Evolution of Wimbledon women’s clothing over the years

The game of tennis has seen great athletes over the years who have donned several sportswear from different brands around the world. They include the use of sporty and vibrant colors so that they feel confident on the court and stand out from the crowd.

However, this is not the case for one of the oldest tournaments in sports history – the Wimbledon Championships.

Tennis fashion has a long history, evolving from pure functionality to fashion-conscious sportswear, but it was at Wimbledon, one of the most prestigious and well-known championships in the world, that tennis fashion really prosper.

The dress code is notoriously strict; players must be dressed “almost entirely in white” (no cream or off-white is allowed), with no solid massing or coloring panel (although single color trim of 1cm or less is allowed).

Everything from socks and sneakers to caps, wristbands, visible underwear and tracksuits must be removed as soon as the player enters the field.

Of course, while playing by the rules, activewear brands continue to experiment with necklines, hemlines, fit and shape.

However, while silhouettes and trends have changed, this iconic all-white dress has not.

Here are the different types of sportswear worn by female athletes from the 1920s to the 2010s for the Wimbledon Championships –


The era saw female athletes wearing pleats below the knees as well as elaborate headwear.

Suzanne Lenglen, 1920s


Longer skirts eventually gave way to more innovative and practically tailored shorts in the 1930s.

Helen Jacobs, 1934


The 1940s brought a more fluid style of dress worn over frilly bloomers.

Gertrude Moran, 1949


Cinched waists, pressed collars and flared skirts were the looks of the 1950s.


It was all about style for ’60s athletes, with super cropped and more playful hemlines hitting the courts.

Lea Pericoli, 1965


In the 1970s, hemlines continued to increase, with button-down dresses worn over tiny shorts.

Martina Navratilova, 1978


A more classic and flattering silhouette appeared in the 1980s.

Tracy Austin, 1980


In the 1990s, it was all about oversized, baggy sportswear.

Steffi Graf, 1992


The 2000s called for simple, streamlined basics.

Maria Sharapova, 2004


Today’s tennis outfits combine form and function with style, using the latest in fabric technology.

Serena Williams, 2016

Despite all the fashionable and innovative designs represented on the courts during these years in the prestigious tournament, there have been controversies as to whether these strict rules should be relaxed according to the taste of the players or not.

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