There was a time when selecting tennis clothes was quite a simple endeavor; the tradition of wearing tennis whites made the selection process quite streamlined. However, as anyone who follows tennis knows, the days of watching Martina Navratilova or Jimmy Connors take the court wearing all white are long gone, and today’s game is one that embraces fashion forward styles and functional fabrics.
Today’s best players, like Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova, are often seen in apparel that spans the spectrum of color and fashion; not surprisingly, the rest of the tennis world has followed suit.
Today’s tennis clothes look great on and off the court, and they are made with performance fabrics that surpass the cottons of the past in nearly every way. Modern polyester fabrics like Coolmax™ and Wickaway™ are available in a wide range of knits and colors, but it is not their style but their utilitarian qualities that make them so ideal for tennis.
Performance fabrics – like polyester, nylon, and spandex – breathe unlike traditional textiles allowing you to stay cool and dry even during the height of summer. Further, these high tech fabrics hold their shape and color much better than their cotton counterparts, allowing you to look good before, during, and after your match, and their high durability will allow you to continue to look good in the future.
Modern textiles are just one aspect of contemporary tennis clothes; these clothes are fashionable and functional as well. While there is nothing wrong with wearing traditional whites to the court, proper tennis attire now includes bright colors and prints which continue to gain popularity at all levels of the game. Style and form are important considerations when selecting tennis apparel, but one should be careful not to ignore function as well as the traditions of the game.
All tennis players should own a proper warm-up outfit, which is typically a two piece suit consisting of long pants and a long sleeved top. A warm-up outfit helps the athlete stay warm and get loose before a match, and it is also the traditionally preferred attire for arrival at the court. Tradition also holds that warm-up suits should be removed during the actual match unless it happens to be a very cold day.
During a match, men should wear tucked shirts and tennis shorts, although more and more the untucked look is becoming a presence in professional and amateur tennis. Women should wear short sleeved or sleeveless shirts paired with skirts or skorts – shorts that have styling that resembles a traditional skirt.
It is important to note that the traditional tennis attire is still alive and well in some places, particularly at some tennis and country clubs. If you are invited to play as a guest at a club, check with the club or your host in order to be certain that your tennis clothes are appropriate and fitting with their dress code.
No tennis outfit is complete without the ever important accessories. Tennis shoes should be sneaker style, and it is probably best to purchase sneakers that are specifically designed for tennis. Not only will true tennis shoes perform better, they will not have black or dark colored soles which are banned at many courts due to their tendency to leave dark scuffs on the playing surface. Make sure you complement your tennis outfit with fashionable socks as well as things like headbands, hats, or wristbands; all of which will help keep your face and hands dry and ready for action.
Tennis is a game deeply rooted in history and tradition, but with some careful shopping you can successfully span those boundaries by wearing tennis clothes that perform well, look great, and stay true to the traditions of the game.