From Tennis to Athleisure: How Sport is Defining Fashion

12:00 PM

 (image: Pexels) 

Tennis has got to be one of the most fashion-forward sports around. Team jerseys usually don’t leave space for each athlete’s personality to shine through, but tennis allows players more freedom to dress as they please— within the rules of the federation, of course!
The outfits worn in tennis can be both modern and stylish, so much so that they can be worn off the court, too. If you rememberI previously posted Simplicity 1370 - tennis skort that was converted into regular daytime bottoms. It turned out to be a lovely addition to a dashing summer ensemble.  

It’s not the first time that sports apparel has been used as casual wear. It’s actually an ongoing trend that goes by the term athleisure. Simply put, it’s the combination of athletic and leisure wear because they’re suitable for both occasions. You’ve probably seen many women in a sports bra and leggings combo outside of the gym, or the latest runners walking the aisles of a supermarket. That’s what you call athleisure.
(image: Glamour) 

Fashion historian Deirdre Clemente notes that young Americans started showing up in sports apparel to casual meetings all the way back in the 19th century, way before brands like Lululemon rose to prominence. For a long time now, sports have had a profound influence on the way we dress and will continue to do so for many years to come. Sweatshirts, tracksuits, and lycra bodysuits aren’t just meant for the gym and exercise studios anymore. They can be used as casual clothing, and no one will bat an eye.

Fashion classics such as polo shirts were actually came to fruition in tennis. There’s really no single design for tennis outfits, which makes them more versatile than, say, football jerseys. That’s why it doesn’t come as a surprise when new street fashion trends are influenced by what’s worn on the court. In fact, Glamour reported that typical tennis garb such as polo dresses, A-line skirts, and halter dresses have inspired brands to create their own ranges. Tyler Haney, the CEO of clothing company Outdoor Voices, says that tennis apparel really stood out as more fashionable “on and off the court,” without sacrificing things like comfort and durability. 

(image: Style Caster)

The magazine also mentions Serena Williams as one of the tennis icons who is noted for her fashion sense. A simple search online and you will be presented with an array of Serena Williams’ remarkable tennis outfits because there are just so many. A list by Style Caster includes an incredible get-up that's still fresh in everyone’s memories: the famous black catsuit that Williams wore to the 2018 French Open. It was something that was never really seen before in the sport, which made it a very memorable outfit to say the least, even if it received backlash from the French Tennis Federation for being too revealing. 

But Williams is known for making bold choices whether it’s in terms of her fashion choices or in her attitude towards the sport she holds so dear. Her courageous mentality is really what cemented her status as an icon of the sport. In an article by Coral it highlights that the highest ever paid female tennis player has a total 23 Grand Slam titles to her name. On top of her earnings from tennis, Williams has partnerships with brands like Nike and has even started her very own fashion line. This means that you should expect to see some stunning, edgy tennis outfits hitting the high streets very soon, all inspired by Williams and her unique sense of style. As per the rules of athleisure, the clothes can be worn anywhere, even if you’re not a tennis player. So while they might be inspired by tennis, don’t expect her ranges to be restrained by the limitations of the tennis court.

Athleisure has proven that it is far from a fad – it’s a trend that’s here to stay. And some of the people we have to thank for its rise in popularity are the tennis icons who keep serving up aces on tennis’ grandest stages.

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  1. Good post. I love the tennis outfits, such as the dresses and skirts, as well as the outfits worn by pro golfers. My issue with the Athleisure style is that most people are just wearing whatever, not giving real thought to looking stylish and put together, so it looks good on you. Just wearing something to so they are following the "trend".

    1. I'm in the process of researching vintage polo shirts and tennis dress styles and throw-on-and-go looks for spring and summer!

  2. I know that you will make sure that it only stylish garments that we can make! I cannot wait to see you what you discover! Again, great post!

    Kimberly Wilkes


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