Star Trek has broadened our visions of the future in so many ways — but most of all, the original Star Trek took us to the final frontier of fashion. And beyond. Some of the costumes that people sported in William Shatner's day remain classics today — and some of them are just... I don't even know.
Here's our roundup of the weirdest and trashiest fashions of the original Star Trek. We're not picking on terrible alien makeup so much, because that's a matter of cheap special effects. Rather, this is the bikinis, the uniforms, and Kirk's strange workout gear.
All screencaps via TrekCore.com.
"The Cage" — check out Pike's amazing Orion Trader costume from the "Orion Slave Girl" fantasy sequence. What is that necklace? Also notable: the shiny raver shirt, which Pike could totally wear on the Playa. Orion Slaver Pike knows how to display the Bling.
Here's Pike's fellow Orion Trader. Look at his green-and-red-dotted cravat. Zwidng! Plus the actual green slave girl. What is up with her outfit? It's like scraps of gold mesh and random straps here and there. Probably designed to avoid having the green body paint rub off.
"The Man Trap." Just call this guy "The Man with the Tin Foil Hands." I love any protective gear that leaves your upper arms exposed.
"Charlie X". Everybody else in the Enterprise gym wears those karate gis, but not Kirk. He's teaching Charlie about manhood, so he wears just the red tights and funny blue socks. How great is it that Kirk's tights have an insignia on them?
"Charlie X" again. Yeoman Rand's nightie deserves remarking on. She wears it to sit in her quarters and process reports. Doesn't look like it would be very comfortable, with the one-shoulder thing.
"What Are Little Girls Made Of" — Amazing commitment to the blue-and-snot-green scheme. You can tell seniority here by who has the most ridiculous version of this outfit. Andrea has just the straps cris-crossing and barely covering her chest. Dr. Brown gets a similar thing, but he gets to wear a black tunic underneath. And Dr. Korby practically has a normal outfit.
"Mudd's Women". My favorite is the blue number on the right, with the crotch tassels. You don't really see crotch tassels on television any more.
"The Cage" and "Dagger of the Mind" — you have to admire the commitment to bathrobes on this show, but especially these two examples.
"The Corbomite Maneuver" — CLINT HOWARD YOU ARE FREAKING US OUT. Especially that weird head thing, whatever that is. Do you think Clint Howard has a grown-up version of this costume at home, that he wears on special occasions?
"Shore Leave" — is this what cadets wear in the original timeline? It's so... sparkly. It's like his whole chest is dematerializing.
Okay, so your eye is immediately drawn to the faux fur rabbits-foot pasties. And the feathers. But notice also that each of these women has one fur snake wrapped around one leg, leading to what appears to be a single fur-bootie. And underneath that, color-coordinated tights. Oh, and color-coordinated belly button jewelry. JUST BECAUSE.
"Court Martial." Notice that her skirt appears to be pleated, but is in fact tassels, that part as she sits down. She, too, has caught the crotch-tassel fad from "Mudd's Women." Also, note the amazing shiny bow and see-thru puffy sleeves. This is like Raver Moon. (Wearing this amazing get-up is Alice Rawlings, who co-starred in the Patty Duke Show in the early 1960s.)
"Space Seed" — All of the men on Khan's ship wear reasonably functional red jumpsuits, like Khan's except without the gold lame collar. But the women... it's hard to describe what they're wearing. It's like a gold mesh, over green-gold straps covering at least some portion of their private regions. And once again the straps wind around their legs, before cris-crossing on one foot. The gold mesh symbolizes superior intellect and vision, whereas the green breast straps symbolize eugenics and selective breeding. I'm guessing here.
"A Taste of Armageddon" — starting to think that the Prime Directive really reads, "Use lots and lots of sashes. Also, costumes where one leg is covered up with something but the other leg isn't are really crucial." This particular alien planet wins bonus points, though, for the creative use of pointy hats.
"Amok Time" — I really like T'Pring's silver lame top with the waist cincher. You could go clubbing in that. And then there's the one random exposed-chest guy with the bird mask. He's the only Vulcan who shows his pecs and hides his face. What's that about?
"Mirror Mirror" - You can tell it's an evil universe because of the crop tops and sashes.
"The Apple" — the planet of the spray-tan people with the cray-cray Daeneris Targaryen wigs. Of special note are the awesome cross-my-heart bras the women of the tribe all wear.
"Catspaw" — I especially love the super-cheap Eye of Agamotto the sorcerer guy is sporting.
"Journey to Babel" — Terry cloth fezzes! Terry cloth fezzes! Oh yeah, and gold face paint and a weird pink wrap. But mostly, the terry cloth fezzes.
"Friday's Child" — Seriously, what am I looking at here? It's like all the men of this tribe wear fake-fur duckies on their chests. And fake hair coming out of their little hoodies. It's kind of amazing.
"Wolf in the Fold" — You can only really appreciate this futuristic belly dancing outfit in HD. Once you can make out every detail, you see that the grass skirt and her "veil" are both made out of the same kind of shiny plastic string, not unlike those see-thru straps that keep your dress on the hanger. It's sort of amazing and I can't stop staring at the hypnotic plastic straps.
"Gamesters of Triskelion" — We searched and searched, until at last we found this one shot where all of the episode's great costumes are on display together. Is the "barbarian" at far left wearing Ugg boots? It sure looks like it. Also, I love how the high collared game-keeper guy has his logo sketched on in sharpie.
"A Piece of the Action" — Gun holster partially concealed by her ruffles.
"A Private Little War" — You can tell you're on a primitive planet when the menfolk have giant Englebert Humberdinck hair. And the silvery star on his forehead is also a very neat touch. Meanwhile, she sports the traditional fur bikini top, except that she appears to have fashioned a rudimentary push-up bra out of pleather straps. Fascinating.
"By Any Other Name" — the female Andromedans actually get to wear pants, which is pretty unusual. But their tops are pretty amazing — they're backless, for the most part, with loops that go around the shoulders, and then they narrow out in front as well. Also: the purple boots are the bomb. That is all.
"The Omega Glory" — I like the shaggy torn-up bikini with the wrap skirt just fine. But my favorite is the hippie guy with the necklace, standing in front of the American flag, like "I'm standing up for the E Plebnista, man."
"Bread and Circuses" — you can tell she's a slave girl because of the chain around her neck, which is probably also helping to keep her incredibly flimsy gold lame costume together. Every planet in the galaxy has access to gold lame and pleather. It's amazing.
"Assignment Earth" — the black cat turns into a sexy catgirl, complete with cat ears, a rhinestone "collar," and a weird satin bib thing covering up her breasts. Bonus points for the sparkly tights, which look like they would go with Finnegan's cadet shirt. And no shoes, because cats don't need shoes.
"Spock's Brain" — they managed to find the strange meeting place between "dominatrix" and "cocktail waitress" — especially love the origami-ish pattern on the front of purple girl's skirt. And the fake garterbelt thing happening with the shiny stockings. Just amazing.
"Spock's Brain" again — the men on this planet are basically wearing Smurf hats. And it's awesome.
"The Paradise Syndrome" — the costumes in this one are just standard Native American kitsch. But Shatner being Shatner, he just has to take it further than everybody else. He has to have the BIGGEST forehead medallion and everything.
"And the Children Shall Lead" — he's basically just wearing a giant muu-muu.
"Is There In Truth No Beauty" — Dr. Pulaski was foxy back in the day. Here, she's wearing a sparkly mesh thing with little rhinestone planets, over a slinky blue dress. While talking to Sash Guy.
"Day of the Dove" — The first time we see female Klingons. The male Klingons have standard tunics and sometimes mesh sashes like Worf's. But the women have these multi-layered eyebrows and what look like false nails attached to the sides of their tops, plus kicky little skirts and black shiny leggings.
"For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky" — she's the High Priestess of the Argyle Planet!
"Wink of an Eye" — this is what happens when you live too fast.
"Elaan of Troylus" — she wears FOUR SEPARATE OUTFITS over the course of one episode. Unusual for original Star Trek, which seldom sprung for more than one costume per person. My favorite? Probably the fleur-de-lys breasts, although the purple thing at left is amazing as well. And wait, there's more...
"Elaan of Troylus" again — here's the final outfit she wears in the episode. PLUS you can see the costumes her attendants wear. The bodyguards look like they're wearing gumdrops.
"Whom Gods Destroy" — here's a pretty good survey of all the wacky outfits in this episode. Garth tends to wear his big pimp coat over one shoulder, so he has one arm in the sleeve and one arm out of the sleve. The green Orion girl's skirt is nicely ragged edged. You don't see the Andorian's red fur coat in this one though.
Including this one just because she looks adorable.
"The Mark of Gideon" — they really like weird geometric shapes on this planet. Also, later TOS seems to have a belly dancer motif going on.
"That Which Survives" — definitely weird rather than sexy... something about the collar and the matching stomach tab just... doesn't quite work.
"All Our Yesterdays" — on the frozen ice planet, which is so cold that McCoy almost dies of hypothermia immediately, this is what the ladies wear. It's super practical! To be fair, she had a fur coat on over it at one point.
"The Way to Eden" — they were parodying hippie fashions, but true to Star Trek tradition, they went way, way over the top, with lots of crop tops and strange shapes. And sashes.
"Requiem For Methuselah" — I actually really love her dress. It's gorgeous. His outfit is... daring. He's actually wearing plum-colored tights.
"The Cloud Minders" — I think this dress might all be a one piece. It's amazing. Of all the "crossed boobs" tops in Star Trek, this might be the best.
And finally... a few more great outfits from "The Cloud Minders." Just because.