Xadium's note: This was what I wrote for the Suburban Senshi World Guide
One of the most striking features of the Sailor Senshi is the combat uniform she wears. Though the basic appearance of the outfit varies from planetary system to planetary system, certain elements remain constant in function, if not form. This article will examine the various features of the uniforms worn by the Sol system's sailor senshi.
The Sol system sailor fuku, as worn by Sailor Venus.
While the uniform might look frilly and inoffensive, nothing could be further from the truth. The Planetary Sailor Senshi uniform is an effective and efficient means of protection in even the most intense combat situation. Many of the subtler and more arcane functions are rarely used in modern combat, since the senshi, being non-formally trained and lacking the detailed memories of their past lives, simply don't know about them. It is conceivable that they will rediscover them in time.
The Body Armour
The hardshell body armour
The principal component of the Sailor Soldier uniform is the one-piece, virtually seamless armoured "leotard." Composed of an extremely lightweight, yet sturdy plastisilk, it is impervious to short and medium-range projectile impact, and distributes incoming shock-force evenly away from the point of impact in all directions. It is resistant to flame and temperature extremes. It also contains nanomolecular heaters which actuate in extremely cold environs to keep vital core areas of the body at a constant 98.6 degrees. While the material is extremely resilient and can take significant amounts of impact damage, it can be slashed given sufficent force on the part of the attacker, and it can be penetrated by long-range, large-caliber armour piercing high velocity rounds or their equivalents.
The shoulder guards are made of an extremely dense version of this material (See the elbow pads on the gauntlets) and thus are very useful for tackling and smashing moves. Not all Sailor Senshi have them (Saturn, for instance).
Miscellenia: A common misconception about the Sailor uniform is that the underwear of the wearer is exposed; in reality, what is being seen is the underside of the hardshell leotard, which is only slightly weaker in construction than the upper portion. The leotard has no visible seams, and thus may be difficult for the wearer to remove; the proper method of removal is for the wearer to actually will it to split open; at that point a seam will emerge in the back, which can be "zipped" up or down by light pressure on the seam.
The "gloves" of the uniform are actually more akin to gauntlets in function. Save for the portion containing the wrist and hand, are made of a material ten times as dense as that of the hardshell leotard. This allows them to act as excellent shields against incoming blades or bullets. In fact, low to medium- caliber bullets will simply ricochet off the gauntlets ala "Wonder Woman." They can also perform the same function against energy bursts of low to high intensity, depending upon the strength of the soldier using them.
The ribbed elbow-protector on the upper part of the gauntlets is even heavier and more shock-resistant, making for excellent use as a club or a means to shatter objects via means of an elbow strike.
The hand and finger portions of the gloves are supple and light, but are still just about as strong as the underside of the hardshell leotard, with extra anti-heat and cold protective features. They are also semipermeable to certain frequencies of energy (custom to the user) allowing for the discharge of ki without taking damage.
Not all Sailor Senshi wear boots; the shape of the particular footwear taken by this part of the uniform varies wildly even between the worlds of a single system. Nonetheless, all the footwear share some common traits. In terms of density, they are comprable to the elbow-protectors of the gauntlets--nonetheless, they are highly comfortable to wear, constantly and subtly massaging the soles of the wearer by molecular motion and transmitting gentle pulses of heat up the legs; this allows the wearer to walk for extremely long distances without discernable fatigue as well as protecting the legs from exposure to cold.
Extremely shock resistant, the boots allow the wearer to land safely after taking incredibly high leaps, distributing the shock-force outwards omnidirectionally across a lateral plane slightly above the sole. This allows the ground directly under the jumper to take less damage, however it will not entirely prevent damage. If the wearer wills it, the boots can silence their sound output entirely via noise cancellation; not many Sailor Soldiers of the modern day know of or employ this function. They are also watertight.
In addtion to the basic body-protection features of the sailor uniform, there are a number of standard accessories that provide useful functions in combat, even if they are largely underutilized.
The Tiaras of the Terran system are custom crafted weapons manufactured by the weaponsmiths of Venus. Like Venus' "Love-me Chain," they are a gold-titanium alloy, and controllable telekinetically. If thrown, they can act like a controlled discus, cutting or smashing though objects and returning to their user. They can be stopped in midair with a thought. Their hardness is greater than that of synthetic diamond, and they can take incredible amounts of physical abuse without deforming or even scratching. Indeed, these tiaras are so meticulously crafted that the Sailor Senshi of other systems secretly covet them, as their tiaras are generally of inferior construction and strength.
The jewels in their center are tied to particular aura of the Sailor Senshi. They can be used to transmit energy from one Sailor Senshi to another (for "power ups") or to accept those transmissions. They also act as focus points for attacks, so that a thrown tiara can be "hit" with multiple senshi attacks, building up force and charge, delivering an even more damaging blow to their targets.
The tiara also has a nanomolecular heating/cooling system which keeps the head at a stable temperature at all times. It also emits a low-level forcefield that protects the head of the wearer to a great degree, creating a virtual "crash helmet" for them. This works off of the individual power level of the user, and thus a greatly weakened senshi almost bereft of ki will derive almost no benefit from it.
A feature of the Tiara that is very rarely used is the ability to directly make telepathic contact with others. This is how Usagi is able to hear the other senshi "calling" her, and why the Senshi are able to converse with aliens and foreigners with apparent ease (depending on if the senshi is not clouding understanding by trying to consciously figure out what the person is saying instead of relaxing their mind). The Lunar Crescent also has this function.
As with the bows below, the choker of the Sailor outfit is more than just a frill, even though it is often colour-coordinated with the decorative trim worn by the Senshi. Most Senshi are completely ignorant of its capabilities. It is made of a slighty weaker material than the ends of the gloves. It is laterally reinforced to protect against moderate blows to the larnyx, but it cannot stop high velocity blades or extreme cutting forces. Like a watchband, its primary purpose it to hold the ornament at its front, which is its most vital component. (The ornament on the bow serves a similar function, as a primary unit on uniforms with no collar ornament, and as a backup on suits that have it.)
The ornament on the front serves various functions that are never apparent to the user. It constantly monitors the nanomolecular systems of the suit and keeps them in balance, routing the energy of the user as needed to components that may be failing or in need of a boost. It reads the chakras of the wearer, and, via redistribution of ambient bioelectric energy, tries to keep them in balance to maintain an optimum health situation in combat.
When turned clockwise, the ornament on the choker can cause the neckband to release a powerful adrenalin boost into the bloodstream--a one-time only shot that is not rechargable until the next transformation.
One of the most useful "silent" features of the choker is its capacity to manufacture oxygen molecules from ambient matter and directly oxygenate the blood via the neckband mechanism, thus allowing the senshi to safely operate in the vacuum of space without suits. (As seen in the R movie, episode 44 and various portions of the manga). The oxygenation feature is completely automatic. It also filters out some toxic gases, but can do nothing against drowning or smothering.
When pressed, if user has willed it, a powerful discharge of ki can be channeled outwards though the ornament, to burn anything attempting to strangulate the wearer.
When turned counterclockwise six times (and assuming the user has consciously willed it), the choker can force a blast of energy inward--a suicide device for missions in which capture is unacceptable. The psychic lock of the suicide device is extraordinarily sensitive, and will not actuate if the user is being manipulated, so an external enemy cannot trigger it under any circumstances.
One of the most misunderstood parts of the sailor uniform are the "pretty" bows that adorn it. While these do serve as color-coded designations to specific units or planets, they do have useful battlefield function.
The ornament on the front bow has several functions. If the user wills it, even unconsciously, it can channel energy froward and outward to create a kind of "deflector sheild," pushing away air or flames. (This is how Sailor Moon was able to fly through the flames in the SuperS film). It also is capable of acting as an emergency defibrillation device, storing and discharging a powerful electric shock directly though the hardsuit and into the heart for purposes of cardiac stimulation. Sensors in the onament prevent it from admininstering this shock during periods of normal cardiac function.
In a pinch, if a Senshi is out of weapons, they can always rip off their front bow, twist it into a makeshift blackjack and smash their opponent in the head with the sturdy front ornament. It sounds comical, but that move has been known to save many a Senshi's life.
The back bows also serve a purpose. They can be pulled off and used as tourniquets. Special nanomachines in their construction allow them to clean out, disinfect and apply healing agents directly to the wounds they bind. They also are capable of boosting a Senshi's healing factor and repairing anything through a moderate third-degree burn.
Cape and Skirt
These are the only truly "superfluous" pieces of the Sailor uniform, serving as color-coded regimental and planetary affiliation insignia. They can carry very simple designs or no designs at all. The number of stripes on the collar varies by Senshi and denotes some form of rank, although this distinction has been lost to time. The skirt and cape, being noncritical elements of the uniform, are made of the weakest material (relatively speaking), and thus are burnt, cut, and otherwise damaged failrly easilly.
Some have wondered at the "short" length of the skirt. Its length is short in order to facilitate the greatest range of leg motion for kicks and other martial arts moves. In point of fact, as explained above, there is nothing lewd about this arrangement, since the only thing "exposed" by the shortness of the skirt during these moves are the solid bottom portions of the hardshell leotard.
Note: The uniform of the Sol system's Sailor Senshi has often been derided as being a childish clone of the typical naval "sailor suit" worn by Japanese schoolgirls (see figure below). What is overlooked in this facile commentary is the fact that the situation is, in fact, the exact opposite.
Typical Japanese school uniforms.
Historians of the Crystal Millennium have verified that due to their prominent, if largely forgotten roles in ancient Earth history, the basic design of the uniforms worn by the defenders of the planet who so nobly perished in the great war with the Dark Kingdom was half-remembered and passed down through history, eventually influencing the design of military uniforms worn by the Earth's naval warriors, which in turn provided the basis for the Japanese seifuku design.
Also of note is that Suburban Senshi disregards the redesign of the outers' fuku in Stars, as they removed the uniqueness of those outfits, something that Takeuchi aspired to. At some point after Stars their fuku went back to looking as they did in the S season, even though the powerups remained.