Clara in “In the Forest of the Night”

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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.

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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.


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.


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


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

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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.


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


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