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History of Tennis Whites

History of Tennis Whites
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I love fashion and looking great on the court is (almost) as important to me as hitting an amazing forehand! The iconic all white ensembles required to be worn by competitors make Wimbledon one of the most recognizable tennis tournaments in the world but the cute skirts seen today were not always a staple of the game. In the early 1900’s women played in floor length skirts, stockings, and long sleeve tops, which would restrict mobility to even the most skilled player of our generation. In the 1920’s Suzanne Lenglen was the first woman to wear a knee length skirt and bare arms at Wimbledon sending the tennis world into the future and keeping pace with the modernizing trends of the time.

 1900s tennis dresses. 

1900s tennis dresses. 

In the 1930’s polo shirts were introduced to the sport of tennis by player René Lacoste allowing players to have more comfort and range of mobility. As women’s skirts got shorter in the 1940’s women’s apparel started adding spandex shorts under skirts as introduced by American player Gussie Moran. It was such a hit that even photographers tried to get a peek. The 1950 brought the hemline up once more with the popularization of the short pleated skirt making the focus all on legs, legs, legs!  The 1960’s were all about the Mod Squad, which influenced players to don short tunics and printed shorts, making bright prints all the rage.

 Gussie Moran playing in the 1940s with her spandex shorts. 

Gussie Moran playing in the 1940s with her spandex shorts. 

We thought terry cloth was just for pool days but it transitioned over to the courts in the 1970’s; with groovy track suits and headbands. Breaking all the rules in the 1980’s was American tennis player Anne White showing up in a white onesie at Wimbledon. It was hard to tell if she was working out to Jane Fonda or hitting the courts!

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 In the 1990’s the men stole the spotlight with Agassi’s denim/neon cycling shorts combo which the women followed with neon colors and tight materials. In the 2000’s two inspirational sisters we all know and love, Venus and Serena Williams hit the courts and to this day they continue to propel the tennis fashion world forward by mixing modern fashions with tennis apparel.  One with lacey corset dresses and the other with a new rendition of the onesie which was made newsworthy due to her drawing inspiration from a top grossing blockbuster hit Black Panther. Currently tennis fashion is taking inspiration from previous generations, they say history repeats itself and the fashion world is no stranger to that.

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Modern tennis fashion is a mix of fresh style, functionality, elegance, and sophistication, which is exactly what I look for when choosing my outfits for a competition season.  Even when competing comfort is essential but I never forget about looking stylish. My personal workout style is geared towards comfort and practicality while still looking good. When hitting the gym, I love to wear the L´etoile Sport performance capri with the Dagny Scout DriRelease half zip.  The look is so transferrable that I can even grab a bite with my friends afterwards.

My fashion inspirations are definitely Chrissy Evert for her young fresh and elegant style and Genie Bouchard for her youthful sporty look. I can be spotted at a tournament wearing the Tory Sport Performance V-neck tank and pleated hem tennis skirt or the L´etoile Sport racer back flower tank and hidden pleat flower skort.

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