The 11th Doctor’s “anniversary” waistcoat was quintessentnially Victorian (or at least theatrical) in its style and cut – hardly surprising considering its predecessors, the “scales” and velvet waistcoats.
(In fact, one could even say that the “anniversary” waistcoat was an amalgamation of various elements of his other two waistcoats, while still being a unique and special garment in and of itself.)
The backwards-slanted shoulder seam was, perhaps, the strongest indicator of the waistcoat’s Victorian/theatrical style.
Like his velvet waistcoat, the “anniversary” waistcoat’s upper front opening wasn’t very deep; the center front closure extended quite high.
Also like his velvet waistcoat, the Doctor’s “anniversary” waistcoat had a notch collar and lapels; the “faux-collar” didn’t wrap around the back of the neck, but was instead sewn into the shoulder seam.
However, the “anniversary” waistcoat’s collar/lapels were stylistically different from those of the velvet waistcoat.
Whereas the velvet waistcoat’s collar/lapels appeared to be cut-on (“grown-on”) and rolled over, the “anniversary” waistcoat’s collar/lapels sat nice and flat against the waistcoat.
Also, whereas it was difficult to ever get a clear read on the velvet waistcoat, the “anniversary” waistcoat clearly had a collar/lapel seam (“gorge line”).
Unfortunately, clear shots of the collar notch facing the general direction of the camera were few and far between, so determining the precise angle of the collar notch was something of an exercise in futility.
Furthermore, there were almost certainly multiple production-made waistcoats, and they may have all had slightly different collar notches.
The lower lapel was unusual in its shape; rather than “pivoting” sharply over, with the intersection forming a corner (as waistcoat lapels typically do), the bottom of the lapel was slightly curved.
The contour was normally almost too subtle to notice, but it can be more clearly seen when magnified viewed up close.
The actual upper front of the waistcoat was gently curved, too, starting at about the third-highest button upward to the lower lapel/front opening.
Again, this would be practically unnoticeable without the fabric weave as a reference. (Keep your eye on where the plaid falls on the front edge of the waistcoat.)
Curiously, the “anniversary” waistcoat Peter Capaldi wore in the publicity photo below was still gently curved, but not quite as much … again, use the plaid on the front of the waistcoat as a visual reference.
From the third-highest button downward, though, the waistcoat appears to have been cut “straight down,” vertically.
Fortunately, to determine the proper length of the “anniversary” waistcoat, we have two separate visual references.
(Well, technically, we would have three, including the plaid, but I never saw a photo in which the plaid was clearly visible all the way from the top to bottom of the waistcoat.)
The first reference we have is the waist seam on Eleven’s 7b frock coat.
Of course, different postures will result in different drapes, with natural resting stance being the ideal and any “poses” being less so (for our purposes).
The closest thing we have to natural resting posture was this moment in “The Day of the Doctor,” and the frock coat’s waist seam appears to indicate the natural waist being about halfway between the two lowermost buttons on the waistcoat.
In the remaining examples, the frock coat’s waist seam also indicates the natural waist being similarly positioned between the lowermost two buttons on the waistcoat, albeit sometimes slightly higher or lower (which is to be expected, given the different postures).
The second visual reference we have regarding the length of the waistcoat is in relation to Eleven’s G-star jeans.
Specifically, the lower front of the waistcoat appeared to extend slightly below the jeans’ waistband.
The way the jeans’ waistband button “peeked” through the bottom of the waistcoat was very similar to the “scales” waistcoat.
As with the “scales” waistcoat, it could well be that the length of the “anniversary” waistcoat was determined with the G-stars specifically in mind, so they’d just barely overlap in the front.
At the lower center front of the “anniversary” waistcoat was a downward “double peak,” very similar to that at the bottom of the “scales” waistcoat.
To determine the precise angles of those lower front “peaks,” I surveyed every available image at relevant angles, appropriate posture, and of sufficiently high quality.
Here are the results, with the following disclaimers:
- We don’t know exactly how many of these waistcoats there were; there may have been some minor variation in the measurements amongst the production costumes.
- There may be a minor discrepancy between what the precise angles were intended to be and how they actually ended up on the finished waistcoat; minute variations are quite common amongst seemingly “identical” garments.
- Angles subjectively change, depending on whatever angle from which they’re viewed.
- We can allow for a degree or two in each direction to account for human error on my part.
- I rounded to the nearest whole degree, because we have to draw the line somewhere.
Hence the wide sampling of examples.
First, some actual screencaps from the show itself:
And now for some publicity/filming photos:
As you can see, that upper corner (just below the bottom button) appeared to range from 139° to 153°, with most measurements falling in the 140s.
The median measurement of all samples was 146°.
The mean (average) of all samples was also 146° (rounded).
For the bottom corners, I worked from the assumption that they’re supposed to be identical and pooled the samples (and the photos were never exactly straight-on, anyway).
These measurements ranged from 80° to 96°, with most measurements being in the upper 80s/lower 90s.
Dismissing the 80° and 96° extremes, the gap closed to a slightly friendlier 82° to 94°.
The median measurement of all samples was 87°.
The mean (average) of all samples was also 88° (rounded).
These measurements are very similar to those on the lower front of the “scales” waistcoat – perhaps even close enough (when factoring in human error) to make a case that they were intended to be the same.
Assuming a theatrical or historical Victorian pattern block was used for this waistcoat, the angles of the lower front corners were almost definitely determined by the various points on the (“connect-the-dots” style) draft, but the information is helpful to have, nevertheless.
As mentioned previously, the front of the waistcoat extended lower than the back; it appeared to be flat across the back, “dipping” toward the front from the side seams.
Unfortunately, during the course of my (fairly exhaustive) research, I only ever saw the back of the “anniversary” waistcoat once, and even then only briefly – one fleeting moment in a Blu-Ray special feature, during which Matt Smith spun around while not wearing the frock coat (presumably between takes).
However, from we can see from that one moment, it appears the “anniversary” waistcoat’s back construction is similar (perhaps even identical) to the back of the “scales” and velvet waistcoats – albeit with one major difference.
The two aforementioned waistcoats’ backs were allegedly made with purple linen, whereas the back of the “anniversary” waistcoat appears to have been made with the same plaid fabric as the waistcoat’s front!
- There was a center back seam down the back of the waistcoat, presumably tapered to fit the lower back.
- There were no lower back darts on the waistcoat.
- On the lower back, there was a back strap to gather the wearing ease across the back. This strap appears to have been made of the same fabric as the rest of the waistcoat and trapezoidal in shape – widest at the side seam, narrowing toward the center back.
- The strap appears to have been sewn into the waistcoat’s side seam, with the outermost several inches also fastened to the back of the waistcoat; observe in the examples above how the strap suddenly starts to “dip” towards the center back a few inches from the side seams.