Top tennis apparel brands are keenly aware of 2022’s fashion-first approach to on-court attire. After seasons dominated by high-design athleisure and balletcore, tenniscore emerged this year as the answer to a series of all-maybe-core revivals inspired by classic sports aesthetics. According to industry insiders and experts creating the latest collections, there’s a logic behind this slice of inspiration.
“Tennis has always been associated with elegance, including from a clothing point of view,” explains Catherine Spindler, Lacoste brand director. Spindler recognizes that style codes influence traditional fashion houses and make their way far beyond the country club. Spindler points out that former tennis champion René Lacoste founded the brand in 1933 with deep roots in the sport – he developed a ball-throwing machine for solo practice and later invented the polo shirt, “which is become a fashion icon adopted by all”. Now, these “sports-influenced pieces are worn both in a professional setting and for a night out,” she says.
Also, people are playing tennis, pickleball and racquetball again. “We’ve started to see a resurgence of people playing tennis and racquet sports during the pandemic as a way to be active and maintain social distancing,” says Shannon Quarantino, vice president of e-commerce at Splits59. Today, the company is experiencing a “major growth” in demand for its tennis category designed to “be worn on the court and after for cocktails or brunch.” So is Hello Yoga now infamous Varsity tennis skirt, a staple of influencers in social feeds from TikTok to Instagram. “Our skirt is feminine and fun but still ideal for being active, incorporating built-in short pockets that can hold tennis balls for functional fashion,” says Danny Harris, one of the CEOs of Alo, the brand that “offers the fashion from the studio to the street”. Harris agrees with Spindler and Quarantino on the categories for everyone — and everywhere — call “from tennis court to cafe.”
Below, vogueThe ultimate guide to the best tennis brands, from court essentials to designer drops.
“People are ready to be back outside doing their favorite activities, and we’ve seen that reflected in the success of our tennis collections,” said Joelle Michaeloff, design manager at Wilson Sportswear. His most recent tennis-inspired pieces (including a collaboration with Supreme) are “designed for athletes of all levels.”
“Lacoste’s unique positioning, at the crossroads of fashion and sport, is particularly relevant in a world where there is a real fluidity of use that has become seamless”, specifies Spindler. For its just-launched collaboration, APC lends its cult appeal to the brand for a collection of sleek striped polo shirts, cool sweatshirts and over-the-top crocodile iconography.
Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Venus Williams (who has her own Eleven by Venus Williams line, below) are some of the best tennis players in the world who act as Lacoste ambassadors. “This wardrobe, imbued with the brand’s strong fashion DNA, is part of a desire to respond to new lifestyles,” says Spindler of Lacoste’s goal to “create versatile garments for support women’s lives.
Loyal to tennis, the founder of L’Etoile Sport, Yesim Philip, called on designer Veronica Beard to infuse a technical collection with a feminine touch. Airy pointelle knit and tennis ball-inspired neon trims deliver stylish details on pieces that work during play.
Tory Sport’s tennis totes are user favorites – and often sold out. This convertible version includes a removable racquet pocket for easy carrying.
Venus Williams has infused her lifelong craftsmanship and unapologetic approach to on-court fashion into a streamlined collection of tennis apparel. Color blocking and clever stitching deliver the kind of style she’s brought to her winning matches, whether it’s Wimbledon, the US Open or those seven Grand Slams.
Marysia’s two scalloped tennis dresses are court-ready with built-in sports bras and shorts. Plus, they’re made from moisture-wicking recycled seersucker fabric, which is Net Sustain approved.
A post-match jacket made from over three-quarters recycled polyester, a second-skin fabric for skin-tight bike shorts and bralettes are part of the Splits59 tennis collection, designed for comfort. Plus, the light-as-air construction won’t leave you overheating on a summer day.
Whether strolling in a Parisian courtyard or on a real tennis court, Adidas designed its Y-back dress with removable shorts and a print celebrating the gardens surrounding the Roland Garros stadium. Plus, it’s made from spun yarn with 50% Parley Ocean plastic to clean up pollution while it cools.
The house of Gucci has joined the game. From logo stretch viscose tennis skirts and cardigans to striped jersey shorts and tennis dresses, the latest ready-to-wear collection serves up its signature style codes.
For tenniscore fans, Recreational Habits offers a Steffi Sweater Vest that is of the moment and a short Williams Crew. The latter is surely named after the sisters who dazzled a generation, whether watching their strategy live on the TV screen or their life stories on the big screen.
The Parisian creations of Casablanca are an elegant version of a tennis club accessible to all. The silk scarf is an ultra-luxe take on a classic pro trick – dunk it in ice water and tie it around your neck for an instant cool summer.
Balenciaga’s strength lately is capturing the most basic cultural markers and turning them into cult classics. For her tennis socks, one set glows in the dark and the other plays up the pretty Paris pink ruffle.
For serious gamers, Nike fabrics are built to perform. Its pleated dri-fit tennis skirt and keyhole tank top wick away moisture for a more comfortable victory.
The fan-favorite Varsity tennis skirt is available in more limited-edition shades than ever, like this season’s favorite shade of Pink Sugar and Magenta Crush. Consider a cropped sweater for post-workout coverage.
Varyley’s design aesthetic between London and Los Angeles informs her clean, simple designs. Slip into the fitted Ardine poly-blend tennis dress or slip a tennis ball into the hidden pocket of these Let’s Go stretch jersey shorts.
For eco-friendly activewear, Girlfriend Collective turns single-use water bottles into comfy basics. Each of these watertight shells diverts 34 bottles from landfills directly into the cabinets.
Lululemon reminds us that although tennis whites have become ubiquitous in the sport, sometimes the winners dress in black. Quick-drying jersey makes its polo shirts and dresses perform well on the court, as well as on the golf course, doing double duty.
Aerie’s Real Me Tennis Skirt has become famous on TikTok for its easy-to-wear design and affordable price.
The Upside married the skort, tennis skirt and shorts into a pleated jersey hybrid that works like all three. A stretch waistband and pockets make this one of the easiest outfits of the season.