Friday, June 22, 2012

Captain Jack Harkness Costume Is Finished

Cardiff, watch out!

For reference, this is the publicity photo that inspired and guided the costume. I'm not entirely sure if he's wearing grey trousers here, but you get the idea.

We didn't quite get the pose or the camera angle right for this photo, but surely you get the idea.

The Breakdown.

For reference, my goal was not to replicate one of Jack's costumes to perfection. I have found that the art of chasing down off the shelf items, especially ones that are a few years old and were probably purchased in the UK, to be extremely daunting at best, often terminally frustrating. My goal for this costume was to make it look recognizable to the human eye, not a perfect match for screen caps and publicity photos. Note that this is NOT my usual process, but for this iconic costume, it seemed the best way to go.

Jacket - In my opinion, the jacket is the critical component on this costume. If you get the jacket right, the details on the rest of the costume don't matter. The opposite is also true.

From Abbyshot clothiers in Canada. An excellent company to work with, they provide high quality clothing from Movies, TV shows, anime, all kinds of stuff. Their focus was originally on jackets and coats, but they've since branched out. I have purchased a few things from them, and have been happy with their customer service, delivery speed, and quality every time.

Shirt - From Old Navy. Men's Non-Iron Regular-Fit. I chose "Ink Blue". Jack wears many different shirt and suspender combinations in the show, so you'll need to pick one you like and go from there. I like the navy blue, and this shirt, with the light colored buttons, seems a decent match. It's not perfect, and it's not the same manufacturer as the ones used in the show, but it looks great.

Suspenders - I went with light grey suspenders, as those are the color Jack wears when he sports the navy shirt. Get the button on kind, not the clasp on, or the combo button/clasp. I got mine here:

To attach the suspenders to the trousers, I went to Michael's (My LEAST favorite store) and just grabbed off the shelf a bag of black buttons. They came in a variety of sizes and hole counts. I chose ones that best matched the ones on the pants, though it didn't matter as they would be covered by the belt.

Belt - I am wearing a medium brown belt from Fossil. This was something I had on hand that happened to match some screen caps I found. Someone on LJ sourced the manufacturer of one of Jack's actual costume belts to Belstaff, though I found the belt to be prohibitively expensive for my needs. See the bottom of this post for a link to the LJ article.

Trousers - I actually like nice pants, and I figured I would just buy a nice pair that I would be able to wear even when not in costume. I picked up a very nice pair of Joseph & Feiss pants at Men's Warehouse. They have all the characteristics I was looking for, including cuffs at the ankle, and a nice sharp crease down the front. They are double pleated, which I cannot say for sure are an exact match for Jack's, but hey... they look great! I got mine in a dark charcoal grey, which seem to match some key publicity shots that I found.

Men's Warehouse - Joseph & Feiss slacks

Vortex Manipulator - A good friend and talented prop maker, Kai Norman made this for me. The one in the pictures is a version 1.0 model, with improvements to come. For costuming purposes, I find it to be perfect. It looks great, and is rugged. I know of no other person making replicas of this piece at this time. The one that comes with the Sonic Screwdriver toy from Character Options is undersized, and wrong in details. It's also not leather. Hit Kai up on facebook if you want one.

Holster - I found a great place online that sells Webley holsters. The price is very reasonable, and they look great. The downside is that you'll need to dye it darker in order to make it work for this costume. I used a dye and sealer I got from Tandy leather.

Here's a link to an earlier blog post where I give more details on the dying of this holster.

Gun - This is a Webley Mark IV .38 replica from Denix, I believe. The Webley Mark IV .38 is the EXACT gun that Jack carries, so it's nice that there is a commonly available replica out there of the gun. For reference, the holster I purchased is fit for the .455, though I doubt anyone would notice. The downside to this piece is that it's probably not the smartest thing to carry while costuming. I'll keep this on hand for photo shoots only. Please note that Indiana Jones carries the .455, NOT the .38.

Webley Mark IV .38 at

Under Shirt - I got these at Target. Hanes Premium Comfort Flex undershirts. They are not an exact match. The ones Jack wears are a little higher cut, and the collar is a tad thinner.

Boots - Though not screen accurate, I am wearing a pair of Caterpillar Men's Gunnison Boots I purchased from Jack actually wears Caterpillar Luke boots, but they have become increasingly rare and high priced. I have never even seen a pair for sale in my size, much less at a price I'm willing to pay. However, since the only part of the boot that is visible on the costume is the lower part, what was important to me was the match of the color, the leather quality, and the sole. I feel that the Gunnison boots accomplish this nicely.

Gunnison Boots at

For reference, I'd like to include (and give credit to) a Harkness breakdown I found on Live Journal a while back, which helped guide me on a few decisions. It covers some details that I ignored, and also skips some details that I paid close attention to.


Primrodo said...


Josh said...

Hey what dye did you exactly use for the holster?

MattMunson said...

I don't recall the exact type off the top of my head, but I got it from my local tandy leather. It was just a small jug of black dye. Sorry I can't be of more help :(

Susie said...

Thanks for this blog post! The LJ link is also very helpful. I thought the pants were more of a navy to match the jacket (if I can ever find one), but all sources say dark grey. Interesting. Great that I already have an undershirt and navy button-up shirt. Thanks again.

MattMunson said...

Glad I could be of help, Susie! Happy to see this blog post is still being used as a reference. whoohooo!!