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 her 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.

  • 2
    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, 2011 at 3:38
  • 10
    Link to out-of-universe explanation is incorrect. It links to an existing, yet empty page. Can someone provide an updated link? Or paste out-of-universe explanation directly to this question (for future references)?
    – trejder
    Jan 26, 2015 at 10:32
  • 3
  • I don't think a reason is given, but I don't think one is required either, there are plenty of possible explanations - e.g. she felt more professional in it or that Jellico was right.
    – komodosp
    May 10, 2017 at 7:50
  • Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. That’s what I do. Jul 16, 2017 at 18:50

8 Answers 8


EDIT: In a copy of the script I found Jellico says:

Oh, by the way...
(she stops)
I prefer a certain... formality on
the Bridge.
(beat, then with a smile)
I would appreciate it if you wore
a standard uniform when you're on

My reading of this, is that Troi wearing a standard uniform is not a regulation or rule, but simply a preference of Jellico's. Troi doesn't protest either because Jellico's the captain or because she does not want to make the transition to a new captain any harder.

The reason out-of-universe is because it made the character more interesting, in-universe it may have just been that Troi had a desire to be taken more seriously as an officer. This seems like a situation where the writers attempted to merge the in-universe and out-of-universe reasons, to create a holistic plot solution, if you will.

Troi appears to be shedding a more feminine or motherly appearance for a more commanding professional appearance. What this says about Federation culture is difficult to speculate about.

Here's my old answer, I still feel like the scene seems pretty weird and oddly pro- and anti-feminist as far as the Star Trek universe goes.

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?

  • 2
    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, 2012 at 21:13
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    "Why have a dress-code if you're going to allow the leadership to ignore it?" - how do you know the dress code does not contain "optional" parts that can be required or not at the discretion of the current commanding officer? Jan 13, 2015 at 12:28
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    How do you know counselors are even required to wear a uniform? More importantly, despite this being an 'enlightened' era, how do you know Jellico isn't just being a stickler to the rules?
    – Zibbobz
    Feb 3, 2015 at 18:07
  • @Zibbobz - I assume the flagship of a multisolar political would, as part of its mission, would be an exemplar or avatar of that entity, representing the larger group where-ever it went. To that end, one would assume they would already be strict with the rules. Feb 3, 2015 at 18:50
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    @MarkRogers You assume too much. Not only is Troi not an official part of the bridge crew or senior officer circle while wearing her casual counselor uniform, it may be more important as a counselor to appear welcoming and warm to her patients, something that would not be best served by being in a uniform. You also assume that Starfleet carries strict military regulations, despite not being an exclusively military organization.
    – Zibbobz
    Feb 3, 2015 at 18:56

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.

  • 3
    "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)." This one line sums it up, and the expanded explanation should be the accepted answer. Explains precisely what the uniform represents and how changing it aided and was impelled by her changing role in ship and career. Jun 14, 2017 at 18:59

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"

  • 4
    I'm aware of that, but I'm looking for an in-universe explanation, if there is one.
    – Borror0
    Feb 14, 2011 at 6:40
  • 17
    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. Feb 14, 2011 at 6:42
  • 10
    Why are people upvoting this? It doesn't answer my question...
    – Borror0
    Feb 14, 2011 at 17:28
  • 2
    It's a noticeable change. It strikes me as unlikely that the writers didn't bother trying to have a reasonable explanation, even if the real explanation was politics.
    – Borror0
    Feb 14, 2011 at 18:27
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    @DanielBingham: Strange, but by season 5 I hadn't ever seen her as sexy, only brainless.
    – Jeff
    Jul 9, 2012 at 21:39

Marina Sirtis (Troi): Basically, the reason I wasn’t in the space suit when we started was because I was too fat, and it just didn’t look good. And then [creator] Gene [Roddenberry] decided that if I wasn’t going to be wearing the space suit, and I was a counselor, it would put people at their ease if I was wearing regular clothes and not a military uniform.

Michael Dorn (Worf): And then you got skinny.

Marina Sirtis (Tro): And then I got skinny and I could wear anything.

Source: Buzzfeed interview "Star Trek: TNG Stars Michael Dorn And Marina Sirtis Prove How Well They Know Each Other"

  • Don't forget to provide links to quotes.
    – Valorum
    Mar 7, 2015 at 21:22
  • Flagging as NAA, because this is about out-of-universe reasons.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Sep 29, 2015 at 21:51

I'm sorry to revive this but I've also been wondering about this for a while and think I may have found an answer in Season 7, Episode 16 - Thine Own Self. The actual conversation between Troi and Riker:

I'd actually like your opinion on something. (beat) I've been thinking about taking the Bridge Officer's test and becoming a full commander.

Riker's a little surprised and it shows. He sits down
across from her.

        What brought this up?

        A lot of things... working on last
        month's personnel review...
        talking with Beverly about her
        experiences... going to my class

        Ah, the class reunion... saw a few
        old friends who'd taken the
        test... ?

        All right, I'll admit that was a
        catalyst. But I can honestly say
        it's something I have thought
        about off and on over the past two

        Why the past two years?

        Do you remember when the
        Enterprise hit that quantum
        filament... and I was left in
        command on the Bridge?

        I remember...

        When it happened, I felt
        overwhelmed... but when it was
        over...I realized that a part of me
        missed it... not the actual
        disaster, but the experience of
        being in command. When I was on
        the Bridge, I felt like I was
        exploring a new side of myself.
        I don't want to give up counseling
        by any means... but I would like
        to... stretch myself a little.

I wonder if this might be an in-universe explanation as to why Troi has decided to wear standard uniform.

  • Hello Nadalien, thank you for your answer and welcome to Science Fiction & Fantasy. There's no need to apologise for a late answer. May I invite you to take the tour and read through the help center? You may find the explanation on how to format useful; it explains how to format quotes, for instance.
    – SQB
    Jul 16, 2017 at 22:14

I was glad when she started wearing the standard uniform. I did notice there where times afterward when she wore one of the older ones, but it seemed to be either in her off hours or when she was in her counselor role. Like others I assumed that in universe it was because she was a counselor and it was more disarming to her patients to be dressed casually but coming from a military background, it bothered me especially when she would where it on the bridge. Out of universe, it just seemed like shameless sex appeal to me. After she started wearing it I also assumed after her encounter with the temporary captain she headed his advice even after he had gone and decided to be more professionally dressed.


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.

  • 1
    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, 2014 at 15:05

Following the development of Deanna over the years, when she first came on board, she was a counsellor, she had no place on the bridge, but at Picards request she was allowed a place on the bridge, as he liked the idea of having someone with empathic powers to help with diplomatic situations. She was not a bridge officer and in her role as counsellor, did not have to wear the formal officer, she had no rank (ensign, Lieutanant etc). As her character develops and spends a lot of time on bridge observing, she decides to go for a command role. After a period of time, she passes the command exam and gets given a rank and role as support bridge officer (she is even seen doing a shift as command) and as such starts wearing the more formal uniform when she is on shift in her command role.

  • 3
    She always had a rank.
    – T.J.L.
    Jul 17, 2017 at 4:45

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