More Than Red Shirts: Ranking The Star Trek Uniforms
Star Trekchanges in each of its incarnations. Different ships, new alien races, and updated technology shift as fashion and design change. This includes Starfleet uniforms.
From the first Star Trek to Discovery, what Starfleet members wear shifts. Sometimes, it does so after a few years. Other times, a uniform is so right that it lasts for decades - and of course, each has their appeal for the fans... and elements that Trekkies hate. To understand what we mean, here's a ranked list of Star Trek uniforms through the years.
11 Star Trek: Discovery
We have a pair of different styles in Star Trek: Discoveryand one is better than the other. The one worn by Captain Pike and his Enterprise crew works well. It combines various styles from the first series as well as the Kelvin Timeline.
Conversely, the uniforms of the Discovery's crew are quite plain. It seems they took the designs from the Star Trek: Enterprise jumpsuits and just stripped them down.
10 Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Speaking about lack of color, let's turn to the uniforms from Star Trek: The Motion Picture. No one liked them. Not movie-goers, not the cast, and not the show's creative staff. They look like hospital scrubs with belt buckles.
We're especially curious about Kirk's uniforms. He had had three outfits to choose from. Yet, the captain isn't a clothes horse. Luckily, ST: TMP costume designer Robert Fletcher cleared his head when he designed the uniforms for Wrath of Kahn.
9 Star Trek: Enterprise
The outfits worn by the crew of the first Enterprisemake sense. This version of the starship is raw, so their uniforms need to be more utilitarian. Snaps and buckles get caught when you're working on warp coils.
What's interesting is these uniforms didn't change in the decade the original Enterprise was in service. As seen in the show's last episode, they didn't come any closer to the designs of the original series.
8 Star Trek: Kelvin Timeline
It took three movies to tweak the uniforms worn by the Enterprise crew in the Kelvin timeline. It's okay, because the upgrade was a nice change. In Star Trek and Into Darkness, the crew uniforms seemed nothing more than ribbed polyester tunics. While they probably wicked away water, they didn't have much to them.
In Star Trek: Beyond, the uniforms were more substantial. They look like those worn in the original series with a nod toward the higher collars of The Next Generation.
7 Star Trek: Picard
Back to where they started... sort of. When The Next Generation premiered, fans were temporarily confused about the command structure. Red represented command while yellow was relegated to security and engineering. They got used to that as well as the uniforms crew members constantly pulled down after sitting for a long period.
A few incarnations later, and Starfleet has returned to the design utilized in the late 24th century. The reverse color scheme used in Star Trek: Picard works well with the collarless tunic. Unfortunately, due to the lack of said collar, the command pips have to go across the shoulders.
6 Star Trek: Mirror Universe
In this example, we look at uniforms worn by the original crew in "Mirror, Mirror." Though other shows in the franchise also tapped into the Mirror Universe, their uniforms were either too similar or not worn at all.
In "Mirror, Mirror" the biggest change is with Kirk's tunic. Being a person who ruthlessly made his way up the command chain, the design is just right for someone with a conquer's attitude. The gold sashes are also a nice touch to distinguish differences in the Mirror Universe.
5 Star Trek: DS9 and Voyager
How do you describe the jumpsuits worn by the crews of Deep Space Nine and Voyager? A proper transition into the ones introduced in First Contact. Still, not sure why Star Trek producers went for the change.
It makes sense for the DS9 s crew. They constantly dig around the space station's innards. But why for an advanced starship like Voyager? They're the equivalent of the shipboard work outfits of the U.S. Navy.
4 The Next Generation: All Good Things
Displayed in the last episodes of The Next Generationand Voyager, the high-waisted uniform calls back to the broad-shoulder outfit worn from season three on of TNG. Though the command version doesn't feel quite right, the yellow of engineering and blue of life have a pleasant feel.
It's possible Picard's producers created a variation of this uniform for their series. It places the command pips in the same location and has a trim that separates the shoulders from the rest of the tunic. We're not sure if it was part of the regular timeline at some point or used in an alternate future.
3 The Next Generation: Movies VIII - X
After the confusion of Star Trek: Generations, costume designers put together a nifty outfit that carried on through the rest of the Next Generation movies. It even seeped into Deep Space Nine and Voyager.
With darker times came darker uniforms. When First Contact came out in 1996, the United Federation of Planets was between skirmishes with Klingons who broke the Khitomer Accords and an imminent war with the Dominion. It makes sense Starfleet would make a change that looked militaristic.
2 Star Trek: The Next Generation
This is broken up into two eras. The first one, which lasted two seasons, featured uniforms that didn't seem too comfortable for the Enterprise crew. They were too tight. Though viewers couldn't tell, they seemed itchy.
Things got better from season three until the end of the show. Using the same design, the uniforms were styled to look more professional. Even though Picard and Riker had to pull down their tunics 50 times a day, at least they could walk the Enterprise corridors without chafing.
1 Star Trek: Movies II - VI
The classic design came about after Robert Fletcher's uniform for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Its design lasted long past the original crew of the Enterprise flew their last mission. Several episodes of Next Generation revealed the tunic minus the turtleneck lasted past the destruction of the Enterprise-C and into Picard's early years.
On top of the fine uniform design, Fletcher and his team finally made an environmental jacket that made sense. It matched the outfit's color scheme and seemed to be designed for all types of climate.