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.


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!


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).


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.


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.


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!):


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.


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:


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.


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.


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.


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:


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


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.”


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