How Does the Tennis Ball Stay Up?

After playing tennis with my partner’s 10-year-old son a few weeks ago, he asked his dad before going to bed “How does the tennis ball stay up Helen’s dress without falling down?” I had been wearing my Oysho black and white tennis dress (see photo here), and he just saw me magically extracting the ball from under my skirt before each serve and couldn’t understand the trick. Well, of course, they come with a pair of black Lycra shorts that have a holder for the tennis ball. All of the tennis skirts I have so far purchased (from Oysho, Lucky in Love, Australian, and Decathlon) have in-built Lycra shorts and even though they don’t all have holders for the ball, it is easy to tuck the ball under the shorts and, given the tightness of Lycra, it doesn’t fall down. However, two beautiful dresses that I have recently acquired (one from Sweaty Betty bought in the sales during a recent shopping trip to London, and the other from Ellesse that I won in an Instagram competition – see photos below) do not come with white shorts and so, in addition to problems of VPL*, there is nowhere to keep the ball.

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When Tennis Players Become Fashion Designers

There is something about tennis and fashion that goes perfectly hand in hand. Nowadays so many tennis players are getting involved in designing their own “tenniswear”, which is something you don’t see so much with other sports. Perhaps it is because tennis players, and female players in particular, get to experiment so much with the styles and colours of their tennis dresses / skirts / racerback tops and tanks / skorts / shorts. They have more freedom to express themselves through their tennis outfits, whereas the sportswear in other disciplines can be limited by high-performance requirements (think swimmers or track athletes). The strong link between tennis and fashion might also be because tennis is primarily an individual sport, and the players are so well known and recognized that they become important brand ambassadors, which is why fashion brands frequently look to collaborate with them. Venus and Serena Williams both now have clothing lines, and in the latter case the clothes go beyond tennis apparel to everyday wear, and Ana Ivanovic just mentioned a few days ago in an interview with Outside the Ball that she also wants to one day design her own fashion line.

My personal interest lies in the collaborations between tennis players and activewear brands, as female tennis players must have the best first-hand experience on what is needed to make you feel comfortable and fashionable on the tennis court. My favourite collaboration between a tennis player and an athletic apparel brand is Chrissy by Tail between legendary tennis player Chris Evert and Tail.

In this partnership, it was actually Chris Evert that contacted Tail, rather than the other way around (you can read more about how the brand started here). There are currently 8 collections in Chrissy by Tail which are mainly distinguished by a feature colour: Garnet Red, Imperial Purple, Belaire Blue, Allure Red, Pure Gold, Peony, Mauritius, Alegria (some examples are given in the photos below). Most of the pieces are characterised by bold blocks of colour, comfortable looking fabrics, and flattering shapes. Perhaps it is my age that attracts me to Chrissy by Tail (the collection targets the 30-plus demographic), but I actually think these pieces are so classy that they would look good on players of any age, size and shape.

chrissy_by_tail

Who do you think should be involved in the next big collaboration between tennis and activewear brands? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

5 Unique Tennis Brands I Discovered on Instagram

The US Open 2016 has further confirmed that tennis is “having a fashion moment“. If you didn’t catch much of the tennis this summer, then take a look at Tennis Identity‘s blog post about the best of women’s tennis fashion at this year’s US Open. Despite the many great tennis outfits on show, in my opinion we saw way too many tennis players wearing Nike’s neon yellow offerings, and it must be pretty distracting to turn up to your match to find your opponent wearing exactly the same outfit (right down to the visor and sweat bands). In fact, once I had convinced myself that I could dress like a professional when playing tennis (see this blog post), I knew that at the same time I didn’t want to look exactly like the professionals. I wanted to wear tennis outfits that were unique, feminine and fashionable. And this is exactly what I found whilst browsing Instagram. Here are my top 5 unique tennis brands, all discovered on Instagram, that offer the best designs in female tennis attire.
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Overgrip for Undergrip

The first time I threw my racket across the court whilst trying to hit a forehand I thought it was a one-off. I thought it was just the hot weather, my sweaty palms, an old overgrip that needed replacing. I laughed it off and waited for the people around me to do the same, but I was instead met with an embarrassed silence. I hurriedly picked up my racket and carried on training, trying my best to keep control of the racket for the rest of the hour.
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From Shorts to Tennis Skirts

When I first started playing tennis, I promised myself that I would only wear a proper tennis outfit once I was good enough to play matches and win. Ruka (my partner in life and tennis) will confirm that I was strictly a leggings and shorts girl, and I swore not to wear a tennis skirt until I had “earned the right” to wear one.

But then I tried on my first tennis skirt (thanks to Lucky in Love) and I was sold. Continue reading “From Shorts to Tennis Skirts”