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STYLE AND CULTURE

TENNIS STYLE LEGACY

By Style Feed Staff, July 5, 2018

Wimbledon fever has hit and the return of the world's oldest tennis tournament reminds us of the sport's many treasured traditions. Right now in SW19 it's all about strawberries and cream, the famous Henman Hill (or Murray Mound, if you will) and a strictly all-white player dress code. This unfaltering dedication to head-to-toe crisp-white steez has influenced our wardrobes more than you may think — here's how.

Archive tennis image | ASOS Style Feed

Picture: Rex

Bringing their A-game

In the late 19th century, you'd have seen a vastly different on-court spectacle when watching a game of "lawn tennis" — women wore dresses and hats while men would wear bow-ties, belts and smart shoes while hitting melton-cloth-laden balls with a wooden racquet. 
 
It wasn’t until the cusp of the '30s, when French tennis star René Lacoste introduced his own T-shirt featuring a crocodile logo (his nickname), that fashion began to play a bigger part in the game. Much like the merch trend today, this initiated a slew of famed players to follow suit with signature clothing. Most notably, Fred Perry — one of England’s most successful players ever — launched his eponymous line of polo shirts at Wimbledon in 1952.
A street-styler wearing adidas Stan Smith trainers | ASOS Style Feed

Picture: Getty

Match fit

Seeing this rise, sports brands began focusing their attention on on-court gear — most notably, adidas. The German giants produced a pair of tennis sneakers that was originally the signature shoe of Robert Haillet, a relatively unknown French player. In 1971, they renamed the silhouette after the recent US Open winner, Stan Smith and in turn, elevated the shoe to a huge American audience. It's now one of the best-selling shoes of all time, with over 40 million pairs sold worldwide.
Shia LaBoeuf as John McEnroe | ASOS Style Feed

Picture: Scope Features

Causing a racquet

The John McEnroe/Björn Borg rivalry hit Hollywood last year, with Shia LaBeouf and Sverrir Gudnason bringing the late '70s/early '80s influence on tennis threads to the fore. Take McEnroe's famous headband, for instance — taming his flamboyant curls — and his short-shorts and his polo tee with striped arm detailing. Ace.

Plein Sport SS19 catwalk image | ASOS Style Feed

Picture: IMAXtree

Game, set, match

Similarly to soccer and motocross, tennis has infiltrated the streetwear set in recent years, with designers adding everything from sporty sleeve detailing to all-white color palettes to their latest lines. Case in point: London hype label Palace's latest co-ed tennis-inspired collaboration with adidas, that looks fresh both on and off the court. Meanwhile, on the opposite end of the fashion spectrum, Philipp Plein Sport took that influence to the next level for SS19, creating a collection influenced by the clean-cut preppy tennis aesthetic.

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