October 25, 2019

Screen-used TNG season 2 admiral uniform examination AND costume analysis!

The TNG season 2 admiral uniform wasn’t originally in my lineup of TNG costumes to research or pattern, but thanks to Angelo Cifaldi, I recently had the opportunity to examine an original, screen-used Admiral Nakamura uniform from the fan-favorite episode, “The Measure of a Man.”

TNG season 2 admiral uniform


Part of the reason this admiral uniform didn’t “make the cut” for my TNG lineup wasn’t really that I had anything against it, but more because … well, frankly, I didn’t have a whole hell of a lot to say about it in a costume analysis, past the obvious. It literally had two brief appearances during The Next Generation’s entire second season, literally with a grand total of almost exactly a minute-and-a-half of screen time. 

Admiral Nakamura had just over a minute of screen time in the aforementioned episode, “The Measure of a Man,” and near the end of the season, Admiral Gromek appeared on screen for less than thirty seconds to give the Enterprise its new orders in “The Emissary” (although curiously, not wearing a communicator).


TNG season 2 admiral uniform
TNG, 2x9 "The Measure of a Man"
TNG season 2 admiral uniform
TNG, 2x20 "The Emissary"


Interestingly, the extended version of “The Measure of a Man” on the TNG season 2 Blu-Ray includes an additional minute and fifteen seconds or so of Admiral Nakamura footage! 

Specifically, the restored footage includes him (and Commander Maddox) beaming on board the Enterprise, walking down a corridor, and taking a turbolift up to the bridge.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - additional footage
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - additional footage
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - additional footage
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - additional footage
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - additional footage
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - additional footage


The extended episode also included a brief conversation between Captain Picard and Admiral Nakamura, after Maddox had begun raising Picard’s red flags with his shenanigans.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - additional footage
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - additional footage
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - additional footage


While I suppose there’s a reasonable debate to be had about whether restored footage in an extended cut of the episode (released almost 25 years after the original broadcast) technically counts as “canon,” the newly-restored footage more than doubles Admiral Nakamura’s screen time in the episode, and nearly doubles the total screen-time for the season 2 admiral uniform!


Of course, that still brings the grand total to less than 3 minutes … 

But despite its relative obscurity, it is definitely worth acknowledging as a member of the Star Trek uniform canon, and specifically as a member of the early TNG-era uniform family. 

And, as you’ll see, it was also something of a harbinger for later uniform designs … 

After having examined a screen-used costume, I finally believe I have enough material to properly discuss about this particular uniform. 

However, the majority of my observations regarding this uniform are based on the screen-used costume I studied, rather than what we saw in the show, so this blog post will serve as a kind of “combo” costume analysis AND documentation of the original costume.


Stylistic Inspiration and Influences

In my TNG jumpsuit analysis and TNG medical smock analysis, I mentioned the departure of William Ware Theiss as costume designer after The Next Generation’s first season, and how Durinda Rice Wood assumed that role for its second season.

Durinda Rice Wood - TNG costume designer (season 2)


Despite her numerous accomplishments during her single season as costume designer (wardrobe improvements including, but not limited to Worf’s baldric, Wesley’s “acting ensign” uniform, and Counselor Troi’s costume, as well establishing the “look” for Guinan and introducing Dr. Pulaski’s uniform variants), Wood’s gone on record numerous times saying she wishes she’d been able to change the actual Starfleet uniforms in the show. 


She seems to have achieved a minor victory with the admiral uniforms, though, discarding William Ware Theiss’ infamous season 1 admiral uniforms in favor of her new design.


Here’s a look at her costume sketch for this uniform design, as pictured in an auction listing:
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - costume sketch
TNG season 2 admiral costume sketch
(auction photo)

It’s interesting to see how some of the details changed from conception to final product – most notably the removal of the large, round gold accent on the collar (good call) and small black stripe near the bottom of the jacket. The placement of the lower sleeve accents also changed slightly, although the trousers appear to largely be as she originally intended. 

Despite being radically different from Theiss’ season 1 admiral uniform, Wood’s season 2 design still fit right in as a member of the early TNG-era uniform family. She obviously drew on aspects of both Theiss’ admiral uniform and the TNG jumpsuits for stylistic inspiration. 

For example, the black yoke and yoke trim were analogous to those on the TNG jumpsuits, while it’s quite natural to imagine an admiral’s yoke trim would be more embellished.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - comparison
TNG, 2x9 "The Measure of a Man"


The division-colored torso and long sleeves also corresponded nicely to the TNG jumpsuits, albeit without the asymmetrical paneling.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - comparison
TNG, 2x9 "The Measure of a Man"


And finally, the lower front openings at the bottom of the pant legs were also quintessentially TNG, accented with the division-colored trim as the early TNG jumpsuits were.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - comparison
TNG, 2x9 "The Measure of a Man" (extended version)


Now, let’s take a detailed look at the uniform, itself!

We’ll start with the jacket, then move onto the trousers.


Fabric

Surprisingly, the season 2 admiral jacket was not made out of jumbo spandex, as all the other early TNG-era uniforms were. 

In fact, to the best of my knowledge, this may be the first TNG-era uniform to have been made with a woven fabric! 

The jacket body, collar, and yoke trim were all superfine wool gabardine. 

The yoke, sleeve trim, collar piping, and lower sleeve piping were (again, surprisingly), not black superfine wool gabardine, but instead a contrasting fabric I was unable to properly identify – wool crepe, perhaps?

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - fabric
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - fabric
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - fabric
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - fabric


Color

I’ve managed to acquire a few useful aids since my previous costume examination, including three screen-used TNG costume cards (with swatches of the original fabrics) and a Pantone book! 

The Picard swatch is jumbo spandex, and presumably from one of his TNG jumpsuits worn during the first two seasons. 

The Riker swatch is superfine wool gabardine, and presumably from one of his TNG jackets worn during seasons 3-7. 

The Wesley swatch is jumbo spandex, and presumably from one of his TNG cadet jumpsuits worn during seasons 5-7. 

Between the three, I think they’re probably a good representation of the TNG command “red” division color – in reality much more of a purple-ish “berry” color that often registers as red on-camera. 

A color comparison between these swatches and the Admiral Nakamura uniform yielded interesting results.

I like to photograph in different lighting situations to get the best possible representation of the colors, since both sunlight and flash photography have something of an “evening” effect over the colors being compared. 

Here’s a comparison between the Picard jumbo spandex swatch and the Nakamura uniform. As you can see, the colors were quite close!

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - fabric
Outside
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - fabric
Indoors, with flash
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - fabric
Indoors, no flash


I was pleasantly surprised to find that the swatch of Riker fabric was a near-perfect match for that of the Nakamura jacket body, both in terms of color AND weave!

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - fabric
Outside
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - fabric
Outside
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - fabric
Indoors, with flash
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - fabric
Indoors, no flash


The Wesley (jumbo spandex) swatch was also a close color match.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - fabric
Outside
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - fabric
Indoors, with flash
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - fabric
Indoors, no flash


I did my best to color-match some thread to the fabric, and lo and behold, the same thread I found as a match to the Admiral Jameson uniform I examined was also the best match I found for Admiral Nakamura’s jacket!

Coats & Clark #3090 “Red Plum” was the closest I found, although again, it’s not quite dark enough.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - fabric color
Outside
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - fabric color
Indoors, with flash
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - fabric color
Indoors, no flash


Unfortunately, I didn’t find a good color match with my spiffy new Pantone book. 

228-U was the closest I found, although it wasn’t nearly dark enough. 

229-U was the runner-up, but it was a bit too purple and dark.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - fabric color
Outside
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - fabric color
Indoors, with flash
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - fabric color
Indoors, no flash


And finally, I did my best to color-match the fabric with some paint chips from my local home improvement store. 

The closest I found was Valspar #1011-7, “Perfect Plum.”

It’s difficult to properly compare, not only because it’s paper to fabric, but because of the glossy sheen on the paper; it looked like a near-perfect match in the store, but then it looked terrible at home in my normal interior lighting.

Nevertheless, it’s usually a good match, although in this case I admittedly took a bunch of photos and picked the most flattering ones.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - fabric color
Outside
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - fabric color
Indoors, with flash
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - fabric color
Indoors, no flash

External Dimensions and Construction

After documenting the color as best I could, I grabbed my measuring tape and began the process of documenting the jacket’s dimensions and construction, generally working from the top down; front, then back; outside, then inside.

The black piping along the top of the collar was 3/16” wide and appears to have been custom-made with the same (wool crepe?) fabric as the yoke.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - collar


The collar itself three pieces: front, right back, and left back. 

The collar was 1 ⅜” tall (+ piping) at the center back and sides, although it heightened to 1 ⅞” tall from the sides to the center front.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - collar
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - collar
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - collar


The back collar pieces appear to have been cut with the center back on the straight grain.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - collar


The front collar piece appears to have been cut with the center front on the bias – which, incidentally also seems to have resulted in the weave on the front and back pieces going nearly in the same direction at the right collar seam.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - collar
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - collar


Interestingly, the collar was attached by hand, not machine-sewn!

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - collar


(There was a machine-stitched guideline near the bottom of the collar, probably intended to indicate the seam line, but it did not actually attach the collar to the jacket neckline.)


Toward the center back, the last remnants of the basting thread marking the neckline/collar seam line could still be seen inside the seam allowance.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - neckline


The neckline was 7 ½” wide at its widest, which also happened to be where the shoulder seams were positioned.


TNG season 2 admiral uniform - neckline


The front neckline was approximately 5 ½”, measured from the center front to the shoulder seam at the neckline/collar seam.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - neckline


Note that the collar’s side seams and jacket shoulder seams were slightly offset, with the collar seams landing about ⅛” behind the shoulder seams.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - collar
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - collar


This may have been intentional, and if so, it may have been an attempt to reduce the concentration of bulk in that area.

On the other hand, an offset of a mere ⅛” probably wouldn’t accomplish this, and it may have simply been a miscalculation during patterning or a minor misalignment when attaching the collar. 

In any event, the back neckline was 4 ½”, measured from the shoulder seam to the center back at the neckline/collar seam.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - neckline


The front neckline came to a slight “V”-shape in the front – another of Theiss’ design motifs that Wood incorporated into her uniform!

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - neckline


The front yoke had a center front seam – probably to accommodate for the pivot in the direction of the yoke trim (which we’ll examine shortly).

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke


The yoke itself was 2 ½” deep at the center front, measured from the collar seam to the lower yoke seam.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke


The right front yoke was 5 ⅝” deep, measured from the shoulder seam at the neckline to the lower yoke seam, although the left front yoke was only 5 ½” deep.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke


Another of Theiss’ early TNG-era design motifs was that the yoke extended onto the upper sleeve, with no traditional (upper) armscye seam, and Wood incorporated this into her uniform design as well.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke


Both shoulder seams measured 9 ⅛”, from the neckline/collar seam to the outer corner of the yoke.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke


The lower front yoke seam was 11” in total, measured from the outer corner to the center front.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke


Of this, the upper jacket front accounted for 7” (measured from the armscye seam to the center front), and the upper sleeve accounted for the remaining 4”.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke


The back yoke was 4 ½” deep at the center back, measured from the neckline/collar seam to the lower yoke seam.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke


The back yoke was 6” deep, measured from the shoulder seam at the neckline to the lower yoke seam.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke


The lower back yoke/body seam lines weren’t quite symmetrical in length.

The left back yoke seam was 6 ¾”, measured from the center back to the armscye seam.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke


However, the right back yoke seam was 6⅝”.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke


The left back yoke extended onto the upper sleeve by 4 ¾”, whereas the right back yoke extended onto the upper sleeve by 5”.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke


This brings the total left yoke/body seam length to 11 ½”, while the right yoke/body seam length was 11 ⅝”.

The red portion of the yoke trim was made with the same superfine wool gabardine used for the jacket body and collar. 

The trim assembly was usually 1 ¼” wide, although it did occasionally widen up to 1 ⅜”.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke trim
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke trim
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke trim


The red trim was bias-cut and, indeed, if you look carefully, you can see the bias seams right on the front of the jacket!

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke trim


Like the collar, the yoke trim assembly was actually hand-sewn to the yoke, although there was a machine-sewn guide for the stitches.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke trim


Unlike the trim on the TNG jumpsuits and TNG skants, the yoke trim assembly wasn’t actually sewn into a seam in the yoke; it appears to have been attached onto a finished yoke, as evidenced by the seam allowances visible at the center front, and poking outward on the left shoulder.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke trim
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke trim


The trim assembly also didn’t turn under with the back seam allowance, nor did it quite reach the center back (although this was considerably less obvious when the zipper was closed).

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke trim
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke trim


On the front yoke, the trim assembly was positioned with its upper edge 1” beneath the neckline/collar seam at the center front, and its lower edge ¼” above the yoke/body seam.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke trim
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke trim


On the back yoke, the upper edge of the trim assembly was 2 ⅜” beneath the neckline/collar seam at the center back, and its lower edge was about ⅞” above the yoke/body seam.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke trim
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke trim


On top of the red bias-strips was a trim TNG costume aficionados will recognize, albeit by its counterpart’s association with the TNG-era formal uniforms. 

This trim appears to have been some kind of woven (nylon?) ribbon with three rows of metal studs. 

It was ⅝” wide (or 16mm, if you prefer).

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke trim
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke trim


Also, I was surprised to discover that the metal studs were not two colors (gold and silver), but actually three

In addition to the aforementioned gold and silver, the third row wasn’t gold, but more of a bronze color.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke trim
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke trim
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke trim


Of course, I daresay we all can be forgiven for having failed to recognize the third color before now, given how subtle the difference is and, of course, how the trim actually looked in the show – even in remastered HD!

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - yoke trim


The jacket was quite short, although that’s hardly surprising considering according to both Google and IMDB, actor Clyde Kusatsu (who played Admiral Nakamura) is only 5’5”. 

The jacket was 17” long at the center front, measured from the neckline/collar seam line to the hem line, and 14 ½” long when measured from the lower yoke/body seam line to the hem.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - jacket length
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - jacket length


The jacket was 18 ½” long at the center back, measured from the neckline/collar seam line to the hem line, and 14” long when measured from the bottom of the yoke.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - jacket length
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - jacket length


The jacket measured 10 ½” across the chest in the front, measured from the side seam to the center front seam (21” total).

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - chest measurement
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - chest measurement


The chest measured 9 ½” in the back, measured form the side seam to the center back (19” total).

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - chest measurement
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - chest measurement


The total chest measurement was 40”.


The narrowest part of the jacket was the bottom, which I’m comfortable calling the waist. 

The front waist was 9 ¼”, measured from the side seam (horizontally across) to the center front, or 18 ½” total.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - jacket waist
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - jacket waist


The left back waist was 8 ¼” on the left side, and 8” on the right side, measured from the side seam to the center back, or 16 ¼” total.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - jacket waist
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - jacket waist


The total waist measurement was 34 ¾”.


The jacket body was comprised of eight panels: center front, side front, side back, and center back on each side. 

Interestingly, on the men’s jacket, these panels were separated with princess seams on the front and back.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - princess seams
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - princess seams


Those of you familiar with vintage and theatrical pattern blocks know that our Western military uniforms and costumes have a proud history of princess seams, particularly in the back.

Princess seams


And of course, many of you may be aware of a certain military-esque Starfleet uniform design that also had princess seams …

TWOK-era uniform jacket - princess seams
Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan


But what I find curious is that the men’s version of this jacket had front princess seams, but the women’s version appears to have vertical(ish) side front seams, instead!

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - front panels
TNG season 2 admiral uniform auction photo


With so little evidence, I’m unsure as to whether this was a gender-specific distinction in style (which would, in fact, be opposite of what one would expect), or if it’s a stylistic evolution of the uniform itself, similar to how the admiral uniforms had stylistically evolved the previous season.


In any event, on the front of the Admiral Nakamura jacket, the princess seams met the armscye seam 1 ¾” beneath the yoke.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - armscye
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - armscye


The lower front armscye measured 4 ½”, from the side seam up to the princess seam.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - armscye
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - armscye


The total front armscye measurement was 6 ¼”, from the side seam to the bottom of the yoke.


On the back of the jacket, the princess seams met the armscye seam 1 ⅝” beneath the yoke.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - armscye
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - armscye


The lower back armscye measured 5 ⅝”, from the side seam up to the princess seam.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - armscye
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - armscye


The total back armscye measurement was 7 ¼”, from the side seam to the bottom of the yoke.


At the lower front edge of the jacket, the total measurement was the same on each side, but the distances were allocated a little differently. 

Measured from the side seam to the center front, both sides were 9 ¼”. 

On the right side, the side front seam was 7” from the side seam and 2 ¼” from the center front seam.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - front panels
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - front panels


However, on the left side, the side front seam was 6 ⅞” from the side seam and 2 ⅜” from the center front.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - front panels
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - front panels


As you may have noticed, the bottom of the jacket “dipped” downward a bit from the side to the center front, forming a slight V-shape. The center front was 1 ¼” beneath the side seams.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - lower front


Curiously, though, the ladies’ version appears to have had a more pronounced lower front corner.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - lower front
TNG season 2 admiral jacket auction photo


Again, though, with so little evidence, I’m not sure if this was a gender-specific distinction, or an overall design evolution. (And I suppose it's debatable just how important that really is, since it was never even seen on-screen in the show.)


In any event, the jacket’s lower back edge wasn’t symmetrical either, although they were close. 

On the left side, the side back seam was 6 ¼” from the side seam, and 2” from the center back.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - back panels
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - back panels


On the right side, the side back seam was 6” from the side seam, and 2” from the center back.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - back panels
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - back panels


I believe the extra ¼” on the back side left to have been accidental, but obviously I can’t say that for certain.


Both outer sleeve seams were 18 ½” long (plus the piping), measured from the lower/outer corner of the yoke to the upper edge of the piping.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - sleeves
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - sleeves


The inner sleeve seams aligned with the jacket body side seams.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - sleeves


The right inner sleeve seam was 16 ¼”, but the left was 16 ⅜” (a tiny bit longer).

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - sleeves
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - sleeves


The lower sleeves were accented with a trim assembly analogous to that on the yoke, made with strips of the “mystery” (wool crepe?) yoke fabric and black “metal stud” ribbon centered over it.

As with the yoke, the trim assembly was usually 1 ¼” wide, although it did occasionally widen to 1 ⅜”.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - sleeve trim
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - sleeve trim


Unlike the yoke trim, though, the sleeve trim appears to have been machine-sewn to the sleeve.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - sleeve trim


On the right sleeve, the upper corner of the sleeve trim assembly was positioned approximately 5 ¾” above the piping at the outer sleeve seam line.
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - sleeve trim
However, on the left sleeve, the upper corner of the sleeve trim was slightly lower – 5 ½” above the piping.
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - sleeve trim


On the right sleeve, the lower corner of the sleeve trim was a mere ⅛” above the piping at the inner sleeve seam line.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - sleeve trim


The trim on the lower left sleeve didn’t quite align at the seam, although I believe this to have simply been a minor error during the construction process. 

One side was ⅛” above the piping, while the other was 1 ¼” above it.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - sleeve trim


And finally, the sleeve hem was accented with some 3/16” black piping, made with the same (wool crepe?) fabric as the yoke, collar piping, and sleeve trim.
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - sleeve trim


Closure System

Before we move on to the jacket’s structuring and interior, I’ll walk you through the unfastening process.

The jacket closed up the center back, with a trio of small, black hook-and-eye closures on underside of the collar.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - jacket zipper


The jacket zipped up the center back via a black invisible zipper, although as you can see in the photo above, the top was not left hanging free like it was on the other early TNG-era uniforms! The zipper tab was simply tucked inside.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - jacket zipper


The jacket zipper was actually quite a bit longer than the jacket itself – 30” long, in total!

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - jacket zipper
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - jacket zipper


Since the invisible zipper was non-separating, this innovative system allowed the jacket to effectively “separate” enough for the wearer to don the costume, then have it closed with an invisible zipper – truly “the best of both worlds!”

But what to do with all that excess zipper tape?

Well, a small black snap was hand-sewn to the bottom of the zipper, and its mate was attached to the lower left front interior, so the extra zipper length could just be stashed away inside the jacket and secured into place!

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - jacket zipper
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - jacket zipper
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - jacket zipper


The zipper stitching ended approximately ¾” from the bottom of the jacket, and a small black hook-and-eye closure fastened the jacket closed at the bottom.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - jacket zipper


Structuring

Perhaps this jacket’s most radical departure from the early TNG-era uniforms (and, to date, any other Star Trek uniform I’ve ever seen) was its structuring. 

In the wonderful book, Star Trek Costumes: 5 Decades of Fashion from the Final Frontier, William Ware Theiss was quoted expressing his fondness for knit fabrics and distaste for woven fabrics with lots of padding and structuring, at least in the context of Star Trek, and this aesthetic was apparent in his uniform designs. 

Aside from the switch from velour to double-knit in the third season of The Original Series, Theiss’ early TNG-era uniform designs – the TNG jumpsuits, TNG skants, TNG season 1 admiral uniforms, and TNG formal uniforms – were ALL made out of jumbo spandex! And with the exception of the shoulders, they featured no traditional padding or tailored structuring. 

To the best of my knowledge, Durinda Rice Wood’s season 2 admiral jacket was the first TNG-era uniform to be made with a woven fabric (and superfine wool gabardine, to boot – the same fabric that would be used for the men’s TNG jackets introduced by Robert Blackman the following year). 

But while it’s surely noteworthy in that regard, it’s also a notable departure from Theiss’ aesthetic due to its considerable interfacing and structuring. 

Unfortunately, with the jacket lined and sewn closed everywhere, I couldn’t just “crack open” the Adniral Nakamura jacket for a peek at its innards, but I have worked with quite a bit of interfacing in my day and was able to glean some important details during my examination.

The collar was interfaced with what, to me, felt like a mediumweight (or possibly heavyweight) hair canvas.

I believe the yoke was interfaced with a lightweight (or possibly mediumweight) hair canvas.

Collar and yoke interfacing are hardly surprising, but what did surprise me was how heavily the front of Admiral Nakamura’s jacket was interfaced and structured. It was stiff as a board!

Think I’m kidding? Check out the front thickness, compared to the back.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - structuring


In addition to being hella stiff, it was also slightly squishy, leading me to surmise that the entire jacket front must’ve been interfaced with either heavyweight hair canvas or, perhaps more likely, French canvas, with a layer of flannel or batting underneath. 

And as if that weren’t enough, I counted no fewer than (10!) channels of boning which supported the jacket front! 

On each side, there was one flush with the center front, which extended from the hem all the way up the yoke.

There was another almost parallel to it, but angled slightly outward from bottom to top: 1” away from the center front at the bottom and 2” from the center front at the top. This channel extended from the hem to the yoke.

Flush with the top of this “middle front” boning, another short channel extended from about 1 ½” below the yoke seam upward to 2” from the shoulder seam.

There were two more boning channels on the side front: one about 1 ½” away from the princess seam, and one about 2” away from the side seam.


Here’s a diagram I whipped up to represent the positioning of all the boning channels, as best I could determine them from the outside of the jacket.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - boning channels


I also believe the center back panels were interfaced with a lightweight fusible interfacing, probably to stabilize them for the invisible zipper.


In addition to all the aforementioned structuring and interfacing, the Admiral Nakamura jacket also incorporated large raglan shoulder pads, which appear to have been custom-made and of the same construction as those on the TNG skant and TNG season 1 admiral jacket I examined.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - shoulder pads


Like shoulder pads on the aforementioned uniforms, these pads were ovular, with padding enclosed in two layers of black lining, a dart establishing the rounded shape, and stitched around the perimeter.

However, the outer edges of these shoulder pads were overlocked, rather than trimmed with pinking shears.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - shoulder pads


These pads were also detachable via two small black snaps.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - shoulder pads


Interestingly, though, there was a second pair of shoulder pads incorporated into the jacket itself, between the shell and lining fabrics – similar to what you might find in a typical suit jacket, blazer, sport coat, etc.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - shoulder pads


From this, I would hypothesize that the jacket was possibly constructed with the interior shoulder pads to fit the actor, but perhaps it was realized that additional padding was needed during a final fitting, so The Powers That Be just slapped a pair of the standard TNG-era detachable shoulder pads on the inside of the jacket. 

But that’s only a theory!


Interior

As you may have noticed in previous photos, the Admiral Nakamura jacket was fully lined with black lining (although it does seem to be a more pleasant, higher-quality lining than that used for the custom-made shoulder pads). 

On the collar, the back allowances were turned under and then the collar lining folded downward over them, safely enclosing the ends of the black collar piping.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - lining


While the collar lining was machine-sewn to the underside of the black collar piping, its lower edge didn’t quite extend down to the bottom edge of the collar, and it was presumably hand-sewn into place.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - lining


It’s difficult to say whether or not the body lining was machine-sewn to the jacket neckline and turned under, but either way, the neckline was edge-stitched through both (all?) layers except for the backmost 1 ½”.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - lining


As far as the lining panels go, they were generally analogous to those on the jacket body, with a few notable exceptions. 

Here you can see the front yoke/body lining seam.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - lining


And here you can see the side front princess seam in the lining.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - lining


However, note that there was no center front lining seam.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - lining


A curious change to the back lining was this addition of a “mystery panel” on the back yoke …
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - lining


It extended all the way from the center back to the armscye, and as if it served a purpose, I was unable to determine what it was. (As best I could tell, it provided no additional wearing ease, it obviously had no corresponding seam on the back yoke, and it was too intentional to have simply been an error. Plus, it was done on both sides of the back.)

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - lining


At the back neckline, the edge-stitching tapered off to allow the lining to transition onto the zipper tape.
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - lining
Here, you can see the side back lining princess seam.
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - lining


Another curious change was that the sleeve lining had no outer sleeve seam; here you can see the yoke and shoulder seams intersecting with the one-piece sleeve lining.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - lining


At the lower back, the lining transitioned off of the zipper tape where it was left hanging free, and onto the hem.
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - lining


The lining was hand-sewn to the jacket hem allowance, although without a “jump pleat” for additional wearing ease, like one would normally see on suit jackets (etc.).

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - lining


The lining also varied in its relative position from the hem line; its bottom edge was only ⅜” above the hem line at the center back, but this tapered into ¾” above the hem line at the center front.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - lining


The sleeve lining extended all the way to the bottom of the sleeve, where it was hand-sewn to the lower sleeve piping – again, without a “jump pleat” at the bottom for additional wearing ease.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - lining


Allowances

Some of the specific (seam and hem) allowances were difficult to determine since, again, the jacket is lined and one can’t simply open it up and peek inside – at least, if one doesn’t own the jacket! 

However, I was able to get a fairly reliable “read” from the slight bulk around the seams, as to the size of the seam and hem allowances. 

In the case of the collar, the center back seam allowance was ⅝”.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - seam allowances


The neckline/collar seam allowance was ½”, and as you may have seen, it was NOT sewn into the collar/lining seam, or turned under (the opposite). It was simply left hanging free on the underside of the collar.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - seam allowances


The yoke/body seam allowances seem to have been ½” and pressed upward. 

And unless I’m mistaken, the front canvas assembly extended upward about ⅞” to 1” onto the underside of the front yoke, even though the seam allowances were only ½”. 

(I’m not sure why.)


The center front, side front, and side back seam allowances all appear to have been ½” and pressed open.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - seam allowances


The center back seam allowances were enormous – a full 2”!

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - seam allowances


Both the outer and inner sleeve seam allowances were ½”, and again pressed open.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - seam allowances


At the bottom of the sleeves, the black piping was simply “tucked inside” as inconspicuously as possible, and the lining used to cover the ends.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - seam allowances


The jacket’s lower hem allowance was 1 ½”, and the center back allowances were either mitered or the corner was tucked under before securing the lower edge of the lining.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - seam allowances


Trousers

Having taken a detailed look at the jacket, let’s now turn our attention to the corresponding trousers. 

Perhaps the most obvious element worth noting is that there was a sort of “tank top” attachment sewn onto the trousers, which one could also call a “vest attachment.” I’ve also seen similar garments described in auction listings as “jumpsuit-style trousers,” “overalls-style trousers,” and “dungaree” trousers.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers


The trousers themselves were black jumbo spandex, with a contrasting lightweight spandex as the “red” trim – more like what one would expect to see on an early TNG-era uniform. 

The “tank top” attachment, however, was black cotton lycra, which makes sense because it would breathe better underneath the jacket, and be more comfortable against the skin (although that may just be my opinion).

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers


The lightweight spandex trim was presumably the same fabric used for the neckline trim and yoke piping on the corresponding early TNG jumpsuits (and on the TNG skants seen the previous season).
The “red” spandex was a close, but not exact match to the jacket. 

Here’s a series of comparison photos with my Picard (jumbo spandex) swatch:

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers trim fabric color
Outside
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers trim fabric color
Indoors, with flash
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers trim fabric color
Indoors, no flash


Here’s a series of comparison photos with my Riker swatch (the superfine wool gabardine which was a near-perfect match to the Nakamura jacket):

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers trim fabric color
Outside
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers trim fabric color
Indoors, with flash
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers trim fabric color
Indoors, no flash


And here’s a series of comparison photos with my Wesley (jumbo spandex) swatch:

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers trim fabric color
Outside
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers trim fabric color
Indoors, with flash
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers trim fabric color
Indoors, no flash


My Pantone book was again unhelpful and the same (Coats & Clark #3090, “Red Plum”) thread was again the best match I found, but I actually found a different paint chip that was a better match for the trousers “red” trim than the jacket: Valspar #1010-8 “Poetic Purple.”

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers trim fabric color
Outside
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers trim fabric color
Indoors, with flash
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers trim fabric color
Indoors, no flash

The same Pantone (228-U) for the jacket was against the closest color to the trousers’ trim, but again nowhere near dark or saturated enough.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers trim fabric color
Outside
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers trim fabric color
Indoors, with flash
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers trim fabric color
Indoors, no flash


Although some of the specific dimensions of the “tank top” attachment may not matter much since it would ideally never be seen while wearing the full uniform ensemble, I nevertheless documented them for future reference (OCD and all!). 

The neckline was 6 ¾” wide, measured from the shoulder seams.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers vest attachment


The front neckline was 5 ¼” deep, measured from the shoulder seam to the center front.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers vest attachment


The back neckline was about 2 ¼” deep, measured from the shoulder seam to the center back.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers vest attachment


The neckline was hemmed with approximately ⅜” hem allowance and stitched ¼” from the edge.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers vest attachment


The right shoulder seam was 4 ½” wide, but the left shoulder seam was 4 ⅝”.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers vest attachment
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers vest attachment


The shoulder seam allowances were ⅝”.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers vest attachment


The armholes were 10” deep, measured from the shoulder seam to the side seam.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers vest attachment


The armhole hem allowance varied from ⅜” up to ½”, but the armhole was still hemmed with ¼” stitching. (This suggests to me that the hemming was regarded as an obligatory finishing step, probably done in a hurry – especially since cotton lycra doesn’t fray and the entire area would never be seen in the show.)

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers vest attachment


The entire “tank top” attachment was 15” at its tallest in the front, measured from the shoulder seam at the neckline to the seam where it was joined to the trousers.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers vest attachment


At the center front, the “tank top” attachment was 9 ½” tall, measured from the upper edge of the neckline to the waist seam.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers vest attachment


On the back, the “tank top” attachment was 15 ½” at its tallest, again measured from the shoulder seam at the neckline to the waist seam.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers vest attachment


At the center back, the “tank top” attachment was 13 ¼” tall, measured from the upper edge of the neckline to the waist seam.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers vest attachment


Observe, however, that there was no center back seam on the “tank top” attachment.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers vest attachment


The “tank top” attachment was about 3 ⅜” tall on the sides, measured from the waist seam to the bottom edge of the armhole.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers vest attachment


The waist seam allowances (where the “tank top” and trousers were joined) were ½” and pressed upward.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers waist


The front of the trousers measured 8” at the waist on each side, from the side seam to center front.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers waist
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers waist


The back of the trousers measured 7” at the waist on each side, from the side seam to center back.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers waist


The trousers’ total waist measurement was 30”.


The front of the trousers measured 9 ¼” at the fullest part of the hips on each side, from side seam to center front.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers hips
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers hips


The back of the trousers also measured 9 ¼” at the fullest part of the hips, from side seam to center back.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers hips


The trousers’ total hip measurement was 37”.


The total side seam/outseam was 36”, measured from the waist seam to the hem line.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers side seam


The total inseam was 23”, measured from the crotch to the hem line.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers inseam


The “red” lightweight spandex trim was ¼” wide.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers trim


The trim was sewn into a side front seam and pressed away from center, with the seam allowances being pressed toward center. 

At the waist seam, the trim was positioned so its centermost edge was 2 ¾” from the center front.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers trim


The trim extended all the way down the center front, and at the bottom of the pant legs was an opening akin to that seen on the TNG jumpsuits, with an additional (second) length of trim sewn to the lower side front.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers trim


This lower front opening was just shy of 5” tall, although because of the large hem allowance, I wonder if it was originally intended to be taller, perhaps 6” instead …

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers split opening


And at the bottom of the pant legs were black elastic “stirrups” – a common fixture in TNG-era uniforms!

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers elastic "stirrups"


These elastic “stirrups” were 1” wide and only about 5” long.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers elastic "stirrups"
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers elastic "stirrups"


The elastic “stirrups” were sewn on to the trousers at the hem line and the ends tacked onto the hem allowance by hand, so no topstitching was visible on the outside of the trousers.

The elastic extended upward 1 ¼” into the hem.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers elastic "stirrups"


The trousers closed up the center front with a black invisible zipper, 21” of which was functional from a few inches above the crotch to the center front neckline.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers zipper


Beneath the trousers’ front opening, however, was an additional 8 ½” of zipper tape.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers zipper


The excess zipper tape at the top of the zipper was turned under and tacked into place by hand.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers zipper


The 21” functional zipper + 8 ½” lower excess + ½” top excess totals to a 30” long invisible zipper – same as the jacket. 


The center front seam allowance was 1” along the zipper, although it did occasionally narrow to ⅞”.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers zipper seam allowance
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers zipper seam allowance


Beneath the zipper, however, the seam allowance was reduced to ½”.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers seam allowance


The side front seam allowances were ½” and pressed toward the center front.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers seam allowance


To accomplish the lower front opening at the bottom of the pant legs, the side front seam allowance was clipped above the opening, and a second length of red trim was attached to the side front panel.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers seam allowance
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers seam allowance


The front trim was ¾” wide when folded in half, or 1 ½” total. 

(That’s ¼” trim + ½” seam allowance, doubled.)

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers trim


Curiously, though, the second length of trim was slightly wider – ⅞” when folded in half, or 1 ¾” total.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers trim


The side seam allowance varied quite a bit; it was ½” on the “tank top” attachment and ⅞” at the trousers’ waist seam. It tapered down to ½” around the hips and then widened to a full 1” at the calf and down to the hem.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers seam allowance
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers seam allowance
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers seam allowance


Oddly, the back inseam allowance was ⅞”, but the front allowance was a full 1”, on the entirety of both pant legs.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers seam allowance
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers seam allowance


The center back seam allowance tapered down from 1” at the waist seam to ½” around hip-level.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers seam allowance
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers seam allowance
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers seam allowance


This suggests to me that either the trousers were left open and the center back seam line established during a costume fitting with the actor, or they were trimmed down to ½” after construction to lie flatter along the lower crotch curve. (Although it is possible that the seam line was always intended to follow that direction, with the changing allowance.)


And finally, the hem allowance at the bottom of the trousers was nearly 3” – quite a bit more than one might expect to be included in a pattern. (I usually include 2” in my sewing patterns, and that’s what I was taught by the tailoring guru sewing wizard I worked for back in the day.)

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - trousers hem allowance


Assuming the extra hem allowance is due to the trousers being too long on the actor during a costume fitting, this would mean that the lower front openings in the pant legs were originally intended to be a bit taller – hence my earlier theory.


BONUS: Screen-used admiral rank bars!

And now, for those of you still reading, I have a quick bonus for you! 

The rank bars on the collar of the Admiral Nakamura uniform were actually screen-used, not replicas either included in the auction or replaced by an owner; how cool is that?!?

These bars were approximately 1 ½” by ½”.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - original, screen-used rank bars
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - original, screen-used rank bars


The “pips” were approximately ¼” in diameter, and positioned about 3/16” apart (and about 3/16” inside of the raised perimeter).

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - original, screen-used rank bars
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - original, screen-used rank bars


They were also pin-backed, unlike the later modern-era admiral rank bars (which attached with snaps).

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - original, screen-used rank bars


On the Admiral Nakamura jacket, these bars were positioned on the collar so their centermost lower corners were each 1 ¼” from the center front (2 ½” apart, total), and their centermost upper corners were ¾” from the center front (1 ½” wide, total).

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - original, screen-used rank bars
TNG season 2 admiral uniform - original, screen-used rank bars


And although the sleeve rank bars were replicas, not originals, I believe it worth noting that there was a little piece of felt on the underside of the sleeve, presumably either to stabilize/reinforce the area, or perhaps simply to accommodate for lengthy pins by adding a little bit of extra loft.

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - replica rank bars


Just for the hell of it, here’s a comparison photo between the original, screen-used rank bar and ANOVOS’ replica:

TNG season 2 admiral uniform - rank bar comparison (screen-used vs. ANOVOS)


This size discrepancy makes me wonder if the admiral rank bars actually changed size at some point, and ANOVOS’ replica bars are based on a later incarnation … but that’s another exploration for another post!


In Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this detailed look at a screen-used Admiral Nakamura uniform! 

Now that you’re intimately familiar with its construction, perhaps you now realize what I meant at the beginning of this post when I said this uniform was something of a harbinger of future uniform styles. 

Think about it … what we have here is a back-zipping, fully lined jacket made of superfine wool gabardine, which featured a division-colored torso and long sleeves, black yoke that extended onto the upper sleeves, and a collar with contrasting piping along its upper edge, nearly all of which was interfaced and structured so it maintained its smooth appearance on-screen … plus, accompanying high-waisted black trousers! 

Sound familiar?!?

I’d again like to thank Angelo Cifaldi for giving me the opportunity to examine this uniform, and to share my research with you.



Also, you can download my entire library of high-resolution costume photos as a ZIP file here

As always, there are many more goodies coming, so subscribe to my “Costume Guide” e-mail newsletter (upper right) for updates!


4 comments:

  1. I remember seeing this piece hanging in the wardrobe department during a visit probably around 3rd or 4th season and being impressed with the fact that it was so well constructed that stored on a hanger, it looked like it had someone in it, filling it out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very cool, that you got to visit the wardrobe department back in the day!

      With all the structuring, it didn't even need a person wearing it to look "alive!"

      Delete
  2. Thank you for another exhaustive and entertaining analysis of a screen-used costume! It is clear that the costuming department on TNG was dedicated to craftsmanship.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome, Randy!

      They weren't always pretty on the inside, but I am continually amazed at these screen-used costumes and as you said, the dedication of the original costumers.

      Delete