Nordstrom Rack and Cathy Jean – Substitute Cosplay Options!

As a cosplayer, I’m cursed with always seeing cosplay options no matter where I’m going to shop. Usually, it’s disappointing, because I’m very particular about details and it’s rare to find true matches for color, fabric, tailoring, and the other criteria in matching off-the-rack items to bespoke custom garments. But every once in a blue moon, I stumble across a piece that catches my eye AND passes closer inspection!

A few days ago I was in Seattle visiting my girlfriend’s parents, and we went shopping at a few places. Express has a nice line of dress shirts, some of which are excellent Tennant dress shirts for $60 (a little out of my budget for an impulse buy), but the big winner that day was popping by the Nordstrom Rack!

rackNordstrom Rack is the Nordstrom company’s off-price clearance store, where they sell merchandise offered at the main Nordstrom at 50%-60% off regular price, as well as clearance pieces and other. Basically, if you shop on a budget and want department store-quality brands and clothes, you go to Nordstrom Rack instead of Nordstrom.mattsmithpants

My find there was a great (though not perfect) match for the elusive Matt Smith pants – the black G-Star Raw in 3D-aged Spark Denim.

The pants are characterized by two major features and a dozen little notable details. The two big check marks are: A waxy effect to the denim, and deeply-swathed front pocket openings. The back also has a characteristic look to the butt pocket, which is placed very low.

The close-enough option I stumbled on in the clearance pile are made by Ezekiel – the waxy denim look is brilliantly similar (having seen the correct G-Star Raws in person) but the rest of it leaves a little to be desired. Unfortunately, the front pockets are quite as low-cut and the back pockets don’t sit as low, but I think if you’re hard-up for a pants match, the Ezekiels would be a great placeholder until you can locate a pair of the long-discontinued G-Star Raws. In the photo, the Ezekiels look gray, but that’s just the photograph – they were definitely black.



But it would be remiss of me to not include the ladies’ options every once-in-a-while, even though I’m mostly on the hunt for my own purposes and therefore end up largely looking at menswear.

This find was extra exciting, because I see the season 18 Tom Baker outfit largely sported tominbootsby women. I’m fascinated with the S18 costume (I’m also a major scarf enthusiast) and one day intend on spending a lot of time and money building a screen accurate cosplay for it, but for the moment I’m content to only keep half an eye out for possibilities.

One of the most characteristic and desired pieces of Tom Baker’s wardrobe (if you’re putting together a S16 or later) is his beautiful leather cuff boots. They’re also one of the more difficult pieces to locate, since cuff boots aren’t exactly a current style nor do most costumers make shoes. They’re a distinctive brown/red color and come up nearly to his knees, giving him a pirate-y/swashbuckling appearance.

Although options to exist to find similar pieces, it can be a dismally expensive find, being so large, leather, and distinctive.

Luckily, for ladies, there is a wonderful option that is readily accessible and currently VERY cheap! All you have to do is visit your local Cathy Jean retailer!


It seems Cathy Jean recently ran a line of knee-length cuff boots. Currently (at least in the store in Seattle), this line appears to be on clearance, IMG_2001editso instead of a $120 boot, you’re buying a $20 boot! Of course, they don’t offer a perfect match to Tom Baker’s but the concessions are stylized and feminine – an imaginitive femme cosplay could easily utilize the differences to their advantage. They offer several boots of this length with cuffs of different styles, so there are even options! If you’ve been looking, stop by your local Cathy Jean and pick some up before they disappear!



About Alex

Alex is a writer, actor, tailor, and professional loudmouth. He has no professional or celebrity endorsements, though he did once meet Conan O'Brien while dressed as the Tenth Doctor. He's just a guy who needs a healthy outlet for his internalized rage once in a while.
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