Sport luxe and athleisure were without a doubt the biggest fashion trends to dominate 2018. Labels like Fila and Champion were among the most coveted and nearly every sports star collaborated with the likes of apparel heavyweights Nike and adidas. But if we had to pick which sport trumped the fashion game this year, it would have to be tennis. From Serena Williams’ talked-about tutu to archival silhouettes, tennis certainly had a stylish year both on and off the court.
With the Australian Open just around the corner, there’s no better time to explore why we’re calling tennis attire the most underrated fashion trend of 2018, and to do so, we’ve teamed up with the Australian Open’s proud sponsor (and everyone’s beloved drink) Aperol Spritz. And hey, if you want to catch a glimpse of the tennis trends yourself for some 2019 style inspiration, make sure you secure your seat at the upcoming Australian Open series before they sell out.
The Serena Effect
You’d have to be living under a stadium-sized rock to not be familiar with Serena Williams’ impact on not only the tennis scene but the broader fashion industry. While the 23-time Grand Slam super human had a string of impressive fashion moments over the year, including her custom-made (and controversial) Nike black catsuit, it was her Nike x Virgil Abloh one-shoulder tutu that really earned her legendary style status.
Flipping the sport’s patriarchal notion of femininity on its head, the tulle tutu had tongues wagging and was practically splashed across every newspaper around the world. Featuring the word “LOGO” above the Nike swoosh, a signature trademark of Virgil Abloh’s Off-White label, the ensemble caused a surge in demand for ‘black tennis skirts’ and ‘black tennis dresses’ by 108 per cent, according to Lyst, and paved a sartorial path for tennis players and fans alike.
The Return Of Prep
Taking Serena Williams out of the equation for a mere minute, tennis attire is—nine times out of ten—defined as preppy, especially when it comes to conservative Wimbledon whites. And with the athleisure boom, 2018 saw the resurgence of tennis-inspired silhouettes including polo shirts, sneakers, A-line skirts and mini dresses.
Labels like Lacoste launched an anniversary collection with exclusive ‘80s-style, tennis-inspired vintage re-releases, including a limited-edition Piqué Polo Dress (Billy Jean King eat your heart out), while German designer Philipp Plein held nothing back, dedicating an entire range to Wimbledon; complete with sweatbands and large Wimbledon logos emblazoned across the line.
The humble tennis shoe peaked with an abundance of throwback silhouettes creeping their way into our feeds (no complaints here). According to Pinterest’s Global Fashion Report earlier in the year, tennis shoes were among the biggest global fashion trends and have remained a casual wardrobe staple ever since.
There’s no denying athleisure seeped its way into our weekly wardrobe rotation and tennis cuts were among our favourite. Taking inspiration straight from the court, athleisure brands like P.E Nation served up svelte crops and leggings featuring net prints and hardcourt blues. According to Lyst, shoppers are now spending more on athleisure, and the average price of leggings has increased 60 per cent year-on-year from $58 to just shy of $100.
We don’t know about you but we’re amped for the summer tennis season—there's so much happening. The Hopman Cup in Perth and the Brisbane International both kick things off December 30 followed by Sydney's Apia January 6, and finally The Australian Open in Melbourne, January 14. We'll be watching with a refreshing Aperol Spritz in hand (naturally).
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