When last minute alterations can’t be made: Improvise. (Or just take a trip back to the past)
In the 1920s, when a sporty look for women came into play, Suzanne Lenglen caused outrage in her Jean Patou dresses ending just below the knee. From then on, pleats were added and lengths became increasingly shorter so by the 1960s the white pleated mini skirt was synonymous with tennis.
At this year’s Wimbledon, Nike has incorporated both length and pleats in its take on the babydoll dress. It’s short, to the point of questioning whether it’s a top or a dress, and its loose pleats, which flow down from the neckline, fly up when undergoing the smallest of movements.
A babydoll style dress has associations with nightwear and lingerie and, while underwear is now no anomaly when worn on display as everyday clothing, it’s maybe not the most practical on the tennis court (and flashback to Venus Williams French Open 2010).
Some players agree and, because these days last minute personal alterations can’t be made, they improvised. Take, for example, Britain’s Katie Boulter who made a belt out of a headband and Lucie Hradecka putting leggings on underneath. Others, such as Roberta Vinci and Madison Keys, just opted for the simple vest and skirt combination instead.
Katie Boulter (Cal Sport Media/ AP), Madison Keys (Julian Finney/ Getty)
So you’ve probably read about it (because there’s been a lot of attention around Nike’s design ‘fail’) but, as a brand that’s renowned for innovation, maybe there is just pressure to be imaginative while staying within the all white Wimbledon guidelines.
BUT NOT AT HAPPY SLAM TENNIS HQ. We had some fun over on Instagram dressing the players in outfits that are traditional (tradition is KEY at SW19) and have power frills and neat construction which work in tandem to enable athlete’s movement.
What are your thoughts on Wimby kits this year? Share in the comments below!
Words by Frankie