Rebecca Romijn Insisted On Wearing A Starfleet Dress On Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

The original "Star Trek" series remains spellbinding for its forward thinking science fiction ideas. But it remains equally spellbinding for being a show so firmly entrenched in the '60s that all female crew members on board the USS Enterprise wear short miniskirts while the men get to strut around in far less revealing uniforms. And while "Trek" has gone a long way in the decades since to make Starfleet uniforms work for all genders and body types ("The Next Generation" even featured male officers in the Starfleet minidress, or "skant," uniform), that classic short-skirt look has at least one major fan: "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" star Rebecca Romijn. 

Una Chin-Riley, better known to Captain Christopher Pike and "Star Trek" fans as "Number One," rocks the Starfleet dress look throughout the first five episodes of "Strange New Worlds," with the tough-as-nails first officer of the Enterprise making a strong case for this seemingly outdated look to make a major comeback. And you can consider this mission accomplished for Romijn, who not only requested that Una wear a Starfleet dress, but that she actively wear it during action sequences.

"Number One" made her debut in the original "Star Trek" pilot, titled "The Cage," where she was Captain Pike's uber-reliable, no-nonsense first officer (and was played by Majel Barrett, the future wife of "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry). But who said Uber-reliable and no-nonsense don't have a feminine side? Una remains a tough leader and military commander in "Strange New Worlds," but Romijn felt is was important for the character to embrace her femininity:

"Initially, I was inspired by the hair and the nails. There would be background artists on the original series that I would get screen grabs of and send that into hair and makeup and be like, 'Let's try something like this.'"

The badass Starfleet Dress

And it was Romijn's idea for Una to wear the uniform style made famous by Nichelle Nichols (among others) in the Original Series, even though the show's producers originally didn't intend for skirts to be part of the official Starfleet wardrobe on the new show:

"I requested a Starfleet dress, which, the first answer was, 'No. We're just going to do pants and tops."'And then they came back around and said, 'No, we changed our mind. Why don't we start building uniform wardrobes,' where sometimes I'm wearing Starfleet dress and sometimes not."

The result is a nice touch: every character on "Strange New Worlds" has multiple uniforms, which they rotate through regularly (one of Captain Pike's wardrobe options will have longtime "Trek" fans losing their minds). And while we do see Una wearing pants, her default uniform tends to be the skirt, and it was important to Romijn that she wear it even during hazardous situations:

"I made a specific request that the Starfleet dress shouldn't just be on the Enterprise. I actually want to make sure that Starfleet dress goes into action and turn it into a badass Starfleet dress, so it's not just like a flight attendant standing around on the enterprise."

The result is a low-key subversion of sci-fi tropes. So often, the "badass" woman on board a spaceship is coded with more masculine features and dress — everyone aims for Vasquez from "Aliens." But Una, second in command of the flagship vessel of Starfleet, wears her long hair down, paints her nails, and calls the shots while rocking an unapologetically feminine dress. "Strange New Worlds" is happy to put women in charge, and to let them embrace their femininity even when they're shooting phasers on an away mission.

"I wanted to flip the narrative," Romijn told me of her Starfleet dress. "I want to make sure it's out there doing some action."

"Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" premieres on Paramount+ on May 5, 2022. It's spectacular