History of Women’s Tennis Attire

How Women’s Tennis Attire has Evolved


Tennis has changed drastically over the years, not only the pace of the game, but the clothing as well.  Tennis attire has changed dramatically over the centuries from long skirts reaching down to the ankles to modern day short skirts.  This is a short history of how women’s tennis attire has evolved over the years.

1880 to 1940

Between 1880 and 1920 female tennis players were covered from head to toe, not even a small bit of flesh was visible.  Before 1910 women tennis players wore dresses that were heavy and had a high neck with a low hem.  White was the most common colour and worn by the majority of tennis players, the main reason being that white did not show perspiration.  Because of the heavy clothing and all the different layers complete with underskirts, playing was not easy and these women tended to perspire quite a bit.

The 1920s to 1940s bought with it some “shocking” changes to tennis attire.  It was in 1922 when Suzanne Lenglen played at Wimbledon and wore a “short” skirt.  Alice Marble also shocked the tennis world when she wore shorts. Between these years the tennis attire became lighter and skirts became shorter and easier to play in.  Ladies also started wearing polo shirts.  During this time many female players put practicality above privacy in that they now exposed more of their legs while playing. This allowed female players to move faster and were less restricted.

1950 to 1970

The 1950s and 1960s saw female tennis players with feminine blouses and frilly shorts.  Skirts became shorter as well as sleeves.  Two well-known female players, Maria Bueno and Gertrude Mora, played in these more feminine outfits.  Towards the end of the 1960s short skirts on the tennis court became the norm and this allowed all women, both on and off the court to become more liberated with regard to their clothing.

Women’s tennis had become more popular and continued to grow during the 1970s with men and women wearing similar clothing except for the skirts.  Female tennis players started wearing shorts and T-shirts.  The 1970s bought women’s tennis attire into the modern age.

1980 to 1990

During 1980s and 1990s various sports brands and sponsors took an interest in sponsoring women’s tennis. During this time players like Chris Evert-Lloyd and Monika Seles became the new stars of women’s tennis and began promoting themselves.  Tennis attire became more colourful during these years and because of the various sponsors clothing had prominent logos on them and the fabric changed and became more breathable.

1990 to Modern Day

Today’s tennis attire for women is inspired by the player’s personality and influences the various sports brands in a big way.  Much like getting AFL betting tips, much of the clothing available for the court now is also available online.

Tennis attire today is not only practical allowing player’s to always be on form but their outfits are eye-catching, loyal to their brand and encompass the player’s personality.  A great example of this would be Venus and Serena Williams who are sponsored by the giant, Nike.  Nike has created tennis attire for them that not only communicates their powerful playing but also their personalities and skills on the court.