TNG Jumpsuit Analysis – Curiosities

In addition to the “official” uniform variations and more obscure variants, there were quite a few outliers, head-scratchers, and general points of interest over the series.

Commander Riker publicity photo

For example, in this season one publicity photo, something strange is happening with the side panels on Commander Riker’s jumpsuit:

TNG jumpsuit analysis - Star Trek Costume Guide
TNG season 1 publicity photo

My best guess is that the side panels may have been accidentally cut shiny-side-out, or perhaps cut on a different grain than the rest of the jumpsuit, causing them to react to the light differently.

(In lieu of any evidence to the contrary, I believe this more likely than his side panels being made with a different fabric.)

Yoke Lining

The early TNG jumpsuit in this auction photo appears to have had a second layer of black jumbo spandex hand-sewn to the underside of the outer yoke, between the shoulder pads and the wearer’s body – a detail I’ve only ever seen on this specific uniform.

TNG jumpsuit analysis - Star Trek Costume Guide
TNG jumpsuit auction photo

Dr. Crusher wristwatch

On at least two occasions in season one, Dr. Crusher was seen wearing a small wristwatch.

TNG jumpsuit analysis - Star Trek Costume Guide
TNG, 1x4 “Code of Honor”
TNG jumpsuit analysis - Star Trek Costume Guide
TNG, 1x23 “Skin of Evil”

It’s possible that Dr. Crusher wore one for a while as an affectation (Worf wore a baldric, Deanna wore headbands, Ensign Ro wore an earring, and Janeway would later wear a pocket-watch in the two-part “Year of Hell”), but it’s also possible that Gates McFadden simply forgot to take it off before filming.

Low Waistlines

There were a few early TNG jumpsuits with curiously low asymmetrical waistlines.

This transporter operator’s asymmetrical front paneling was several inches lower than usual.

This gentleman seems to have been taller than average; perhaps the costume cutter simply lengthened his jumpsuit pattern from a different area than would’ve usually been done for Frakes, Dorn, etc.?

TNG jumpsuit analysis - Star Trek Costume Guide
TNG, 1x11 “Haven”

Typical uniform paneling proportions would’ve looked more like this:

TNG jumpsuit analysis - Star Trek Costume Guide
TNG, 1x11 “Haven”

Similarly low asymmetrical waistlines were also seen on Lieutenant Singh and Rondon.

TNG jumpsuit analysis - Star Trek Costume Guide
TNG, 1x7 “Lonely Among Us”
TNG jumpsuit analysis - Star Trek Costume Guide
TNG, 1x19 “Coming of Age”

It’s possible that this was actually the same jumpsuit being used on multiple actors, but regardless, the paneling proportions were unusual. 

Flipped shot

Toward the end of season one, there was a shot in which the asymmetrical paneling on the back of Captain Picard’s jumpsuit appeared to flow in the opposite direction.

However, this was actually a flipped shot (as occasionally happens in post-production).

Jumpsuit paneling aside, one of the indicators is that Patrick Stewart (nearly?) always stood with his left shoulder angled forward, not his right one.

TNG jumpsuit analysis - Star Trek Costume Guide
TNG, 1x22 “Symbiosis”

Hestor Dealt

During the first episode of season two, for some reason Hestor Dealt wore his jumpsuit pant legs tucked into his boots, rather than draping over them.

From the height of the “slits” in the second image above, his pant legs look way too short; I think he may have been dressed in an existing jumpsuit that otherwise fit him well enough, and the disproportionately short pant legs were hurriedly tucked into his boots to compensate.

(Durinda Rice Wood and her team already had their hands full making new uniforms for Captain Picard, Geordi, Worf, and Dr. Pulaski; a guest character at the beginning of the season may not have been high-profile enough to warrant a custom-made uniform.)

However, it’s also possible that Wood was trying out an idea, or that there was a new member of the wardrobe team that year who didn’t know how the jumpsuit was supposed to be properly worn.

Dr. Crusher shoes

In the season seven episode “Attached,” while on the planet, Dr. Crusher could be seen wearing black lace-up sneakers (or possibly hiking boots) – doubtless to help Gates McFadden more easily traverse all the uneven terrain.

TNG jumpsuit analysis - Star Trek Costume Guide
TNG, 7x8 “Attached”

Lower Pant Leg Trim

There were a few strange anomalies occasionally seen on some TNG jumpsuits’ lower pant legs.

As you may recall, on the early jumpsuits, the “slits” at the bottom of the pant legs were accented with division-colored trim, but on the later jumpsuits they were only black (with no trim).

To “update” the early jumpsuits for continued production use, the lower pant leg trim was presumably removed on most of the older uniforms, and the newer uniforms were simply constructed without it.

However, it appears that on some of the older uniforms, the pant leg trim may have simply been colored over with a black marker or black paint – probably for sake of expediency when facing the monumental task of updating the wardrobe full of older uniforms.

TNG jumpsuit analysis - Star Trek Costume Guide
TNG jumpsuit auction photos

Removing the lower pant leg trim from the earlier jumpsuits seems to have been a relatively clean (albeit time-consuming) business, but combined with the lengthening and shortening of the pant legs for extras, these alterations apparently took their toll on the uniforms; once the lower pant leg “slit” was raised, it couldn’t be woven closed again and had to be sewn closed instead.

TNG jumpsuit analysis - Star Trek Costume Guide
TNG jumpsuit auction photos

To be fair, the “scars” from these alterations were unlikely to ever have been visible on-screen, especially when viewed in VHS quality on a 1980s-era television.

Lower Pant Leg "Cuffs"

Quite a few TNG jumpsuits had what appeared to be separate, sewn-on “cuffs” on the lower pant legs.

These were only rarely visible in the show, even if you knew to look for them …

TNG jumpsuit analysis - Star Trek Costume Guide
TNG, 2x11 “Contagion”

These “cuffs” are much easier to see in auction photos.

TNG jumpsuit analysis - Star Trek Costume Guide
Dr. Crusher TNG jumpsuit auction photo

However, when I examined the screen-used Ensign Sito TNG jumpsuit, I discovered that these weren’t separate “cuffs” at all, but a means of shortening the pant legs!

From a costuming perspective, shortening the pant leg by simply hemming the pant leg more not only shortens the lower front “slit,” but doing so entails removing the elastic stirrups, undoing the facing stitching, undoing the hem stitching, re-hemming the pants, re-securing, and reattaching the stirrups. (Whew!)

While the final result isn’t as ideal, a much faster method is to simply fold the bottom of the pant leg upward and stitch the pant leg together half the total amount it needs to be shortened (see below, left), then press the bottom of the pant leg back down (see below, right).

TNG jumpsuit analysis - Star Trek Costume Guide
Screen-used Ensign Sito TNG jumpsuit

In some cases, the resultant horizontal seam in the lower pant leg was apparently deemed to be an acceptable “by-product” for the speed and convenience of the alteration.

This technique seems to have been commonly employed, particularly on extras’ costumes.

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