An interesting article at TrekMovie.com describes the new uniforms in detail, and tries to shed some light on the meaning of their features based on observation of on-screen evidence.
The most important functional1 features of the Discovery uniforms are:
The blue two-piece duty uniforms are adorned with decorations of different colors2, that denote the department that the wearer belongs to:
- Gold: Command department
- Silver: Science department
- Bronze: Operations department
- White/Silver Medical department (an exception to the standard blue uniforms, medics are clad in white ornated with the silver Science decorations)
- Jumpsuit: a less formal suit that keeps the same style and colors of the standard ones, but it is a one-piece and short-sleaved, and has a different decoration (a colored pattern on the low back instead of the sides).
- Field Suit: an alternate version worn during shuttle flight operations and away missions, one-pieced, less formal and more utilitarian; it has black decorations in place of the departmental colors. It is worn in conjunction with a reinforced flak-jacket of sorts.
The more specific division inside a department is displayed as a symbol engraved in the badge worn on the chest. These symbols are the same used in the TOS era (see pictures below):
- Pointed star: Command
- Interlocked circles: Science
- Angled spiral: Operations
- Medical cross: Medical
The ranks are engraved in the chest badge as a series of a maximum of four round pips, in the same fashion of the ones worn on the uniform's collar during the TNG era:
- Four pips: Captain
- Three pips: Commander
- Two and a half pips: Lieutenant Commander
- Two pips: Lieutenant
- One and a half pips: Lieutenant J.G.
- One pip: Ensign
In addition to the pips, two slightly different badges are worn by admirals and cadets:
- Admiral: The "Starfleet Delta" is inserted in a circular badge and encircled by a golden wreath.
- Cadet: The "Starfleet Delta" is inserted in a rectangular badge and superimposed to a series of four horizontal bars.
Furthermore, a Captain, besides wearing Gold ornaments on his uniform by belonging to Command department, has and additional golden pattern on the shoulders. An Admiral has this pattern extended into the uniform's arms.
Other features (like the the delta pattern on the side of the tops, or the stripes that run from shoulders to feet) seems to be identical on all uniforms regardless of rank or departments, so they can be assumed to have just decorative purposes.
Picture 1: Uniform Breakdown
Picture 2: Uniform Types
Source: user Rekkert from DeviantArt
Picture 3: Field Suit
St:DIS Episode 1x06: Lethe
1. So, not only decorative, but serving a practical purpose to distinguish between ranks, departments, ad roles.
2. They appear to have just "metallized" the colors used in TOS:
Yellow > Gold,
Blue > Silver,
Red > Bronze