Why Tennis-Inspired Fashion Is Getting More And More Popular Among Women

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May 17 2024, Published 8:10 a.m. ET

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The world of tennis has been inspiring fashion long before the digital obsession with micro trends. Tenniscore often comes to the fore as the weather begins to get warmer and Wimbledon edges closer. 

We can’t deny that Zendaya has breathed new life into the trend and fully started “tennis girl summer” during the press tour for Challengers – as worldwide searches for ‘tennis outfit’ have increased 23% month over month, with 25,000 searches.

Ahead of what is predicted to be a summer full of sport, Heads of Design and Creative at British clothing retailer Joules have teamed up to unpack the tenniscore trend and explain how to introduce the style to your summer wardrobe, as the site sees an influx of interest (+400%) for tennis-inspired looks ahead of the summer.

Psychotherapist Naomi Magnus is also on hand to explain why sports trends and aesthetics make us feel more motivated, and why we are more likely to adopt the style after watching sport-inspired film and TV.

The Origin Of Tennis Style

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Since the sport’s inception in the late 1800s, tennis and style have gone hand-in-hand. Due to the upper-class society nature of the sport in its early days, the potential for a meet-cute established an early precedent of taking appearance and style into consideration while playing tennis, to the detriment of practicality or comfort. 

Alice Joule, head of creative at Joules, explains that although the term “tenniscore” has only recently been coined the aesthetic has actually existed for a while in different forms.

“Tenniscore is a relatively new word for what’s essentially a style that has been around for decades. Thanks to new shapes, fabrics and details, the way we serve might change, but the game will stay the same.

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“The original tennis style saw men wearing blazers and flannel trousers, and women wearing corsets and long skirts. And whilst comfort and performance mean formal looks are now reserved for spectators, recent on-court looks have always felt quite fresh off the court.”

Lucy Lawrence, Joules’ head of design, explained the influence of pop culture on the current trend.

“Name a celebrity. Any celebrity. Over the past few decades, there’s a big chance that at some point they’ll have worn an outfit that would now fit the ‘tenniscore’ label. It’s only now that trends are given more exposure due to TikTok and Instagram that they’re being noticed. And we’re here for that.

Princess Diana is a great example of this, she was constantly papped sporting looks that would now be referred to as tenniscore. And social media is now bringing these effortlessly classy and cool sports-luxe looks to a new audience.

“Zendaya’s looks on the challengers press tour have been preppy, playful and feminine – everything that tenniscore is about. And those shoes – white pointed-toe pumps with a sharp stiletto spike threaded through a literal tennis ball. Ace.”

Alice has explained the best way to sport the look on and off the court. “Opt for polo shirts in pastel shades, chino shorts, baseball caps – think clean and crisp styles, tennis-inspired knits (probably draped around your shoulders) and a pair of box-fresh white trainers – with a new pair of white socks.

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“Of course, you don’t want to look like you’ve got ‘all the gear and no idea’, so one or two pieces will do and make sure to accessorize with a lot of confidence.”

A new study conducted by Joules found that 79% of Brits feel more motivated to participate in sports when dressed the part, whilst almost two-thirds (62%) of us are likely to buy a new outfit when trying out a new sport. 

Naomi Magnus has explained the mentality behind why we do this.

“When we choose to dress the part from head to toe for a sport, we are choosing to project ourselves as someone that knows what they’re doing. Being dressed in the right gear will always make us feel more confident, more motivated, and more like we belong.

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“When we put on the clothes and get ready to do the activity feeling confident and motivated, we will get something called a positive feedback loop so we will feel good stepping out of the front door to do that activity. When we feel and look the part, we are more likely to feel motivated and inspired to do the same activity again.

Naomi also explained why we are often inspired by other people whether it be on screen or in real life and how it can reflect in our outfit choices. “When watching a film or TV show where someone is doing something that you think looks great or they look great doing it, you are likely to imagine yourself doing that same activity. You may feel even more motivated and inspired to try it.

“Feeling motivated after watching a movie or seeing someone doing something you think looks enjoyable is connected to the idea of modelling. 

“Modelling is where we copy how human beings learn and how we pick up new habits and new ways of being and this is how culture gets transmitted. So next time you are watching a sports-inspired movie don’t be surprised if you feel the sudden urge to deck yourself out in head-to-toe tennis whites ready to become the next Serena Williams.”

This article was written by Charlotte Giver and originally appeared on Your Coffee Break.

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