A Touch of Class: How to Capture Wimbledon Style
Posted on July 11 2018
Could anything be more English than Wimbledon in the summer? With traditional strawberries and cream, and Pimms and champagne. Wimbledon puts its best foot forward on the world stage, as do those lucky enough to attend. Add the frisson of a Royal presence, and rows of celebrity tennis fans, and the stage is set for one of the most glamorous sporting occasions in the world’s calendar.
Centre Court or Murray Mound?
There are several ways of attending Wimbledon from informal to VIP style. Many people like to picnic on the grassy area known as Murray Mound. This is a more casual approach where seating is on the grass, and picnics are encouraged. The game is shown on the big screen and crowds get a taste of centre court atmosphere and excitement by being on site.
At the other end of the spectrum are the most coveted tickets of all: the men’s final on Centre Court. These are often hard to come by and even the 72 seats in The Royal Box are usually full. Many famous people from around the world have been seen at the final: from Jay Z and Beyoncé to Bradley Cooper and Hugh Grant. Vogue Editor Anna Wintour is a fixture at Wimbledon, being a keen tennis player herself.
What about the players?
With millions of viewers around the world, all eyes are on the Wimbledon players. What they wear is vital, and not just for protocol reasons. Female players have very specific needs when it comes to their underwear. The sports bras worn by female tennis players are among the most technologically advanced in the world and have to combine modesty with absolute efficiency. Players must have no straps or under bands showing, and there must be no room for any discomfort that may distract them from their performance.
“Common standards of decency”
The players dress code is far more stringent than that for spectators. The only permitted colour is white. Not off white, ivory or cream, but white. The white colour must be unbroken by other colours, although a coloured trim of less than 1cm wide is permitted. No large logos or brand images are permitted, although you may see a small Nike tick logo on the Williams sisters if you look closely. Every item that the players wear must be white, from tracksuits, underwear, socks, and even the soles of their shoes. Even athletic supports such as tubular bandages must be white. Sweat bands and wrist bands must also be white. The dress code applies from the moment the player steps onto the court. Importantly, the message is loud and clear “common standards of decency are required at all times.” (source www.wimbledon.com)
The tennis court as a catwalk
It’s not just the quality of the tennis that draw spectators and TV viewers worldwide. Centre Court has a similar influence to a catwalk. Players put a great deal of thought and planning into their Wimbledon attire, with brands competing fiercely to dress the big seeded players such Venus and Serena Williams. Whatever the Williams sisters wear will influence global fashion, and not just via fellow tennis players.
The highly popular athleisure trend grew from sports arenas, football pitches, gyms and tennis courts, and now athleisure has filtered through to street wear. From skater dresses to midriff baring bralettes, and leggings to hoodies, athletic wear is now everyday wear and the same applies to tennis trends. The Williams sisters are often creative with their outfits and work around restrictions to add their own individual touches. In the past, the sisters have showcased halter neck dresses, playsuits, shorts, three quarter length sleeves, mesh panels, cap sleeves and racer backs. Tennis dresses are never dull when the Williams sisters are playing.
What to wear
As always with a big event, there is usually a dress code, whether official or unofficial. At Wimbledon, unlike Royal Ascot, there is no formal dress code. What people wear is dictated by tradition. Women usually wear tea dresses or sporty looking athleisure influenced dresses such as tailored day dresses. Designer sunglasses are everywhere, as are the most coveted luxury handbags. Celebrities such as Anna Wintour, Victoria Beckham, Pippa Middleton and her more famous sister HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, keep it elegant by sticking with pretty but understated styling.
Naturally, your lingerie will play a large part in how you present yourself. Visible bra straps are a faux pas, although going braless would also be a mistake. Good, invisible support is the order of the day. After all, if Serena Williams can win the Women’s final without her bra showing, then anything is possible.
Be sure that your underwear doesn’t show through your dress. Nude briefs or thongs are the least likely to show, even through fine summer textiles such as cotton or crepe. A petticoat or slip is a good idea if you don’t want the sun to silhouette your shape. Do ensure that it isn’t longer than your dress. It’s also a good idea to ensure that you can get in and out of a car and chair without showing any of your underwear. Watch how the Royals do it: they are masters of the craft.
Select your style
If you’re picnicking on Murray Mound, you can dress smart casual. There’s no formal rule here, and many people dress comfortably. However, traditionally, most people do adhere to “common standards of decency” and it would be a rare sight to see hot pants and bras within the grounds of Wimbledon. If you have tickets to centre court, make like a Duchess: pretty, conservative, modest and never too revealing. Leave your hat at home, this is no Royal Ascot, but don’t forget your designer sunglasses.
The finishing touch is of course, an ice cold Pimms and a bowl of Strawberries and Cream.
How about you?
Have you been attending Wimbledon? What's your Wimbledon style? Do let us know. We always love to hear from you.