Every summer, Wimbledon unfailingly manages to transcend the sport itself, encouraging even the most casual viewer to inject some tennis chic into their everyday look. Euronews Culture is here to show you how.
Wimbledon, arguably the most glamorous, glamorous and glorious tennis tournament, is now over for another year, but London’s famous grass court competition hasn’t just left Marketa Vondrusova and Carlos Alcaraz and their fans celebrating. For sports stylists and people watchers, the past fortnight at SW19 has been a veritable fashion party.
The Grand Slam event has long been known as the most stylish in tennis, with eyes increasingly on the players’ outfit choices as well as the stars dotted around the VIP seats and Royal Box.
This year in particular, Wimbledon seems to have taken a good introspective look at itself and its relationship to style.
American tennis star Taylor Fritz’s girlfriend and influencer Morgan Riddle hosted a vlog in collaboration with the club. ‘Wimbledon Threads’ shows the American touring the court at the All England Tennis Club in search of the perfect tennis look on and off the court.
Wimbledon’s dress code, which requires participating athletes to wear almost all-white attire with only a small color border of up to 10mm, has been around for decades and is seen by many as rather old-fashioned.
“While some players may find the dress code outdated, others like Nick Kyrgios embrace the tradition,” fashion editor Karine Laudort told Euronews Culture, adding: “Over the years, there have been players who have tested the limits of the dress code, leading to stricter enforcement” .
If Wimbledon retains the title of the most classic and traditional tournament, it still sets a standard that many want to follow on and off the court, so we’re here to explain how you can emulate the ‘Wimbledon look’ – from head to toe – in the simplest way
So let’s start exactly where you would expect: Headbands.
“Comfortable and breathable clothing is essential,” says fashion commentator Dominique St. John, to Euronews Culture and adds: “A head and wrist badge is also useful between points as it can get hot and sweaty on the pitch”.
The world’s highest-ranked Greek player, Stefanos Tsitsipas, is known for his headbands. In keeping with Wimbledon’s strict rules, he wears white at the London Grand Slam and prefers a variety of colors at other tournaments. The one thing they all have in common? They are from Adidas, which sponsors the 24-year-old player.
If you’re keen to copy the headband look but are going for more of a 1970s vibe, you could do worse than take inspiration – as Tsitsipas is rumored to do – from Björn Borg.
The Swedish former world No. 1 tore up the courts in the 70s – and was rarely seen on court without a jazzy headband, often pushing Wimbledon’s ‘all-white’ rule.
Regardless of your budget, this might be the easiest part of the tennis look to add to any wardrobe.
Whether you choose to copy Stefanos Tsitsipas’ Adidas or Rafael Nadal’s Nike – both can be bought for around €20 – or prefer to drop hundreds on accessories at brands like Miu Miu, who opened real tennis clubs to promote their line, we’d advise you to leave headbands for your time on the field.
And it’s not just for the long-haired boys and girls. Denmark’s number four in the world Casper Ruud rocks the headband/bandana look, while American tenth seed Frances Tiafoe is never seen on the court with her trusty sweatband.
Clothing inspiration from decades of Wimbledon style
“Lacoste is another go-to brand for the ultimate tennis look,” says Dominique St. John, “Novak Djokovic has been seen in Lacoste for many years”.
Djokovic’s decade of center court victories at Wimbledon is now over, but he made it clear he will be back for another tilt and the title. Music, no doubt, for the French record company, which has seen its sales increase since it became the Serbian number two in the world as an ambassador.
It’s easy to emulate his on court at Wimbledon with an all white shirt and shorts outfit. Whether your budget can stretch to Lacoste or are more in the unbranded price range, this is a look that can be easily replicated and wouldn’t look out of place at a barbeque, cafe or of course a sports field.
For a more jazzy look, Frances Tiafoe should be your touchstone. We’re cheating here, as the American has stuck to the all-white theme at Wimbledon, but he clearly revels in wearing bright colors and smart prints, as shown at the other Grand Slams he’s played at.
Sponsored by Nike, his style is definitely one to take inspiration from. You don’t just have to take that advice from us, either. Tiafoe is clearly winning favor with fashion heads—he sat front row at Tom Ford’s Spring 2023 Ready-to-Wear show with none other than Vogue editor Anna Wintour.
On the women’s court, with the absence of long-time champions – and sisters – Serena and Venus Williams, stylish sports fans have turned their attention to Spain’s Paula Badosa, arguably for her pin-up look and not her exploits on the court. The 25-year-old has benefited from the fact that Wimbledon has relaxed the rules very slightly for women’s undershorts.
A new rule introduced late last year by the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC) now allows female players to wear dark underpants, provided they do not exceed the length of their shorts or skirt. This change has been celebrated as a triumph for women competing at the elite level while menstruating.
While newer players, including the Williams sisters, Maria Sharapova, Coco Gauff or Britain’s Emma Raducanu, are all worth appreciating for their style on the court, it’s worth looking back some 60 years for some real head-turners.
Potentially the golden age of women’s tennis, at least in terms of fashion, both Billie Jean King – in her perfect, traditional pleated skirts – and Lea Pericoli, with her ballerina-chic outfits topped with headbands that looked like headdresses, are perfect reference points.
While Karine Laudort tells Euronews Culture that fans of the tennis aesthetic can’t go wrong with “Lacoste, Adidas, Nike, Asics, Wilson and Head”, it’s clear that Ralph Lauren reigns supreme.
As Wimbledon’s official partner, the high fashion brand has once again released a capsule collection in collaboration with the tennis club.
“Ralph Lauren takes on the all-white dress code with outfits for men and women,” explains Dominique St. John, “You can even buy some of the uniforms that the on-field referees wear during matches”.
“Whether on or off the court, Ralph Lauren serves up the best tennis apparel this year and interprets the tennis look most successfully,” says St. John adding, “It’s not only taking on the all-white dress code in an elegant way with its new capsule collection, but also dominating dressing on the farm with the likes of Alexa Chung and David Beckham in the Royal Box”.
A new era for bags at Wimbledon?
“We’ve seen a shift in the history of tennis fashion this year,” says St. John, “we’ve seen high-end fashion brands like Gucci take center court for the first time.”
That Gucci invasion was seen on none other than semi-finalist Jannik Sinner, who raised eyebrows when he chose to take to the court with a branded bag, potentially going against the AELTC’s wishes.
Challenging the all-white dress code, the Italian told the New York Times: “I wanted the bag to be comfortable to carry and have enough space to store all my things inside”.
Clearly echoing one of his home country’s most recognizable luxury houses, it turns out his team and Gucci met with the International Tennis Federation, the Association of Tennis Professionals and Wimbledon ahead of the tournament to ensure the most talked about bag of the competition met the established mystery criteria .
Most of us probably can’t replicate Jannik’s Gucci bag, but Novak Djokovic’s select Head bags are probably more attainable.
If you’re as strict with your Wimbledon-inspired look as the AELTC would expect from their very own players, you can’t go wrong with the roomy, lightly branded bags that the Serbian finalist carries to every match.
Whatever you do – don’t wear sneakers with orange soles
Roger Federer is arguably the most stylish man in tennis, famous for wearing belted shorts and monogrammed cardigans on court, but Roger Federer is perhaps also infamous for a sartorial mishap involving coaches back in 2013.
At that year’s tournament, the Swiss icon was penalized for the crime – only ‘illegal’ at Wimbledon – of wearing tennis shoes with orange soles.
Famous for his diplomacy, he spoke out, saying: “I love Wimbledon, but they’ve gone too far now. The rules have become ridiculously strict. I’d be in favor of loosening it up a bit. But it is what it is.”
Despite the incident ten years ago, Federer is known for his stylish shoe choices, even designing tennis shoes with On Running. They can be bought now, but cost upwards of €200 and may not be for everyone inspired by his look.
In fact, it seems that collaborations between top tennis players and shoe designers are often on the expensive side.
Ever-rising star Coco Gauff has been sponsored by New Balance since she was 14 and has worked with the brand to create her own signature pair, the Coco CG1s. Tennis shoes with her sense of style don’t come cheap though – starting at €150 per pair. couple.
Overall, if your budget is less than that of a Grand Slam playing athlete – and if it isn’t?! – Karine Laudort has some advice for the ‘ultimate’ tennis look.
“For men, the ultimate tennis outfit might consist of a white polo shirt, white shorts, and white socks. For women, it might consist of a white tennis dress, a white skirt, or white shorts,” she says.
It’s worth noting that Laudort doesn’t name any specific brands – meaning you can get the look at whatever level you can afford.
Now who’s into tennis (clothes)?!