As we’ve learned throughout decades of Doctor Who, clothing is character. Fourth Doctor Tom Baker’s excessively long scarf speaks of someone so absent-minded in certain details, it’s as if he forgot to stop knitting. Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston’s leather jacket is the harder-edged look of a man who survived the Time War. Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith is as lovably goofy as his fez.
And now we have the first look of Thirteenth Doctor Jodie Whittaker. Let’s see what this outfit says about her.
As we can see, her rainbow shirt is pure 1970s, while her baggy pants with suspenders are pure 1980s. (As we fans of Mork and Mindy know, you put them together and you have rainbow suspenders — also pure 1970s.) Although many Doctors look as if they can fit neatly into the 19th century, this Doctor would stand out there as she would in any year in the 20th century, except perhaps one month in 1981.
It’s not the most attractive look, but that’s probably the point: This outfit says, “I’ve traveled throughout space and time so frequently, I don’t know what decade it is. But I’m going to try all of them on, just to be sure.”
From what we can see, this is a Doctor who will look at every possibility, narrowing it down as she goes along. She will be thorough in some ways, scattered in others.
The Doctors have typically dressed to both fit in and stand out, and this is a good example of both. It’s not over-the-top eye-gouging like Sixth Doctor Colin Baker’s cavalcade of patchwork. But it’s not the embraceable look of the last few Doctors.
So maybe her outfit is a reflection of a prickly personality. Or maybe, just maybe, she doesn’t care what she wears.