Historical File: Starfleet Uniforms of the 2260s
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In the 2260s, Starfleet adopted a new set of uniforms, returning to the tri-color designations for the three divisions of command, operations, and sciences first introduced in the original Earth Starfleet of the 22nd century. Radically different from anything before or after their use, the uniforms of the late 2260s reflected both the fashion of the time as well as the Federation's vision for a brighter and more colorful Starfleet that reflected its mission as an agency primarily tasked with exploration rather than military duties.
Division Colors and Insignia
The division colors used for all uniforms were as follows: gold for command, red for operations, and blue for sciences.
The gold for command division officers had a slight tint of green, and the command division dress uniforms and captain's variant uniform were distinctly green in appearance. Though the operations division had worn a slightly different shade of gold in the previous set of uniforms used since the 2250s, the division color was switched back to red as it had been a century earlier to differentiate it more clearly from command. When the entire Starfleet switched to an overall maroon uniform in the late 2270s that remained in use to the mid-24th century, red had become so associated with Starfleet that it became the color of command when the tri-color designation was reintroduced with a new set of uniforms introduced in the 2350s, and operations again was changed to gold.
The standard duty uniform meant for daily use came in two main varieties.
Tunic with Trousers
The first option was comprised of a tunic displaying the officer's division color, black trousers, and black boots.
Low Collar with Skant or Trousers
The second duty uniform option had a low collar and came either as a tunic and black trousers or as a single dress/skant. Both types were worn with black boots, and officers wearing the skant version of this uniform wore semi-sheer black tights over the lower limbs.
Low collar uniform: skant version and tunic with trousers combination
Like their duty uniform counterparts, the formal dress uniforms of the 2260s came in two main varieties, one with a high collar and the other with a low collar. The low collar could also be worn as a dress or with trousers. Unlike the duty uniforms, different ranks wore different variations, most notably in the thickness of the gold braiding displayed. The dress uniforms were also made of different material, and officers displayed their service ribbons on the left breast.
From left to right: Captain's Dress Uniform, Lt. Cmdr. Dress Uniform, Cmdr. Dress Uniform
Low collar dress uniform (far left, left) and duty uniform (right)
Other Uniform Types
Additional uniform options such as work jumpsuits and short-sleeved variants were available for technicians and medical staff. Commanding officers also had the option to wear green wrap-around tunics rather than the standard duty uniform.
Nurse and short-sleeved uniforms
Jumpsuit and Captain's Warp-around
The uniforms continued the use of sleeve stripes to designate the wearer's rank.
Up until the 2270s, officers wore distinct insignia that corresponded to their starship/assignment posting and division, a practice that had its origins from the Earth Starfleet and the pre-warp space programs of that planet. This practice ended when Starfleet adopted the insignia previously worn solely by the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) to honor that starship crew's achievements during her legendary five-year mission under the command of Captain James T. Kirk.
Introduced in 2265, these uniforms quickly proved popular with both Starfleet officers and the general public. Despite their bold fashion statement, however, technical issues were quickly realized in the field.
The relatively thin construction of the duty tunics, while comfortable within the climate-controlled confines of a starship, proved inadequate for harsher away team environments. Hand-to-hand combat often resulted in torn garments which required frequently repair or replacement. The dress version of the low collar uniform was rapidly adopted by officers, becoming more popular and ubiquitous than the tunic and trousers version. It too however proved more suitable for work settings with stable environmental conditions rather than the unpredictable situations Starfleet officers often found themselves in.
Thus, these uniforms were in use for less than a decade before a completely redesigned set was introduced in the 2270s. Still, they captured the imagination of an entire generation thanks to the exploits of such commanding officers as Wesley, Decker, Kirk, De Luca and their crews. Despite their short lifespan, they have cemented themselves as part of the iconic image of the 23rd century Starfleet.