As I mentioned previously, Tennant wore (at least) four different brown suits over his run as the Doctor.
The first three were during his first two seasons (“series”), and the fourth was introduced at the beginning of season (“series”) four. He switched back and forth between the them over the course of the fourth season (I’m calling them seasons from now on, okay?) and the subsequent specials.
The most notable difference between the early and later versions of the brown suit jacket was the cut of the collar.
This original version of the collar was cut and sewn so that the front edges of the collar were directly on (and parallel to) the fabric’s pinstripes:
And on the original suits, the collar notch was precisely four pinstripes from the outer corner of the lapel:
As you can see, it was this collar cut that Tennant consistently wore throughout his first season:
Toward the end of season two, his suits were starting to show some fatigue; the normal production “wear and tear” and multiple dry-cleanings probably took their toll on that first round of suits, as evidenced by the fussy collar/lapel contortions seen to the right and below:
(This was also the case with the sleeves, but more on that later.)
The blue suit was introduced the following season, which Tennant often wore that year.
(Obviously the result – perhaps even the goal – was that he wore the brown suit far less frequently.)
The brown suits he wore that year appeared to be consistent with those from the previous season, and they may have even been the same ones.
If the blue suit was incorporated into Tennant’s wardrobe at least partly because the initial brown suits were getting worn out, it should come as no surprise that at the beginning of his third year (season four), he was given a new brown suit (or possibly even a set of new suits)!
However, the suit(s) introduced at the beginning of the fourth season had a slightly different collar style than the initial ones; they were cut in the style of the existing blue suits’ – that is, at a slight angle in relation to the pinstripes:
From the beginning of the fourth season onward (including his appearance in the 50th anniversary special, “The Day of the Doctor”), when Tennant wore the brown suit, he usually wore this later version.
However, the initial suit jackets (with the original collar style) weren’t completely phased out; they were incorporated into the rotation with the blue suits the new brown suits, so they still showed up every now and then:
Both versions of the brown suit’s collar had a seam at the center back, although again, the cutting style varied.
The early version’s center back seam was centered between two pinstripes – so perfectly so that it was nearly impossible to see the seam at all:
However, the later version of the suit’s collar had a seam that was on a pinstripe (sort of – actually just outside of one, so there was a bit of a “gap” between pinstripes at the center back):
The undercollar was made of brown undercollar felt/tailoring felt/melton:
Lastly regarding the collar, the seam allowances were either ¼” or trimmed to ¼” after sewing (common practice to reduce bulk), as evidenced below by the occasional impression of seam allowances being visible through the collar and/or lapel facing:
One subtle difference between Tennant’s first two (early style) brown suits was the relationship between the pinstripes on the collar and those on the lapel at the collar/lapel seam line (known as the “gorge line”); on one suit, the pinstripes aligned perfectly:
On the other, the pinstripes almost (but didn’t quite) align at the aforementioned seam line:
On the later version of the brown suit, it doesn’t look like anybody bothered trying to match the collar/lapel facing pinstripes … although the center back being cut on a pinstripe (rather than between two) would effectively “throw off” any subsequent alignment at the gorge:
In fact, the two sides weren’t even symmetrical; the collar/lapel pinstripes were closer on the jacket’s right side (photo left) than the jacket’s left side (photo right):
Like the early brown suit’s front collar edges, the lapel facings were cut and sewn so that the edges of the lapel facings were directly on (and parallel to) the fabric’s pinstripes.
And like the collar seam allowances, the lapel/facing seam allowances were either ¼” or trimmed to ¼” after being sewn (again, most likely to reduce bulk):
Although the lapel facing was cut so that the finished edge would be on a pinstripe (or perhaps just past the pinstripe, so it would be clearly visible on the outer edge of the finished suit), the actual edge of the jacket front was NOT on a pinstripe, but rather between pinstripes.
Four Button Closure
The jacket front was cut so the center front – but not the front edge – was on a pinstripe.
The front ends of the buttonholes aligned with the center front pinstripe and were precisely two pinstripes wide.
Also note that the buttonholes were “keyhole buttonholes,” not the standard rectangular ones.
The buttons appeared to be evenly spaced, approximately 3 ½” apart.
Furthermore, the locations of the buttons and pockets were strategically coordinated with each other.
The top button was placed halfway between the upper and lower edges of the left chest pocket (not including the flap).
The second button was positioned so its upper edge was horizontally aligned with the bottom of the left chest pocket.
The bottom button was positioned with its center was horizontally aligned with the upper edges of the lower pocket flaps.
The buttons themselves appeared to be ¾” wide, with four holes.
They were brown, but more of a “chocolate” brown than the actual suit fabric:
In fact, the buttons weren’t solid brown at all! They were more of a swirl of several browns …
As is common with men’s suit jackets, sport coats, blazers, etc., the 10th Doctor’s brown suit jacket had two fitting darts on the front (one on each side).
A particularly nice touch about the darts on the early versions of the brown suit was that the darts were centered over pinstripes and taken in exactly the width of a pinstripe.
The later version of the brown suit jacket didn’t quite accomplish this aesthetic standard; the dart still appeared to be centered over a pinstripe, but it wasn’t taken in quite as much.
Assuming any degree of intentionality to the fitting change, the reason may have been because Tennant had filled out a bit; the vertical length of the dart was also shortened a few inches.
The darts on the early version of the brown suit jacket extended slightly above the uppermost button:
However, the darts on the later version of the jacket extended to slightly below the uppermost button:
As you can see, the dart was both let out and shortened with the new version of the suit jacket – too many jelly babies, maybe? It’s an odd development, though, considering the amount of running in the 10th Doctor’s era …
The upper tip of the dart shifted yet again for “The Day of the Doctor,” but this time it actually was actually raised a little bit, so the top of the dart was again even with the top button:
I’m not sure if this was done for styling or fitting purposes; the alignment is nice (of course) but the jacket was also an even tighter fit around Tennant’s chest at this point …
Regardless of the height and fit of the darts, they did have two consistent traits.
First, on the suit jacket’s left side, the dart extended underneath the left external pocket pouch.
Second, the bottom ends of the darts were slightly above the lower “faux-flap” pockets, resulting in subtle “divots” in the jacket above the pockets where the jacket’s waist was taken in.
Usually, this was barely noticeable (see right), but it was quite obvious from some angles and certain lighting conditions (see below).
Left Chest Pocket
The left chest pocket on the 10th Doctor’s suit jacket was unique in several ways.
The pocket flap was not the shape typically seen on a suit jacket or blazer; rather than an M-shaped flap that has a slight point in the center, the pocket flap curved upward toward the middle.
The pinstripes on the upper edge of the pocket flap aligned perfectly with those on the suit jacket.
Also note that the pocket flap did not have the conventional topstitching approximately ¼” below the top edge:
However, the pocket flap didn’t flap open all the way to the upper stitch line, leading me to believe that the underside of the pocket flap was hand sewn to the jacket body.
The pocket itself was also unique … perhaps most notably because it was an external pouch pocket, rather than an internal (welt) pocket typically seen on suit jackets, sport coats, and blazers.
Another unique characteristic of the pocket pouch was that it was pleated on each side of the pocket center, with each folded edge positioned exactly on a pinstripe (forming a raised panel on the pocket exactly two pinstripes wide).
Curiously, one particular brown suit had a pocket with the folded edges of the pleat between pinstripes, rather than on them.
As of this writing, I’ve only ever spotted this particular variation in some publicity photos, specifically the ones below (presumably for “The Idiot’s Lantern”):
This peculiar pocket variation doesn’t seem to have actually made it into the episode itself, though.
The only other time I spotted this particular pocket variant was, curiously, in this third season publicity photo (presumably either for “The Sound of Drums” or ” Last of the Time Lords”):
The top of the pocket pouch was turned under and hemmed, and the pocket pouch itself was edge-stitched onto the jacket body.
Although the pinstripes on the upper edge of the pocket flap perfectly aligned with those on the jacket body, not all of the pinstripes on the lower edge of the pocket pouch did.
This is because the front fitting dart extended underneath the pocket pouch and therefore shifted the relative distance between pinstripes beneath the pocket.
As you can see, the pinstripes on the centermost lower edge of the pocket pouch aligned with those on the jacket body, but those outside the dart did not:
Also observe how, because of the fitting dart, the side/outer edge of the pocket pouch sort of “floated” across from one pinstripe to the adjacent one.
Although the pinstripes on the pocket flap and pouch (mostly) aligned with those on the jacket body, the pocket flap and pouch were cut differently on the early and later versions of the suit jacket.
On the early version of the suit jacket, the outer edges of the pocket flap and pouch were between pinstripes:
However, on the later version of the suit jacket, the centermost edge of the pocket flap and pouch were exactly on a pinstripe (but not the side/outer edge of the flap).
Note that the two versions of the pocket flap and pouch were slightly different widths, and the later pocket flap itself was asymmetrical.
The early version of the pocket flap was 10 pinstripes wide (9 “whole” ones plus about half a pinstripe on each end).
The later version of the pocket flap was 10 ½ pinstripes wide (10 “whole” ones plus about half a pinstripe on the outer end).
In other words, the later version of the pocket flap was slightly wider.
However, the positioning of the pocket (and its flap) changed as well; the early pocket (and flap) style had the centermost edge 5 ½ pinstripes from the center front, whereas the later pocket style was positioned with its centermost edge an even 5 pinstripes from the center front.
(You can use the front of the buttonhole for reference when counting.)
However, observe that on both cases, the pocket flap was slightly wider than the pocket pouch itself; while the side/outer edge of the pocket pouch was on a pinstripe, both versions of the pocket flap extended past the side/outer edge of the pocket by about half a pinstripe.
This was probably to compensate for the pocket pouch extending downward at a slight (diagonal) angle, while the pocket flap hung vertically, and it wouldn’t do for the pocket pouch to appear wider than the flap!
In other words, if the pocket flap and pocket pouch were the same width, the pocket pouch would appear to get wider as it got lower (in relation to the flap).
Another curiosity about the pocket is that the bottommost 1 ½” or so often seemed to hug the chest; then, above that, the remainder of the pocket pouch would bow out like one might expect the entire pouch to …
Why did the pocket style slightly change?
Also, what was with that weird hugging/bulging effect at the bottom of the pocket pouch? Why did it often, but not always do that?
The lower “faux-flap pockets” on the 10th Doctor’s brown suit were unusual in their construction.
I call them “faux-flap” pockets because the pocket flaps were not typical flaps, which are sewn onto the jacket body at the top and lift to provide access to the actual pocket opening underneath, sometimes even with hook-and-loop tape (“Velcro”) or snaps sewn to the underside of the pocket flap and jacket body to provide additional closing security.
In other words, the pocket flap is typically attached to the garment above the pocket opening to protect it.
However, on the 10th Doctor’s suit, the lower pockets had flaps which were open at the top so one could reach directly into the pocket without having to raise the flap out of the way.
The flap itself could raise and lower, but it was for aesthetic purposes only and actually “grew out” of the pocket opening itself, like an oversize welt.
Note that the pocket flap’s upper edge was not attached to the jacket body:
The actual pocket opening appeared to be approximately 1″ beneath the top of the flap; note the slight impression of the pocket opening on the flap itself.
The upper edge of the flap, while beneath the back waistband (see above), was horizontally flush with the jacket’s lowermost front button (and buttonhole) at the center front.
Although the pocket (and pocket flap) spanned both the center front and side body panels, on the early version(s) of the jacket, the pinstripes on the pocket flap aligned nicely with those of the jacket body.
Some of later-style jackets continued to feature this OCD-friendly detail.
Some of the later jackets, though, appear to have been “off” a bit:
It is worth noting, however, that the front fitting dart and front/side body panel seam slightly offset the drape of the pinstripes, causing a similar alignment issue as with the bottom of the left chest pocket (see above).
Likewise, alignment priority was given to the centermost portion of the pocket flap – i.e. the centermost pinstripes aligned properly while the outer ones didn’t.
On both versions of the brown suit jacket, the front edge of the pocket flap was exactly on a pinstripe.
The side/outer edge of the pocket flap, however, was consistently between pinstripes for some reason:
This odd design was, nevertheless, at least similar in style to the outermost edge of the left chest pocket flap (see above).
(Again note that the pocket extended slightly past the jacket front and onto the side panel.)
The pocket flaps appear to have consistently been approximately 15 ½ pinstripes wide.
One final peculiarity about the “faux-pocket” flaps was the lower corners often seemed to want to curl upward.
The lower front of the 10th Doctor’s brown suit jacket was rounded; the curve began gracefully several inches beneath the lowermost button and gradually grew more pronounced toward the bottom edge of the jacket.
The total width of the curve appeared to be approximately eight pinstripes, or approximately 4-4 ½”.
There was a bit of ease between the jacket front and front facing along the lower curves, which was occasionally visible since the jacket was made of a lightweight cotton fabric instead of typical suiting material.
An additional fitting advantage with the 10th Doctor’s suit jacket was that the side portion of the jacket under the arm was a separate panel (some call this a “gusset,” similar in structure to the Star Trek: The Original Series Starfleet uniform tunics).
The shape of the side panel’s back seam line was easily observable on many occasions: