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"Why would the Romulans want to have Garak killed?"
"I don't know. Considering those uniforms of theirs, you'd think they'd appreciate a decent tailor."

Romulan uniforms were the clothing worn by officers in the service of the Romulan Star Empire, ranging from the 22nd through the 24th centuries. These uniforms facilitated the Romulan wearers' needs as scientists, warriors, and starship officers, often displaying rank insignia and position.

22nd century

Standard uniform

Admiral Valdore in the uniform of the 2150s

During the mid-22nd century, officers serving the Romulan Star Empire – operating in positions on Romulus itself – wore distinct uniforms.

Distinguished by a formal collar, the jacket portion of the uniform was created from a checkerboard material, consisting of square-shaped patterning of various sizes and colors. A black tunic was worn beneath this jacket, also worn with black trousers and black, leather-like boots. Accenting the uniform was an elaborate belt or strap extending from the right shoulder, down to the left waist and across. (ENT: "Kir'Shara", "Babel One", "United", "The Aenar")

These uniforms were created for Star Trek Nemesis, and appeared later in Star Trek: Enterprise, mainly as a cost-cutting measure.
Separated by more than two hundred years of history in-universe, the use of this design is sometimes thought of as an anachronism, though these uniforms are not the only design to last throughout the centuries.

Reman uniform

A Reman guard in 2154

As early as the year 2154, the Romulan Star Empire employed Reman soldiers in such tasks as guarding high-ranking Romulan officials, including Senator Vrax.

For this occupation, Remans were outfitted in close-fitting, rubber-like uniforms, distinguished by wide shoulder pads and high collars. Dark-purple or blue in color, these uniforms were ornamented by breastplates and hard ribbing on the upper-arms, probably intended for military or combat situations. (ENT: "United", "The Aenar")

Also created for Nemesis by that film's costumer designer, Bob Ringwood, the Reman wardrobe was again put into service on Enterprise following the movie. This design seems to have remained unchanged over two centuries, or with subtle differences not visible in the low light and smoke of the set on which they appeared.

23rd century

Standard uniform

Type A (mid-2260s)

A blue uniform worn, with and without shoulder drapes

For Romulans serving the Empire aboard starships in the 23rd century, uniforms consisted of a black undershirt, a metallic-gold and black patterned tunic, and checkered, knee-length trousers, fastened by a wide black belt. The uniform trousers ranged in color from blue-black to red-black, with higher ranking officers in red.

These uniforms were worn with black boots, and often, black gloves. In addition, a Romulan disruptor was often worn with the uniform, fastened to the right side of the belt.

Higher ranking officers' uniforms were adorned with shoulder drapes, made from the same material as the trousers. Worn over the right shoulder, these drapes hung down to roughly knee-length, while remaining relatively short on the back, with a black, woolen fringe.

Some officers wore gold helmets adorned with gold triangles. These helmets completely covered the ears, chin and bridge of the nose, though this practice fell into disuse by the next century. (TOS: "Balance of Terror", "The Enterprise Incident")

In the stage directions from the revised final draft script of "Balance of Terror", the Romulan uniforms in that episode were described as "military tunics with strange emblems." The only other scripted reference to the costumes was a commander's uniform being described as "a white uniform that distinguishes him from the other members of the crew."
The helmets worn by the Romulans were created to save the Original Series production crew both time and money by requiring them to outfit only some of the Romulans with prosthetic ears. They were later re-used in "Amok Time" as Vulcan helmets, painted silver with a larger symbol attached to the front.

Female officers wore a high-collared, one-piece uniform variant that consisted of a shirt and miniskirt combination.

Made from the same golden-black patterned fabric as the male uniform version, the right portion of the uniform was made from the red or blue-colored fabric. The drape adornment was sewn directly onto the shirt and was worn under the belt, in contrast to the male uniforms. The drape was also shorter on the front, but was longer on the back than on male uniforms.

Female officers wore high, black leather boots and were not seen carrying weapons or wearing helmets. (TOS: "The Enterprise Incident")

Type B (late 2260s and early 2270s)

Romulan officers in type B uniforms

A second type of Romulan duty uniform was observed in 2270. It consisted of a red long-sleeved shirt with white cuffs over which was worn a light bluish shirt with a scaled texture. Red pants and high boots of the same light blue color were worn underneath. The uniform was accessorized with a white sash tucked into a black belt belt with golden buckle. (TAS: "The Practical Joker")

Type C

Romulan commander in type C uniform

A green uniform with a hood or cloak was observed being worn by a Romulan commander in 2269. (TAS: "The Survivor")

Ambassadorial wardrobe

Romulan Ambassador Nanclus in 2293

During the 2290s, Romulan dignitaries and ambassadors, such as Nanclus who was present during the Khitomer Accords of 2293, wore clothing similar in style to those worn by the Romulan military of the next century.

Again making use of prominent patterning within the material of which it was made, the garments worn by Nanclus consisted of a blue coat, tan pants and boots, worn with a gold-colored sash that extended from the right shoulder to the left waist and across. The tunic bore a high collar and closed at the left chest. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)

Ambassador Nanclus' wardrobe was designed by Star Trek VI costumer Dodie Shepard.

24th century

Standard uniform

Type A

Commander Tebok in 2364

With the reappearance of the Romulans in the year 2364, new trends in their uniform style became evident.

Echoing the use of distinctly patterned material and large sashes in the previous century, 24th century Romulan military uniforms expanded on this look, enhancing it with a broad-shouldered tunic consisting of a silver-gray material. Worn with a black and red, similarly-patterned sash hung over the right shoulder and attached at the belt, this tunic featured a high collar (a silver-colored piece separate from the tunic) and wide sleeves that revealed black cuffs underneath.

Also reflecting 23rd century uniform design, the black trousers donned with this uniform were cut high on the legs, worn with black boots. (TNG: "The Neutral Zone")

Designed by William Ware Theiss, the Star Trek: The Next Generation-era Romulan uniform was designed as a revision to its TOS-era predecessor. His new design was given a checkered motif, but also changed the color, quilted the fabric, and added two shoulder pads. (Star Trek: Costumes, p. 175) These appeared only once before a major redesign in season two.
The black sashes featured small, hexagonal symbols that may have indicated rank: Commander Tebok wore three hexagons, Sub-Commander Thei wore two. In the background of the control room, other Romulan officers were seen, without sashes.

Type B

Sub-Commander Taris wearing a distinct Romulan logo, 2365

Romulan officer Parem displaying the generalized crest, 2368

Following their initial contact with the Federation in more than fifty years, subsequent encounters with the Romulans revealed yet another uniform design.

First observed in 2365, this second 24th-century Romulan uniform resembled the previous design, but discarded the drape or sash in favor of a harness-like belt structure, meeting at the chest from around both shoulders and extending down and around the waist. In addition, the collar was now sewn into and matched the tunic.

Although a more-generalized symbol has been observed, the crest of the Romulan Star Empire was displayed on the front of the belt and at the harness's V-connection on the chest, showing the familiar "bird of prey" clutching the twin planets Romulus and Remus. The majority of these uniforms featured similar, silver-gray material, but some Romulan officers wore uniforms of varying colors and patterns.

Although this style of uniform was phased out of common use as early as 2371, some Romulan officials (including General Velal) continued wearing it as late as 2375. (TNG: "Contagion", "The Enemy", "Face of the Enemy"; DS9: "Visionary", "The Dogs of War")

A further expansion of the TNG season one design by Durinda Rice Wood and, later, Robert Blackman, this more-refined Romulan uniform sustained The Next Generation through the rest of its run.
The Romulan crest first appeared in "The Neutral Zone", two seasons before it was finally attached to the Romulan harness and belt. Sub-Commander Taris wore a generic symbol that originated all the way back to "Encounter at Farpoint", displayed on Q's post-atomic horror outfit.
It is likely the various patterns and colors of these uniforms indicated some sort of rank or position within the Romulan fleet, but there is no clear indication as to what they might have been (or whether the producers were even adhering to a system). Some fans have speculated that these different colors and patterns denote family or clan affiliation, despite no canonical evidence to support this. However, beginning in "Face of the Enemy" and continuing sporadically thereafter, Romulans such as Commander Toreth wore symbols of rank on their collars.

Tal Shiar variant

Deanna Troi as Major Rakal in 2369

In keeping with the design prevalent in the 2360s, uniforms worn by members of the Romulan secret intelligence agency, the Tal Shiar, featured the same basic structure as the military's standard uniform.

Using far-less garish material than the standard uniform, this Tal Shiar variant came in a light-green color and was worn with gray trousers and boots.

As with the military uniform, a belt structure was worn, this time with an added strap on the right chest. As with future incarnations of the Romulan uniform, rank insignia – presumably unique to the Tal Shiar – was displayed on the left collar. (TNG: "Face of the Enemy")

The uniform worn by Counselor Deanna Troi posing as Tal Shiar operative Major Rakal was the only example of wardrobe exclusive to the intelligence agency. Although Star Trek: Deep Space Nine viewers saw a whole fleet of ships commanded by the Tal Shiar in "The Die is Cast", those personnel wore the standard uniforms, introduced around 2371.

Type C

"Colonel Lovok" in 2371

By the early 2370s, the Romulan government once again phased into service a radically redesigned military uniform.

Abandoning the large shoulders and abbreviated sleeves, this more-generalized design came in only a dark-gray, thatched material for all ranks and positions observed. Featuring a black, mock-turtleneck collar, this uniform displayed rank on the left collar, and also featured a belt/harness structure - this time extending from the left shoulder, down to two straps running across the stomach. As before, the crest of the Romulan Empire was displayed, lower in this design than in the previous style.

Black gloves were worn with this uniform by Tal Shiar officers, but not by the military. (DS9: "Improbable Cause", "The Die is Cast", "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges"; VOY: "Message in a Bottle")

This uniform first appeared in DS9: "Improbable Cause", and was designed by Robert Blackman at the request of Ronald D. Moore. About the previous Romulan uniform design, Moore later said, "I hated, underline hated, the Romulan costumes. Big shoulder pads, the quilting, I just loathed it. I begged, insisted, screamed, pleaded." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)

Dress uniform

Chairman Koval in 2375

Like their Starfleet counterparts, Romulans serving the Star Empire were sometimes required to wear formal uniforms for diplomatic affairs and state functions.

Consisting of a brownish-gray tunic and pants, the Romulan dress uniform was understated compared to the standard duty uniform, distinguished by black piping running down the chest, lining the seams at the shoulders and around the high collar. Like the standard uniform, the dress uniform displayed rank insignia on the left collar, with higher ranking officials wearing their rank on both sides. (DS9: "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges")

Type D

Commander Donatra in 2379

Introduced as early as 2379, a fourth version of the Romulan military uniform was observed, this time a striking departure from, or return to, earlier designs, while retaining the same Romulan style.

Distinguished by its use of a distinctive and colorful checkerboard jacket, this uniform was worn with a formal black under tunic, black trousers and heavy, black boots. Again featuring a harness-like belt structure worn over the jacket, this uniform design bore a far less elaborate belt, marked by several metal rings and flourishes and extending from the right chest, down to the left waist and across. Also like earlier designs, this Romulan uniform sported a Romulan crest, somewhat redesigned and worn at the center of the neck on the collar. (Star Trek Nemesis)

In 2003, Star Trek: Communicator issue 142, pp. 42-45, included a detailed look at the costumes of Star Trek Nemesis and an interview with their designer, Bob Ringwood. In the magazine, Ringwood recalled the design (or redesign) process: "Nobody liked the [existing] big-shouldered [Romulan uniforms], but we had to echo it. So we scaled it down and did a slightly more refined version of them. I was very lucky, we got [upholstery fabric of] irregular checkerboard-y, in a computerized dot pattern, in four colors - on sale!" (p. 44)
This uniform design was used again in Star Trek, following the movie Nemesis, in the TV series Star Trek: Enterprise. This indicates that the design seen in the film was over two hundred years old by then and was still in use from time to time, or was redesigned and reissued as a "throwback" style.

Senate guard uniform

A guard posted inside the Romulan Senate in 2379

Far more ceremonial than any other Romulan wardrobe or uniforms observed thus far, special uniforms existed as early as the late-2370s for use by guards serving at the Senate on Romulus.

Consisting of a long, heavy tunic, dark-brown, blue and green in color, this uniform featured a high collar and large shoulders. The sleeves of the tunic were bulky and ended in heavy gloves decorated with metal rings and flourishes. This uniform was worn with large, heavy boots, similarly accented with metallic embellishments and built with thick soles. (Star Trek Nemesis)

Designer Ringwood likened his designs for the Romulan Senate attire to Japanese wardrobe, calling them "kimono-meets-toga". (Star Trek: Communicator issue 142, p. 45)

Rank insignia

Examples of Romulan rank insignia, which were displayed on either or both collars of the uniform.

Modern Romulan rank insignia were not introduced until the TNG Season 6 episode "Face of the Enemy" – establishing insignia for commander, sub-commander, and major. The same episode took further strides, both in dialogue and script notes, in establishing distinctions in Romulan uniforms, ranks, and protocol. Of note, the differences between the Tal Shiar and military uniforms, and, in the case of DeSeve, it states that "[h]e wears the unadorned uniform of an enlisted Romulan soldier."
Rank insignia only appeared sporadically thereafter, and in subsequent episodes featuring Romulan officers that season, including "The Chase" and "Timescape", no officers or crewmen wore insignia. The two Romulan commanders appearing in TNG Season 7 episodes "The Pegasus" and "All Good Things..." did, however, notably wear the same insignia that had been established the previous season.
The DS9 Season 3 openers, "The Search, Part I" and "The Search, Part II", established a new sub-commander insignia, and while all of the officers who appeared in "Visionary" wore no insignia, "The Die is Cast" introduced the insignia for colonel.
The VOY Season 4 episode "Message in a Bottle" showed a slightly different commander insignia than was previously established in TNG Seasons 6 and 7.
DS9 Season 7 introduced a new, unspecified Tal Shiar rank insignia worn in "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges" – consisting of a new burr pin with two crescent pins worn in the reverse position – and was worn by the Chairman of the Tal Shiar. The same season, both "When It Rains..." and "The Dogs of War" featured the insignia for a general, which actually had one less crescent than a commander wore. Of note, General Velal was previously referenced as a sub-commander, which would explain the seemingly lower representation in rank insignia, but also matched neither of the previously established sub-commander insignias.

Reman uniforms

Standard uniform

A Reman officer serving aboard the Scimitar in 2379

Resembling (if not identical to) their 22nd century counterparts, the uniforms worn by Reman soldiers in the service of the Romulan Star Empire were radically different from those worn by the Reman's Romulan overlords.

The standard duty uniform worn by those Remans serving aboard starships – including the renegade Shinzon's vessel, the Scimitar – consisted of a tight-fitting, rubber-like jumpsuit. Dark-purple in color, these uniforms possessed a colorful, iridescent sheen.

Adorned with gold piping and dark, metallic-purple accents, the Reman duty uniform featured a high collar and broad, up-swept shoulders. The uniform was also heavily armored, ribbed on the sleeves, sides and legs. (Star Trek Nemesis)

While its purpose was never directly stated, this Reman duty uniform was worn by the bridge crew of the Scimitar, indicating its use by those Remans serving in starship operations or, at least, in less action-oriented roles.

Combat uniform

The Reman Viceroy

In addition to the standard Reman duty uniform, two additional, more heavily-armored, variants also existed.

Lower-ranking Remans taking part in battle or tactical situations wore a uniform which featured a heavy breastplate structure not present in the standard duty uniform. Also present on the uniform was a holster for easy access to the wearer's sidearm. Retaining the same structure, style and coloration of the standard uniform, this combat-style uniform was also supplemented by a more elaborate counterpart.

For senior-ranking Reman officers, there was a more intricately-decorated combat uniform, featuring a highly-detailed vest with heavy shapes on the chest and back, and a long, cape-like coat.

Intended to set them apart from the Reman minions, the uniforms worn by Shinzon and his Reman Viceroy were designed by Bob Ringwood. "I went to insects for inspiration for the Reman world. The exoskeletal look. Although soft, it looks very armored on screen, very metallic. It's plastic, but completely dyed and painted to get that oil-on-water look... that iridescence, like butterflies and beetles have... I used Napoleon as inspiration, and got into this spacey quality... it has an early 19th century feel, a sleeveless coat with armored sleeves." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 142, p. 43)

Surgical scrubs

Two Reman doctors

Far less ostentatious than other observed Reman uniforms, Reman medical doctors and surgeons wore white, plastic-like operating scrubs and purple gloves and masks. Consisting of long, medical smocks and pants, these scrubs were distinguished only by several dark lines running vertically down the chest and sleeves.

All of the uniforms worn by the Remans in Star Trek Nemesis raise questions as to their origins. While it is possible the Reman attire was created by the Remans themselves as they rose up against their Romulan masters, it seems likely they were provided by the Romulans. Indeed, the appearance of the Remans and their identical (or similar) uniforms in Star Trek: Enterprise, seems to suggest that the Romulans had a hand in Reman uniform design.

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