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Flash Back Fashion: Making a Racket: Tennis Fashion

By: Jill Cope and Courtney Unruh

Tennis fashion is making its way from the court to the streets. The tennis-chic trend is coming full circle and showing what it looks like to be a chic and sporty fit girl in the fashion world.

Many college students dress for comfort which most, if not all, of the time includes some type of athletic wear. Though athletic wear has not always been looked at for its fashionability but more so for its functionality, now we are seeing more and more trends that are including athletic inspired garments. Some of the most iconic influencers in tennis now are Serena Williams and Venus Williams. Today when you think of women’s tennis you probably think of the Williams sisters ruling the court, however if you flashback to the 1920s and 30s one of the top women in tennis was Helen Wills Moody. Helen not only had a powerful serve, but she was part of the transition to shorter tennis skirts, as she refused to play tennis in the common long skirts because they didn’t allow her to move freely.

Tennis wear has its own fashion evolution that spans over many years and can be traced back for decades. The last time people took inspiration from tennis was in the 1920’s from American tennis player Bill Tilden who impressed fans with his forehand and his preppy style, according to The Stylish Life: Tennis by Ben Rothenberg.


Knife pleating is cutting its way through fashion trends and is becoming a sporty feminine look. These pleats not only flatter the body figure, but they also allow you to move easily because of how the lay straight while enabling the wearer to move easily. The pleated style of these skirts originally came to popularity from tennis players who are known for wearing them and mixing them with their own style and the need for its overall function.


Sportswear into your daily outfits or even into business wear. This can be done by pairing a tennis skirt (Tip: You could even by wear any pleated skirt you own you can give of the same effect!) with a blouse and blazer, or even wearing a sporty deep-v tennis inspired sweater with a pair of smart styled trousers or even tie the sweater around your waist while wearing a sleek solid colored dress and you’ll most definitely be on trend.


Athluxe is opposite of the athleisure trend instead of everyday clothing mixed with athletic wear, it is high end glammed up athletic wear. This is done through embellishments, high end fabric technology, as well as through decorative prints. In addition the idea that Athluxe proposed has been used by designers in the past, specifically by designer Vera Borea who owned the first fashion house that offered luxury sportswear for women. She gained fame from producing luxe garments for tennis and an array of other sports as she made them acceptable to wear to social events.

This trend is accompanied by a modernization of the classic tennis sweater which can be used as the accent piece that can tie the whole look together or even as an extra piece to layer over an outfit. This can be done by wearing a sweater with your pleated skirt for a combined casual modern look. Another combination that is simple, easy, and comfortable is wearing a boxy sweater that falls past the waist to where the skirts edge peeks out the bottom.

Micro Pleats

Keep your eye out for micro pleats, they are a newly engineered knit technology that will be the next big thing in all athletic wear. As the pleats allow more freedom of movement and ease for the wearer so they can easily adapt to many different everyday environments.


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