Ask any cosplayer: One of the most enduring aspects of Star Trek is the famous Starfleet uniform.
The instantly recognizable color scheme and iconic badge have been adapted for new series, movies and games from The Original Series up to the latest Trek adventures Discovery, Picard and Lower Decks. Check out the many outfits worn by the crew of the Enterprise on their continuing mission to explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and boldly look cooler than anyone has before.
First published Sept. 8, 2016.
Update July 8, 2017: Adds images from Star Trek: Discovery.
Update August 5, 2019: Adds images from Star Trek: Picard and Star Trek: Lower Decks.
Originally conceived by costume designer William Ware Theiss, the colorful pop art outfit debuted in 1966 in The Original Series.
The multicolored uniforms looked great in the luminous cartoon world of The Animated Series.
In a series of Star Trek movies, the crew of the Enterprise adopted maroon tunics for the big screen.
Aboard Deep Space Nine, a darker version of the uniforms reflected the darker stories told in this series.
Prequel series Enterprise showed us an early Starfleet uniform.
Stepping outside of the established TV timeline, a new series of movies sleekly updated the iconic uniforms for a new generation of fans.
Animated comedy Star Trek: Lower Decks will introduce to a side of Starfleet we don't normally see, with a new twist on the uniform.
Let's look at the development of Starfleet's uniform in chronological order. The earliest version appears in prequel series Star Trek: Enterprise, featuring Captain Archer and his crew in flight suits with colored accents presaging The Original Series and shoulder panels like The Next Generation.
Prequel series Discovery is set shortly before The Original Series, and gives the zip-up jumpsuits of Enterprise a more sci-fi twist with metallic side panels and shoulders.
By season two of Discovery, we see a nifty combination of various eras of the uniform.
In 1965, the first pilot episode for The Original Series starred Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Pike, wearing a prototype version of the uniform we know and love.
The pilot episode, The Cage, features colored tunics with ribbed collars.
The womens' tunics boast a stylish pointed collar, and were much less revealing than what would come later.
On away missions, the crew donned special jackets.
Spock and Captain Pike in their blue-grey planet-exploring garb.
For the second pilot the uniform went through some changes. In the episode entitled Where No Man Has Gone Before, William Shatner and Sally Kellerman wear uniforms in the familiar colors but with a different collar.
Although it's tough to see in the series itself, in the pilot you can see the famous "gold" uniforms were actually lime green. They only appeared gold under studio lighting.
When the series proper began in 1966, the familiar black neckline appeared.
The different colors represent the job each crew member does: Blue is worn by science and medical officers, gold by command officers, and red by security and engineering officers.
The colored shirts are paired with black boots and naval-influenced trousers.
Lieutenant Uhura and Nurse Chapel model the rather more daring version of the uniform worn by women crewmembers.
Other lower-ranked crew members wore color-coded jumpsuits.
Yeoman Janice Rand shows off a Starfleet regulation hairdo.
The Enterprise's lethally high turnover of red-garbed security officers gave rise to the expression "red shirt," meaning a minor character who's pretty much doomed.
Series creator Gene Roddenberry believed clothes would have no visible fastening in the future, so the zips are concealed in the shoulder. Initially, the uniforms were made of velour.
For the third series, the costumes were made of nylon fabric similar to baseball uniforms -- because the previous velour versions shrank.
The Animated Series made the gold color official.
The 1979 film Star Trek: The Motion Picture did away with the bold colors of the series, adopting new tunics in shades of grey, beige and white.
The new uniforms didn't prove as popular as the iconic shirts from the series, lasting just one film.
The new uniforms were rather snug.
From 1982's Star Trek: Wrath of Khan onward, designer Robert Fletcher put the original crew in tunics that evoked Starfleet's naval tradition, including bell-bottom trousers.
The differing colors for different departments returned on the wrist and shoulder straps, and an undershirt.
The film also saw some warm jackets for away missions.
In 1987 The Next Generation began with the crew in form-fitting spandex jumpsuits. The colors return, but this time it's command wearing red, engineering and security in mustard, and science and medicine once again in blue.
Unfortunately the futuristic-looking outfits gave some cast members backache, so the spandex only lasted two seasons.
For the third series, Mister Worf and his crew mates donned more relaxed wool gabardine tunics, designed by Robert Blackman.
After the switch to the new uniforms in The Next Generation, lesser crewmembers were sometimes glimpsed in the older outfits. Their poor backs.
In 1993 Captain Sisko and the crew of Deep Space Nine adopted a black uniform with colored shoulders, previously seen in The Next Generation as the uniform of Starfleet Academy.
From 1995, Captain Janeway and the crew of Voyager wore the black uniforms.
Lost in the Delta Quadrant, the Voyager crew didn't keep up with the latest fashion and so didn't make the switch to the grey-shouldered uniform.
When The Next Generation crew made the leap to the big screen, they donned a new uniform with grey shoulders. The department colors are seen on the undershirt and the rank stripes on the wrist.
Star Trek: Lower Decks follows the escapades of junior officers Starfleet officers aboard the USS Cerritos, wearing a new take on the Next Generation uniform.
Lower Decks is set in 2380, a year after the Next Generation crew's final mission, Star Trek: Nemesis. It seems Starfleet has ditched the black and grey for a return to bright colors, perfect for the palette of a cartoon.
The Lower Decks uniform includes a simplified badge, a line of silver piping and a point at the bottom. The folding front harks back to the movie tunic.
In Deep Space Nine's fifth season, the DS9 crew switched to the uniform worn by the Enterprise crew in the movies.
Star Trek: Picard sees a return for the beloved Next Generation captain. He's long left Starfleet behind so he isn't wearing a uniform, although those shoulders look pretty familiar. Picard streams on CBS All Access in the US and Amazon Prime Video elsewhere.
The show features flashbacks to Picard's final days in Starfleet, when TNG-style coloured shoulders were given a striking striped flourish.
In the show's present day, the more streamlined shoulders have returned, but with a new collar.
Sometimes our heroes are seen in alternative uniforms.
Captain Kirk occasionally wears a green tunic.
Captain Picard got his own version of the Captain's uniform with this blue tunic and red jacket.
Throughout the movies, the captains wear different variations on the captain's vest.
Doctor McCoy gets in on the action with his medical smock.
Captain Kirk gives a martial arts lesson, complete with Starfleet-issue uniform.
Mister Spock models a spacesuit.
The Discovery crew in a modern take on the spacesuit.
For special occasions, the crew don Starfleet dress uniforms.
A fancy Captain Kirk meets the villainous Khan while wearing his dress uniform.
The dress uniform appeared in different forms throughout The Next Generation. Here's the version worn by the crew for a wedding in the 2002 movie Star Trek: Nemesis.
Counsellor Troi got to wear her own clothes throughout The Next Generation. Troi eventually started wearing the official uniform in later seasons, but she wasn't the only character to appear in their own gear.
Child prodigy Wesley Crusher wasn't officially a Starfleet officer, so he wore an outfit that hinted at the uniform style.
Another youngster in the series, Deep Space Nine's Jake Sisko, got to show off much jazzier duds.
DS9 was crewed by a mix of Starfleet and Bajoran officers -- including Major Kira, seen here in her Bajoran uniform.
Constable Odo also "wore" a Bajoran uniform, although technically as a shapechanger he could wear what he liked.
When Voyager rescued Seven of Nine from the Borg collective, she expressed her new freedom with some very tight outfits.
Vulcan officer T'Pol also got to wear her own (very tight) outfits. Most illogical.
The crew of the Enterprise have encountered many other uniforms during their voyages, like these Klingon outfits in The Original Series.
The Klingons underwent a serious makeover for the movies and The Next Generation.
Klingons get a modern makeover in Star Trek: Discovery, influenced by their brief appearance in Star Trek Into Darkness.
The Romulans appeared in uniform in The Original Series.
By the time The Next Generation aired, they too had a striking new look.
Eagle-eyed fans will notice that the uniforms aren't always spot-on, like when Uhura was seen in a command uniform in the episode The Corbomite Maneuver.
Occasionally, the crew have to slip out of uniform, like when a time-travelling Kirk and co had to blend in with 1930s America in The City on the Edge of Forever.
Yes, well, anything to blend in, right?
Some of the best alternative uniforms are seen in a parallel universe in the episode Mirror, Mirror.
The mirror universe is home to a fascist version of Starfleet, complete with evil versions of our heroes -- and their uniforms.
In the films Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness, gold is once again the color of command, with metallic insignia on the chest and sleeves. The V-neck shirts are worn over black undershirts.
The film's prologue showed us this glimpse of an earlier uniform, styled somewhere between the blue-ish flightsuit of Enterprise and the colored shirts of The Original Series.
The new films also feature planetside uniforms that nod to the lines and colors of 1979's Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
In the 2016 film Star Trek Beyond, the uniforms are subtly altered, with more built-up shoulders and slightly darker panels down the sides.
The neckline nods to the rounded collar of later Next Generation uniforms.
The new films continue the tradition of skin-tight outfits with this diving uniform worn by Lieutenant Uhura.
Star Trek Beyond also sees the crew don blue and yellow jackets when escaping the ship.
The new films recognise that the original Starfleet uniform is one of the most iconic movie or TV costumes ever.
With more Trek on the way, here's to another 50 years of cool uniforms!