The Evolution of Tennis Fashion From 1900s-2000s


The ultrafeminine outfit worn by American tennis player Gertrude Moran at Wimbledon in 1949 foreshadowed future 1950s fashion trends. Her top was ruffled, and she wore shorts designed by British couturier Ted Tinling with lace that peeked out as she danced. Photographers lied flat on the ground to capture images of the lace shorts.


Tennis fashion

In the 1950s, women’s tennis costumes were all about cinched waists, beautiful cardigans, and feminine pleated skirts, as shown here on American star Maureen Connolly. Following his retirement, British tennis player Fred Perry established his own apparel company in 1952.


Mod fashion took the 1960s by storm and showed up in tennis uniforms. Streamlined tunics with pops of gingham were popular, as were the graphic shorts worn by English players Virginia Wade and Lorna Greville-Collins, and Marlys Burel of France.


American tennis players John McEnroe and Vitas Gerulaitis wore terrycloth headbands, striped polo shirts, and short shorts. Fila began as a knitwear brand before expanding into sportswear with the support of Swedish tennis player Björn Borg, depicted here.


Tennis fashion

During the 1980s, uniforms became tighter and slimmer all over. In 1985, American tennis player Anne White wore a white unitard to Wimbledon. Officials apparently asked her to dress more formally the following day. American Chris Evert dropped her diamond bracelet on the court during a match at the 1987 U.S. Open, and the game was halted until it was located. That occurrence prompted the creation of the diamond “tennis bracelet.”


Andre Agassi, an American tennis player, wore denim shorts with bright cycle shorts and flashy shirts. From 1988 to 1990, Agassi declined to play Wimbledon because he did not agree with the all-white clothing code.


Maria Sharapova, a Russian tennis player, wore menswear and a lot of Swarovski crystals in the early 2000s. Sharapova donned a Nike-designed tuxedo-inspired costume at Wimbledon in 2008.


Venus Williams, who has been known to wear edgy uniforms (as has her sister Serena), wore a black transparent lacy outfit that appeared to be inspired by lingerie at the 2010 French Open. Underneath, the tennis player wore a pair of nude shorts.


Tennis fashion

Nike-sponsored women wore pleated shift dresses that kept blowing up and exposing the stomach at this year’s Wimbledon event (shown: Eugenie Bouchard of Canada). Players who were uncomfortable with the loose clothes were given regular skirts and tops, according to the New York Times. Brand sponsorships are one of the most powerful influences on current tennis fashion today.


Serena Williams won her 22nd Grand Slam championship at the 2016 Wimbledon Championships while wearing a Nike white high-collared dress with a pleated skirt. “I wouldn’t typically comment on another woman’s physique, but could someone give Serena Williams something to cover her nipples…very distracting,” one user tweeted. Many of her fans appreciated her body and the dress, which was praised for its basic yet classic style.