Every summer, without fail, Wimbledon manages to transcend the sport itself and encourages even the most casual viewer to inject a little tennis chic into their every day looks. Euronews Culture is here to show you how.
Wimbledon, arguably the most chic, glamourous and glorious tennis tournament is now over for another year but London's famous grass court competition has not only 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 feast of fashion.
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 those stars dotted around the VIP seats and the Royal Box.
This year in particular, Wimbledon seems to have taken a good introspective look at itself and its relationship to style.
US tennis star Taylor Fritz’s girlfriend and influencer Morgan Riddle hosted a vlog in conjunction with the club. ‘Wimbledon Threads’ shows the American touring the grounds of the All England Tennis club, searching for the perfect tennis look on and off the court.
Tried and tested tradition
Wimbledon's dress code, requiring participating athletes to wear almost entirely white attire with only a small coloured trim of up to 10mm, has been around for decades and is seen as rather old fashioned by many.
“While some players may find the dress code outdated, others, like Nick Kyrgios, embrace the tradition”, fashion editor Karine Laudort tells Euronews Culture, adding, “Over the years, there have been players who have tested the limits of the dress code, leading to stricter reinforcements”.
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-court, so we're here to explain how you can emulate the ‘Wimbledon look’ - from head to toe - in the simplest way possible
So let's start off exactly where you’d expect with: Headbands.
“Comfortable and breathable clothing is vital”, fashion commentator Dominique St. John, tells Euronews Culture, adding “A head and wrist brand is helpful in between points too as it can get hot and sweaty on court”.
The world’s highest ranked Greek player, Stefanos Tsitsipas, is well known for his headbands. Abiding by Wimbledon's strict rules, he wears white at the London Grand Slam, favouring a variety of colours at other tournaments. The one thing they all have in common? They’re from Adidas, who sponsor 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 taking inspiration - as Tsitsipas is rumoured to do - from Björn Borg.
The Swedish former world No. 1 tore up the courts in the ‘70s - and was rarely seen on the pitch without a jazzy headband, often pushing Wimbledon’s ‘all white’ rule.
Whatever your budget, this is possibly 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 purchasable 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 leaving headbands to your time on the court.
And it's not just for the long-haired boys and girls. Denmark's world number four Casper Ruud rocks the band/bandana look while American tenth seed Frances Tiafoe is never seen on court with his trusty sweat band.
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 playing in Lacoste for many years”.
Djokovic's decade of centre court victories at Wimbledon is now over but he made it clear he'll be back for another tilt and the title. Music, no doubt, to the hears of the French label which has seen its sales soar since taken on the Serb world number two as an ambassador.
It’s easy to emulate his on court-looks at Wimbledon, with an all-white shirt and shorts outfit. Whether your budget can stretch to Lacoste or is more in the unbranded price range, this is a look which can be easily replicated and won’t look out of place at a barbecue, a cafe or, of course, a sports pitch.
For a jazzier 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 colours and snazzy prints, as demonstrated at the other Grand Slams he’s played at.
Sponsored by Nike, his style is definitely one to get inspiration from. You don’t have to take that advice from only us, either. Tiafoe is clearly winning favour with the head honchos of the fashion industry - 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 been turning their attention to Spain's Paula Badosa for arguably her pin-up looks and not her exploits on-court. The 25-year-old has been taking advantage of Wimbledon relaxing its rules, very slightly, on 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-coloured undershorts, provided they do not exceed the length of their shorts or skirt. This alteration has been celebrated as a triumph for women competing at an elite level while menstruating.
While more recent players, including the Williams sisters, Maria Sharapova, Coco Gauff, or Britain's Emma Raducanu, are all worthy of appreciation 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, in fashion terms at least, both Billie Jean King - in her perfect, traditional pleated skirts - and Lea Pericoli, with her ballerina-chic outfits topped off with headbands which looked more like headpieces, are perfect reference points.
While Karine Laudort tells Euronews Culture 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 the official partner of Wimbledon once again, the high fashion brand has released a capsule collection in collaboration with the tennis club.
“Ralph Lauren is taking on the all-white dress code with outfits for men and women”, Dominique St. John explains, “You can even purchase some of the uniforms that the on-court officials wear during the matches”.
"Whether on or off-court, Ralph Lauren is serving up the best tennis attire this year and interprets the tennis look most successfully", St. John says, adding, "It not only takes on the all-white dresscode in an elegant way with its new capsule collection, but also dominates courtside dressing with the likes of Alexa Chung and David Beckham in the Royal Box".
A new era for bags at Wimbledon?
“We have seen a shift in tennis fashion history this year”, St. John says, “we have seen high-end fashion brands such as Gucci take on centre 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 walk onto court carrying a branded duffel bag, potentially going against the wishes of the AELTC.
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 keep all my stuff inside”.
He's clearly repping one of his home country’s most recognisable luxury houses and, it turns out that his team and Gucci met with the International Tennis Federation, Association of Tennis Professionals and Wimbledon ahead of the tournament to make sure the most talked-about bag of the competition met the mystery criteria set.
Most of us probably can’t emulate Jannik’s Gucci bag, but Novak Djokovic’s chosen Head bags are likely more attainable.
If you’re being as strict with your Wimbledon-inspired look as the AELTC would expect for their very own players, you can’t go wrong with the spacious, lightly branded bags toted to every match by the Serbian finalist.
Whatever you do - don't wear orange soled trainers
Arguably the most stylish man in tennis, famous for wearing belted shorts and monogrammed cardigans on court, Roger Federer is perhaps also infamous for a sartorial mishap involving trainers back in 2013.
At that year’s tournament, the Swiss icon was punished for the crime - only ‘illegal’ at Wimbledon - of wearing tennis shoes with orange soles.
Famed for his diplomacy, he spoke out saying, “I love Wimbledon, but they've gone too far now. The rules have become ridiculously strict. I would be in favour of loosening it up a little bit. But it is what it is”.
Despite the incident a decade ago, Federer is well known for his stylish shoe choices, even designing tennis shoes with On Running. They’re available to buy now but, costing upwards of €200, are perhaps not for everyone inspired by his look.
In fact, it seems as though collaborations between top tennis players and shoe designers are often on the pricey 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 pairs, the Coco CG1s. Tennis shoes infused with her sense of style don’t come cheap though - starting at €150 per pair.
Overall, if your budget is less than that of a Grand Slam playing athlete - and whose isn’t?! - Karine Laudort has some advice on 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 Laudort doesn’t mention any particular brands - meaning you can get the look at whatever level you can afford.
Now, who’s for tennis (outfits)?!