A History of Wimbledon Style
Other than high octane singles matches, players breaking rackets and crowds causing them and the thousands of strawberries and cream sold to punters there’s one singular thing you can rely on. Style. From its rebirth in the open era, and even a selection of champions prior, there have been a plethora of notable style moments highlighted by the staple Wimbledon white wardrobe, so here are our top picks!
The father of the Alligator, René Lacoste was more than just a brand founder. An avid inventor (with a number of patents for inventions from fashion to golf to tennis) Lacoste was responsible for the initial creation of the polo shirt, revolutionising tennis forever. Winning Wimbledon in 1925 and 1928, he did it in his own preppy style as seen below, usually in his own stylish creations. As the Lacoste legacy lives on we still see René’s signature crocodile stamped on the brand with their staple style polos and sport influenced apparel.
A multi-time champion, the last British winner before Andy Murray’s ascension, creator of the laurel wreath and universally stylish individual. Fred Perry accomplished a lot in his time as a tennis pro and managed to surpass that legacy with the creation of the Fred Perry clothing brand. Seen below in his sweater vest and chinos, it’s a style that sees itself in the spotlight again and again. Introducing his initial creation, the Fred Perry Laurel Wreath polo in 1952 (the logo borrowed from Wimbledon) Fred Perry created a sporting legacy on top of his prior accomplishments and birthed a plethora of subcultural movements. Still outfitting sportsmen and women amongst others, their collections are still made to the stylish standard of their creator.
One of the original stars of adidas tennis and one of the initial adopters of a signature adidas shoe, Laver was no nonsense on the court reflecting in his clean-cut style. Draped in all white Fred Perry, it was the premium apparel that represented his premium game granting him one of the initial signature adidas tennis styles of the decade. With the introduction and reissue of more adidas tennis styles, most recently the Continental 80 amongst others, it won’t be long till more Rod Lavers.
Instantly recognisable in this modern day as the endorsee of adidas’s signature tennis style, Stan Smith carved a history as a winner and a stylish one at that with his signature slick back and stache. The adidas stan smith still retains dominance to this day and age with its collaborations, the most high profile being the Raf Simons collection that it has become a staple of. Don’t forget about his skate history either, revolutionary.
Making history is all the better when you look as good as Arthur Ashe. Becoming the first black grand slam champion in tennis history, Ashe decided to rile up compatriot Jimmy Connors with his Davis Cup issued USA jacket, one that Connors would have had if he’d accepted the invitation to represent his country in the country vs country tournament (and that he was labelled ‘unpatriotic’ for). Ashe’s style provided a benchmark for future designs from a number of American brands, namely the style of Polo Ralph Lauren who took lend of the sporting red, white and blue.
The Legendary Swede, a man who rattled off an undefeated 4 years at Wimbledon, rocking the best in pinstriped and checked polos by the way of Fila and becoming the king of track jackets too. He might be most famous style wise for his signature Diadora shoe, and his fashion line as Bjorn Borg, but his quintessentially 70s style is an inspiration for us all, and brands such as Aquascutum with their mix of sport and vintage style.
The man who knocked Bjorn Borg off his mount, and took his place as tennis’ style king. Mcenroe’s effortless style was on display through his full career, his minimal colour blocking via Sergio Tacchini offering a fitting uniform for his first championship. The segmented blocking finds itself commonplace with heralded brands nower days, especially favourites like AMI
Pete Sampras & Andre Agassi
Nike’s signature athletes and both Wimbledon champions across the 90s, the pairing of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi meant in the final of the 99 Wimbledon, showing the best in 90s style. Sampras decked in the classic white polo, lateral stripes included. Although he might have lost in this instance, Agassi takes the trophy for style with his earring and necklace combo, plus a lethal quarter zip polo. Agassi has had some moments in style with his signature Nikes and fake mullet and meth period, eclectic guy.
Skipping most of this century so far wasn’t hard, to be honest. Tennis style just isn’t the same anymore, or revolutionary. Nike, late to the game with tennis and adopters of the all whites in the 90s, took the model of the signature sporting athlete from their work with Michael Jordan, using the same model for their (till recently) deal with all-time great Roger Federer. To celebrate his record-equalling 7th Wimbledon title, Nike decked their flagship tennis star with a retro-inspired quarter zip jumper and attire, ushering in a retro-inspired phase for the swoosh.