What Do the Different Uniform Colors Mean on Star Trek (Part II)?

The “gold” uniforms were supposed to be green.

Ah, those gold shirts donned by Kirk and crew? Well, they may not have been that gold after all. Based on an interview with Star Trek’s costume designer, William Theiss, the point was for the show’s uniforms to be green, red, and blue. In actuality, on the set, Kirk’s uniform appeared to be green or avocado. Though, it looked somewhat different when the studio lights hit the uniform.

Theiss stated, “it looks burnt orange or gold in pictures. But in reality, it was another. The command shirts were no doubt green.”

This may come as a surprise to Trek fans until you recall that Kirk did wear green on a couple of occasions such as the times he was in formal dress and his barely seen alternate green uniform.

Alternate Uniforms

These alternate uniforms were all the precise shade of green, but they were fabricated from a different material than the normal Enterprise shirts and obviously had no problem keeping their natural color scheme when under the set lights. The gold shade might have been a production mishap, but the color has since been put in the Trek canon as the official color of Kirk and his command staff.

It becomes confusing when you see the later Trek series, like The Next Generation, which had the command staff in red and operations in yellow, the reverse of the original series. Then, of course, the films switched colors and costumes with practically every entry, including the infamous powder blue ones donned in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Roddenberry’s eye for detail was distinct for sci-fi TV at the time, and all on the Enterprise had a particular purpose. Therefore, despite a few ill-fated redesigns,  production fumbles, and inconsistencies, later on, the hues that makeup Starfleet’s uniforms tell a tale that numerous viewers possibly never even noticed.


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