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Ask any cosplayer: one of the most enduring aspects of Star Trek is the famous Starfleet uniform. Conceived by costume designer William Ware Theiss, the colourful, instantly recognisable pop art outfit debuted in 1966 in "The Original Series".

First published Sept. 8, 2016.  

Update, July 8, 2017: Adds images from "Star Trek: Discovery". 

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The multi-coloured uniforms looked great in the luminous world of "The Animated Series".

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From 1982's "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan", the crew of the Enterprise adopted new maroon tunics for the big screen.

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The crew of "The Next Generation" saw a new take on the multi-coloured Starfleet uniform.

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Aboard "Deep Space Nine", a darker version of the uniforms reflected the darker stories told in this series.

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Crew members on "Star Trek: Voyager" also wore the darker uniform.

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Prequel series "Enterprise" showed us an early Starfleet uniform.

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Sonequa Martin-Green (centre) and Michelle Yeoh (right) lead the cast of the upcoming "Star Trek: Discovery" on CBS All Access and Netflix. (Disclosure: CBS is CNET's parent company.) 

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Published:Caption:Photo:Jan Thijs/CBS
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Stepping outside of the established TV timeline, a new series of movies sleekly updated the iconic uniforms for a new generation of fans.

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Published:Caption:Photo:Sam Jones
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The uniform went through some changes before the show began. Here we see the uniform from pilot episode "Where No Man Has Gone Before", in which William Shatner and Sally Kellerman wear uniforms in the familiar colours but with a different collar.

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Although it's tough to see in the series itself, in the pilot it's just possible to see that the famous uniforms were actually lime green. They only appeared gold under studio lighting.

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When the series proper began, the familiar black neckline appeared.

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The different colours 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.

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Lieutenant Uhura and Nurse Chapel model the daring women's version of the uniform.

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Other crew members wore colour-coded jumpsuits.

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Yeoman Janice Rand shows off a Starfleet regulation hairdo.

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The Enterprise's high turnover of red-garbed security officers gave rise to the expression "red shirt", meaning a minor character who is pretty much doomed.

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Initially, the uniforms were made of velour. Series creator Gene Roddenberry believed in the future clothes would have no visible fastening, so the zips are concealed in the shoulder.

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For the third series, the costumes were made of nylon fabric similar to baseball uniforms because the previous velour versions shrank.

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"The Animated Series" made the gold colour official.

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The 1979 film "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" did away with the colour of the series, adopting new tunics in shades of grey, beige and white.

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The new uniforms didn't prove as popular as the iconic shirts from the series, lasting just one film.

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From "Wrath of Khan" onward, designer Robert Fletcher put the original crew in tunics that nodded to Starfleet's naval tradition, including bell-bottom trousers. The differing colours for differing departments returned on the wrist and shoulder straps and undershirt.

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"The Next Generation" began with the crew in form-fitting spandex jumpsuits. The colours 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.

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For the third series, Mister Worf and his crew mates donned more relaxed wool gabardine tunics, designed by Robert Blackman.

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When "The Next Generation" crew made the leap to the big screen, they donned a new uniform with grey shoulders. The colours are seen on the undershirt and on the rank stripes on the wrist.

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Captain Sisko and the crew of Deep Space Nine adopted a black uniform with coloured shoulders that had previously been seen in "The Next Generation" as the uniform of Starfleet Academy.

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In the fifth season, the DS9 crew switched to the uniform worn by the Enterprise crew in the movies.

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Captain Janeway and the crew of "Voyager" wore the black uniforms.

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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.

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Prequel series "Enterprise" saw Captain Archer and his crew in flight suits that nodded to "The Original Series" with coloured accents, and "The Next Generation" in the shape of the shoulder panels.

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"Discovery" is set shortly before "The Original Series", and gives the jumpsuits of "Enterprise" a more sci-fi twist with metallic side panels and shoulders.

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Sometimes our heroes are seen in alternative uniforms.

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Captain Kirk occasionally wears a green tunic.

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Captain Picard got his own version of the Captain's uniform with this blue tunic and red jacket.

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Throughout the movies, the captains wear different variations on the captain's vest.

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Doctor McCoy gets in on the action with his medical smock.

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Mister Spock models a spacesuit.

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For special occasions, the crew would don Starfleet dress uniforms.

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Captain Kirk meets the villainous Khan while wearing his dress uniform.

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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".

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Counsellor Troi got to wear her own clothes throughout "The Next Generation".

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Troi eventually started wearing the official uniform in later seasons, but she wasn't the only character to appear in their own gear.

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Child prodigy Wesley Crusher wasn't officially a Starfleet officer, so he wore this outfit that nodded to the uniform style.

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Another youngster in the series, Jake Sisko, got to show off much jazzier duds.

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Deep Space Nine was crewed by a mix of Starfleet and Bajoran officers, including Major Kira, seen here in a Bajoran uniform.

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Constable Odo also "wore" a Bajoran uniform, although technically as a shapechanger he could wear what he liked.

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When Voyager rescued Seven of Nine from the Borg collective, she expressed her new freedom with some very tight outfits.

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Vulcan officer T'Pol also got to wear her own outfits. Most illogical.

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The crew of the Enterprise have encountered many other uniforms during their voyages, like these Klingon outfits in "The Original Series".

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The Klingons underwent a serious makeover for the movies and "The Next Generation".

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Klingons get a modern makeover in "Star Trek: Discovery", influenced by their redesign for a brief appearance in "Star Trek Into Darkness".

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Published:Caption:Photo:Jan Thijs/CBS
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The Romulans appeared in uniform in "The Original Series".

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By the time "The Next Generation" aired, they too had a new look.

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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".

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After the switch to the new uniforms in "The Next Generation", lesser crewmembers were sometimes glimpsed in the older outfits. Their poor backs.

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Occasionally, the crew have to slip out of uniform, like when Kirk and co had to blend in to 1930s America in "The City on the Edge of Forever".

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Yes, well, anything to blend in, right?

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Some of the best alternative uniforms are seen in a parallel universe in the episode "Mirror, Mirror".

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The mirror universe is home to a fascist version of Starfleet, complete with evil versions of our heroes -- and their uniforms.

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In 2009, "Star Trek" reinvented the look of the classic series.

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The film's prologue showed us this glimpse of an earlier uniform, styled somewhere between the blue-ish flightsuit of "Enterprise" and the coloured shirts of "The Original Series".

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Published:Caption:Photo:Zade Rosenthal
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In the films "Star Trek" and "Star Trek Into Darkness", gold is once again the colour of command, with metallic insignia on the chest and sleeves.

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The new films feature V-neck shirts over black undershirts.

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The films also feature planet-side uniforms that nod to the costumes of "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" from 1979.

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Published:Caption:Photo:Zade Rosenthal
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In the 2016 film "Star Trek Beyond", the uniforms are subtly altered, with more built-up shoulders and slightly darker panels down the sides.

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Published:Caption:Photo:Kimberley French
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The neckline nods to the collar of later "Next Generation" uniforms.

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The new films continue the tradition of skin-tight outfits with this diving uniform worn by Lieutenant Uhura.

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Mister Scott models a uniform worn outside the ship.

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"Star Trek Beyond" sees the crew don blue and yellow jackets when escaping the ship.

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Published:Caption:Photo:Kimberley French/Paramount Pictures
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The new films recognise that the original Starfleet uniform is one of the most iconic movie or TV costumes ever.

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With a new TV series on the way, here's to another 50 years of cool uniforms!

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