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Both of the Williams sisters participated at the Wimbledon tennis competition this year, and although only one ended up with a trophy, both made fashionable statements. The Williams sisters have not only brought their amazing talents and skills to the game, but through all of the years they have played competitively, they have also displayed some unique fashions.
History Of Tennis Fashions
Tennis is a sport that is associated with its “tennis whites” uniform. Although there isn’t a regulated uniform as in baseball or football, there are certain rules and regulations that have been present throughout the sport’s history. For example, women sported long skirts and high-necked blouses with full stockings until the 1920s. As popular fashion evolved and women found more independance, sleeves became shorter and hemlines rose up to the knee.
As showing skin became the norm in tennis regale, the focus turned onto textures, fabrics, and silhouettes. Martina Navratilova often wore sailor pointed collars, while Andre Agassi competed in thigh-skimming denim shorts and a glorious mullet. However, tennis fashion was pretty quiet until the Williams sisters started to play in the mid-90s.
The sister’s sartorial adventure began in a series of spaghetti strapped white tennis dresses that were accessorized with beaded and braided hairstyles. They were young Black females from Compton, basically the opposite of the stereotypical tennis player, whose talents were, and still are, undeniable.
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Serena Williams is having a pop culture moment. She’s been spotted dancing in Beyoncé’s iconic “Lemonade” visual album, she was named the 2015 “Athlete Of The Year” by the Associated Press, and recently won her 22nd Grand Slam in a historic match. During the game, Serena garnered attention for not only her playing, but also her competition dress. The tennis player honored Wimbledon’s all white rule in a halter necked dress with a flared pleated skirt by Nike. Although the neckline was unique to her court style, Serena has made pleated skirts her signature.
Serena’s court style often consists of tight-fitting tennis dresses with pleated full skirts. Her outfits range between dark colors, bright neons, and prints. She has worn a brightly colored crop top and pleated skirt set, while at a number of other competitions, she has sported V-necked pleated dresses in an array of eye-catching colors.
The major aspects about Serena’s style is her emphasis on tight clothing. She has embraced her athletic shape in a form-fitting black short and sleeveless black catsuit and in a belly-baring ensemble that was studded with grommets. Although her body type isn’t often seen on the court, the preferred body type of female players are tall and thin, she doesn’t apologize. By sporting tight clothing and showing off her figure, she shows that muscles can be powerful, feminine, and sexy.
Aside from her clothing, Serena has also embraced colorful earrings, diamonds, and even some nameplate hoops. For her hair, she often wears her natural hair texture in a ponytail style with coordinating headbands. “I’ve always loved fashion. I was always that girl that played with my dolls, and I went to fashion school, so it’s not just made up for me,” Serena told Vogue at her fashion line’s runway show in 2015. “It’s actually something that I really enjoy and that I have a lot of fun with.”
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The court fashion of Venus Williams is quite different than that of her sister. The elder Williams sister has proven to be much more adventurous with her fashion and beauty choices, and has worn a variety of looks.
As Venus has conquered the tennis world, she brought a sexy style to the court. Venus challenged convention in black and red teddies with corsets and lace or gave subtle hints with simple long-sleeve shirts over black lace skirts. She also played in key-hole halter dresses that could double as night club outfits.
Aside from her risqué outfits, Venus also experimented with the shape of the standard tennis uniform. She has sported a V-neck, batwing romper and has also worn a bright yellow lattice bodice with a multicolored printed skirt.
As Venus continued through her career and matured as a woman, her tennis outfits have become more subdued by way of simpler silhouettes with colorful prints or plain white coloring. These prints recall dresses seen at Carolina Herrera or Diane Von Fürstenberg; both are classic but with an interesting graphic.
For the most recent Wimbledon competition, Venus appeared in a dress from her own fashion line. It was a minimalist, cap sleeved and A-line “Game Day Dress” that she accessorized with a braided bun and a handful of colorful accessories.
Both hair and accessories have played a major part in her competition style. Venus has been documented many times wearing a large ensemble of jewelry, from necklaces to even crystal body tattoos. She has worn a variation of braided hairstyles throughout the years that are usually pulled back and tucked under a sun visor. She has even sported brightly colored makeup that compliments her outfit, proving that she isn’t afraid to make a statement.
The influence of the Williams sisters on tennis has helped garner more diverse faces in the game. And although their talent is incredibly influential, their unique style is opening doors too.