The 11th Doctor wore two different ties with his “Snowmen” costume.
The first was, surprisingly, a necktie (rather than a bow tie), which he wore during the first half or so of “The Snowmen” and for many of the corresponding publicity photos.
Although it usually appeared to be a solid color, the tie actually had some of subtly contrasting vertical stripes – not diagonal, like one might normally see on neckties …
While the similarity may be purely coincidental, I found this tie to be subtly reminiscent of the 10th Doctor’s coat lining.
Partway through the special, though, Eleven again donned a bow tie, and what a beauty it was!
Just look at those colors …
Eleven actually wore the bow tie two different ways – apparently the same tie (or at least, the same cut), but vertically flipped.
In “The Snowmen,” he usually wore the tie with the floral pattern descending from the top. Also note the little yellow accent in the lower right (photo left) corner.
However, he also wore it the opposite way sometimes – with the floral pattern ascending upward from the bottom.
Perhaps Matt Smith and/or the costume/wardrobe department occasionally put the tie on upside-down by accident?
He only wore the bow tie in a handful of the publicity photos/episode stills for the special, and in most of them he’s either angled away from camera or too far away to see which way the tie’s floral pattern was facing.
At least one of them showed him wearing it the second way, though.
Fast-forward a bit to the seventh season’s penultimate episode, “Nightmare in Silver,” and he again wore the bow tie both ways.
In fact, the bow tie would occasionally change its orientation between cuts during the same scene!
Sometimes he wore it in the first style (with the floral patterns “hanging” downward).
He also wore the bow tie in this first style for some of the “Nightmare in Silver” publicity photos/episode stills.
As I mentioned, though, he also frequently wore the bow tie in the other style during the episode, with the floral pattern ascending upward.
He wore the bow tie this second way for some of the publicity photos/episode stills for that episode, as well.
He also wore the “floral” bow tie during some behind-the-scenes specials on the season 7 Blu-Rays, presumably quick bits filmed all in one go between filming of “Nightmare in Silver.”
In these behind-the-scenes clips, he wore the bow tie in the second style.
Anyway, fast-forward again to the 11th Doctor’s final special, “The Time of the Doctor,” and we again saw both wearing styles.
This time, though, he appeared to favor the second style throughout most (if not all) of the special.
Paradoxically, although he seemed to consistently wear the bow tie in the second style during the final special, he also seemed to consistently wear it the first style for the corresponding publicity photos.
As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, Doctor Who has a built-in defense against continuity errors, though, especially when all sorts of “timey wimey” stuff is going on. And who’s to say Time Lord clothes must conform to the same consistency that human clothes have, anyway?!?
So for us human cosplayers, which wearing style is “correct,” then?
Well, obviously, both ways are “screen-accurate,” in the sense that both were clearly seen on-camera during multiple episodes/specials, behind-the-scenes footage, and publicity photos.
As for which is “correct,” regarding designer’s intent, well … from a production standpoint, it really doesn’t make much sense, at least to me.
I suppose it’s possible that nobody ever paid any attention to which way the tie went around Matt Smith’s neck, but the appearances of the two wearing styles don’t quite seem random enough to me for that to be the case.
In other words, to me it doesn’t seem random enough to truly be random, but it seems too random for there to be much intentionality about it.
Here’s my current theory, based on the available evidence:
It seems to me that the bow tie was originally intended to be worn the first way (with the floral pattern descending downward from the top), since that’s how it was mostly seen in “The Snowmen.”
Then, perhaps somebody goofed up a bit during filming and Matt Smith ended up occasionally wearing the bow tie upside-down. Probably, nobody even noticed until after filming was completed, possibly well into post-production – far too late to do anything about it.
Assuming anyone raised the flag at all, it was perhaps forgotten throughout the subsequent filming of “Nightmare in Silver,” when Matt Smith wore it each way about half the time – a likely case of random chance.
Afterward (again, assuming anybody even noticed), perhaps some combination of Matt Smith, Howard Burden, Steven Moffat, and/or one (or more) higher-ups in the wardrobe department decided that they actually preferred the accidental, “upside-down” style, and made a note to keep an eye on bow tie continuity in the future.
During the filming of “The Time of the Doctor,” it seems intentional effort was made to show the bow tie in the second wearing style, since that’s how it was mostly (perhaps even exclusively) seen in that special.
However, whoever was in charge of dressing Matt Smith for the corresponding publicity photos either didn’t know this or entirely forgot, resulting in the first wearing style being seen in those promotional images.
Confusing? Yep. But that’s the most sense that I can make out of it – assuming a reasonable degree of intentionality on the part of Howard Burden and the costuming department.