How Tennis Style from Decades ago is Nuanced in Today’s Off-Court Trends
One of the best things about watching tennis other than the tennis itself, is the outfits.
Just like waiting for a musician to release a new album or a designer to launch a new clothing line, it’s welcome suspense to see what the players will be wearing “this time”.
Men usually have the same few items, polos, shoes, and sweatbands. But, the female players have updated styles seemingly every tournament.
Sponsors like Nike, Adidas, Lacoste, Uniqlo, and others fight for the attention of tennis fans around the world. They put their sponsored players in outfits that will drive visits to their websites in the hopes of selling those outfits, and others.
There are skirts, shorts, dresses, tank tops, cap sleeves, long sleeves, sweatbands, socks and shoes, OH MY!
As our TennisONE team wandered through the exhibits in the International Tennis Hall of Fame Museum, we saw on-court outfits from both active and retired players.
Many of the on-court outfits worn by retired players have nuances visible in current off-court trends through patterns, apparel type, and/or accessories.
The resurfacing of many of styles from decades past is common not only in modern fashion with high-waisted pants and distressed jeans, but patterns, as well.
The pattern of Tracy Austin’s 1977 US Open dress (pictured on the right) has returned in all shapes and sizes.
Austin’s dress was made for her by a family friend and she wore it during her first appearance to the US Open as a qualifier at the age of 15.
Influence of gingham has returned in all shapes and sizes, pants, skirts, rompers, etc. You name it, there’s a gingham version of it. Thanks to Tracy for being a trendsetter!
Pictured under this textured blazer is what is now considered a “romper” or for some, a “jumpsuit”. A romper or jumpsuit is a one-piece outer garment.
Jumpers and rompers are worn off-court, now for various events and every-day life. Whether you are headed to a wedding, a baby shower, a night out with friends, or even to work, this the romper/jumpsuit style is extremely influential.
WARNING: Although they are stylish, anyone that wears these pieces would warn you, it is a pain when you have to use the restroom!
This outfit specifically, was worn by Nancy Richey in 1975, who was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2003. Tennis is ahead of the current trends, once again.
Dress cut and Accessories
Today, the “babydoll” style dress is “in”. These are loose fitting dresses, that allow mobility and airflow whether on or off court.
At the 2018 Wimbledon Championships, this dress made a comeback as Nike had many of its sponsored female players wear it.
However stylish and different this babydoll dress was, the players wearing them (examples: Genie Bouchard and Lucie Safarova) said it restricted their play. The dress flew up and often did not allow full extension of their strokes.
The one in the photo here, along with the cardigan and shoes, was worn by Margaret Court in 1970. She made it her goal to be the 4th person (at the time) and only woman to win the Grand Slam of all four slams in one year.
Speaking of the cardigan and shoes, this style is worn by many, right now. Although the current trend is usually mustard yellow, the yellow hue is still a great color for summer.
Have you seen the trend of the Adidas shoes with the three stripes? Of course you have, everyone wears them. The shoes pictured here are very similar.
Margaret Court strikes off-court this time!
When high-waisted jeans came out, so did high-waisted tennis skirts. When patterned bottoms became popular, apparel companies noticed and updated their player outfits.
As tennis continues to grow internationally, it develops with fashion trends to keep players and fans even more involved in the game.
Using inspiration from players both on and off-court, past a present, tennis-related or apparel wise, will fuel the next generation of strong, yet stylish tennis players.