The Best Women’s Winter Tennis Apparel

I know I should probably add more colour to my tennis wardrobe in the winter, but you just can’t fault a stylish black, navy blue, burgundy or dark green tennis skirt or pair of leggings. I am also a big fan of skeggings, but I tend to make them myself by wearing my tennis skirts on top of leggings. The benefits of buying or creating a pair of skeggings are 1) you have somewhere to put the ball (when I wear leggings I often struggle to get the ball in and out of the waistband) and 2) you don’t have to worry about whether the leggings have transparency issues when bending over to receive a serve. Many skeggings are mid-length, which can be perfect if you are playing indoors or the weather is not too chilly, but that might not provide enough coverage if you’re playing outside – in that case, just pair your favourite longer leggings with a skirt. And with these wintery colours it is very easy to mix and match. Check out the winter tennis apparel I have picked out for you below and let me know what you think.

Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. This helps to support my blog, and comes at no additional cost to you. You can actually get a 10% discount on all these products from Tennis Warehouse Europe by using my VIP code 40ISHLOV10 – happy winter tennis shopping!

[shopr collection=”tennis-style”]

What to Wear to the Australian Open

If you are travelling to the Australian Open this year, then please just know that I am very jealous of you and hope you suffer terribly the heat and jet-lag. Just kidding! I actually hope you will tell me all about how awesome it is in the comments to this blog post or on my Instagram page. Even though I can’t go, that doesn’t mean I haven’t imagined what I would wear if I could. So here is my take on what to wear to the Australian Open.

If you are a fashion-loving tennis fan on your way to the Rod Laver Arena and are not sure what to wear, my advice would be to go retro. Whilst real vintage tennis clothing doesn’t have the high performance characteristics that we expect from our sports clothing nowadays, I think that they are instead perfect for watching tennis in. And with the upcoming release of the Bjorn/McEnroe film, I think the end of 2017 is going to be all about the retro tennis look, especially considering the Björn Borg tennis apparel brand will apparently be releasing a vintage sportswear collection to go with the film’s release. FILA will also be kitting out their players for the Australian Open in pieces from their new Heritage range which takes inspiration from the original 1970’s FILA tennis fashion.

I am still piecing together my retro tennis wardrobe. As you can see in the photo at the top of this post, I have so far picked up an Ellesse tennis skirt (which I got from a fitness blogger on Depop – more on this app later), and I think it looks great with my navy blue Fred Perry polo shirt and Ray-Ban sunglasses. And here is how I would complete the look:

what-to-wear-to-ausopen

  1. Supergoop! Everyday Sunscreen. Before getting dressed, I would make sure I was well covered in SPF 50 sunscreen to protect my skin from the hot Australian sun, and what better brand for a tennis lover than SuperGoop! which is co-owned by Maria Sharapova.
  2. Ellesse Gadina Tennis Skirt – as modelled by me in the top photo!
  3. Idawen Bouza Navy Premium Bag  – any excuse for me to treat myself to another tennis bag!
  4. Stan Smith shoes
  5. Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses
  6. Fred Perry G12 shirt (a bit different to the model I have, but I like the stripes on the collar and sleeves of this new model).

If you want to be really authentic then do take a look on the Depop mobile, social shopping app as there are many people selling original vintage tennis skirts, dresses and shoes from brands such as Ellesse, FILA, Lacoste and Fred Perry. Just do a search for retro tennis or vintage tennis and you will find people in US, UK and Italy selling some very cool tennis kit at reasonable prices.

Let me know what you think of my retro “tennis spectator” look in the comments below!

 

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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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