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Starfleet uniform (late 2270s-2350s)

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James T. Kirk and crew face Federation Council
Officer uniforms in 2286

The Starfleet uniform of the late 2270s through the 2350s represented a radical change from older uniform designs. Around this period, Starfleet abandoned the practice of using individual insignia for each mission or starship. From this point on, all Starfleet personnel wore the "arrowhead" insignia previously used by the crew of the USS Enterprise and the USS Kelvin. 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. This uniform style was phased out in the 2350s after undergoing several minor changes.

Officer uniform

Late 2270s to 2290s

By 2278, the officer uniform sported black trousers and a double-breasted red jacket worn over a turtlenecked undershirt. The undershirt, along with stripes on the pants, shoulder, and left sleeve had distinctive division colors. The jacket closed by a clasp at the right shoulder and a sealing mechanism that ran along the black stripe. This allowed the wearer to have a more relaxed appearance and likely allowed more circulation of air. An optional skirt was available for female officers. (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, TNG: "Cause and Effect")

2290s

Starfleet vest, 2293
The uniform vest

By 2293, a vest could be worn over the undershirt and below the jacket. (Star Trek Generations)

While not seen until circa 2293, the vest could have been an option the whole time, as evidenced by the excursion and engineer's vests, since jackets were rarely seen open enough to the point where the vest would have been readily visible.


2320s

Ian Andrew Troi
Crewneck collars

By 2327, the ribbed collars of the division color undershirts were replaced by shorter "crewneck"-style collars. (TNG: "Tapestry", "Dark Page")

2340s

By 2344, the belts and undershirts were no longer in use, and the uniform insignia doubled as a combadge. The combadge was redesigned by 2348. (TNG: "Yesterday's Enterprise", "Family")

Flag officer uniform

Flag officers with service ribbons
Admirals wearing service ribbons

Flag officer uniforms were the same as the officers uniform, except that the pants stripe and tunic were trimmed in gold.

In the 2280s, flag officers who were part of the Federation Council wore stylized pins centered on the breast of their jacket. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

In the 2290s, flag officers wore service ribbons on the left breast of the jacket, below the Starfleet insignia. These ribbons varied in color and position, and likely indicated different commendations and awards received by the officers for their service in Starfleet. (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Star Trek Generations)

It is possible that these ribbons are worn during special occasions such as meetings and are some sort of equivalent of a dress uniform.


Excursion jacket

Like the excursion jackets of 2150s and 2250s, Starfleet issued a version in the 2270s that sported a large ribbed collar and several external pockets. The rank insignia was worn above the left cuff, and a patch of Earth's solar system and departmental color stripe was attached to the left shoulder. This jacket was worn in combination with an excursion vest over the turtleneck undershirt during away missions, and was issued by Starfleet. (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan; Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)

Away-mission jackets
According to Mr. Scott's Guide to the Enterprise, there was a matchbox-sized emergency transponder above the left breast under the Starfleet insignia.


Bomber jacket

Harry Morrow
Fleet Admiral Harry Morrow wearing a bomber jacket

In keeping with the Starfleet practice of allowing officers of command rank to wear a less formal variant of the uniform, starting in the late 2270s command officers were given the option of wearing a suede leather bomber jacket version of the uniform. This was worn over the department color turtle neck. (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)

Engineering attire

Engineer's vest

Scott engineers vest
Captain Scott wearing an engineer's vest

Starfleet also allowed its engineers to wear a vest with pockets to hold various engineering instruments. It was worn over the standard undershirt. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; TNG: "Relics")

There is some confusion regarding Scotty's undershirt color. When he wears his engineering vest, he wears a command division white shirt, presumably because he holds the rank of captain. However, when wearing his standard duty jacket, his undershirt is engineering gold.


Engineering suit

Starfleet engineering suits
Engineering suits with helmet
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The engineering suit was created to allow extravehicular movement in the vacuum of space. This could be used to repair damage, or to complete maintenance on the outside of a ship or starbase. These suits were supplied with their own oxygen supply and artificial gravity units. In the 2270's, these suits were white in color.

Protective suit

Enterprise crewman in a protective suit, 2285
A crew member in a protective suit


Utility uniform

Enlisted crew closeup
An enlisted trainee and an enlisted crew member

Enlisted crew wore crimson and tan utility jumpsuits with black undershirts (red for trainees), with division color appearing on shoulder tabs and strap on the left sleeve. (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Star Trek Generations, VOY: "Flashback")

Medical attire

Type A

Starfleet doctor's attire, 2285
Dr. McCoy in his medical uniform

A holdover from the last uniform design, this white uniform was worn by medical staff. Consisting of a white wide collared shirt worn over the division undershirt, it was worn with white pants and boots. While still sporting the division color shoulder tabs where rank was displayed on the last version of the uniform, the only rank insignia was now displayed on the above the left cuff, where a division color strap was added. The left breast now sported a different medical symbol when compared to the previous version. (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

Type B

Starfleet nursing attire, 2285
Two nurses

This version was mostly similar to the Type-A version, except for the lack of a collar on the shirt itself. (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

Services uniform

Type A

Officers lounge waiter
Starfleet waiter, 2285
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Type B

Unnamed Enterprise crewmen, 2293
Starfleet waiters, 2293
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Security uniform

Type A

Security guard tuc 1
Security guard with armor (without helmet), in 2293

Security officers continued to wear the body armor introduced in the early-2270s. This armor was worn over a specialized uniform consisting of a red shirt, pants, and red and black boots. The red shirt was worn over the dark green security colored undershirt, and sported the colored strap near the left cuff. The pants had the standard division colored strip running down the sides, but were much tighter near the boots when compared to the standard black pants. (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)

The security armor was apparently phased out sometime after 2293, which marked the last time they appeared on screen.


Type B

Gary Faga, prison guard
Security guard, 2285
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The spacedock prison guards wear blue-gray uniforms, white utility belts and white caps. (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)

Field uniform

For field operations on a planetary surface, the USS Enterprise-A's strike team donned special field uniforms. Most field uniforms were tan in color, but Captain James T. Kirk's was charcoal gray. A ribbed shirt replaced the jacket worn over the department colored turtleneck. This shirt retained the department colored left sleeve strap, but lacked the right shoulder strap as both shoulders had a large area made of a different material. Officers wore their Starfleet insignia belts, while crewmen worn the uniform without one. The pants were the same color as the shirt with division colored piping running down the side. Unlike the standard uniform, the pants were not tucked into the boots. The uniform could also be equipped with a two-strapped backpack with optional utility belt combo. (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)

Athletic attire

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Starfleet athletic wear, 2280s
Athletic attire in 2285


Other uniform features

Officers serving as a captain's or admiral's yeoman would wear an honor "cord" on the left shoulder.

In 2285, on officer's uniforms, the cord itself was somewhat textured and worn with a red epaulette that the cord attached to, encircling the left shoulder. On the utility uniform, the cord was plainer and could be worn attached to a boatswain's whistle. (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)

By 2287, the epaulette had been removed on officer uniforms, and the cord, which was the plainer version, was attached directly to left arm material at the shoulder, as well as at the belt after looping down to the waist. (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)


Department colors

The Dark Blue undershirt seen with the field uniform was never fully explained, and was only seen on members of the Enterprise-A's strike team. Chekov used the term "Federation forces" while Kirk used "Federation soldiers." Chekov was speaking in a more formal setting though, so his term is used.

Rank insignia

Able Seamanf
Crewman
PO2C
Petty officer second class*
PO1C
Petty officer first class*
CPOflans44
Chief petty officer
SCPOflans44
Senior chief petty officer
MCPOflans44
Master chief petty officer
Ensignflans44
Ensign
Lt jgflans44
Lieutenant junior grade
Lta
Lieutenant
Lt Comm
Lieutenant commander
Commanderflans44
Commander
Captainflans44
Captain
Commodoreflans44
Mov cdore-sleeve
COMM
Commodore
Rear Admiral flans44
Mov radm-sleeve
RADM
Rear admiral
Vice Admiral
Mov vadm-sleeve
VADM
Vice admiral
Admiralflans44
Mov adm-sleeve
ADM
Admiral
Fleet Admiral
Mov fadm-sleeve
FADM
Fleet admiral
 
This chart represents the rank insignia seen on screen throughout these uniforms' appearances. No petty officer rank was seen in close up, and their different marking is taken from production notes and items sold through the It's A Wrap! sale and auction. The full set from the auction can be seen here. Kirk's uniform in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan featured a checkerboard stripe (pictured below) on the sleeve between the division stripe and rank insignia. The significance of this stripe was not explained and it was not seen in later films.

Division band insignia

Kirk Pips and squeaks
Pips and squeaks.

Like the navies of Earth during the 20th Century, uniforms of this era used insignia to denote time served in the fleet, as well as commendations and awards. This was done using a series of circular service markers (familiarly called "pips") and oblong commendation markers (familiarly called "squeaks"), worn on the left sleeve division band. A pip symbolised 5 years of service, while a pip with an engraved delta symbolised 10 years of service. A squeak symbolised a starfleet commendation. Service and commendation markers were gold for officers and silver for enlisted personnel, with arrangement at the individual's discretion.

Behind the scenes, the terminology and usage of "pips" and "squeaks" were recorded by Robert Fletcher (Wardrobe Designer) in his notes and sketches. Due to errors in non-canon official sources such as "Mr. Scott's Guide to the Enterprise", it is a common misconception that pips and squeaks denote one and five years of service, respectively.


Appendices

Appearances

Background information

Robert Fletcher designed the uniforms seen throughout the movies, with later new designs provided by Nilo Rodis (which were further adapted into future versions on TNG by Robert Blackman).

In addition to lacking belts, "Yesterday's Enterprise" had crew neck undershirts (instead of the turtleneck-style) that were sometimes not visible over the collar of the uniform jacket. 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 V: The Final Frontier, it's likely that that insignia was later modified to be used as a communicator, and that it didn't always have that capability.

The shirts worn by the members of the Angosian senate were the turtlenecked men's shirts from this era Starfleet officers' uniform. (Star Trek Encyclopedia)

For more information on how the uniforms were created, see Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

Several costume elements, including belts, undershirts, and division strips were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] Several parts and complete versions of the engineer's radiological suit were also sold off [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] as well as a completely blank crewman jumpsuit [20], a petty officer 1st class uniform including black Puma athletic shoes [21], and a flag admiral skirt. [22]

External links

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