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For most of the series, she did not wear her uniform on duty like other members of the crew. However, after Captain Edward Jellico ordered her to wear her uniform in Chain of Command, Part I, she kept wearing it.

Has it ever been explained why that is in-universe?

I'm aware that there is an explanation out-of-universe but that's not what I am looking for.

My best guess is that, as she explained in Thine Own Self, the events of Disaster made her think about increasing in rank. When Captain Jellico ordered to wear her uniform, it might have made her realize that, if she wanted to be a commander, she might have to act (i.e. dress) like one. However, I cannot find anything confirming or denying that.

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You are probably correct. It seems obvious to me, I doubt anyone has bothered to clarify this point. Something else to think about is this new-found strength makes her more appealing as a mate for Worf, which eventually sets up the final episode's conflict between Riker, herself and Worf. But I doubt they were thinking that far ahead. –  DampeS8N Feb 14 '11 at 3:38

4 Answers 4

up vote 21 down vote accepted

This is the kind of question that writers try to avoid coming into their viewers minds, because there's no-way to arrive at any good in-universe explanation. It's just poor writing and character planning, plain and simple.

Why would such a progressive and large institution as Star Fleet have dress-code issues on their flag-ship centuries after the founding of Star Fleet?

Troi either would have been corrected on the first day or never been asked to change, but not one and then the other. The ornery evil captain that caused the change probably wouldn't have said anything if she was in compliance with the dress code to begin with.

Why have a dress-code if you're going to allow the leadership to ignore it?

Wouldn't that cause problems in any institution?

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maybe Jellico wrote up a report on her and she got some star demerits and she decided to play it more safe. –  Doug T. Apr 24 '12 at 21:13

In-universe, the character of Troi tasted command, and liked it. She wanted to have more responsibilities and to be able to lead. Thus, she began acting more like an officer in the chain of command, and less like a medical specialist/adviser (the two roles she had previously preformed).

In doing so, it became necessary for her to look the part. Just as she didn't wear a uniform while counseling (there are certain personality types, common in the military, which cannot look past a uniform's rank) to prevent difficulties, she began wearing a regulation uniform to ease her 'official' interactions with fellow crew members.

An ensign may have no problem laying on the couch for a therapy session with a person in civilian dress, but giving an order while wearing civvies? Not going to work so well.

In-universe, the character's focus changed, and this change required an outward change. Out-of-universe, the reasons were entirely as described by gbn.

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From Wikipedia, from the actress's own mouth

I was thrilled when I got my regulation Starfleet uniform... it covered up my cleavage and I got all my brains back, because when you have cleavage you can't have brains in Hollywood... I was allowed to do things that I hadn't been allowed to do for five or six years...

And just before

After six years, the producers decided to drop the "sexy and brainless" Troi and make her a stronger character

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I'm aware of that, but I'm looking for an in-universe explanation, if there is one. –  Borror0 Feb 14 '11 at 6:40
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Funny. I've only made it up to Season 5, and despite being sexy, Troi has never struck me as particularly brainless. There are vaguely flaky moments, but for the most part she has struck me as a very strong and wise character. I'm now curious to see this change in Season 6. –  Daniel Bingham Feb 14 '11 at 6:42
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Why are people upvoting this? It doesn't answer my question... –  Borror0 Feb 14 '11 at 17:28
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@borror0: possibly because it is the reason Why do the writers have to justify it?The fans (I'm not one) can make one up but there isn't thus far –  gbn Feb 14 '11 at 18:00
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@DanielBingham: Strange, but by season 5 I hadn't ever seen her as sexy, only brainless. –  Jeff Jul 9 '12 at 21:39

Troi's Uniform is a sign of her Counselor Billet. Beverly Crusher's Coat is a sign of her Medical Billet. These modifications to the uniform are symbolic, but not necessary to the Billet (specific position) they perform on the ship.

As many have pointed out, for the character's development she would put lower ranks at ease by appearing more casual, but being interactive with the higher staff it was permitted. She may have decided to move from casual to formal because she could be up for review, or new assignment, or promotion. She could have easily felt more objectified, or Riker could have been more serious behind the scenes, or any combination or derivative of these.

It would be like if a Marine wore the Combat Utilities because he/she was constantly working in conditions that require them to not wear the senior uniform of the day. Being her own boss essentially, and probably being knowledgeable about the rules she must follow plus the empathic abilities allows her to conform at her whim. Maybe she noticed others were more liable to function the way she wanted when she dressed in an equivalent uniform, as opposed to an accepted substitute.

The real answer is producers gave in to the actress, and that action dictated an "in-universe" change, that they felt was minimal enough to not devote airtime to.

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A lot of supposition without any citation. Additionally, having been a military medic, doctors and other medical officers wear uniforms, as do enlisted medical personnel. –  JohnP Apr 21 at 15:05

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