We Can Learn a Lot from Tennis Style
Wimbledon is coming to a head and while there’s been ample drama, talent, and summer cheer, we’ve been most impressed by one thing: the style. It feels like everything jumped up a notch this year. From the players’ get-up to the umpire’s suit.
But really, tennis style has been a major thing for decades. The short shorts, polo shirts, and headbands of the ‘70s spring to mind, unknowingly laying the foundations for Alessandro Michele’s Gucci, but tennis style was making waves way before that.
Take it back to the 1920s, for example, when designer Jean Patou pioneered a design for tennis skirts for female players. Preceding this, they’d have worn dresses and they weren’t made from the technical, lightweight fabrics of today.
We could also cast our minds back to 1933 when René Lacoste founded his eponymous label, setting tennis style on a path for household relevance and everyday styling. Maybe the 1965 introduction of adidas Stan Smith rounds out our case: the sneakers that would go on to be one of the most popular lifestyle designs of the next century.
The history of tennis style is so strong that new releases like Diadora’s B.560 have become powerful homages to it. Built on the structure of the Diadora Boris Becker from 1991, this retro spectacle straddles the gap between performance and lifestyle.
It’s not all about the past, though. Virgil Abloh’s work with Serena Williams really marked a new era for tennis style, aligning it with a younger, more intentionally style-savvy audience. Names like Casablanca and Gucci place tennis at the center of their collections while new collaborations from the likes of Reigning Champ and Prince see the world of tennis reframed.
The ’70s was the golden era of tennis style. Towel headbands held back long locks while short shorts complemented pinstripe polos. Before and after games, players would style it out in track tops very similar to this one by Casablanca.
Reigning Champ recently teamed up with tennis-style royalty, Prince. The duo brought us a collection that leaned more towards genuinely functional tennis pieces like this polo shirt in a classic white and green finish.
If you didn’t already know, Casablanca is home to the world’s most stylish tennis clubs. Mediterranean vibes in abundance, the pastel graphics return every season to our open arms.
Gucci, of course, is big into the ’70s tennis look. While it’s not explicit in the brand’s collections, pieces like this clean polo shirt undoubtedly reference the archive looks.
Flexing doesn’t stop when you hit the court, by the way. Keep a couple of branded tennis balls in your bag for times when you need to turn up the heat.
The clean aesthetic of tennis style makes it a really easy look to pull off in daily life, too. This pair of Nike shorts feature subtle graphics to the left leg for a more lively finish.
Not all graphics are made equal. The dynamic, abstract depiction of a tennis player that sits front and center on this understated crewneck tee from Sporty & Rich is a cut above the rest.
How do you picture yourself this summer? See above.
On the heels of Jacquemus’ collaboration with Nike, it’s never been more evident that the French designer has a talent for weaving sports influences into his luxury output. The Le Tennis T-shirt is yet more proof.
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