By 2012, the Steven Moffat/Matt Smith-era of Doctor Who was well into its third season (“series”).
The show had gone through not one, not two, but three different costume designers before Howard Burden finally took over at the beginning of season 7. Even then, he adhered to Matt Smith’s previously-established look for the first few episodes (now typically regarded as “season 7a”).
In the interview below, he said that he was told partway into the season that he could actually change the “look” of the character:
In the 2012 Christmas special, “The Snowmen,” Burden introduced a radically new costume for the 11th Doctor: a sort of Willy-Wonka-meets-Mad-Hatter outfit that obviously had its roots in Victorian fashion – appropriate, considering the era of the story.
I don’t know if this “Snowmen” costume was a prototype and/or experiment for a new “season 7b” costume, or if it was always intended as a “one-off” costume for that particular Christmas special.
Eleven did don his “Snowmen” costume again in his final special, “The Time of the Doctor” (also a Christmas special), and he also occasionally wore individual components of the ensemble throughout the second half of season 7.
Although the “Snowmen” costume had a short life in the franchise and very limited screen time, it was both a delightful and memorable addition to the 11th Doctor’s wardrobe – so now let’s take a look at it!
The 11th Doctor’s “Snowmen” costume was quintessentially Victorian in style – appropriate, considering the era during which the story it first appeared in took place.
To me, Eleven’s “Snowmen” costume was reminiscent of the Second Doctor’s early costume – again appropriate, considering how much Matt Smith’s Doctor was like Patrick Troughton’s.
Note the top hat, floppy shirt collar, bow tie, high-waisted trousers, and Victorian (morning) coat … obviously, the similarities are somewhat superficial, but I believe it may have been a source of creative inspiration.
The 11th Doctor’s “Snowmen” costume first appeared in the 2012 Christmas special after which it was named.
He also wore the costume in the numerous publicity photos and episode stills for the special.
The “Snowmen” costume wouldn’t be seen in its entirety again until Eleven’s final special, “The Time of the Doctor,” during the time he spent on Trenzalore.
Despite the numerous costumes he wore throughout the special, it was the “Snowmen” costume that he wore for the majority of the story, and for most of the corresponding publicity photos.
However, in the interim, individual components of Eleven’s “Snowmen” costume were occasionally seen throughout the second half of season 7.
The Doctor wore his “Snowmen” trousers in the episode, “Journey to the Center of the TARDIS,” instead of his usual G-star jeans.
Naturally, he wore the “Snowmen” trousers for the corresponding publicity photos and episode stills, as well.
We also saw the “Snowmen” trousers during “The Time of the Doctor” Blu-Ray special feature, “Doctor Who Explained,” which was presumably footage from the same episode.
A couple episodes later, Eleven wore both the velvet waistcoat (albeit with different buttons) and “floral” bow tie he’d worn with his “Snowmen” costume, this time with his “7b” costume.
And again, he wore the velvet (“Snowmen”) waistcoat for the corresponding publicity photos for the episode.
The Doctor wore the velvet waistcoat in the short prequel (?) to the season 7 finale, “She Said, He Said.”
This made sense, as he continued to wear his velvet waistcoat in the actual season finale, “The Name of the Doctor.”
And again, he wore the velvet waistcoat in the corresponding publicity photos and episode stills.
NOTE: We won’t be examining the 11th Doctor’s velvet waistcoat here in this “Snowmen” costume analysis, because I’ve already written a separate costume analysis specifically for that garment. For additional appearances and visual references of the Eleven’s velvet waistcoat, see my 11th Doctor velvet waistcoat analysis.
And finally, the 11th Doctor’s “Snowmen” costume was on display at the (former) Doctor Who Experience.