I've been meaning to post this for a while. As soon as I viewed the BBC ads for the championship coverage. Now watching a documentary on Wimbledon, and eating my Sunday diner, I felt it was the time to begin the post. Focusing on the historical change in fashion and function of the infamous white kits, of the competition held just a number of minutes from me in South West London. Interestingly the reason for all whites is not to reflect the unlikely rays of the sun, rather it is to remain demure whilst playing by hiding perspiration! We Brits really do like to manage our appearances, stiff upper lip and all that.
Beginning in 1877, this two week tournament plays host to the highest calibre of athletes of all ages from around the world. Firstly, I'd like to start with the womenswear. Initially, involved in the 1860s women wore heavy materials in the form of below-the-knee, pleated skirts and petit coats.
Suzanne Lenglen, 1919, got the guns out in light weight fabrics with sleeveless tops. Also noticeable is the shorter skirt length.
Helen Jacobs, 1930, changed the game, forgive the pun, to the more modern look we are familiar with now, sporting flannel shirts, polo tops and generally slimmer kits.
Subsequent to skimming through almost a century of sartorial sporting succession, here are a few of my favorite female fashions and faux pas of more recent times...
Billie Jean King, 1968. Figure hugging, sleeveless dress complete with wide lapels and colored, usually baby blue details and those infamous massive specs. Legend!
Steffi Graph 1991, could this be where Nadal sought his inspiration in headgear and wild splashes of colour?!
Venus Williams, 2010 with the Tina Turner look. (LIKE!!)
Venus on the 1st day of the 2011 Championships. An athlete that designs and picks their own kit as part of their sportswear label EleVen managing to incorporate gold is a winner in my books!
Unfortunately sister Serena Williams hasn't quite got the eye like here slightly older sister Venus. This Warm up gear definitely needs to be toned down! Seen yesterday, 19th June 2011.
Unlike Wimbledon, the French and US Open through caution to the wind, disregarding Wimbledon's uniform conformity allowing players to wear, well anything. The Williams sisters have taken full advantage of this...
Venus Williams 2011, French Open,
Sereena, the super hero look
The designer of these garments must be cautioned for offending the sensibilities of millions of conservative tennis fans with these monstrosities.
From all covered up to barely covered at all tennis vogue has changed considerably, I look forward to seeing the icey-white garb gracing the manicured lawns of Wimbledon this year.
Coming soon: Wimbledon's menswear history.