Fashion-forward females add glamour to Wimbledon

LONDON, (Reuters Life!) – When the Wimbledon tennis  championships got under way at the All England Club in the  1900s, refined-looking competitors wore boater hats, long  sleeves, neatly pressed trousers and floor length dressers.

While it remains the most traditional tournament, as the  only grand slam requiring players to wear white, the outfits on  display at Wimbledon have become a little more outlandish.

Five-times champion Venus Williams raised eyebrows when she  took to the court for her first round match in an all-in-one  lace outfit, featuring a zip up the front and a cut-out back  which the American deemed “a peek-a-boo”.

“It’s just kind of like a trendy dress, it’s a jumper,  jumpers are very now, as is lace,” she said of her creation,  which appeared to put the quest for style before practicallity.

“The shoulders have a lot of draping, which is also in at  the moment, it’s fun. I’m really into zippers, so it has like a  focal point of a zipper in the front.”

While Wimbledon’s organisers are not oblivious to fashion,  choosing Polo Ralph Lauren to design outfits for its umpires,  line judges, ball boys and girls, elegance is the order of the  day with court officials dressed in clean-cut navy blazers,  cream trousers and flat caps.

Defending champion Serena Williams favoured this more  reserved approach when picking her outfit for this year’s  tournament, despite accessorising with big jewellery and long  glittery purple nails.

“The inspiration was to be classic. So I kind of took  classic lines and brought it to tennis with a cardigan as well  as the dress,” she told reporters.

“It reminded me of something you would have seen in like the  ‘60s. I love it.  It’s so feminine.  It’s almost like a little  baby doll. I really think it’s cute.”

Wimbledon’s decree on clothing colour is a relatively recent  one, introduced in 1963 when it decided that except for a  cardigan, pullover or headwear, competitors must be dressed  “predominantly in white”, updated in 1995 to “almost entirely  white.”

In a nod to this classic tennis look, Kate Middleton donned  a layered white knee-length Alice Temperley dress for her  appearance in the Royal Box with husband Prince William, an  outfit which would have looked less out of place on court than  that of self-proclaimed Lady Gaga of tennis, Bethanie  Mattek-Sands.

With menacing black face paint daubed under her eyes,  Mattek-Sands arrived for her match in a fringed biker jacket  adorned with white tennis balls, teemed with knee-high socks and  a one-sleeved dress.

The jacket, a collaboration with British designer Alex Noble  who has also worked with Gaga, ensured the number 30 seed made  her mark on the tournament despite crashing out in the first  round.

While less daring, the men’s game is not without its own  fashionistas. Style concisous six-times champion Roger Federer  regularly sports clothing and a racket bag embellished with his  own gold “RF” insignia.
But players who try to push the boundaries too far risk  putting style before sport.

“Any competitor who appears on court dressed in a manner  deemed unsuitable by the committee will be liable to be  defaulted,” the club states in its rules.

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