How to style fashion’s hottest trend, the tennis skirt

By Sacha van Niekerk Time of article published Sep 15, 2020

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The season for sweatpants seems to be over as crisp, pleated tennis skirts are being worn on and off the court by everyone from influencers to celebrities.

Unlike the uniforms of professional tennis players which are strictly all-white for some tournaments (with the occasional coloured trim), this trend embodies a range of shades and patterns from baby soft pink and buttery yellow to schoolgirl plaid in maroon, ivy green and navy.

The tennis attire we’re familiar with today has roots that date back to an era in Victorian England when the sport began to grow popular among the wealthy. Naturally, the outfits donned by these racket-wielding athletes echoed this period in fashion, making laced leather boots, high necklines, dresses with hemlines that grazed the ground and even gloves a must for women on the court.

While white is the obvious choice for sportswear as it reflects the entire spectrum of light, absorbing less heat than darker hues, that isn’t the only reason for its affiliation with tennis. White, which stains easily, was an emblem of class distinction and the rich. Soon, its entanglement with the sport became essential and "tennis whites" gradually became mandatory with Wimbledon declaring all-white uniforms for its players toward the end of the 19th century.

The tennis outfits we’ve seen worn by the likes of Venus and Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Naomi Osaka are designed to be unrestrictive, allowing for a full range of motion and mobility. From drop shots to ground strokes, miniskirts, skorts, dresses, and racer-back tops and tanks allow for better performance and are where this tennis skirt trend stems from.

Equal parts sporty and preppy as it is edgy in aesthetic, modern fashion has revived the look for the fresher spring months right through to sweltering summers. Wear them with light-knit cardigans and crop tops paired with white ankle socks and a dainty shoulder bag or opt for chunky sweaters, stockings and combat boots instead. It’s a look that will see you through a range of seasons and moods while embodying the top-to-toe trendiness of an influencer.

Preppy

Collared shirts peeking over crew necks, cardigans layered over crop tops or tied around the shoulders and 90s mini bags. This facet of the tennis skirt trend is reminiscent of television series like Gossip Girl where every summer was spent lounging poolside at a country club hidden somewhere in the Hamptons. Dress up the look with headbands or gold jewellery for a more polished look.

Sporty

Meet your match in fashion by putting together this full-on tennis ensemble. Pair your skirt with a sports bra and ankle socks embellished with the iconic swoosh logo. Also, sneakers are a must to tie the whole thing together. A cross-body fanny pack or headband are perfect accessories. Stick to all white for that Wimbledon look.

Cute and comfy

Picture: Pinterest

Quarantine has been all about being comfortable in whatever you wear, no matter the occasion. We’ve learnt how to rock everything from leggings to oversized T-shirts and sweatpants in a way that’s still chic enough for the streets. As lockdown restrictions gradually ease up around the world, we’ve seen people incorporate comfort into their everyday attire. Soft chunky knitwear, oversized T-shirts, messy buns and sneakers are another way to wear the trend so you can look put together with minimal effort.

Edgy

Picture: Pinterest
Picture: Pinterest

Apparently tennis skirts can be edgy and high fashion – who knew? The fashion forward of the world elevated the look by pairing it with knee-high or combat boots, chain belts and adorable structured jackets that pull the whole thing together.

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