You have the scarf, naturally. But how do you go about putting the rest of the Fourth Doctor’s look together? Here’s our look at Doctor Who cosplay and the Doctor’s wardrobe for Season Sixteen and Seventeen!
40 years after he left the role, Tom Baker’s Doctor remains one of the most iconic. His charismatic, wonderfully off-kilter performance was a huge part of that. But so was the strength of his look, with a costume so distinct and visually appealing that decades later, ‘floppy hat, long scarf’ is still millions of people’s shorthand for describing what Doctor Who looks like. Baker’s costume evolved hugely over his seven years in the role, so let’s take a deeper look at one of his most well-remembered outfits with the Season Seventeen (and Sixteen) Doctor Who cosplay guide.
The scarf: the essential Doctor Who cosplay item!
As you’d expect, the scarf is first and foremost in Lovarzi’s list of must-have items for your Doctor Who cosplay! But it’s also because it’s the single most important part of the look – so much so that if you wear a full length Doctor Who scarf, every other fan (and most other people too) will instantly recognise it, no matter how approximate everything else is.
As you’d expect in any television production, ‘the’ scarf is actual multiple scarves. And not just because the overall look of the scarf was changed over the years. There were also back-ups, doubles and stunt scarves of each ‘hero’ scarf, as well as running changes as damaged sections were removed or repaired. Particularly eagle-eyed and dedicated Doctor Who cosplay fans can differentiate between these different scarves, but the Lovarzi 18′ Season 16 / 17 scarf represents the idealised and most instantly recognisable version.
The coats: Wrap yourself in velvet and tweed
But what to wear with your Doctor Who scarf? Well, the Doctor mixed and matched a number of core elements in his wardrobe during this period. In terms of coats, he had two, which appeared in six stories each. The first is a dark brown double-breasted velvet frock coat that he’d been wearing on and off since Season Fourteen’s ‘The Face of Evil.’
Towards the end of Season Sixteen, he acquires a brand new coat – a light brown Harris Tweed one with a huge collar that he usually wears popped up. Often known as “the ‘City of Death‘ coat” due to its most iconic appearance, it’s one of the most sought-after and distinctive bits of Doctor Who cosplay. This is the look we’ve gone for ourselves.
Versions of both coats can be gotten from various cosplay sites. As ever with cosplay, though, be aware that you get what you pay for; cheaper options will be a more approximate recreation of the cut, and also invariably made of much thinner, lower quality material.
Also, both low and even mid-priced versions can fall into the trap of undersized lapels, possibly misreading the size due to them being angled towards the camera when worn ‘up’ by Tom. If you can afford it, the bespoke tailored route will produce the most accurate result, like mine from Steven Ricks Tailoring. That being said, with the brown velvet coat you also have the alternate (if time-consuming) option of questing through vintage / ex-wedding / ex-costuming hire outlets for something similar.
The Doctor occasionally matched the tweed coat with decorative brooches, too. The ducks he wears in ‘The Power of Kroll’ are paradoxically hard to find, but persistence can pay off. However, there was an official one-piece replica of the ‘City of Death’ artist’s palette and paint tubes (actually four brooches worn together in the original) from Abbyshot. Since discontinued, you can still find it relatively frequently cropping up on eBay.
The Waistcoats: Briefly seen, but totally gorgeous
Tom Baker took to wearing his waistcoats unbuttoned for most of this period, often just peeping out from behind his coat. In many Doctor Who cosplays, this makes them an ideal spot to economise, substituting more generic plaid, Paisley or floral-patterned thrift shop finds. But in the real thing, the Doctor wore three different waistcoats across these two seasons.
The first is a dark grey one decorated with a pattern of daisy-like flowers with light orange petals. First introduced as part of the Doctor’s Sherlock Holmes inspired look in Season Fourteen’s ‘The Talons of Weng-Chiang,’ it makes another five appearances in Season Sixteen and Season Seventeen, always with the velvet coat. Second is a brand new Paisley waistcoat featuring a gold pattern and which is in four stories, with both coats, starting with ‘The Power of Kroll.’
Finally there is the very familiar yellow and black Prince of Wales check waistcoat. First appearing way back in Season Thirteen’s opening story ‘Terror of the Zygons,’ it’s one of the most iconic pieces of the Fourth Doctor’s wardrobe and it shows up in three more Season Seventeen stories under the tweed jacket.
As with the coats, you can get the check and floral waistcoats at a variety of price points – from cheaper printed versions to high-end tailoring, and everything in between. I have the check one in my Doctor Who cosplay, and it was part of a special custom group organised by fans. Only the Paisley waistcoat is harder to find copies of, but that’s partly because it’s relatively generic-looking and more easily substituted with one from a regular clothes shop.
The footwear: Boots, Brogues and waders!
For the most part, the Doctor wears some splendidly eccentric brown leather cuff boots in Season Seventeen, which seem to be the same ones he picked up as part of his prisoner’s uniform in Season Fourteen’s ‘The Deadly Assassin.’ As ever, you can get high quality point-for-point replicas from one or two dedicated Doctor Who cosplay outlets, but their similarity to pirate boots means you also have plenty of options, from cheap Halloween costume shop versions to something halfway between the two.
But there are two one-off exceptions. The first is ‘The Power of Kroll,’ where the location filming on swampland leads to the sensible decision to stick Tom in huge green waders (even if Mary Tamm as Romana isn’t so lucky with her boots.)
The second is another concession to the location filming environment. This time it’s ‘City of Death’ where the boots are swapped for a more regular pair of brown Brogue shoes, like those the Doctor had worn since as far back as ‘Robot’ – presumably, in an effort to not get too many stares from the Parisian passers-by.
The Hats: the iconic Poet Fedoras return
The Fourth Doctor’s fedora is part of the image imprinted on the minds of a generation of Doctor Who cosplayers, alongside that scarf. But, in truth, he wore it less and less as time went by. By the time of Season Sixteen, he often only put it on his head for a scene or two, or left it stuffed roughly in a coat pocket, and in some stories it didn’t even appear at all. There were actually two different versions of the fedora by this point, and both were Herbert-Johnson Poet Fedoras (the same type Harrison Ford wore as Indiana Jones, although Ford’s had a trimmed-down brim.)
The original introduced in ‘Robot’ was dark brown and featured five times in Season Seventeen, most obviously during the punting sequences in ‘Shada.’ The other was a dark green version that had been added to the Doctor’s ensemble in Season Thirteen’s ‘The Brain of Morbius.’ It returned for five final stories in Season Sixteen, most memorably in ‘The Androids of Tara’ when an electrified sword puts it very, very on fire!
Herbert-Johnson is a long-running, iconic brand in its own right and still making high quality hats today. As the original creators of the Poet Fedora design, they provide the most accurate version you could possibly hope for. It’s the brown version which is listed on their site, although they will also discuss bespoke commissions with customers, so it might be possible to commission a special green version. I have the standard Fourth Doctor Poet Fedora from Hebert-Johnson and can confirm it really is a piece of art.
Of course, thanks to the Indiana Jones connection, there are still plenty of options at all price points for hats to add to your Season Seventeen Doctor Who cosplay – especially given that the hat spends so much of season simply poking out of his pocket!
…and the rest
The rest of the Doctor’s outfit is slightly less distinctive, to the extent that you probably won’t need to go to great lengths to seek out exact matches for your Doctor Who cosplay, unless you really want to.
Trousers-wise, the Doctor wears three different pairs in these two seasons, each appearing in four stories. The first, held up by braces, are loose fitting cut-off trousers – similar to the Thirteenth Doctor’s in design, except in grey Donegal tweed. The second pair are a vivid tartan in brown, yellow and black, and the third are grey with a check pattern, which is so light that it often doesn’t show up on screen.
Matching the exact tartan is reasonably tough, though persistence and time should eventually pay off for the Doctor Who cosplay aficionado, with something reasonably close if you’re prepared to keep checking in on various clothing sites. It’s easier to find reasonable compromises for the other two, especially since even the average dedicated Doctor Who cosplay fan won’t be too familiar with the exact patterns. I use a pair of glen check ones from Next in my Doctor Who cosplay, but with the concession that they’re not the massive flares Tom Baker wore.
For shirts, the Doctor simply wore white open-necked shirts throughout Season Sixteen and Seventeen. The only notable things if you’re putting together your Doctor Who cosplay are that they’re ivory rather than pure white, and that they’re dress shirts – that is, without any breast pocket. But between the number of layers Tom Baker wore over them (and the minimal amount of detail you could see on screen) pretty much any white shirt will do. For the first two stories in Season Sixteen, he also wears a very loosely tied white cravat.
How do you wear your Doctor Who scarf?
The Lovrazi Season 16 / 17 scarf is an 18 foot thing of striped beauty. And with the Doctor’s mix-and-match approach to his attire, there’s any number of ways to use it in your Doctor Who cosplay! Maybe, like a lot of fans, you just even wear it with your regular clothes to keep warm and toasty as the winter months steadily make their way towards us.
Let us know how you use yours! And if you’re still planning your next Doctor Who cosplay, how are you getting along?
Doctor Who scarf – order now from the Lovarzi shop!