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CSU tennis players reflect on their sport’s fashion history

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Collegian | Trin Bonner

The evolution of fashion in women’s tennis has developed and become a prominent aspect on the court. Tennis players from the Colorado State University tennis team reflected on the history of women’s tennis fashion.

“I think that over time, fashion has changed drastically,” said Zara Lennon, a CSU graduate student who has played tennis for 19 years. “The clothes used to be more formal because of long skirts and high collars.”

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Lennon referenced the early 1900s women’s tennis outfits, which mainly consisted of long floor-length skirts, high-collared dresses and long-sleeved shirts.

“Honestly, I think it must have been really hard for them to play tennis with those outfits,” said Luana Avelar, who has been playing tennis since she was 11 years old. “They seem to limit a lot of the movement, … (but) I do think they were pretty overall.”

In comparison to the 1900s women’s tennis outfits, CSU’s women’s tennis players have various options, which include skirts, tank tops, a dress and shorts. The clothing items are branded with the logos of CSU and Under Armour, one of their sponsors.

The different outfit color choices for CSU’s women’s tennis players consist of green, white, black, orange for Aggie Day and blue for State Pride Day.

“Our outfits are short and easy to move in compared to the vintage tennis clothes that (were) not very suited for high-level performance,” said Sarka Richterova, who has played tennis for 20 years. “The outfits of this time are very pretty and functional.”

The evolution of women’s tennis fashion has brought performance-focused changes to current uniforms. Modern women’s tennis outfits contain light and breathable fabric made for comfort.

“They started to be made for better performance rather than to be ‘pretty,’” Avelar said. “One example is that many years ago, women used to play with boots with heels, and nowadays, there are many tennis shoes specifically for feet support, balance, gel and comfortability.”

CSU tennis players noticed there is more diversity and inclusivity in women’s tennis fashion today.

They said they admire many professional female players for their fashion, including Caroline Wozniacki, Aryna Sabalenka, Serena Williams and Venus Williams.

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“Women are more free to pick what they really feel comfortable in,” Lennon said. “If they prefer to wear a crop top and skirt, they can, and if they prefer to wear a T-shirt and shorts, they can also do that.”

The options in modern tennis outfits have helped in the CSU tennis players’ game with comfortability and style.

“I feel like the better I look in the outfit, the better I play,” Avelar said. “For sure, it doesn’t affect my overall tennis level, but it feels really good stepping onto the court and feeling pretty at the same time.”

As women’s tennis fashion progresses in the future, the outfits have potential to be made with lighter materials, new technologies and creative designs to continue prioritizing comfort and performance.

“I have a great appreciation for vintage fashion and the fashion history,” Richterova said. “But I am very glad that in tennis we are now able to wear what we wear and play tennis without the inability to move in long cotton dresses.”

Reach Elesia Guerra at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @CSUCollegian.

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About the Contributor
Trin Bonner
Trin Bonner, Illustration Director
Trin Bonner is the illustration director for The Collegian newspaper. This will be her third year in this position, and she loves being a part of the creative and amazing design team at The Collegian. As the illustration director, Bonner provides creative insight and ideas that bring the newspaper the best graphics and illustrations possible. She loves working with artists to develop fun and unique illustrations every week for the readers. Bonner is a fourth-year at Colorado State University studying electronic arts. She loves illustrating and comic making and has recently found enjoyment in experimental video, pottery and graphic design. Outside of illustration and electronic art, Bonner spends her free time crocheting and bead making. She is usually working on a blanket or making jewelry when she is not drawing, illustrating or brainstorming.

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    Joe G.Nov 6, 2023 at 2:03 pm

    Great article on the Reflection of women’s sports fashion. How it improves their game while they enjoy their appearance in front of their fans!

    Reply