Since its beginnings as pastime for Europe's upper crust, tennis has been embedded in the fashion world. Champions like Rene Lacoste and Stan Smith are remembered as much for their contributions to style as their on-court achievements, white the legendary Suzanne Lenglen helped pioneer sportswear for women. Fashion comes and goes, of course, but tennis remains an inexorable link to today's looks - though now perhaps in a new way.

Sportswear and 'athleisure' have become America's go-to uniform, especially as more people work from home due to the pandemic and its effects on society. Thanks in part to social media and host of new American fashion brands, tennis and its aesthetic are now more in vogue than ever before. 

Part of this is another effect of COVID-19: a growing interest in tennis. Played outdoors and at a safe distance, participation has surged in the last two years, with the USTA reporting a 22 percent increase in 2020 from a year earlier and bucking a long-term decline. That trend continued into 2021.

'Tenniscore' was the buzzword of the summer, as influencers and celebrities like Kendall Jenner embraced the retro-preppy look, pleated skirts and sporty polos that the sport is known for. Fashion designers and magazines alike took notice. 

"Although the Tenniscore aesthetic can be functional, more often than not, we see the trend worn off the court as everyday wear," fashion writer Ty Gaskins noted as he chronicled the trend in Grazia USA.

Brands are increasingly looking to streetwear, a multi-billion dollar phenomenon with strong counterculture roots. It remains tennis fashion's last frontier as the sport seeks to capture the attention of a younger audience.

A lot of people have been saying that tennis is overdue for a 'cool' brand. There are a lot of tennis fans worldwide, but there hasn't been much crossover between tennis and streetwear, like you see in other sports. 

With participation at a high - and new brands ready to outfit this new generation of players - tennis is poised to continue serving looks on and off the court.

- Stephanie Livaudais ( Nov/Dec 2021)

This is the vision Miami-based fashion designer Denise Cronwall had when she launched her boutique tennis apparel line back in 2010, rooted in skirt-sports such as tennis and golf, that has blossomed beyond the courts onto beach, resort and street in breezy feminine style. Made in USA.

December 01, 2021

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