Item: Topshop Pipe Tile Dress
Appearance: The Caretaker, Dark Water, S8 Promotional Photoshoot
Combined with: &Other Stories Jagged Belt, Dune Amoy Block Heel Lace Up Brogues
Original Retail Price: unknown
Materials: 100% polyester
This dress is one that already struck my interest while I was watching S8 on telly, long before I ever got into cosplay. I just love the vintage vibe of it, so naturally, it was on my wishlist from the very first moment. It was also one of the first items I received (at least in the alt colour).
Yes, alt colour. The dress comes in green and a sort of nude/beige colour that still looks very close to the SA one, so if you get your hands on either one, you’ll have an amazing cosplay piece in your wardrobe. Among Clara cosplayers, this dress is sold for quite a lot of money even though, on the rarity scale, it’s somewhere in the middle. The dress pops up relatively often on Depop, but I’ve also seen it on eBay and Vinted. While another cosplayer will most likely ask over £100 (I think £250 is the highest I’ve seen) for it, you can always wait until someone who isn’t aware of Doctor Who sells it for £7 (that is the lowest I’ve seen this dress sell for). You should expect something somewhere in the middle, depending on whether you buy from a cosplayer or a muggle. The alt colour is usually a little cheaper. There might not be a dress available right now, but if you wait a month or two, I’m sure you’ll find something on one of the platforms.
BUT you should be aware that the sizing is terrible. I think this dress is one of Clara’s most debated items because the fit is truly horrible. Before I started collecting cosplay items, I considered my regular dress size to be a UK6 (it still is in most shops I buy clothes from outside of cosplay), but I quickly learned that Clara obviously likes to shop at places that sell very small clothes. Since it was one of my first cosplay items, I went for my regular UK6. It fit me in the waist just fine, but the chest area was insanely tight. The next size I bought was a UK10 and when I received it, I was surprised to see that the waist had hardly changed at all and the chest was loose now, but at least I could breathe. A few months later, I stumbled over a UK8 and bought that as well, but to my surprise, that one was also too tight around the chest and the buttons threatened to pop at any moment. I stuck with the UK10 because even though it’s a loose fit, it looked best of all the options. I’m thinking that Jenna is possibly wearing a version of the dress that was altered by the costume department because I can’t imagine that one of the regular sizes fit her so well.
As a general rule of thumb, you should buy a size bigger than you normally wear. It is quite tight in the waist and chest area and even though the waist didn’t bother me much with my body shape, the chest bugged me quite a lot even though I have a small cup size. If you have a bigger cup size, it would probably be best to go two sizes up. I think the size range goes from UK6 to UK16.
Apart from the sizing issue, it’s a thoroughly gorgeous dress. The fabric is extremely light and has a silky feel to it. On screen, it looks a bit heavier than it actually is, but that makes it a perfect summer dress. It’s 100% polyester. Due to the lightness, the fabric is also quite fragile and, as I imagine, can damage easily, so that is probably a good reason not to spend too much on the dress. The buttons are functional and it has a hidden zip on the side.
If I had to pick my S8 favourite, this outfit would probably be it (or at least in my top 3). It’s a classic and unique Clara look that is easily recognized by other Whovians and therefore ideal for a con.