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Matt Smith Reveals The Origins Of Eleventh Doctor’s “Bow ties Are Cool”


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  • Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith chose to wear a bow tie as a finishing touch to his Doctor Who outfit, despite initial disapproval.
  • The Eleventh Doctor had a love for fezes, top hats, and other hats, which often led to their destruction.
  • Smith’s last-minute decision to wear a bow tie helped shape the iconic element of his character’s incarnation.



Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith opens up about how a quick choice during a Doctor Who costume fitting created the Time Lord’s bow tie accessories and fixation on the piece of clothing. Smith took over the TARDIS from David Tennant in 2009’s “The End of Time”, becoming the first Doctor of second revival showrunner Steven Moffat’s tenure. The actor led Doctor Who across seven seasons and the show’s 50th Anniversary celebrations in 2013, before taking his bow in “The Time of the Doctor”.

While the Eleventh Doctor had a number of eccentric fashion choices, The PopVerse reports that Smith shared the story of how he settled on one of his incarnation’s well-known accessories during Los Angeles Comic Con 2023. Towards the end of the first costume fitting for his new Doctor Who outfit, Smith felt something was missing from his look once he’d chosen his tweed jacket, boots, jeans, suspenders, and shirt, leading to him seeking out an item that could add a finishing touch. A collection of bowties caught his eye, and much to the initial disapproval of showrunner Moffat, Smith ensured the Eleventh Doctor would be a bow tie enthusiast, completing his look.

The Ever-Changing Fashion Of The Eleventh Doctor

Eleventh Doctor in the redecorated Tardis in Doctor Who

Bow ties were a constant across the Eleventh Doctor’s outfits throughout Smith’s Doctor Who tenure, but weren’t the only fashion choice unique to this incarnation’s tastes. The Eleventh Doctor also had a love of fezes and other hats, including stetsons and top hats, another decision that earned the teasing of both Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) and River Song (Alex Kingston), usually followed by the item’s destruction. While Smith’s initial outfit was the choice he donned during his tenure, he also had several drastic and distinct costume changes.


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In the final few episodes of Doctor Who season 6, the Eleventh Doctor wore a green double-breasted coat during what he believed would be his final days, while Smith traded out his tweed jacket for a waistcoat and longer purple jacket as the Eleventh Doctor traveled with Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) across 2013’s season 7 part 2 and 2013’s specials. These looks corresponded with distinct arcs and smaller eras for the Eleventh Doctor, separating the Doctor’s look from what he wore in his adventures with the Ponds. Smaller, one-off looks also saw Smith don a top hat, cane, and tuxedo number in 1930s Berlin and a Victorian frock coat during his brief retirement in 2012’s “The Snowmen”.

Despite these changes, the Eleventh Doctor’s love of bow ties was a constant for Smith’s Doctor Who tenure. From the moment he borrowed a tie from a random Leadworth Hospital locker to the moment he let his final one fall on the TARDIS floor in “The Time of the Doctor” to signify his farewell, the Eleventh Doctor’s belief in his bow tie’s coolness was endearing and replicated by fans across the globe. While Moffat may have been reluctant, Smith’s last-minute decision helped shape an iconic element of his incarnation.

Smith’s Doctor Who adventures are currently available on Max.

Source: The PopVerse

Doctor Who Poster

Doctor Who

Originally premiered in 1963, Doctor Who is a sci-fi series that follows a powerful being known as a Time Lord, referred to as the Doctor. Using an interdimensional time-traveling ship known as the TARDIS, the Doctor travels time and space with various companions as they solve multiple problems and help avert catastrophe as much as they almost cause it. Though the Doctor is always the same character, they experience regenerations, allowing them to be recast every few seasons as a unique immortal being with new personality traits.

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