Here’s why 7 of 9’s uniform in Star Trek is so tight:
Within the show’s context, the uniform was designed to help 7 of 9 regenerate her skin after changing from Borg back to human.
The suit was supposed to help with this transition and provide medical benefits.
The real-world reason for the suit is that it added sex appeal to the show to boost ratings.
So if you want to learn all about why Star Trek’s 7 of 9 wears a such body-hugging uniform, then you’re in the right place.
Who Is 7 of 9? (2 Things)
This should be fun.
7 of 9 is a main character in the ensemble cast of the show Star Trek: Voyager.
She was added to the show (and the ship’s crew) at the beginning of the fourth season.
She was probably the most popular character on the show, and she was played by actress Jeri Ryan.
That’s a nice introduction, but the character actually deserves quite a bit more explanation, especially since much of this will inform the character’s uniform design.
7 of 9 was introduced as a Borg drone.
The crew of the Voyager and the Borg collective had a common enemy known as Species 8472.
Up until that point in Voyager, the Borg were known as the biggest, scariest, baddest bad guys in the Star Trek universe.
But, Species 8472 had their number, and the Bord needed help fighting back.
So, in classic TV fashion, the good guys temporarily joined forces with their nemesis to face a greater threat.
In order to collaborate, the Bord sent one of their drones to the Voyager.
This drone enabled the Voyager crew to communicate with the collective and work together on technological developments that could fight against Species 8472.
7 of 9 was this drone.
Over the course of the events, 7 of 9 (called 7 for short) ended up joining the Voyager crew permanently and left the Borg collective.
#1 More About the Borg
If you’re not familiar with Star Trek, then you’re still missing some important information.
Namely, what is a Borg?
The Borg are a species in the Star Trek universe that is part synthetic and part organic.
The species has a unified goal of achieving perfection, and to do that, they forcibly add other species and technology into the collective.
This process is called assimilation.
The Borg can assimilate humans, for example, by injecting them with nanobots.
The nanobots then take over the human’s body.
The human loses all sense of self and becomes a mindless drone in the collective.
Once that happens, the Borg adds cybernetics to the human’s body as they see fit.
So, when I say that 7 transitioned from being Borg back to being human, it’s pretty complicated.
She was born a human, but she was assimilated as a child.
When the crew transitioned her back to human, she retained some elements of being Borg, but she mostly looked human.
All of this is actually tied to her uniform.
#2 A Quick Warning
Before I get into the details of the uniform, I want to give you a mild warning.
We are talking about a female character’s very tight uniform.
While nothing in this article is going to get into explicit material, the concept of sex appeal is going to be discussed.
If for any reason that is inappropriate for your current situation, then consider this your friendly warning.
You might want to read the article under different circumstances.
Again, nothing that follows is unsafe for work, but this article isn’t exactly G-rated either.
What Is 7 of 9’s Uniform?
Moving on, let’s talk about the uniform itself.
Aesthetically, it appears to be a soft fabric, and it is a form-fitting uniform.
There are actually more than a few different uniforms that all follow the style, but each has a different solid color.
Throughout the show, you’ll see gray, blues, reds, and possibly other colors at different times.
The uniform mostly looks like a single-piece catsuit.
It has a mild v-neck and sleeves that end right at the thumb joint.
Variations of the suit cover the collar bones and even the neck up to the chin.
In addition to the suit, there is a Voyager insignia over the left breast.
This is a standard communication device on the show.
Outside of the aesthetics, the storyline in the show actually explains in-world details about the suit.
It is apparently made from experimental materials.
As 7 of 9 is a recovered Borg, she has a unique physiology and unique physiological concerns.
The suit was specifically engineered to help her recover from some of the negative side effects that came from being “de-borgified.”
Other than that, the suit is designed for functionality.
It is durable, helps with body temperature regulation, and allows 7 to perform her duties without issue.
It’s worth noting that the real-world version of the suit was also specially designed, but it was not made from sci-fi materials.
The actress, Jeri Ryan, commented that wearing the suit made breathing and general movement difficult.
Why Is 7 of 9’s Uniform Tight? (3 Reasons)
Now that you know more about the suit and its in-world design elements, you can probably guess a few of the reasons why it fits so tightly.
Nevertheless, I’ll take you through the three primary reasons for the suit’s design.
#1 It Differentiates Her From the Others.
The first reason for the suit is to distinguish 7 from the rest of the crew.
She is not a member of Starfleet.
She never went to the academy, and she has no formal Starfleet training.
Because of that, she isn’t entitled to wear a Starfleet uniform.
Most of the crew did go to Starfleet, but a few people join along the Voyager’s journey, and they also do not wear Starfleet uniforms.
So, one way or another, 7 needed a uniform that clearly wasn’t of Starfleet design.
That said, there are no regulations that say her uniform had to be tight and/or form-fitting.
She could have worn literally anything that isn’t a formal Starfleet uniform, and it would have sufficed.
So, this is only a small part of the whole answer.
We can look at it another way.
If 7 was a member of Starfleet, then she would wear a formal uniform, and it wouldn’t be tight.
That means that her position in the crew is why an alternative uniform was possible and made sense within the context of the show.
Still, we need a little more to explain why her uniform held its specific properties.
#2 It Fits Her Character
No pun intended.
Because 7 is a borg that has been mostly turned back into a human, she’s a unique character with unique personality traits.
She’s extremely different from the other characters, and her most defining quality is her pursuit of perfection.
She values practicality and efficacy above all else.
Her uniform is highly functional (at least the fictional version of it is), so 7 highly values it.
It serves her needs very well, so it’s only natural that she would choose and be satisfied with such clothing.
If any aspect of it was not functional, she would discard it for something else.
More specifically (and as I already mentioned), this uniform has a few properties that were designed for her.
When she was fully Borg, a significant percentage of her body was fully cybernetic.
When she was made human again, most of those cybernetics were removed.
That process came with negative consequences.
It took some time for 7 to recover from the process, and some aspects of her physiology were forever changed.
The show waffles on the exact explanation a little, but the suit is designed to help reduce the negative effects of losing her cybernetics.
In one instance, it’s explained that the suit helps her avoid and/or control skin damage related to the process.
In another scene, the show claims that the suit helps control swelling related to her cybernetic changes.
You could even say that both are viable.
In any case, the suit has medical properties and provides a physiological benefit to the character.
That’s the primary in-world reason for the choice.
The tight fit is supposed to help her body deal with the changes it went through when she stopped being a Borg.
It’s worth noting that the show never described this as a temporary necessity.
The point was that she was going to need special clothing for a long time, although not necessarily for the rest of her life.
In fact, the character had a guest appearance in the show Picard, and 7 was no longer wearing the catsuit in that appearance.
#3 It Adds Sex Appeal That Can Boost Ratings.
Everything above is based on in-world reasons for the catsuit.
Those were the justifications provided by the plot and dialog of the show.
The truth is that those are all excuses.
The catsuit was designed by the showrunners, and the reason behind the design had nothing to do with anything inside the world of Star Trek.
It was for ratings.
Voyager struggled in the ratings from its launch, and things did not look up for three seasons.
In the fourth season, the character 7 of 9 was introduced to shake things up.
She was a Borg turned human, and that offered a lot of unique things that the show could explore.
At the same time, the showrunners saw an opportunity to add something else to the show: sex appeal.
If the show had more sex appeal, it could probably find a rapid boost in viewership.
So, they went with the idea of putting an attractive woman in provocative outfits.
The ploy worked, and 7 of 9 clearly helped boost ratings.
The show lasted for 7 total seasons and 172 episodes.
7 of 9 was heralded as a major contributor to that success.
To really drive this home, Jeri Ryan explicitly stated that she was given the role in order to add sex appeal to the show.
In her own words, “I knew exactly what I was in for . . . my character was added to the show for sex appeal.”