Tennis has always been a chic sport. When one thinks of tennis fashion, it’s easy to picture little white skirts, elegant, sporty dresses, white sneakers and shimmering tennis bracelets.
For New Yorkers, the sport tends to be more popular in the summer—when Wimbledon and the U.S. Open are top of mind, the Central Park courts are open, tennis clubs are buzzing, the sun is shining and activewear brands are debuting sharp new collections.
This summer, amid the 2021 Olympics, it seems like everyone in the city is either playing tennis on the weekends or just dressing like they are, which is why it’s no surprise shoppers are gravitating toward brands like Tory Burch and Sweaty Betty, which are offering some of the most stylish tennis sets and dresses of the season.
Tory Burch’s Tory Sport is big on refined ’70s fashion. Their activewear designs are classic and timeless, but at the same time a little bit retro and very fresh. Their colors are simple and clean, and their prints graphic.
“Inspired by the grace and strength of athletes, Tory Sport reflects the beauty of the game and the empowering role that sports play in all aspects of our lives,” the team said.
The Tory Sport woman is versatile, sophisticated and active, which is why every one of the brand’s pieces can be worn on and off the court or course. The tennis offering of the season, the Performance V-Neck Tennis Dress, “is a play on iconic ’70s sportswear,” the team said. It’s made from silky, comfortable yet flattering performance jersey, and is ideal for summer in that it’s breathable and moisture-wicking.
“I have always been passionate about sports—activewear is something I wanted to do for years. Our goal is to design a collection that balances style with function,” designer Tory Burch said.
Sweaty Betty, the brand best known for their ultra-sculpting leggings and high-end activewear sets, designed a Power Workout Dress perfect for tennis players, basketball stars and runners alike. The dress, which comes in a variety of colors and prints, is made from a sweat-wicking, super stretch fabric and has a built-in bra and short for additional support, as well as a side pocket to keep your phone—or anything—in.
Jemma Cassidy, the brand’s chief product officer, said, “There is something so timeless and elegant about tennis clothing, and we have imbued that spirit in our offering.”
When asked who her tennis muse in, she said she doesn’t have one, but nine—the “Original 9”: Billie Jean King, Kristy Pigeon, Kerry Melville Reid, Peaches Bartkowicz, Valerie Ziegenfuss, Judy Tegart Dalton, Rosie Casals, Nancy Richey and Julie Heldman. In 1970, this group of pro-athlete women courageously fought for equal pay and better treatment of women in tennis.
Fabletics, made famous by actress Kate Hudson, who started the company with entrepreneurs Adam Goldenberg and Don Ressler, has debuted the coolest, stretchiest little tennis dress, equipped with a built-in bodysuit and side pockets.
The Laura Active Dress from the brand’s July collection comes in a milky, earthy shade of green, and can be worn for a variety of outdoor activities, including tennis.
Fabletics doesn’t have a specific tennis apparel category, but most pieces are incredibly versatile, and new women’s styles drop every single week in sizes XXS to 4X. Men also have plenty to choose from, as new styles drop every month in sizes XS to XXL.
K-Swiss’ new “Glow Up” tennis collection with EleVen by Venus Williams is bringing color and sparkle to courts everywhere this summer. The collection features curve-hugging dresses, leggings, power tops, shorts, cropped hoodies, jackets and the most comfortable tennis sneakers. Some pieces are white and shimmery, others are pink and bright, and all are made to make women feel like they’re glowing from the inside out, the K-Swiss team said.
“During the pandemic, tennis was one of the only activities people were allowed to participate in due to the social distancing aspect,” a K-Swiss spokesperson said. “Athleisure became huge and tennis apparel has now become trendy since there are so many new tennis players.”
K-Swiss started off as a footwear brand, and in 1966 introduced the K-Swiss Classic, which was the world’s first all-leather tennis shoe. The brand has continued to build its tennis heritage over the past 50+ years, and the team said their exciting partnership with Williams marks their next chapter into luxe activewear.
“K-Swiss has been an iconic brand for decades, so I loved creating looks that combine their timeless style with EleVen’s vibrant and sleek designs,” Williams said. “With the ‘Glow Up’ collection, we created dynamic outfits that represent confidence, individuality and versatility, so our customers can feel their absolute best, both on and off the court.”
Samantha Honstetter launched Bellemere in October 2020, fueled by her passion for tennis and golf. Her designs are like no others in the activewear world, in that they’re vintage-inspired, high-end and sustainable.
“Having started out in cashmere, this new range brings that ethos to offer beautiful, sustainable sportswear designed to be worn on or off the court,” Honstetter said. “I wanted items that you feel as good about chilling out in after the game as you do during the heat of battle.”
Prior to launching her brand, the founder and designer said she felt traditional sportswear brands weren’t offering luxury options that were also affordable and used natural fabrics. That’s when she began looking for materials that were eco-friendly, flexible, beautiful and long-lasting. Her search led her to TENCEL (a thin, lightweight, 100% plant-based material that is naturally dry and completely sustainable), merino wool, cotton cashmere and 100% sustainable mercerized cotton, which is incredibly cooling and shape-retaining.
Honstetter collaborates with a technical sportswear designer in Rome to create her unique pieces. One of her favorites is a pastel pink and peach pleated skirt and polo shirt set. The polo is adorned with faux pearl buttons and also comes in soft pink with blue.
“We wanted something that brought a real freshness to our customers, something elegant yet with the highest performance,” Honstetter said.
With every tennis outfit goes a dazzling tennis bracelet, and Brilliant Earth has the most stunning designs made with both ethically-sourced and lab-grown diamonds.
“The Tennis bracelet is a classic staple and signature piece—whether it’s a family heirloom or a gift to self, tennis bracelets are a jewelry wardrobe staple perfect for everyday wear and occasions,” Kathryn Money, the brand’s senior vice president of merchandising and retail, said.
As more people began getting into tennis during the pandemic, the Earth-conscious brand saw a spike in interest in their collection of tennis bracelets. It also helps that they offer many different styles to match any outfit, occasion and personality—from simple and dainty in white gold to bold with colorful gemstones and luxurious in yellow gold. They are available in a variety of carat weights and diamond shapes.
Money pointed out that the iconic tennis bracelet got its name after U.S. tennis star Chris Evert, during the 1987 U.S. Open, accidentally flung her bracelet across the court during a highly contested match and called a timeout to retrieve it.
“In recent years, tennis players like Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams have been seen sporting the jewelry style;…
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