Is the satisfyingly springy thud of a tennis ball hitting earth calling your name? Are you itching to slice the air with your racket like Naomi Osaka or master your tennis grunt? Then chances are, fine-tuning your selection of tennis clothes is also high on your to-do list. If so, you’re in luck. Court sports are major players in women’s summer 2022 fashion trends. This means you’re likely to find plenty of tennis attire to add to your closet. Don’t sweat it if you’re not sure where to start. You’ve come to the right place. Tighten your racket and load up the ball machine because it’s time to hit the court in style. Read on for our top tips on what to wear to play tennis.
Tennis Attire Dress Code
Before we serve our tennis outfit inspiration, let’s talk dress code. Whether it’s the all-white ensembles at Wimbledon or the traditionally preppy vibe of the pastime, tennis evokes a specific aesthetic. Similar to when you’re thinking of what to wear golfing, you’ll want to take dress codes into account. If you find yourself practicing volleys on a public court, there aren’t hard rules for acceptable women’s tennis attire. As long as you feel comfortable swinging and running after the ball, you’re in the clear.
Playing at a private or semi-private club? Here, the guidelines are stricter and usually require players to wear clothing specially designed for the game. Classic choices include polo-style shirts, tank tops and tennis skirts with compression shorts underneath. For years, clubs followed Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) rules which strictly eschewed leggings and even some types of shorts. However, the old rules of women’s tennis dress code are changing, so always check with your particular club.
What Shoes to Wear to Play Tennis
Ready for a plot twist? “Tennis shoes” aren’t necessarily the right shoes to wear to play tennis. Many times, general sneakers are interchangeably referred to as tennis shoes. Tennis court shoes, however, specifically have the sport in mind. They’re meant to keep your foot as close to the ground as possible. They also tend to be stiffer to stabilize your step as you move side-to-side across the baseline. If you’ve got your sights set on becoming a tennis ace, these tennies are a worthy investment.
Are you just starting out or only playing recreationally? Then you can get away with conventional athletic sneakers. When considering what shoes to wear to play tennis, choose a pair with low cushioning and plenty of ankle support. You’ll also want something lightweight with maximum breathability so you can go the distance match after match. No matter which shoe you pick, make sure the treads won’t scuff up the court surface. That’s game, set, match on the basics. Now, let’s get into a few trend-forward tennis outfit combinations to inspire you.
Tennis Outfits to Inspire your Inner Athlete
You’ve got the first steps of what to wear to play tennis down. Next, there are a few go-to pieces to consider adding to your roster. Some of these items are as synonymous with tennis as Billie Jean King. Think athletic skirts and dresses. Others are newer additions to the sport’s fashion lineup, like shorts and leggings. All of these choices blend performance fabrics and practical silhouettes with trending colors and retro details. Ready to fall in love? Here are our top ways to wear these styles that’ll make you the queen of the court.
Tennis Skirt Outfits
If you’re new to the game, wearing a tennis skirt outfit to play a sport might seem counterintuitive. But these staples of women’s tennis attire have performance in mind. These types of skirts come with moisture-wicking, flexible fabric and built-in compression shorts for maximum agility.
Pro tip: before taking your skirt out for a topspin, try it on at home. Make sure you’re comfortable with the length and coverage of the hemline. Once you’ve found the right fit, experiment with color. Aim for the service box while wearing a skirt in a punchy shade of hibiscus pink or mango yellow. You can’t go wrong with balancing these bright hues with tops in a cool contrasting color. But for the brave, we recommend going all-in with a matching set. For a shirt, consider a timeless polo or a racerback tank to keep your arms free and at the ready.
Are you choosing what to wear to play tennis at a more traditional venue? Stick to neutral sets. White is a year-round favorite, and black will hide any sweat marks from an intense return. You can still make this look your own. Wear a visor or emulate Chris Evert with a tennis bracelet to add shimmer to your serve.
Tennis Attire Outfits: Leggings and Shorts
Here’s a little tennis attire trivia. Did you know that until 2019, the WTA didn’t allow players to wear leggings or shorts during matches without a skirt or dress on top? Now, however, you can enjoy these activewear pieces in any tennis outfit—even if you’re just playing a regulation game or enjoying a friendly doubles match with friends. Just as with skirts, seek out shorts and leggings with quick-dry technology and four-way stretch. For shorts, wear a mesh-lined pair of runner’s shorts partnered with an open-back tee. Or, go trendy by styling biker shorts with a twist-front tank. For leggings, energize your movements with kaleidoscopic florals and abstract prints. Feel free to mix patterns between your bottoms and sports bra. To keep your ensemble subdued, layer up with a solid-colored polo tank.
Stylist Tip: Want to level up your leggings look? Next time you’re brainstorming what to wear to play tennis, follow Serena Williams’ lead and opt for an athletic catsuit. Start small with a sleek, all black outfit, or go pro with poppy shades of tangerine and lime. Meow—talk about putting the fierce in tennis fashion.
Tennis Attire Dress Outfits
Thanks to the renewed popularity of the preppy style, tennis dresses go beyond the court. You can also find them in fashion magazines and on runways across the globe. But in the world of women’s tennis attire, they’ve always been a classic. A tennis dress offers a one-and-done sports outfit you can throw on in a snap. The pleated skirts also provide a greater range of motion and ventilation, which is especially key on a hot day. The best part? These frocks often have the trademark collars of many tennis tops, making it easy to meet dress codes.
Give this trend a whirl in a vibrant cobalt blue. Pick a style with pockets for a handy place to store a spare ball between sets. Tie the look together with white crew socks and a coordinating cap. From the first ball toss to your final set, you’ll be acing the game in this tennis outfit.
What to Wear to Play Tennis in Cold Weather
Though highly popular during the warmer months of the year, you can enjoy this racket sport on cold days, too. When deciding what to wear to play tennis in cold weather, layers are a game-winning strategy. Once your blood starts pumping, you won’t feel as chilly as when you first stepped onto the court. Throw on a cropped hoodie or channel 90s fashion with an oversized sweatshirt on top of your tennis skirt outfit. Add leggings for your warm-up exercise and remove them once you’re in the swing of things.
Stylist Tip: If your usual court closes for the off-season, move your game indoors. From tennis clubs to pop-up tennis bubbles, practice your stroke protected from the elements. Here you can wear the same tennis attire you enjoy on sunnier days. However, prepare for a possible change in your play since indoor courts won’t have factors like wind impacting your experience.
What to Wear to Play Tennis in Hot Weather
Warm weather days with blue skies and dry conditions sound like prime time for playing tennis. After all, the short hemlines of women’s tennis outfits are perfect for staying cool. But, there are a few accessories that can make the experience even better. Here are a few extra items to add to your “what to wear to play tennis in hot weather” list. First up, sunglasses. You can always bring your trusty shades to a practice session. But if you’re planning on a serious match, consider leveling up with a true pair of sporty tennis sunglasses. These have an ultra-durable frame in case you drop them. Plus, many have lenses that wrap further around the side of your face to avoid blocking your peripheral vision.
Another must-have for hot weather play? Sweatbands. All things retro are making a comeback. So get in on the ground floor of this 80s craze with a couple of bands for your wrists. Finally, make sure you prioritize sun protection. Read the tag on your tennis clothes for UV protection of at least UPF 50+, and don’t skimp on sunscreen. Aim for sweat-resistant options to get the most out of each application. Fun in the sun never looked better.
Have we inspired you to make your fashion a grand slam? Take your style quiz, order a Fix and let your stylist know you’d like to receive tennis attire. We’ll send five pieces for you to try on at home. Buy what you like and send back the rest. Don’t forget shipping, exchanges and returns are always free.