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!
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:
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.
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.**
Another great basic is this classic parka jazzed up by a boxy cut, hood, and oversized lapels.
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**
… and the second is a darker hunter green with a thick, black faux fur hood.
If you’re looking for MOAR leather, may I recommend this lovely hooded parka with quilted leather sleeves?
Or perhaps this hooded army jacket with leather sleeves and placket and a drawstring waist**? I thought so.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.”