A lot of people are calling “Listen” a classic Moffat episode (which I suppose is only a compliment depending on the speaker). What most people mean by that is an episode that is sentimental yet spooky, and charmingly kid-centric. This episode is all those things … and it makes me wish he had stuck to one-off episode writing and let someone else run the show. He’s talented, but he has a well-documented sexist streak a mile wide and a metric ton of corresponding writerly tics (women hitting men, men constantly commenting on women’s bodies were especially prevalent here) that need a strong showrunner to check.
That said, I’ve been pleased with development of Clara’s character throughout the series as she moves away from the Impossible Girl and into plain Clara Oswald. It was fun to see her be alternately feisty, flirtatious, awkward, and defensive on her date with Pink. And what a date! How often do you end a date early in the evening and then spend the rest of the night with the person – twenty years ago?
Halfway through the episode my partner turned to me and said, “Um, isn’t super weird that she’s hanging out with the guy she wants to bone… as a little kid?” Well, not for this character. Clara is unfailingly good with kids, she’s feeling guilty about how she treated Pink, and now here he is as a little boy in need of comfort. Strange as it seems, it’s only natural for her.
The big twist of course is that Pink isn’t the only boy in need of comfort this episode. We learn that through the wibbly-wobbly magic of time travel, Clara was the one who soothed a crying boy Doctor. Even more interesting (to me at least) is that immediately after this scene, we see the Clara ask the Doctor not to check their location and to just take her word for it – and he does. We see him sacrifice his need for rightness because she asked him to. Here’s hoping that there’s more of that to come, because as Clara becomes one of the strongest, most interesting companions of the new series, it will become more and more crucial that the Doctor shows her the respect she deserves. Even if he doesn’t show it with hugs.
With that said and without any further adieu or blather – to the clothes! We got one outfit in this episode and it was a doozy:
That dress! Feminine, sexy, and unexpected. It is hands-down my favourite thing she has worn all season. I guess when it comes to a first date with an adorable teacher, time bring out the big guns. Look how thrilled she is!
And for Doctor Who, that meant veering away from the more affordable pieces they typically choose, and going a little high end. The dress is Alice McCall and it is sold out, which is irrelevant to like 75% of the population anyway, because that baby was $500. Ouch. That is one hell of a pricetag, and it shows. The floral detailing and cutwork here are gorgeous, and because Clara was going to be wearing it throughout the entire episode in a variety of different lighting, you needed something that will deliver.
So where are you going to find a match? Well, it’s a unique dress. The design, the fabric and the detailing are going to be next to impossible to replicate in a mass-market, under- $150 piece. Add to that that this is not, in fact, a LBD so as much as an LND (little navy dress) and I was kind of pulling my hair with this one.
The closest I could find to capturing the essence of the dress a this black dress from Revolve (not pictured here), which is sold out in all but a size 8 or 2. If that works for you, then you’re in luck. If not, this LBD has the same floral piping and detail going for it, but only across the collar. It’s quite lovely so I included a close-up.
But that’s black, so it’s technically cheating. So I’m going to try to play by the rules and stay in the navy range for the next few.
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.**
To reiterate: it’s hard to find the exact balance of simplicity and detail that Clara’s dress offers. You’re going to have to come down a little bit more on one side than the other. There will be two textures that come close: cut-outs and all-over lace. Here I’ve found something from column A, and a very demure version of column B.
This navy shift with a crochet hem and collar** is actually my favourite, because it’s a little more dressed-up than the first example, and a little more streamlined than the second (there are better photos of the dress details in the white colour on the home site).
All of the dresses above have been varying shades of demure. If you are looking to amp up the sex appeal, I’ve found two lace bodycon dresses with cutout or keyhole** detail across the collar that is similar in vibe of Clara’s date night dress. I do not have the necessary attitude/confidence/underwear to wear these to a date or indeed anywhere, but if you do then go get ’em.
Over her amazing LND, Clara is wearing a boxy, double-breasted navy blazer that falls just below the hips. It’s Pins and Needles and you guessed it, it’s sold out. Luckily, there is currently no shortage of navy boyfriend blazers to top off your date night look.
Just a note if you are planning on recreating this outfit and going for the black dress shown above (or whatever floral black dress is currently in your closet), I’d stick with the navy blazer and accessories. Frankly, as much as I like the navy blazer, I kind of wish at least one of the pieces in this look had been black (and I wouldn’t change a thing about that dress). Navy and black together are having a moment right now, and personally I think it’s chic as hell.
…and two blazers that combine navy with black detailing, just in case you’re tempted:
Check out the gorgeous, subtle stripes on this second one. A little bit pirate, no?
And speaking of pirate … there’s a lot of great, eclectic jewellery going on this episode, but obviously I am going to start with the standout piece: the beaded skull brooch.
This such a perfect TV piece: an item of clothing or jewellery you would never think to buy – maybe because you think you can’t carry it or because you can’t justify buying something that isn’t a wardrobe basic – but then you see it perfectly styled on your favourite TV character and you think of course. That’s amazing. If this skull brooch is that piece for you, I’ve got good news and bad news. Bad news first: the original is Reiss and it is all sold out. It’s obviously a pretty special item, so there aren’t a ton of knock offs just lying around. The good news is I’ve found a couple of variations on the theme.
First up is the closet match. Here we keep the colour and the material with a green beaded badge/brooch. It’s a little on the pricey side, but it’s handmade so well worth the artist’s price if you can afford it.
If you can’t, I also found a few affordable options. Such as this gold-toned brooch with faux gemstones, which has more of a “regal alien overlord” feel (seriously did Mulder and Scully get divorced and Scully decide to pawn the ring? ‘Cause this face on a band is pretty much exactly the engagement ring he’d buy). In either case, it’s one of a kind, so if it’s your style, grab it now!
If you prefer something more lifelike (and human) looking, this wooden sugar-skull-style brooch is another creepy-cool alternative.
Okay, on to the slightly-less-interesting-but-still-pretty pieces. In this episode, Clara is wearing a pair of black arrowhead House of Harlow studs, which are sold out and crazy expensive anyway. I managed to find a pretty good duplicate for a whole lot less here, as well as a slightly more bohemian, rustic pair of dangling earrings.
Clara was wearing a couple of rings in this episode, but I think we can all agree that the real standout was this large diamond cage ring. It is (sing it with me now)… Topshop and it’s gone. I did manage to find two similar rings, one in “gold” and one in “silver” for whatever metal floats your boat.
Alright, that’s all folks! More blazer action next week with “Time Heist.”