Starfleet uniforms are the uniforms worn for the purpose of displaying membership in the Federation Starfleet (and the earlier Starfleet of Earth). These uniforms facilitate Starfleet wearers' needs as scientists and researchers. They are also adapted for Starfleet's sometime military role, displaying rank insignia and position as a form of non-verbal communication of authority and purpose between personnel. The uniforms are designed for comfort even in the most extreme environments. (DS9: "Let He Who Is Without Sin...")
Throughout the 2140s and 2150s, Earth Starfleet duty uniforms consisted of a navy blue jumpsuit with piping around the shoulder denoting division, coded by color. The breast carried rank insignia in the form of square pips. An assignment patch was located on the shoulder. Uniform caps were also issued for wear. Excursion jackets were issued, in a variety of colors and materials but maintaining the division color stripes and uniform patches. Excursion jumpsuits were also issued, in beige, with rank insignia attached at the collar.
By 2161, a few minor changes were made. On the left arm, the uniform had the ship's emblem and the Starfleet emblem on the right arm. The uniform also had the individual's name on the left breast of the jumpsuit.
The divisions displayed the following color code:
In addition to duty uniforms, Earth Starfleet also had "Service Uniforms" and "Dress Uniforms". The Service Uniforms, worn with a necktie, resemble the current service uniforms worn by the US Air Force. The Dress Uniforms are similar but have a mandarin collar rather than a necktie.
- The duty uniform was first seen in "Broken Bow," and used for the entirety of Star Trek: Enterprise. Note that these jumpsuits strongly resemble the flight suits worn by US and NATO military aviation and missile personnel in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Blue flight suits were usually worn by US special mission and missile crews, rather than the usual green flight suits. Zephram Cochrane and the mission crew of the warpship Phoenix also wore blue military flight suits during their historic mission.
- During the second season, "new" uniforms were introduced, dyed a slightly lighter blue. Initially worn only by the regular cast members, the uniforms were eventually used by the entire crew (though some background performers could still be seen wearing the older, darker version through the run of the series).
The Federation Starfleet uniforms worn throughout the 2250s until 2265 consisted of black trousers and a division color top, following the below color code. Women's uniform style had a larger open collar. The previous Earth Starfleet style of wearing a patch based on assignment continued, but the patch was moved to the chest. Rank was displayed by sleeve stripes. Work coveralls, with assignment patch embroidered on the breast, were issued in all division colors. There was a dress jacket, of division color edged with gold braid, with braided epaulets, that could be worn with a uniform hat. An excursion jacket, in gray, was also part of this issue. (TOS: "The Cage," "Where No Man Has Gone Before")
- While this uniform was in use only for the first two Star Trek episodes, it would be seen again on the Antares crew in "Charlie X" and again in the Deep Space Station K-7 bar scene of "The Trouble with Tribbles." The captain's uniform hat was never worn, but was seen in Pike's quarters. It was originally created as Robert April's officer cap mentioned in an earlier version of the script of "The Cage."
In 2265, the uniforms were modified slightly, with a new black collar and replacing beige operations uniforms with red. Assignment patches were located on the chest and rank was indicated by sleeve stripes. Women's uniforms had an open collar that closed at their assignment patch, and there was an optional skirt uniform, which is the style most of the female crewmembers chose to wear. There were also variant wraparound tunics worn, in light green for the command division. These two uniforms had rank on the right shoulder, or on both sleeves, and displayed the assignment patch at the belt fastener. Everyday work jumpsuits were also worn, in all division colors, usually with no assignment or rank patches visible. A vest, seen in beige, was also in issue for excursions or technical personnel. These uniforms were worn until 2270, with the following color code:
- gold – command division
- green - Variant command division wraparound, also in jumpsuits
- Although the standard command division uniform tunics looked gold on most color TV sets, the costumes were actually lime green. The greenish hue of the command tunics can be seen more clearly in the third season, when the fabric used for the tunics was changed from satin velour to a double-knit fabric that reflected the set lighting differently.
- red – operations division
- beige - Some officers persisted wearing beige uniforms left over from the previous style, however at least two "modern" (black-collared) beige uniforms were seen in this era, suggesting a possible variant.
- blue – sciences division
- gray - cadet (the gray cadet uniform was still in issue, seen again in the bar scene of "The Trouble with Tribbles".)
- These uniforms first appeared in "The Corbomite Maneuver." Kirk's wraparound jacket was light green, one variation (in "Charlie X") with captain's braid on one shoulder, another variation (TOS Season 2) with black trim and rank on the sleeves. No other officer was ever seen wearing this uniform, although one more green uniform was used, a green service jumpsuit worn by Connors.
- With one exception, all women in these uniforms wore the skirt variant. One uniform seen on extras in TOS Season 1 was a woman's gold command uniform with pants. It was created for a scene in "Charlie X" where a pretty crewwoman was transformed into an old hag, who might not have looked appropriate in a skirt uniform.
- This uniform style was last seen in "Turnabout Intruder," although it was later recreated for DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations" and ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly."
In the early 2270s, a new uniform design was introduced, with many different varieties. Most were gray, white, brown or beige, and came either in a one-piece jumpsuit or with matching trousers and tops. These uniforms bore rank insignia on the sleeve or on shoulder tabs. The Enterprise arrowhead emblem was adopted as Starfleet's insignia and was now worn on the chest by ship board personel and flag officers. Base personel, like those on Epsilon 9, continued to wear duty badges unique to their assigned base. Distinctive features of this period included a life support monitor belt bucket and shoes attached the trousers. These uniforms indicated department by a colored circle behind the mission patch, according to this color code:
- White – command division
- Red – operations division, engineering and maintainance branches
- Gold – operations division, helm, communications and navigation branches
- Gray – operations division, security and services branches
- Orange – sciences division, scientific research and technical branches
- Green – sciences division, medical branch
- These uniforms were seen in Star Trek: The Motion Picture only. Parts were recycled into the crew jumpsuits seen in later films and the lab coats of the Regula personel in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan.
Later in the 2270s, uniforms were radically changed. The new officer uniforms had black trousers and asymmetrical red tunics worn over a turtlenecked undershirt - Undershirt, pants stripe, shoulder and left sleeve strap in division colors. An optional skirt was available for female officers. Enlisted crew wore crimson and tan jumpsuits with black undershirts (red for trainees), with division color appearing on shoulder tabs and strap on the left sleeve.
Uniforms worn from this period to the mid-2350s used this color code:
- White – command division Flag officer pants stripe and tunic trimmed in gold.
- Gold – operations division, helm and engineering branches
- Gray – operations division, communications and navigation branches; also sciences division, scientific research and technical branches
- Dark Green – operations division, security branch
- Light Green – sciences division, medical branch
- Red – cadets, trainees and junior officers
- Dark Blue – soldiers
- Light Blue – special services
Around this period, Starfleet abandoned the practice of using individual insignia for each mission or ship. From this point on, all Starfleet personnel wore the "arrowhead" insignia previously used by the crew of the USS Enterprise. The uniforms of this period bore the new Starfleet insignia on a brass-colored pin worn on the breast; officers wore the insignia with a round-ended rectangular shield backing it. New rank insignia, with individual symbols for each rank, were also introduced, and were worn on the clasp and left wrist of the tunics.
- In addition to lacking belts, "Yesterday's Enterprise" (TNG) had the undershirts no longer being visible over the collar of the uniforms, so it is not clear if they were still in use. The shoulder strap and wristband still displayed the division color, however.
- This uniform style was first seen in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Its earliest chronological appearance is on the crew of the USS Bozeman in TNG: "Cause and Effect" (2278). Its latest chronological appearance is in the holographic message Jack Crusher recorded for his son Wesley in 2349 in "Family", where a TNG-style communication badge was used because the art department had no contemporary available. The previous uniform insignia was in fact used as a communications badge, however, as evidenced by Richard Castillo of the USS Enterprise-C, although since the "flip" communicators were still in use as of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, it's likely that that insignia was later modified to be used as a communicator, and that it didn't always have that capability.
In the early 2350s, the uniforms underwent another radical redesign, reminiscent of the mid-23rd century uniforms. They consisted of a tight-fitting jumpsuit, mostly of black, with the chest area and shoulder piping in the appropriate division color:
- William Ware Theiss, the designer of these costumes, referred to the colors as wine, mustard, and teal.
The rank insignia was also simplified from differently shaped symbols to smaller circular pips, either in gold or black (to signify partial rank). The communicator was now worn as a pin called the combadge on the breast of the uniform; at this time the combadge was in the shape of the Starfleet arrowhead, with an oval background.
There was an optional skirt uniform for both men and women.
- This uniform style was first seen in TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint." Its earliest chronological appearance is in Beverly Crusher's memory of viewing her husband's body with Jean-Luc Picard in 2354 (TNG: "Violations"). The crew of Stargazer is also wearing these uniforms in 2355. TNG: "The Battle" This uniform style was last seen in TNG: "Shades of Gray," although it can be seen on extras and background personnel until TNG Season 4, when the jumpsuits were finally altered with the new top. However, ENT: "These Are the Voyages..." establishes that these uniforms were worn by some personnel as late as 2370 (although the image in which this can be seen is clearly archive material from the TNG series).
In 2366, the look of the uniform was modified slightly. The shoulder piping was removed, and the collar was raised. The jumpsuit was replaced with black trousers and a looser fitting top. The same division color codes were kept. This modification was introduced gradually, starting with senior officers.
Starfleet cadets at this time wore black jumpsuits with a solid shoulder area in division colors. In place of rank insignia, the pips on a cadet's collar indicated his or her class at the Academy. (TNG: "Allegiance," "The First Duty")
A variant suede jacket was issued in command red, with quilted black shoulders that had vertical stitching on the shoulders; this was worn over a gray undershirt with black shoulders. Rank insignia were worn on the collar of the undershirt. When Captain Picard was turned into a child by a transporter accident, he wore a similar jacket, but it did not have quilted shoulders, and he simply wore a black round-necked shirt under it. (TNG: "Rascals")
Another uniform variant was also in use around 2369. This variant was all in black, with only the shoulders in the division color. The collar of the jacket was usually worn open, revealing a gray turtleneck undershirt which held the rank insignia. Again, the same division color codes were kept.
This uniform variant was used on space stations (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) and on starships, either replacing the previous uniform style (Star Trek: Voyager) or in conjunction with it. Some officers regularly switched between the two variants (Star Trek: Generations). It was also in use by some personnel on Earth (VOY: "Non Sequitur"), although the majority of Starfleet Command personnel wore the standard uniform (DS9: "Paradise Lost").
- This variant was first seen in DS9: "Emissary," and was used on that series until "The Ascent". Star Trek: Voyager used it throughout its run.
In 2371, the shape of the combadge was altered. The new combadges had a slightly rounded rectangle instead of an oval behind the Starfleet arrowhead.
- The new combadge was first seen in DS9: "The Search, Part I", followed by Star Trek: Generations and Star Trek: Voyager.
In 2373 the uniform was again modified, maintaining the same basic shape and division colors, but swapping the colors on the shoulders and turtleneck. The gray shoulder area was now quilted with vertical stitches. The division colors were also displayed on each wrist as a colored hoop. Cadets wore a uniform almost identical to the variant worn until 2373, except the black was replaced with a light gray. Cadets with special distinctions (such as Red Squad) wore the emblem on the collar opposite the rank insignia.
- This uniform style was created for Star Trek: First Contact, and was first seen on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in the episode "Rapture". The crew on Star Trek: Voyager continued to use the previous uniform style, but beginning with "Message in a Bottle" all Starfleet personnel from the Alpha Quadrant were seen to wear the gray and black uniform.
A variant uniform was worn by some Starfleet Captains such as Jean-Luc Picard. The turtleneck undershirt was still worn but in place of the top was a waistcoat-like garment. The style of the waistcoat was similar to that of the regular top although the quilted shoulder region now extended to the lower chest/upper abdomen and the frontal neck of the "Captain's waistcoat" was open to the line of the combadge.
- The "Captain's waistcoat" was worn by Captain Picard in Star Trek: First Contact and by Captain Sisko in "Rapture". It was also worn by Section 31 operative Luther Sloan when posing as a deputy director in DS9: "Inquisition".
Uniforms of alternate futures
Several alternate futures have depicted Starfleet uniforms in the 2390s and early 25th century. In most of these, the uniforms were composed of a short tunic in division colors, worn with high-waisted black trousers. The tunic had asymmetric lines reminiscent of the maroon uniforms of the previous century; it also had a black line across the chest.
- These uniforms were first seen in the anti-time future 2395 in TNG: "All Good Things...." They were also used for the alternate futures seen in DS9: "The Visitor" (2422) and in VOY: "Endgame" (2404), but were not used in the alternate 2390 in VOY: "Timeless," though it utilized a future combadge, so presumably if they are adopted in the "real" timeline it will happen between 2390 and 2395.
Different uniforms were worn for circumstances other than general service. For example, dress uniforms were worn for diplomatic functions. The dress uniforms used from the 2350s to 2374 were long tunics in division colors, with black shoulder bands, worn over black trousers. In 2375, a new white dress uniform was introduced.
- See the dress uniform article for more information.
Notes and References
The Starfleet uniforms worn during Star Trek: The Original Series were designed by William Ware Theiss, who returned to design the Star Trek: The Next Generation uniforms (which were further adapted into future versions on DS9, VOY and the TNG-era films by Robert Blackman). Robert Fletcher designed the uniforms seen throughout the movies, with later new designs provided by Nilo Rodis.