Grace Lee Whitney didn’t mind her uniform on TOS
When Star Trek: The Original Series began airing in 1966, all of the female crewmembers wore short skirts and boots. To this day, fans have complained that it wasn’t fair for the men to be able to wear pants while the women had to wear the teeny outfits they did. But Grace Lee Whitney didn’t have a problem with the short skirt. In fact, it was her idea.
When publicity photos were still making the rounds before the show’s premiere, Whitney was shown dressed like the women from the original pilots, wearing a gold-colored tunic and black pants. But she wasn’t too thrilled with the outfit because, as she told Gene Roddenberry, the pants hid her “dancer’s legs.”
Another uniform was designed for Grace Lee Whitney
Taking her complaint into consideration, Roddenberry told William Ware Theiss, who was the costume designer at the time, to design a short skirt and a tunic for her to wear. And what Theiss came up with pleased Whitney immensely as she called it “sensational” and said that “it stopped traffic.”
And though many of the actors might have considered the outfit sexist, Yeoman Rand’s new uniform was then passed on to the other female characters in the series. Whether or not they wanted to show off their legs, they had Whitney to thank for putting them on display.
Granted, the skirts weren’t practical aboard a starship where all sorts of adventures were taking place, which was probably one of the reasons why Majel Barrett Roddenberry was wearing pants in the original pilot, The Cage. There’s really no way of knowing how many of the actors objected to the mini-skirts, but we now know Grace Lee Whitney embraced the look.