'Doctor Who': Fans Claim the Thirteenth Doctor's Outfit Is "Not Flattering Enough"

But why does it have to be?

'Doctor Who': Fans Claim the Thirteenth Doctor's Outfit Is "Not Flattering Enough"
Credit: BBC

The outfit that Jodi Whittaker will wear when she takes over the Tardis as the Thirteenth Doctor has been revealed, and just like the reveal of the new Doctor as a woman, has divided fans. While the outfit is just as quirky as you'd expect from The Doctor, including plenty of throwbacks to the costumes of Doctor's past, some Whovians have complained that it is not "flattering" enough for the character's new female form. To this, another group of fans argues, "Why does it have to be?"

The second group has a rather valid point.

The Not-so-flattering Outfits of Doctor's Past

Until now, "flattering" has never been a prerequisite for The Doctor's costumes. Quirky and crazy, maybe. Strange and mysterious, sure. Individual and potentially iconic, definitely. In fact, quite a few of The Doctor's past outfits are decidedly unflattering. The Sixth Doctor's blinding multicoloured jacket does not look at all flattering on poor Colin Baker, yet some fans love it. The clashing colours of The Fourth Doctor's scarf, while iconic and beloved, do less to flatter and more to add to his madman persona.

In the revival series, while The Eleventh Doctor's tweed and bow-tie ensemble does suit him, it is not an outfit that would usually be considered normal or flattering for a man as young as he appears to be. The Twelfth Doctor sometimes runs around in what looks to be pajama bottoms. Definitely not flattering.

Fans have never been concerned over whether The Doctor's costume was "flattering" before. Why should they worry about it now, just because the new Doctor is a woman? The same fans saying that they are worried Doctor Who will change too much with The Doctor being a woman... are now the same fans complaining that nothing has changed.

It was never going to change. It shouldn't have to.

"Functionality" is more important than "flattery."

Looking at all the above, it seems as though some fans were expecting The Thirteenth Doctor to be running around in pretty little dresses and skirts. That was probably never going to happen for the same reason that The Seventh and Twelfth Doctors don't get about in kilts just because they are Scottish.

The Doctor often needs to take off running at a moment's notice, but dresses, skirts, and some forms of women's footwear are not all that easy to run in, particularly if they aren't used to it. Even River Song could only manage a brisk walk in her famous red high heels, ditching them as soon as she needed to easily manoeuvre around the Tardis.

The Thirteenth Doctor, having no experience at all manoeuvring in traditionally female outfits, has obviously chosen not to wear them, opting for clothes that she can easily run and move around in.

"She looks like how a woman who used to be a man would dress herself."

This is another complaint from some fans. Maybe it is true, but if so, isn't that to be expected? The Doctor has been male for over two thousand years, after all. The change in gender will probably take The Doctor some time to get used to, in the same way that it will take viewers time to get used to.

While The Doctor's new femininity will need to be explored, this might not happen right away. For fans on the fence, still unsure about the change, it is most important that the show establishes that The Doctor is still most definitely The Doctor before anything else.

The Thirteenth Doctor's costume is already set to be iconic.

Many Whovians have already spoken out loudly in support of the Thirteenth Doctor's outfit. Fan-art depicting it appeared on the internet mere hours after the first official picture is released. It won't be along until we see cosplayers recreating it, probably before Whittaker's first full episode even airs.

Credit: Pagalini, Tumblr

The truth is, the same arguments arise every time a new Doctor's costume is revealed for the first time. Some will like it, some don't. It is the same now, only heightened slightly by the fact we are expecting a female Doctor for the very first time. For some, the outfit will grow on them over time. For others it might not. Most will probably wait until they see the new Doctor, and her costume, in action in 2018 before they decide.

Whichever side you fall on, one thing is certain: A new Doctor is always exciting.

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Kristy Anderson
Kristy Anderson
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Kristy Anderson

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