The 11th Doctor’s “Snowmen” trousers were, appropriately enough, quintessentially Victorian in their cut and style.
Although at a glance, one might assume that they were made with a houndstooth fabric (like the First and Second Doctors’ trousers), upon closer inspection, it’s clear that it was actually a “check” fabric.
While the trousers may be commonly perceived as golden tan in color (I thought this at first, too), in actuality they were brown.
Of course, the lighting varied significantly during the show and publicity photos, and post-production color editing is always an issue, but the trousers did usually read as brown.
Other times, the fabric appeared to be more of a golden tan – again, assuming publicity photos can be trusted at all for color purposes.
However, thanks to the Doctor Who Experience and Thomas Dunn, we can see (with no color-editing shenanigans) that the “Snowmen” trousers on display there were definitely brown.
Being Victorian in their cut and style, the trousers were high-waisted by contemporary standards, extending upward approximately to Matt Smith’s natural waistline.
The “Snowmen” trousers also bore another hallmark of Victorian trousers: a cut-on waistband.
This also included a “double-peak” at the upper back of the trousers, for the suspenders/braces.
If you look carefully, you may be able to spot the topstitching around the top of the trousers, typically used to secure the waistband interfacing and interior facing.
In the screencap below, the topstitching appears to have extended all the way around the back of the trousers, just as one might expect it to.
However, in literally every other visual reference I examined over the course of my research, I found no evidence at all for the topstitching in the back.
Observe below (and in the previous images) how the topstitch appears to end just behind the side seam.
In any event, there was also a small back strap directly beneath the “double-peak” on the back of the trousers.
The suspenders/braces were button-on (different from the clip-on ones he usually wore), and they attached to the waistband interior, rather than to the outside of the trousers.
Also in true Victorian style, the “Snowmen” trousers closed up the front via a button-fly closure.
Note that, while the right fly panel was cut separately and sewn-on, the left fly actually appears to have been cut onto the trousers’ left front as a single piece and folded under (accordion-style) before being secured into place via the fly topstitching.
We can also observe the aforementioned fly topstitching that secured the layers into place along the left side.
Another characteristic of Victorian-style trousers is the back dart on each side, which is just barely visible.
(Tip: focus on the disruption of the fabric’s check pattern.)
There was also a double-welt pocket on the back of the trousers – but only on the right side, not on the left.
It’s difficult to say for sure, but the pocket welts appear to have been cut on the straight grain, and although aligning the checks with the back of the trousers along the diagonal pocket opening would be impossible with straight-cut welts, effort does seem to have been made to align the check pattern at the upper left of the pocket.
There also appears to have been a back pocket facing underneath the welts.
The “Snowmen” trousers also had side pockets.
Interestingly, using the fabric’s check pattern as a visual reference, one can see that the front edge of the side pocket was cut on only the slightest of curves.
In fact, the right pocket appeared to be cut with its front edge entirely vertical!
If you’re familiar with Victorian trousers patterns and pattern blocks, you probably know that sides of the trousers are usually cut on gentle curves, gradually widening upward from the knees to the fullest part of the hips, then narrowing again upward toward the natural waist – and usually the back side edges of the trousers are less curved than the front.
So why the unusual cut of these trousers?
Well, I have three theories, one or any combination of which might be true.
The first theory is that Matt Smith may have narrow hips in relation to his natural waist, the result of which would be trousers that need less curve around the upper sides.
While one might still expect to see a bit more of a curve along the upper front, the necessary fitting curve could have been primarily allocated to the back of the trousers instead.
The second theory is that it was an intentional design decision, with the goal being to align the front edge of the pocket opening with the fabric’s check pattern as closely as possible.
An extension of this theory may be that cut-on front pocket facings were desired, and of course the straighter the edge, the easier this is to achieve.
The third theory is that, while trousers’ side pockets are typically installed around the existing side seams, in this case the front pocket edges might not have actually been flush with the trousers’ side seams.
This would result in side pockets that “gapped open” more than usual, which these pockets certainly seemed to prone to doing.
On the other hand, the side pockets did sometimes rest nice and flat.
Note in the following examples that while the front pocket facing appears to have been cut-on and folded under, the back pocket facing was cut separately and sewn on later.
(I’d like to again thank Daniel Pawlik for his input regarding the “Snowmen” trousers; he actually first brought this whole side pocket issue to my attention.)
Also note the topstitching around the front edge of the side pocket.
The trousers’ actual pant legs were fairly slim-fitting.
As with Eleven’s usual G-stars, there were cuffs at the bottom of the “Snowmen” trousers’ pant legs.
Interestingly, though, the cuffs were slightly shorter in the publicity photos for “The Snowmen” than they were later on. (Use the fabric’s check pattern as a visual reference.)
Fast-forward to the episode, “Journey to the Center of the TARDIS,” though, and you can see in the publicity photos/episode stills that the cuffs were slightly taller!
(Again, use the fabric’s check pattern as a visual reference.)