Tennis was once seen as a sport for the elite, with rigid dress codes and restrictions. Not any more. Now, thanks to both the relaxing of these and the increased fashion-forwardness of today’s top pros, tennis attire has become all about expressing your individuality and personal style in a variety of ways. Pretty much the only place where such tradition remains is at Wimbledon, which maintains an all-white dress code.
While you can now wear just about whatever you want on a tennis court, there are some conventions you should consider, mainly for practical reasons.
Men’s polo shirts, T-shirts and shorts, and women’s skirts, tops and dresses should be made with light-weight, breathable materials – either cotton or synthetic fabrics. Prices go up for clothing that introduces sweat-absorbent technology into their fabrics like CLIMACOOL (adidas) and Dri-FIT (Nike), but if you play regularly and in warm conditions, this might be a good investment.
Tennis ball storage
Because you’ll be playing with two balls to ensure continuous play (you’ll require a second ball if you serve a fault) then you need somewhere to store the second. Men should therefore wear shorts containing pockets, while many women’s skirts include built-in tights which can hold a tennis ball.
Appropriate footwear will be determined by the court surface you’re playing on and any restrictions that may apply to the sole and style.
Hats and sunglasses are both excellent for their protective properties in hot sunny conditions, as well as for reducing glare. It’s a matter of personal preference – not all players like wearing hats, and professional players who wear sunglasses are actually the exception rather than the rule. Yet many eye-wear brands and sunglass stores stock sports-specific sunglasses that are designed to fit securely during play, and there’s a variety of hats to choose from; caps, visors (for more ventilation and evaporation) and even legionnaire-style hats for added protection (made famous by the great Ivan Lendl).
Sweatbands and headbands are useful for keeping you drier when you sweat; sweatbands worn around the wrist are good for “towelling off” while headbands can limit the perspiration running down your forehead and into your eyes.
Where can I purchase tennis attire?
Tennis-specific attire is available at sporting goods retailers, athletic stores, department stores, tennis pro shops, tournament merchandise outlets and online. And while you can enjoy the individuality of style that’s afforded to tennis players, it’s worth checking with your local club or competition about any potential restrictions on attire before stepping out on court.