The Eleventh Doctor’s costume has to be one of the most iconic outfits in Doctor Who. With the tweed jacket and bow tie, it’s probably as instantly recognizable to casual fans as Tom Baker’s classic hat and scarf combo. As with most things, though, this Doctor’s fashion sense didn’t arrive fully formed and there was actually a long costuming process before star Matt Smith and the production team could agree on a unique look for the character.
At Fan Expo Canada, which took place this past weekend, Smith revealed that he was originally set to don a very different outfit, before the suggestion of a certain type of neckwear made everything click into place:
“I tried so many costumes on and at first he was quite pirate-y—he was in stripes and like a long coat and he looked a bit like Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean. Once we got the whole costume on, it felt like something was missing and I was like, ‘Can I try a bow tie on?’ and Steven Moffat was like ‘No, you can’t wear a bow tie’ but I tried it on and suddenly it sort of lifted the whole outfit.”
As for the tweed jacket, that actually came from Smith’s own suggestion, as he thought it would be perfect for his take on the Doctor:
“For the first meeting, I went in a tweed blazer, which is why he wears a tweed blazer. I thought, ‘Well, he’s old, so I’ve got to make him feel kind of professorial.'”
Unfortunately, this had the knock-on affect of ensuring that the actor couldn’t wear any tweed out in public ever again – lest it look like he was cosplaying as his own character.
“I had a tweed blazer which I loved and which, obviously, I can never wear again. I was really annoyed at the time because I thought I looked really cool in it.”
We imagine that Smith would agree it’s worth it, though. Thanks to the Eleventh Doctor, hundreds of Doctor Who fans now know the joys of wearing tweed when they cosplay as the Time Lord at conventions. Plus, he single handedly made bow ties “cool.”