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Evolution of Wimbledon Women’s clothing over the years

Tennis fashion has a long history, evolving from pure functionality to fashion-conscious sportswear, but it is at Wimbledon, one of the world’s most prestigious and well-known championships, that tennis fashion truly thrives.

Shashwat Nishant | New Delhi |

The game of Tennis has witnessed some great athletes over the years who have donned multiple sportswear from various different brands all over the world. They include the use of sporty and vibrant colours in order to make them feel confident on court and stand out from the rest. 

However, this isn’t the case for one of the oldest tournaments in the history of the sport – The Wimbledon Championships.

Tennis fashion has a long history, evolving from pure functionality to fashion-conscious sportswear, but it is at Wimbledon, one of the world’s most prestigious and well-known championships, that tennis fashion truly thrives.

The dress code is notoriously strict; players must be dressed “almost entirely in white” (no cream or off-white permitted), with no solid mass or panel of coloration (although a single coloured trim of 1cm or less is permitted). 

Everything from socks and trainers to caps, wristbands, visible undergarments, and tracksuits must be removed the moment the player steps onto the court.

Of course, while adhering to the rules, sportswear brands continue to experiment with necklines, hemlines, fit, and form.

However, while silhouettes and trends have changed, that iconic all-white gown has not.

Here are the different types of sporting apparels worn by the women athletes from the 1920’s to the 2010’s for the Wimbledon Championships – 

1920’s

The era saw women athletes wearing below the knee pleats along with some elaborate headgears.

Suzanne Lenglen, 1920s

1930’s 

The longer skirts eventually made way for more innovative and practically tailored shorts in the 1930s.

Helen Jacobs, 1934

1940’s

The 1940s brought  a more fluid dress style, worn over frilly bloomers.

Gertrude Moran, 1949

1950’s

Nipped-in waists, pressed collars and flared skirts were the looks in the 1950s.

1960’s

It was all about the style for athletes in the Sixties, with super-short, more playful hemlines coming to the courts.

Lea Pericoli, 1965

1970’s

In the 1970s, hemlines continued to rise, with button-down dresses worn over tiny hotpants.

Martina Navratilova, 1978

1980’s

A more classic, flattering silhouette popped up in the 1980s.

Tracy Austin, 1980

1990’s

In the 1990s, it was all about oversized, slouchy sportswear.

Steffi Graf, 1992

2000’s

The 2000’s called for some simple, streamlined basics.

Maria Sharapova, 2004

2010’s

Tennis outfits of today combine form and function with style, utilising the most recent fabric technology.

Serena Williams, 2016

Despite of all the trendy and innovative designs being portrayed on the courts over these years in the prestigious tournament, there has been some controversies as to should these stringent rules be eased according to the players liking or not.