Fashion & Beauty

Tenniscore, Anyone?

From left to right, a traditional polo in nontraditional fern green, a shirt dress for watching tournaments courtside (both from Clare V.) and a cropped sweater vest from Aritzia. 

By Janet Kelly

JUST a few months ago, the buzz was ballet core, and we were jonesing for ballet slippers, Mary Janes and tulle skirts. Now, tennis is having its fashion moment, thanks in part to the summer blockbuster, Challengers.  Zendaya, who played the tennis-wonder-turned-coach  promoted the film in red carpet-clothing, such as tennis ball heels and a party dress with a tennis racket pattern.

But the connection between fashion and tennis goes back to the 1920s, when French player Suzanne Lenglen wore Jean Patou designs on court and René Lacoste won seven grand-slam titles and created the Lacoste tennis shirt. The pavé bracelet Chris Evert wore when she played tournaments became known as a “tennis bracelet.”

Today, Emma Raducanu is a Dior ambassador; the high-ranked Italian Jannik Sinner, works with Gucci; and Carlos Alcaraz, 2023 men’s winner at Wimbledon, is in ads for Louis Vuitton.

You don’t even have to play tennis to participate in the trend. Performance fabrics and functional design details of polos, sneakers and the like make practical additions to a wardrobe of casual clothes.

Although this tennis mini dress is hardly a mini. At just above the knee (34.75 inches from the shoulder), it is longer than most others I’ve seen and will please players who balk at too short skirts. A smart combination of a breathable mesh-like fabric on top and a cotton blend on the bottom, it sells for $128 at Anthropologie.


This sporty dress in a shiny cotton looks a little like a military uniform—sans those attached patches. Still, how can you not like a dress that zips on and off in one movement? It also looks a lot like Saint Laurent’s Saharienne dress for $4,650 but sells for $525 at Agnès b.


Going sailing on a yacht or want to look as if you are? This oversize textured cardigan with nautical stripes is made from a cotton yarn with a looser weave but what’s most attractive is its sailor-style collar that drapes in the back. It sells for $158 at J. Crew. Destination: French Riviera.

Finding the right T-shirt dress is not as easy as it seems. Rather than the typical straight silhouette, La Ligne’s tea-length style, in all cotton, has a slight swish at the hem and comes with a removable belt for cinching in your waist. And, there are pockets. It sells for $195.


One of Loewe creative director Jonathan Anderson’s strengths is making the ordinary look special, as he does with this shirt dress—with a white bib, wingtip collar, cuffs and a sarong tied around the waist. It sells for a heady $1,950.

Along with the usual navy and ivory options for this open-knit polo, Clare V. adds this fern green hue. You won’t be able to wear it to play at Wimbledon, but off-court you’ll score aces. It sells for $225.


Pleated skirts are no longer hung with the vibe of a boarding school uniform. This wrap version even has a drop waist. Show it off by tucking in a T-shirt or tank. It sells for $128 at J. Crew.


Instead of the traditional marinière, recharge your look with Alex Mill’s ultramarine mariner striped sweater with a rollneck and dropped shoulders for a relaxed summer vibe. It sells for $155.


The traditional cable-knit tennis vest looks new when cropped, worn sleeveless and paired with a pleated skirt and silver sneakers. To avoid baring the tummy, slip a T-shirt under the sweater. It sells for $78 at Aritzia.


Whether you’re flying to France or England or staying in the US to watch a tennis match this summer, this crisp Suzette Dress (with the brand’s beloved embroidered sardine) will keep you cool and confident. It sells for $295 on Clare V., who happens to be an enthusiastic tennis player and fan. Pssst: To avoid looking prim, roll up the sleeves and unbutton a couple of top buttons.

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One thought on “Tenniscore, Anyone?

  1. Nancy G says:

    Since for some reason I’m into dresses and skirts this season, there are plenty to check out in this column. Particularly the midi tea shirt dress.

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