including a classic check print, appropriate for even the stodgiest of workplaces.

checkprint

My personal favourite of the bunch has to be this cute cloud-patterned shirt:cloudblousecloudblouse2

If you are of a romantic or cutesy bent, this sweet heart-print blouse* might work for you:

heartprintblouse

And then of course we have two tried-and-true options, the polka-dot or leopard-print**:

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 8.14.23 PManimal polka dot

As for the bottoms, well, you may have gathered from my APPARENTLY above that I am not the biggest fan of the formal-shorts with tights look, but far be it for me to deny anyone else the Oswald style of their heart’s desire. So if you are looking for some shorts, I’ve found both a scalloped and lace-hemmed** pair. You could just as easily use a black mini or A-line skirt, though.

laceshorts2laceshorts

We don’t get a close-up on Clara’s footwear, but from what I can tell she is wearing black oxfords, so I’ve picked out pairs for both the high- and low-heel-inclined among you:

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 11.59.17 PMflatoxfords

One of my television-related petty satisfactions is when a costume designer repeats an item on a character in multiple episodes, as if that character were, you know, an actual person who wears things more than once. With this outfit Clara is repeating the black, two-pocket satchel from “Into the Dalek.” You can check out some alternates for that here.

The final touch for this look is a punch of colour from a dark emerald green mac. It’s Topshop and it is no more, but I’ve found a  a couple of alternatives, including both a classic and sporty* trench:

emeraldtrenchScreen Shot 2014-10-04 at 3.49.41 PM

…as well as an army-style anorak** and a patterned oversized open-front blazer:

Screen Shot 2014-10-04 at 4.10.52 PMScreen Shot 2014-10-04 at 3.48.06 PM

Now we move on to my favourite outfit of this episode: Clara’s absolute killer combo of a jacquard skirt, sheer burgundy blouse, and (hold me) teeny wooden moon collar clips.

claraoutfit3

The jacquard skirt and sheer burgundy blouse are Topshop (sold-out), but the key to this outfit is the freaking adorable blue moon collar clip Clara is wearing.

A skeptic of all things twee and on-the-nose (moon clips for a space traveller, get it?), I should hate this, but somehow I am utterly powerless against its charms. So let us start with it, because it is from Etsy, it is highly affordable, and it is recently back in stock! Go forth ye, and shop your merry hearts out.

collarclips

Honestly, I am a delicate hothouse flower who breaks out into hives at the mere thought of wearing a collared blouse buttoned up all the way (with little in the cleav department to worry about, it’s third button or bust [ha!] for me), so there is zero chance of my clipping my collar together AROUND MY NECK. But. BUT. I am still tempted to buy this merely to gaze upon it. SO CUTE. Someone else buy it on my behalf, okay?

Anyway, up next is Clara’s sheer burgundy blouse. The subtle paneling is fairly unique, but the formula of  burgundy chiffon blouse + fun detail = a fairly easy score. My two top picks are this purple-hued empire waist blouse with pin tucking, or this merlot-coloured tunic with a mandarin collar and button placket:

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 7.48.11 PMmaroonblouse

Rounding Clara’s outfit off is a retro, paisley jacquard skirt. Like I said, the one Clara wears is sold out, but Topshop carries a zippered floral version that is in stock:

jacquardfloral

Looking for something even more affordable? Get clicking on this sale mini here:

jacquard1

If you’re open to variations on the theme cut- and pattern-wise, I’ve found two fuller, A-line options here and here**:

jacquard3Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 7.40.56 PM

as well as a wrap-skirt version here*:

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 7.38.54 PM

Whew! Okay, that’s it for this week (thank god), see you again for “Kill the Moon.”