Why do Star Fleet officers/crew wear uniforms?

I saw a scene in Star Trek: the Next Generation in which a young crew member encountering Captain Picard spilled her beverage on him, forcing him to go change and it got me to wondering: with all the amazing technology in the twenty-something century, why are they wearing clothes?

I am not suggesting that everyone on the ship should be going around naked, but it seems like a simple bracelet/necklace/belt would be sufficient to hold a modesty/comfort field generator that could simulate the utility of attire without any of the drawbacks.

Imagine the possibilities. The captain is arguing with a hostile alien commander when, in a fit of pique, his attire generator transforms his accoutrements to that of an angry Visigoth chieftain. Or the engineer flips his device to the chameleon setting, where everyone sees him wearing what they expect him to be wearing.

No one would ever have to worry about crapping their drawers. The ship’s HVAC system would have enormously less fibrous dust to manage. There seems to be nothing in the way of downsides (well, perhaps some aspects of foreplay, but the Stars Trek tend to avoid such topics).

So instead of Picard having to change his clothes, you would rather he get his junk scalded by hot coffee?

Just off the top of my pointed little head:

What dust? Proof that Star Fleet uniforms shed anything whatsoever is desired.

Power consumption. Just where is the magic clothing bracelet going to get the power needed to do everything you have it doing?

What if you like the feel of wind, rain, etc.? Any force field that protects you also shields you.

The purpose of a uniform is uniformity. This is still a hierarchical situation. Quasi-military or not, Star Fleet has ranks and power flows downhill. Having your commanders “dressed” like Little Bo Peep doesn’t elicit loyalty or obedience.

That’s just your dead white Euoproean patriarchy mindset talking.

If Bo Peep is a good commander, people will respect him.

I’m not so sure people will respect Bo Peep, Norm McDonald had a bit about how you could be the most acclaimed scientist in your field but if you were missing one of your front teeth, still nobody would take you seriously.

This guy might have to adjust his visor to avoid seeing the Captain’s Log

And let’s not forget Data as well…

Relying on advanced technology to simulate something that is done with zero technology IS a drawback.

Like they say on MST3K, “… it’s just a show, I should really just relax.”

The holodeck is capable of generating physical objects: there is no reason to expect that the modesty/comfort field generator would not provide protection from stuff like spilled liquids. It would probably have an auto-response function. In fact, if someone spilled coffee on me, I think having absorbent material next to my body to trap the hot liquid there may not be ideal (I speak from personal experience, though I think I was about three years old – dressed up for church – so my actual memory of the event amounts to my parents telling me the story, a scar on my chest, and a reluctance to reach for vessels above me).

They are rather obviously cloth. Cloth is made of fibers. Fibers naturally release from cloth. There are about a thousand people in a somewhat confined area.

cf. ST:Voyager, in which a holographic character manages to move outside the confines of his generating domain by means of a wristwatch-sized device. Power seems like a minimal issue in the ST fantaverse.

The force field would have adjustable porosity, of course. And if you really like the breeze, just turn the damn thing off. It is not like your crewmates would be shocked by an unclothed body.

One would use the uniform setting while on duty. The crew spends a lot of time not on duty. It seems like Picard wears his uniform just about ever fucking minute of the day.


Discourse is a puny bitch.

[quote=“silenus, post:9, topic:919943, full:true”]
BURN … bitch.

My post was merely a spontaneous comment intended to annoy, irritate, and ridicule all readers of this thread.

While ridiculing every inconsistent detail in the movies they’re watching.:smiley:

What I could never understand is why they wore boots while on the ship. While the uniforms themselves looked a lot more comfortable than modern military uniforms, the footwear certainly didn’t. Why not wear slippers or booties in an environment where you are never going to encounter mud or pebbles?

So far as I understand, dust in non-industrial environments is mostly dried human skin, not cloth fiber.

The Enterprise-D is gigantic with only about a thousand people aboard. It’s nearly deserted. You would be able to wander the corridors without running into anyone. (Which makes the empty corridors in many episodes of Next Generation realistic.)

Electronically generated clothing? With all the engineering and tech problems encountered on the Enterprise already, they don’t need a ton of potential wardrobe malfunctions to make matters worse.

“Captain, I’ve upgraded all the holo-clothing emitters to Windows 2400.”

“Great! That explains why we’re all naked now.”

Well, any version of Windows would obviously be entirely inapproprate for an attire generator. The modesty/comfort device control system would have to be ginned up out of whole – uh, something.

So… presumably in the Star Trek universe you’d also have dried alien skin (or other hide/integument) flakes/particles as the main component of dust? That could make forensics and trials interesting: “The dust at the crime scene was 69% human skin flakes, 29% Vulcan, with traces of Klingon, Horta, and Denobulan. Your honor, there were no indications of shed skin cells from any Xindi species, therefore, my client was never present at the scene and is innocent of all charges.”

Bunny slippers.

Depending on how and whether other species shed cells like humans do …

Recently some of us were talking about what it would be like to return to our offices after so long. Someone mentioned that it’s a lot cleaner than one would think because people haven’t beeen around shedding dead skin cells.

The OP seems to be describing a combination hologram emitter and personal deflector shield. The former is beyond the tech capabilities of the TOS/TNG era (Voyager’s Doctor got his mobile emitter from a 29th century time traveller) and the latter, while it existed in the TNG era, wouldn’t play well with transporters.