By Luna Michaels
Tennis isn’t always Nadal’s bull logo, sometimes there is actually some interesting clothing coming out of the sport. Whether it is a tennis ball-covered jacket or the full stars and stripes, there is some hope for tennis fashion.
Coming a long way from the Victorian-era skirts that used to be a staple for tennis uniforms, today we take a look at the very best from tennis fashion.
Starting with those aforementioned Victorian skirts. In the 1900s tennis became popular and so did “tennis whites” with Wimbledon making a rule that remains to this day for all tennis clothing to be white.
It was made necessary for women to wear long sleeve tops, long skirts and stockings which couldn’t have made tennis playing easy. That’s why God gave us the 1920s where thankfully this was changed.
With knee-length skirts and short sleeves, and cotton, lightweight polo shirts, finally it was getting easier to play tennis in tennis wear. Accessorised with flapper headbands, we have the stylish 20’s fashion.
The 1940’s introduced the world to Ted Tinling, who made controversial decisions like letting a pink-and-blue hem peak out at Wimbledon to the horror of critics. The hems didn’t stop there with a lace hem on shorts making an appearance under a skirt.
In the 1950’s we had cardigans, cinched waists and pleated skirts. In the 60’s mod fashion took over the tennis fashion world with longer shirts and shorts finally letting the thighs breathe. Short dresses designed by Tinling were also becoming popular fit with cut-outs and plunging necklines.
It wasn’t until the 70’s and 80’s where polos and short skirts became the norm and since then we have seen many variations.
Tennis stars like Venus Williams have become known for their fashion, with Venus even opening up a clothing line called Eleven and designing many of her own uniforms.
Venus is known for her more controversial looks and is constantly being accused of being “too revealing”.Embed from Getty Images
Her first look is from 2010 where she wore a vibrant orange dress with black outlines at the Rome Open. Shifting away from the usual straight down tank top dress that most tennis players cling too, she sports a sweetheart neckline and a frilly hem.Embed from Getty Images
The second outfit from the French Open of the same year created some controversy with its flesh-coloured bottoms which were said to be “inappropriate” for the sport. The dress itself was inspired by burlesque and features black lace and similar outlines but in the reverse colours.Embed from Getty Images
The third outfit of Venus’ s is this yellow dress (2011 Australian Open) which has a multi-coloured bottom and a criss-cross pattern with cut-outs in between. The bright colours make her stand out on the blue court and the design lines add something to a very classic tennis dress.Embed from Getty Images
The fourth look we’re discussing is the infamous backless dress from the 1999 French Open which Venus wore for three years and won two grand slams and a pair of Olympic medals in. It features a scoop neck and a gap in the back of the dress that makes the dress look like a sports bra and skirt from behind. It was seen as “too revealing” for tennis but is very tame in my opinion.Embed from Getty Images
Moving on from Venus to her younger sister Serena in this gorgeous denim skirt by Nike at the 2004 US Open . The skirt features pleats and is the perfect length. Her knee high boots also deserve a shoutout.Embed from Getty Images
The next look is from Bethanie Mattek-Sands, known as the Lady Gaga of tennis for her outrageous outfits, at Wimbledon in 2011. This particular jacket is fit with tassels and halves of white tennis balls. It is shocking and fun and brings personality to a sport which sometimes lacks that.Embed from Getty Images
Our first men’s look is worn by Dominik Hrbaty who rocked this polo with cut-outs from the back at the US Open in 2005. It is feminine and definitely brings some interest to an otherwise plain polo shirt.Embed from Getty Images
Maria Sharapova wore this LBD made by Riccardo Tisci with Swarovski crystals placed on the bottom of the dress at the US Open in 2017. The lace panels give a nice design element to this dress.Embed from Getty Images
Our last look is this very patriotic 2015 US Open look by Fabio Fognini who chose to celebrate the country he was competing in by featuring a flag resembling look with white and red stripe shorts and a blue t-shirt with a white star on it.
This is all proof that tennis outfits do not have to be boring and plenty of people have switched up the shapes that dominate the fashion of tennis and created their own. So no excuses!
Featured image: Venus Williams has served up some ace looks. Photo: Anna Bialkowska/Wikimedia Commons/CC