Star Trek Guide

Star Trek TNG: 10 Hidden Details About The Costumes You Didn’t Notice

Some things about Star Trek: The Next Generationare unforgettable, including the customing. Women could wear the pantsuit too, and wearing red didn't mean a character was marked for death. The show tried some new designs that didn't work out. Remember the man-skirts, also known as "skants," from the earliest episodes? There's something Paramount wants you to forget. Well, it was the '90s. Never mind that Gene Roddenberry had some weird ideas when it came to fashion in the future.

What about the small things that we didn't notice? The following is a list of the features or details of the Star Trek: TNG uniforms and costumes that you didn't notice because you were mesmerized by Beverly Crusher's shoulder pads, Riker's chest hair, or Deanna's Troi's deep V-neck pantsuit.

10 Colour Changes

The color palettes of TNG were different from Star Trek: The Original Series in a lot of ways, with muted maroon and teal making up most of the scheme as opposed to the much brighter primary hues of the old series. Even the reds were taken down a few notches to a much darker tone.

This was a major change but unless you were familiar with the original show, and even if you were, it might have slipped under the radar. These changes applied to virtually all the costumes, with bright colors reserved for specific characters. Deanna Troi wears purple on a regular basis while very few others ever do. The very first episode, where Q's clothing as a judge is a bright red set against black, is an example.

9 One Piece, Two Piece

The updated uniforms for our intrepid explorers went through a few changes, some obvious, others subtle. Did you notice how the one-piece jumpsuits from Season 1 and 2 changed to a two-piece uniform in Season 3? The actors were uncomfortable in the spandex jumpsuits. The costumes were deliberately fitted to be a size too small, intended to streamline the actor's body.

Even Patrick Stewart's chiropractor didn't like them. The costuming department made a more comfortable alternative, but the jumpsuits never went away. You'll still catch some extras wearing them in later seasons if you keep an eye out.

8 Officer Ranks and Insignias

You might have noticed those three gold buttons that officers have on their lapels. Someone with a naval or military background probably understands the important underlying meaning of this small detail. These buttons are actually called "pips."

In the case of Starfleet officers, the number of gold pips denoted their role in the hierarchy of leadership. For Cadets, they mimic the ranks used for Lieutenants in the United States Army. This was used for the first time in TNG and continued into Voyager and Deep Space 9.

7 Rata, Tafar, and Tapan

Vulcan attire seems plain at first, which goes along with their generally modest aesthetic, but you'll notice there's more to the patterns if you take a closer look. The use of certain sacred letters on Vulcan clothing started in earnest with the Star Trek films and continued into TNG. 

The meaning of these symbols is still fairly secretive, but we know that they are the Vulcan words Rata, Tafar and Tapan. They represent concept, mental discipline, and the cerebral process, and are written in vertical lines on robes, shrouds and other types of Vulcan clothing. Malat, the word that means nature, is sometimes included.

6 Gemstones and Triangles

Certain symbols and shapes recur in ritual clothing from Vulcan well beyond what we know about the three main sacred symbols. These include triangles, gemstones, and unique attire never seen outside of sacred Vulcan rituals.

At the end of Star Trek: The Search for Spock, most of the robes worn in this scene are mostly either unmarked or decorated with an equilateral triangle, with some subtle exceptions. In TNG, Vulcan clothing often includes large gemstones, sometimes with the sacred letters that represent any or all of the letters for Malat, Rata, Tafar, and Tapan.

5 Fictional Boobage

Oh, so we're calling ourselves "woke" because men can wear skirts and women can be in charge of security? Then what's with all those padded bras, complete with seamless cups, that are required in every woman's costume?

Sorry to break your hearts fellas, especially you, Riker, but almost all of that cleavage was fake. This is nothing new, the practice had been going on since The Original Series. That is, until Captain Janeway showed up. Local Hollywood legend has it that Kate Mulgrew famously ripped her padded bra out of her uniform and threw it on the producer's desk, flat-out refusing to wear it. You go, girl!

4 Klingon Fashion

As their alliances changed, so did their clothing. The details of Klingon attire shifted dramatically between The Original Series and The Next Generation. That clunky gold Klingon Baldric was so overwhelming it drew your eye and obscured any other details.

Apparently, even actor Michael Dorn wasn't fond of the original design, as a Klingon might want something more rustic, and the costuming department agreed with him. By Season 2, in a change you probably missed, the Baldric was made out of a series of bicycle chains to make it look more Klingon and less Federation.

3 Smoking Accessories

This is more about the accessories for costumes, which can be as important as the costumes themselves. In a move that seems to contradict how modern and politically correct TNG was trying tobe, take note of how often we see someone smoking.

Whoopi Goldberg's recurring character, Guinan, was often seen smoking a cigarette. Data as Sherlock Holmes, or sometimes not as Sherlock Holmes, smoked the iconic pipe. Once you notice this, it's impossible to forget, and you'll be surprised at how often it happens.

2 The Combadges

It's more than a convenient way for Starfleet to find you. The badge each character wears has a specific design and meaning, and it's an essential part of your uniform. You know that stuff just got real when someone removed a combadge, making it a convenient plot device on top of everything else.

Somewhere between TOS and later episodes of TNG, there was a small design change. The combadges of later Star Trek shows, like TNG and Deep Space 9, have a more pronounced Starfleet "V" shape with a circle in the background, as opposed to the square design used on Star Trek: Voyager and later episodes of Deep Space 9.

1 Geordi's Visor

When Geordi Laforge is first examined by Doctor Crusher, they are discussing remedies for the constant pain he's in because of his visor. You had no idea since LaVaar Burton is a talented actor, but he really was in a lot of pain because of that thing.

It was an essential part of his costume, too, so there were few alternatives. When it was replaced by a heavier one that required actual screws, things got even worse. We know that actors are often coached to use discomfort or pain to their advantage, but this is too on the nose, or maybe we should say, on the head.