Okay, okay, “Deep Breath and “The Time of the Doctor.”
Doctor Who is back for another season, which means the return of Clara Oswald, who is quickly becoming one of my favourite companions (after Donna, of course) and certainly my choice for best-dressed. In this style recreation, I’ll break down Clara’s “Deep Breath” outfit and provide a handy guide for recreating the look in your closet (and on a reasonable budget).
A quick note: I include a mix of plus-size and straight-size options for each piece. Items that are available in plus and straight sizes will be noted with a single asterisk, like this.* Items that are exclusively plus-sized will be noted with two asterisks, like this.**
This look is classic Clara. It’s whimsical schoolteacher chic – but this time, with a bit of an edge. You can see the true art of a good costume designer at work here – the costuming both mirrors and enhances character development. Because it’s not just Clara’s accessories getting harder. In “Deep Breath,” Clara herself seems to be exhibiting a little more attitude – we get to see her lose her temper and she even considers walking away from the Doctor. To be honest, I was kind of hoping she’d use those tiny spikes to shank the next person who accused her of thinking of the Doctor as her boyfriend (we get it, writers – the Doctor is no one’s boyfriend!). Alas, better luck next time. And I’m hoping there will be a next time, that we’ll get to see more ‘tude in both Clara’s demeanor and her outfits in the weeks to come.
Anyway, enough editorializing – on to the outfit! A plaid skirt with a collared-blouse and cardigan combo is a fairly standard look. What elevates this look and gives it flavour is the details. Specifically, details that subtly play sweetness against that aforementioned-edge: a spike necklace laying on a delicate lace collar, and gold buckle hardware on a sleek black boots.
First up is a white button-down dress shirt with lace crochet detailing on the collar. The original is from Urban Outfitters, but sadly it is sold out. You can recreate the look with either a sleeveless or short-sleeved blouse**.
If you don’t mind playing with the concept a little, you can try keeping the lace detailing at the neckline but ditching the collar and buttons **, or push it in an even more femme-y direction by keeping the button-down style but flipping the script so that the body of the shirt is lace and the collar is plain.
Alternately, if you’re like me and you like the idea of an eye-catching collar but you think lace is a little too fussy, a black contrast collar is a crisp twist.
Next up: the black cardigan. You can recreate Clara’s look with any fitted basic black cardi, but like I said, this outfit is really all in the details. In this case, the Yumi cardigan worn by Coleman has a subtle, perforated bow pattern on it. Again, the original is sold out, but the brand carries a floral version of as well. Some other pattern/texture alternatives include embossed hearts or glitter polka dots**.
This particular Clara costume had to span two episodes and almost nine months; it had to feel perfect for a Christmas episode but also just right to carry us into fall. This outfit delivers, and personally, I think it’s all in the plaid, baby. The wrap-style fitted red mini Clara wears is from Karen Miller; it’s a little bit on the pricey side and again, sold out. However, this is a pretty easy piece to replicate, so take a look at a good duplicate here, or, if you prefer to go for more of the classic, pleated A-line style, here.
If you are actually wanting to wear this look to work and your office is a little more stringent about the above-the-knee rule, a plaid pencil skirt* is equally pretty and sexy but more professional.
Okay, here’s where things get a little more interesting: the accessories. The spike necklace Clara is wearing had me Googling before the credits had even fully rolled. I love it – simple, delicate, but with that smidge of attitude. The original appears to be from Doubledutch and you can get it here.
However, Etsy has a ton of slightly more affordable alternatives (of course they do), including this one. The seller actually says the piece was directly inspired by Clara, and she’s tagged the listing with “the impossible girl.” I love it. This necklace is on my next paycheque’s to-do list.
If you like the idea but you want to take it farther in the “edgy” direction, check out this gorgeous spiked statement necklace (14) by Canadian brand, Biko. I covet the hell out of this.
Can you end on a higher note than shoes? I think not. Clara’s gold-detailed high-heeled booties were Topshop and very affordable, but sadly they are sold out. However, gold detailed boots are going to continue to be popular this fall, so you should have a ton of options. These gold-buckled pair are a great duplicate and as classic as they come. For the less coordinated among us, these equally-striking pair with a wider, lower heel, are a great alternative.
As I said in the beginning, I like the very subtle interplay of toughness with sweetness in this look, but in terms of my own personal style, I would personally choose to dial up the edge by like 25% (and that is saying a lot because I am as square as they come). Some of my personal picks have reflected that and my shoe pick – motorcycle boots with gold hardware – is no exception. Without further ado:
Now, I am biased because I actually own these shoes. And I love them. So much so that I am considering buying a backup pair for when the originals bite the dust. These shoes are works of art. They go with everything – miniskirt, jeans, dresses, pencil skirts. They would probably even look cool with a dark maxi skirt in a very The Craft kind of way, if that is your bag (in my part of Canada, once it is cold enough to wear leather boots, it is too wet and mulchy to wear long trailing skirts. Really limits my witchy coolness).
Anyway, I digress. These boots are a perfect marriage of girly and cool, and I think a perfect way to cap off a recreation of Clara’s “Deep Breath” look.
Next week: deeper into Clara’s closet with “Into the Dalek”!