Racket sports have been around in some form or another since as early as the 16th century, and over the years that the game has been played in its many iterations, it's evolved beyond being simply just a sport, becoming something more akin to a sub-culture, complete with its own lingo, lore, celebrities and fashion aesthetics (hello tennis skirts). While a host of sporting trends have reared their heads as part of recent, incessant trend cycles – from basketball shorts to cycling lycra – it feels like the tennis club 'aesthetic' has been subtly permeating mainstream fashion for decades.
Strict dress codes have long been integral to the sport's highest competitions and most exclusive courts, most recognisably, Wimbledon's all-white ensembles. But while the rules of on-court dressing are easing, there's something about that old-school 'tennis club' aesthetic that still feels endearingly nostalgic, perhaps as a result of its allusions to luxury, tennis enjoying a long history as a sport of the wealthy elite.
Old money tennis, which refers to the style of tennis that was played by the upper class in the early 20th century, saw exclusive members clubs gain popularity amongst the rich, becoming places where players had access to the best facilities, coaches, and equipment. Becoming a member was a way of joining a particular social rank, an outlet to socialise with other wealthy individuals in the area – or travel for tournaments to network. Tennis skirts, visors and slung-back sweaters all made their way to the fore of the 'tennis aesthetic' of these exclusive clubs, Wearing exclusively white garments was already traditional at this point, having been enacted in the more genteel 1880s as a way to minimise the visibility of players' sweat stains on and off the court.
These days tennis fashion choices stem in large part from its celebrity championship players – be it the Williams sisters and their refusal to play by the tennis fashion rule book (who could forget Serena's defiant black tutu at the 2018 US Open), or maybe former Russian world champion Maria Sharapova, who became a style icon off the courts as well – from attending shows for Valentino at Paris Fashion Week, to donning Iris Van Herpen's Evian Bottle Haute Couture gown on the red carpet for the British Fashion Awards.
While the game of tennis is rife with rules and regulations, the fashion trends and subculture around it no longer are. So whether you're trying to achieve the traditional tennis club look for your next casual coffee outing, or simply looking to don a fab two-piece tracksuit for your next morning at the courts, here are our tennis-inspired pieces for that perfect sleek and sporty ensemble.
Maggie Marilyn The Summer Track Suit Bundle