Shoulder Pads and Sleeve Heads
Turning our attention from the jacket body to the sleeves, it should come as no surprise that Tennant’s suits had shoulder padding.
It was often easily observable whenever he would extend his arm (see right):
The 10th Doctor’s blue suit jacket sleeves were, of course, also equipped with sleeve heads (not to be confused with shoulder pads).
The sleeves themselves were two-piece sleeves (upper and lower), as typically seen on men’s suit jackets – note the seam lines in the sleeves:
Although the sleeves were cut so that they leaned slightly forward from the elbow down (as is common practice with men’s suit jackets), the actual grain of the sleeves was oriented so the pinstripes hung vertically from the armscye.
The set-in sleeve cap naturally had some ease, and the upper armscye was, ideally, perfectly smooth (or perhaps had just the faintest impression of ease).
However, the sleeve cap ease often reared its angry head during shooting (to varying degrees of severity):
As you can see, the blue suits’ sleeve caps generally fared better than the brown ones, but the extensive production use nevertheless took its toll.
The wrinkled upper armscye/sleeve cap was probably due suit jacket being made of a thin cotton shirting-weight fabric rather than wool or a material specifically intended for suiting.
The effect, while undesirable from a traditional tailoring perspective, was perhaps somewhat less objectionable from a Doctor Who perspective; Tennant’s Doctor often had more of a crumply, wrinkled look (rather than stuffy, prim, and proper). Some wrinkles here and there on his suit were arguably in keeping with his character.
That said, I doubt the wrinkled armscye was an intentional creative design/stylistic decision – probably more of a result of the strenuous production demands and numerous cleanings.
As you may recall, a similar effect could be observed on the collars and lapels (see previous page).
“Wear and tear” such as this was probably a major factor regarding the steady stream of new costumes throughout Tennant’s era: brown suits at the beginning of season two, blue suits at the beginning season three, new brown suits at the beginning of season four, new blue suits midway through season four, and then more new blue suits at the end of season four and the subsequent specials.
The sleeves were closed, not vented, and decorated with three small (I estimate ½”) navy blue four-hole buttons close to the back seam line.
Like the larger buttons on the front of the jacket, these buttons were not solid blue, but more of a swirl of several blues:
And naturally, the suit jacket sleeves were blind-hemmed.