For centuries, fashion has proved itself a constituent in tennis culture, from the cheering spectators to the players on court. The 1800s was a time of modest elegance, strutting ground-length skirts trimmed with fur, and continued to evolve until reaching the short hemlines and neon spandex we see today. From the Williams sisters’ unconventional fashion choices to the Hollywood glamour of Anna Kournikova, tennis stars have forged inspiration for our courtside ensembles.
Women began playing tennis professionally in the mid-1800s, and were draped in classic Victorian style. They boasted corsets under high-collar blouses with fur adorned long skirts, typically constructed of flannel. It wasn’t until the turn of the 20th century that we began to see hemlines shorten to the knee and long sleeves folded up to the elbows.
The conclusion of World War I marked a transformation in the sport attire; shorter skirts emerged, accompanied by bright tops, cardigans and the illustrious headband. From there, women began incorporating visors into their style, shoulders were exposed and the tennis jumpsuit was introduced.
Fashion has undoubtedly marked tennis as one of the swankiest of sports, and the industry has taken notice. Designers continue to release entire lines dedicated to tennis wear, for the pros down to the amateurs. Tournaments will even conduct fashion shows, with labels eager to showcase their latest designs for the court. Fashion remains a major contender in one of the world’s most popular and elegant sports.