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Wimbledon 2014: Fashion through history
The changing face of Wimbledon's women, from the floor-length dresses of
the 1880s to the skin-tight miniskirts of today
Tennis Player Chris Evert, 1976. The tennis court has always been a plac for tennis stars to serve up style. From ankle-length skirts of the 1920s to Venus Williams'
sexy spandex, women of tennis love to partner fashion and sport. Some looks have been hits. Some misses. In honor of Wimbledon, see what's caused a buzz from
center court ... It's no longer all about the tennis whites. Whispers were heard around the world when Chris Evert's frilly pink panties peeked out from under her
tennis skirt in 1976.
Maud Watson (left) defeated her sister Lilian (right) in the inaugural ladies championship final in 1884. White clothing was worn as it helped mask perspiration
Fifteen-year-old British tennis player Lottie Dod
in 1890, who won Wimbledon in a calf-length
skirt (the shorter length was allowed as she was
still a schoolgirl)
May Sutton Bundy, the first American to win the women's single's championship, pictured in action. She caused a stir in 1905 by rolling back the cuffs of her dress,
revealing her wrists. The sleeves, she complained, were "too long and too hot"
British tennis player Dorothea Lambert Chambers (nee Douglass) standing beside an ivy-clad wall at the All England Tennis Club, during the Wimbledon
Championships. 1913. When it came to appropriate tennis attire, seven-time Wimbledon champ Dorothea Lambert Chambers literally wrote the book. Her guide,
"Tennis for Ladies," was published in 1910 and included tips on what women should wear on the court.
Madame Reyntiens, 1918. Enjoying a game of tennis at Queen's Club, Madame Reyntiens. Her outfit consists of a large hat, long sleeves and a long pleated skirt. It
may seem impractical today, but long, pleated skirts were the norm in 1918 when female athletes still dressed to the nines for a day of volleying at their local tennis
Molla B. Mallory and Mary K. Browne, 1921. Molla Bjurstedt Mallory and Mary K. Browne show off tennis fashions from the 1920s. Although the Roaring 20s are
usually associated with flapper skirts and shorter hemlines, not much had changed when it came to tennis fashion. Here, tennis champ Molla B. Mallory (l.) keeps
her hair out of her face with a chic headband while her opponent, Mary K. Browne wears a soft hat to shield her face from the sun.
Mrs. George Wightman, 1924. George Wightman shows off tennis fashion from the 1920s. Skirts got a little shorter by 1924, but they were still difficult to move in.
Here, Mrs. George Wightman, captain of the United States women's Olympic tennis team, is shown in action on the courts at Wimbledon in England. Maybe her
opponent's skirt was a little easier to move in -- Mrs. Whiteman was defeated by tennis ace Suzanne Lenglen that year.
The glamorous, exuberant French tennis player Suzanne Lenglen died in 1938, aged just 39. She died of pernicious anaemia, having been diagnosed with
leukaemia, and lost her sight shortly before her death – the culmination of a lifetime dogged by illnesses, everything from jaundice to whooping cough to chronic
asthma. And yet, through it all, she dominated her game as no woman had before, and brought women’s tennis firmly out of the shadows.
Her dominance of Wimbledon, in particular, was complete: she won the women’s singles title every year from 1919 to 1925, except 1924 when ill health forced her to
withdraw. (To put this in perspective, the next Frenchwoman to win Wimbledon was Amelie Mauresmo, 81 years later, in 2006.) And it wasn’t only her brilliant play
that attracted attention – her style of dress, with bare forearms and calves, was considered decidedly ‘fast’, as was her endearing habit of taking sips of cognac
between sets. Lenglen seemed certain to win her seventh Wimbledon title when, owing to a misunderstanding, she kept Queen Mary waiting in the Royal Box for
her appearance. When she realised her mistake, Lenglen fainted clean away, and withdrew from the tournament. Ah those different times…
Suzanne Lenglen, 1922. French tennis player Suzanne Lenglen in action at Wimbledon. Despite her pesky long skirt, French tennis player Suzanne Lenglen was still
able to snag an impressive number of wins -- she won 31 championship titles throughout her career.
29th June 1925: Miss Boyd (left) and Kitty McKane (Kitty Godfree) at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships.
Daring French tennis player Suzanne Lenglen, competing at Wimbledon in 1926. Elizabeth Ryan, winner of 19 Wimbledon titles, said of Lenglen, "All women players
should go on their knees in thankfulness to Suzanne for delivering them from the tyranny of corsets." Lenglen wore a flimsy, revealing calf-length cotton frock with
Lili de Alvarez of Spain, a finalist at Wimbledon 1926
Tennis players Helen Wills-Moody and Helen Jacobs walking onto the court at Wimbledon in 1929.
Carolyn Babcock and Joan Ridley, 1932. Tennis fashion from the 1930s. Lighter fabrics and shorter hemlines were in vogue by the time the 1930s rolled around.
Here, Carolyn Babcock and Joan Ridley show off their tennis white -- and the slightest hint of leg -- while competing at the 1932 National Championships in Forest
Californian tennis player Helen Wills Moody during a semi-final match at Wimbledon in 1933. Wills Moody made the golf-style eyeshade fashionable and played in a
white blouse and pleated skirt
Kay Stammers and Marjorie Morrell, 1934. Kathrine Stammers shows off tennis fashion from the 1930s. Britain's Kay Stammers (r.), who later had her own line of
tennis wear, sports a short skirt and sweater before her match with Mrs. Winfield Painter at Forest Hills in 1934. Stammers became just as well known for her
impeccable taste in fashion as she was for her impressive forehand.
Helen Jacobs at Wimbledon in 1936, another fan of the more masculine style
Pauline Betz was one of the women who dominated the immediate postwar Wimbledon years. She wore jockey caps, short-sleeved shirts and skirts or shorts
American tennis player Alice Marble at Wimbledon in 1937. Marble favoured tailored flannel shorts and crewneck T-shirts in a more masculine fashion statement
Helen Wills Moody and Helen Jacobs, 1938. American tennis players Helen Wills Moody (left) and Helen Jacobs before the start of their singles final at the All
England Lawn Tennis Championship, Wimbledon. Helen Wills Moody won 6-4, 6-0. Long before the Williams sisters arrived, American tennis player Helen Wills
Moody (l.) was quickly climbing the ladder toward international fame. Here, she and fellow American Helen Jacobs cover up their classic tennis whites with prim and
proper button-up cardigans before playing against each other at Wimbledon in 1938.
Martha Barnett, 1939. Martha Barnett shows off tennis fashion from the 1930s. Martha Barnett of Miami went daringly bare in 1939, showing off plenty of shoulder in
a slinky white tennis dress.
Louise Brough and Pauline Betz, 1944. Tennis players Louise Brough & Pauline Bety pose before a match in 1944. During WWII, women wore the pants -- or rather,
the shorts. U.S. tennis champ Louise Brough (l.) ditched the bulky skirts of the past for a much roomier alternative, while Pauline Betz flashed a little thigh with a
skirt cut several inches above the knee.
Pauline Betz, 1946. Pauline Betz of the United States in action against Louise Brough during the women's singles final at Wimbledon, which Betz won. With her legs
free to move, Pauline Betz was unstoppable. She won the Wimbledon singles final in 1946.
American tennis player Gertrude Moran, or 'Gorgeous Gussie', who was dressed by the tennis fashion guru Ted Tinling when she played the 1949 Championships.
Beneath her regulation satin-trimmed white dress was the occasional glimpse of lace knickers
Gussie Moran, 1950. The American tenniswoman Gussie Moran playing against Pauline Betz at Madison square garden of New York in 1950. Gertrude Moran -- a.k.a.
Gorgeous Gussie -- broke down even more fashion barriers at the Wimbledon tournament in 1949 when she famously wore a tennis skirt so short it showed off her
ruffled knickers underneath. The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club deemed the look so vulgar that Moran stuck to shorts for later appearances. Here, she
takes on Pauline Betz in New York City in 1950 wearing a playful pair of bottoms.
1951: Tennis player Lorna Cornell leaps to reach the ball during a practice session at Wimbledon. She is wearing a picot edged tennis dress with thigh length
Darlene Hard, 1955 & Beverly Baker, 1959. Darlene Hard of Long Beach, Calif., one of the four American women who have shut out the competition in the women’s
tennis championship at Wimbledon, England, blasts a forehand during her winning quarter-final match on June 28, 1955.
Darlene Hard (l.) and Beverly Baker served up a little thigh throughout the 1950s. Baker made sure her look stood out by adding a pretty pattern along the bib of her
all-white tennis dress.
Lea Pericoli, 1964 &1965. Italian tennis star Lea Pericoli wearing a rose-trimmed tennis dress designed by British sportwear designer Teddy Tinling at Wimbledon.
Glamour girl Lea Pericoli's stylish choices on the court generated so much buzz that she would keep them a secret until it was time to play. In 1964, the Italian
tennis star wowed in a tutu adorned with fur (l.), only to outdo herself a year later in a skirt trimmed in roses (r.). Both outfits were specially created by British
sportswear designer Teddy Tinling.
17th June 1966: On show in London is a range of tennis fashions designed by Teddy Tinling which he has created specially for the tennis stars of Wimbledon this
year. Three times Wimbledon Champion, Brazilian, Maria Bueno wears a flared skimmer in 'Dacron' and cotton with midriff and hem in clear pvc. Dacron is a
trademark used for a synthetic polyester fabric.
Outfits became shorter and tighter in the 70s, as seen on Australian player Margaret Court in 1971
30th June 1972: American tennis player Chris Evert (Chris Lloyd) in action at Wimbledon.
Billie Jean King, 1975. Victorious American tennis player Billie Jean King celebrating her sixth Wimbledon singles title which she won against Australian Evonne
Cawley. Billie Jean King, who was the No. 1 tennis player in the world at the height of her fame, was known for being aggressive on the court -- but this floral
trimmed tennis dress added a feminine touch as she defeated her opponent to win her sixth Wimbledon singles title in 1975.
Sue Barker, 1976 Still a Wimbledon regular, Sue Barker was once seen running riot on the courts of the All-England tennis club with very short hemlines.
Jul 1978: Martina Navratilova of Czechoslovakia celebrates after winning the Wimbledon ladies singles title by defeating Chris Evert of the USA in three sets at the
all England clun in London.
Tracy Austin, 1981. Tracy Austin competes in Wimbledon in 1981. Tracy Austin, forever young in 1981, sported an embroidered dress with yellow ruffled panties at
Wimbledon. Her pigtails remained the same.
White sported head-to-toe lycra
bodysuit in 1985
The all-white dress code is one of the
traditions at Wimbledon, which dates
back to 1877 when women wore
ground-length dresses on the court,
and officials are keen to uphold
standards. In 1985 the US player Anne
White was called to one side after
arriving on court in an all-in-one, head-
to-toe lycra bodysuit to play against
Pam Shriver. She was asked to wear
something more conventional and
obliged but lost her match.
Argentinian tennis player Gabriela Sabatini in action at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships.
28 jun 1994: Gigi Fernandez of the United States shows off her colourful underwear as she stretches her muscles during a match at the 1994 Wimbledon Tennis
Martina Navratilova, 1990. Martina Navratilova of the USA returns a shot during the women's singles at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships circa 1990 at
the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London, England. Tennis legend Martina Navratilova was all action in 1990 when she donned a much sportier
white and purple look to play in the Wimbledon championships in London.
Steffi Graf, 1993. Breezy blouses and short tennis skorts were all the rage in the 1990s ... and of course, no tennis outfit was complete without the coordinating
headband, as seen here on Steffi Graf.
In the 80s and 90s, breathable and lightweight fabrics were developed, as seen on Steffi Graf in 1999
In the noughties, the focus switched to looks, with Anna Kournikova (seen here in 2002) and others wearing ever-shorter outfits
Golovin shocked organisers by wearing a pair of crimson underpants in 2007. Frenchwoman Tatiana Golovin shocked organisers by wearing a pair of crimson
underpants beneath her white outfit which had officials reaching for the rule book but to no avail. "The rules state that players can wear any colour underwear they
like provided it is no longer than their shorts or skirt. Anything else must be white," said a Wimbledon spokesman.
Maria Sharapova during the 2008 Wimbledon. Despite the dress code limiting fashion flair on the court, some players try to add their own style with mixed success.
Maria Sharapova, the world No. 3 who designs clothing for Nike, is closely watched by fashion followers and in 2008 turned up in a tuxedo-style top and shorts,
Venus Williams, Wimbledon 2011 Not so much outrageous as ugly, and it seems like it would get in her way while playing. But hey, it conforms to Wimbledon's all-
June 22, 2011. Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the US arrives on court prior to her match against Japan's Misaki Doi at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at
Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark reacts after defeating Arantxa Parra Santonja of Spain at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London 2011.
Serena Williams, 2013 – this year, nails and hair are the only areas left unlegislated by the stricter Wimbledon dress code.
2013.The sight of coloured knickers emerging as women rivals Maria Sharapova from Russia and American Serena Williams serve failed to make organisers see red
and the coloured nails sported by a list of women players on court have not been ruled out.
Knickers have caused a stir at Wimbledon in the past, dating back to 1949 when American Gussie Moran was accused of "putting sin and vulgarity into tennis" by
wearing lace-trimmed knickers at the All England Club in south London.
2013.There are blazers out on the courts too. Serena Williams even sports one while warming up
cast Wimbledon 2014: Fashion through history
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