Once, maybe ten years ago, I was on a podcast talking about being a geek and a girl at the same time and toward the end I was asked if I spoke Klingon. I answered “No, I speak Romulan.” I was referring to the Rihannsu language made up for Diane Duane’s series of books about Rihannsu/Romulan culture. I read the first two in the series, My Enemy, My Ally and The Romulan Way, in high school, along with this book about Saavik, and decided I was meant to be a Romulan (they’re kinda the Slytherin side of Vulcans).
Being a Romulan sympathizer can be a bit of a roller coaster in canon. The two Romulan Commanders who appear in TOS are A+++ but Saavik’s Romulan ancestry is not even a footnote on screen. There are some fun moments in TNG and even Voyager but Sela never quite landed (I still love her though) and Nemesis is a disaster on nearly every level. And then there’s Unification and the Kelvin verse’s Nero, who clearly grew out of the episode, but I consider him Star Trek (2009)’s weakest point despite (or perhaps because of) his striking similarities to the antagonist in “Year of Hell”, my most favourite episode of Voyager.
But Romulan fashion is far more consistent, if sadly consistently TERRIBLE.
There are two exceptions to my sweeping judgement:
The Queen! But as you see, even here she is exception. Her guards’ outfits are So Ugly. Is it cold on Romulus? Is that why they insist on woolen fabrics and mock-turtlenecks?? Even my queen’s outfit is only really saved by virtue of it’s absurdly impractical micromini and thigh high boots. I love that their hands are hooked into their sleeves though!!!
And like her predecessor in “The Enterprise Incident” Donatra is proof the Romulan aesthetic doesn’t have to be horrible! This is kick-ass while still clearly Romulan. Romulan fashion is actually at its very best in Nemesis which is why I said ‘nearly’ every level above. I mean Shinzon alone:
Iridescent pleather definitely says “I want to rule the galaxy” (just ask Vader).
But the great majority of Romulan fashion is, imo, awful:
These oversized boxy shoulders, three-quarter pants, and severe haircuts flatter no one. NO. ONE. It’s an outfit made up entirely of Fashion Don’ts. I appreciate that (excepting in the case of my queen above) the uniform is gender neutral. But they even got rid of color after TOS. I mean look at this:
It’s the saddest costume I remember seeing on Star Trek. And weirdly reminds me of Anne of Green Gables.
Which is all a long intro to say Picard makes a fine Romulan. I like that they are all wearing layers and robes (Romulus is a cold, cold place confirmed) that make them look pseudo-Vulcan (cuz they are). I wish ANYONE was wearing a color besides grey, brown, and drab, or sporting a different hairstyle. I sort of get it if the entire military has to have that haircut but the entire PLANET?! Even Senators and underground anarchists and refugees? I might not be cut out to be a Romulan after all. Unless I can be a radical.