This has been one of the more controversial years for outfits at Wimbledon. The biggest Tennis tournament in the world, for those that don’t now, has a strict code when it comes to what the players can and can’t wear. Roger Federer was once asked to change his shoes because the soles were brown and not the white that is required. This year has seen the women in the spotlight however, so let’s take a look at some of the outfits and why some proved so contentious!
It was Serena (as usual) who drew the most attention. This time it resulted in a discussion on sexism and how women are viewed in Tennis. Her tight top left little to the imagination for some with complaints made to the TV channel about her nipples showing during her Semi-Final win. Social media got in on the act too with one viewer tweeting “With all the money Serena Williams earns, why can’t she buy a decent sports bra which covers her nipples properly?”. Others however pointed out the unfair nature of looking at one of the biggest sport stars in history winning in emphatic decision but still viewed as just a sexual object. A lady called Poppy Francesca said “People are actually complaining about seeing Serena Williams’ nipples through her shirt – and people still think we don’t need feminism”.
Kiki Bertens and Eugenie Bouchard both had issues with their dresses which was another Nike designer. The dress hanged loose from the shoulders and while standing still the frills would give the player a floating look when actually applied disaster ensued. Because it was not attached to anything else but the shoulder, the dress whipped up due to the intense movements in a match and like something from a Marilyn Monroe film it would billow around their heads. Sabine Lisicki had said she rejected the dress as she was not comfortable revealing her body underneath to such an extent.
Design successes were on view however. Spanish French Open winner Garbine Murguruza, who failed to live up to expectations on the court, did manage to make a statement in her clothes, pulling off a Stella McCartney and Adidas designed top and skirt. The skirt had been cut using the latest laser cutting technology and while short skirts was the choice shape of dress at the tournament, Camila Giorgi and Simone Halep’s managed to stay in place while the rigours of the game went on.
Wimbledon has always courted issues as the strict rules have meant players have taken more risks in order to stand out in the fashion stakes. Wimbledon has always had an air of snobbishness surrounding it and unfortunately this means that spectators will be policing and concentrating on superficial things rather than the Tennis going on in front of them a lot of the time. The women suffer the most from being judged on their appearance, and therefore will feel pressure to look good, when they should be focused on playing tennis. Unfortunately, while outfits are a great source for conversation when the players are not playing, talking about an outfit or complaining while a player is striving on the court is perpetuating the cultural norm that women are sex objects first and then tennis players.