I always found the constant change in uniforms pretty ridiculous. How many times do uniform designs change in real military?
Voyager was the only ship that had the same uniforms for 7 years, and that's just because she was stranded in the Delta Quadrant. Picard's Enterprise(s) went through 4 uniform designs in 8 years. They even had two different uniforms scattered randomly across the officers at the same time in Generations, which is the peak of unbelievability, I guess.
So the TWOK design is the "most successful" uniform design, it stayed from the 2280s to the 2350s. While all the others barely made it 3-4 years average.
Mr. Laser Beam wrote:
Was it just me, or was Admiral Pike's new dress uniform at the very end of the movie somewhat reminiscent of the one Kirk wore at the start of TMP?
Yep, they did that on purpose.
Can you cite a source? I'm all ears for an interview with the costume designer.
The change in uniforms every couple of years in Starfleet is probably because, I assume, the toy companies wanted to pump out a new line of figurines!
The TWOK era ones, indeed, are the most long-lived, surviving for decades. The First Contact/late DS9 ones lasted for quite a while, too.
I didn't so much mind the crew wearing both TNG season 7 and DS9/VOY jumpsuits in Generations, because it showed a kind of transition period between the two designs. Just like we saw background extras wearing early TNG jumpsuits in later TNG episodes.