Doctor Who: In Defense of the 13th Doctor's Outfit

jodie whittaker in doctor who

The official announcement that actress Jodie Whittaker would come onto Doctor Who as its star going into Season 11 was met with a lot of criticism from some fans who thought the Doctor should only be played by a male actor. Considering that all 12 previous incarnations of The Doctor were played by men, Jodie Whittaker's casting was a bit of a surprise, but it was also one that many saw as a breath of fresh air, and a signal that the BBC was willing to literally go where no woman had gone before. (OK, that's the wrong sci-fi franchise -- but it still applies.)

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The fires of angered fans eventually dimmed, as they started to accept the concept. However, as Doctor Who viewers prepare to say goodbye to current Doctor Peter Capaldi this coming Christmas, the gasoline was thrown on the dying embers this morning when the BBC released the first image of Whittaker's Doctor in her own, destined-to-be-iconic outfit.

Doctor Who 13th Doctor Costume

It shouldn't be too surprising that some people were quick to point out that they didn't like this new outfit at all. Taking to Twitter, many fans voiced their disapproval of Whittaker's costume, something that seems to stem from the still smoldering embers of her casting. But the truth of the matter is that this new Doctor's costume is wonderful, and entirely perfect for her character. A Doctor's outfit has always been an important part of the character, after all, through all of his/her various regenerations, a signature look to define each and every one of them, something that make them all stand out of the pack in their own way.

Detractors were quick to point out that the outfit made Whittaker look silly, but when you look back through the series' 53-year history, it's easy to see that The Doctor was never one to look normal. Silliness has, more often than not, been the name of the game for this Gallifreyan. In fact, the ensemble of this outfit seems to harken back to a simpler time, before the modern revival of Doctor Who. It seems to refer back to the days of Colin Baker and Peter Davison's Doctor more than, say, the much more recent John Hurt or Peter Capaldi. It's therefore impossible to hate something that literally honors the zany past in such a fantastic way.

There are a lot of colors present in Whittaker's costume; once again a touch that seems to look to the Doctor Who days of old. After the dark tones of the more modern Doctors, it looks like we're going back to a lighter, more colorful look, one that just might speak to the new direction of the series as a whole. Backed by the beautiful colors of a sun rising over green pastures, the 13th Doctor's light greys, browns, yellows and teals shine through. And this is exactly what Whittaker's Doctor looks to bring to the series: brightness.


While those who are less than enamored with the costume are quick to criticize the separate elements of Whittaker's costume, it's important to bear in mind that many of these are serving as callbacks to a lot of other versions of The Doctor, throughout the decades. The suspenders, which some are vocal about hating, is obviously a callback to Matt Smith's Eleventh Doctor. Similarly, the long coat was a signature piece of David Tennant's version of the character, and Whittaker's Doctor honors that with elegance and panache. Finally, the stipes on her shirt are also an echo of Doctors past, with the pattern and colors used calling back to Tom Baker's iconic striped scarf. With so much nods to her previous incarnations, Whittaker's Doctor is certainly one that remembers where she came from.

Curiously, some Twitter commenters even went as far as complaining about Whittaker's lack of tie, somehow forgetting that many Doctors, like Eccleston's Ninth, Davison's Fifth and Capaldi's Twelfth, didn't wear one. Plus, many of the others that took to scarves or bow ties rather than the more traditional neck piece. Simply put, there is no single right way to the Doctor, because the Doctor is constantly about change. And yet, this is an outfit that, while new, instantly screams "The Doctor," and it's one that you might just see a whole lot more of come the next comic-con season.

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It seems some people out there are really intent on not giving Jodie Whittaker's Doctor a chance to carve out her own place, rather opting to drop obstacles along every step of a path she has only begun to trace. It's clear from this first look at her outfit that she is very much the Doctor, the old, the modern and the new. She deserves a chance to shine, and to show every one of her detractors that she can be just as great, if not better, than any Doctor that has come before.

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