When women first began playing tennis in the 1860s, the wardrobe was staid and heavy as it was made of serge and flannel. Tennis gear at the time included multiple layers, bustled skirts, and even skimmer hats.
Fast forward to today, just as the game itself has evolved over time, so did the clothing on the court. Performance is still the major concern—hence the lightweight, sweat-wicking fabrics, for example—but the uniforms of today's tennis greats now have a fun side to them where style meets sport, incorporating neon colors and vibrant prints, playful straps and necklines, and even sequins (look up Maria Sharapova's tennis LBD at the 2006 U.S. Open). The one thing that has remained constant in women's tennis apparel—although the length may have receded—is the wearing of skirt or dress versus shorts or trousers.
Overall, fashion in tennis has indeed come a long way. Below, a brief history of the sport's biggest fashion moments:
White symbolized tennis success. It became a requirement after Maud Watson won the Wimbledon (she was the first woman to ever win it).
Gertrude Moran exposed her lace-trimmed panties during a competition.
Anne White wore a skin-tight bodysuit at Wimbledon, but was told never to wear it again.
Serena and Venus Williams became tennis icons by wearing bright, colorful outfits while playing on the court.
Sportswear brands started signing deals with famous athletes, such as Maria Sharapova.
*This article originally appeared in Preview Magazine's November 2014 issue.