For many players, tennis and fitness fashions are one in the same. Instead of collared shirts and dresses, the typical player sports something that's interchangeable with what they could wear to the gym. I’m guilty of this as well: My tennis wardrobe is predominantly a collection of polyester t-shirts and shorts that fall under performance attire more so than actual, and in some cases proper, tennis garb. Unless I’m playing at a facility with a certain dress code, I’ll wear something that looks fit for a workout. It’s more function over form.
On the other hand, one of the great things about tennis is players don’t wear uniforms. If they choose to express their fashion sense with a colorful, elegant dress or a sporty polo, so be it. And there’s still a healthy cross-section of players who appreciate the stylish tradition of tennis attire.
Some of the big brands like Nike, Fila, Lacoste, and Adidas provide options for trendy players, even if it may not be the bulk of their business. However, there are also some smaller labels that specialize in higher-end tennis clothes designed to perform both on and off the court. Here are three such companies—one making a comeback, and two newcomers—for those who want to make a statement with more than just their racquets:
Boast captured the zeitgeist of the 1970s and early 80s tennis craze. Founded in 1973 in Greenwich, CT, the company’s upscale polos with trademark Japanese Maple leaf found their way to the pro circuit on the backs of players like Roscoe Tanner and Vijay Armitraj, along with luminaries such as John Updike. The company lost some its momentum and concentrated its efforts primarily on the country club set, but a re-launch in Spring 2010 under new ownership has turned the focus to bringing broader awareness to the brand’s on-court and lifestyle apparel.
|Men's Horizontal Striped Polo ($80)||Women's Scoop Neck Pleated Dress ($98)|
As it has often been said, necessity is the mother of invention. L’Etoile Sport co-founder, CEO, and creative director, Yesim Philip, wanted athletic apparel that she would find comfortable and functional on the court and stylish off of it. Being unsatisfied with what she found available for women, she designed some for herself. In July 2012, her company launched its first collection. The label is dedicated to paying homage to the sport’s fashion forward heritage while infusing some contemporary styling and performance features.
|Dress ($225)||Tank ($85); Skort ($110)|
Founded in Jersey City, NJ in 2013, Redvanly aims to make athletic apparel that is sleek and eye-catching, but most importantly holds up under strenuous competition. Made for the golf community as well, the pieces use fabric that is a combination of moisture-hating polyester and moisture-loving Tencel. The two work together to pull sweat away from the body and to the outside of the fabric, where it will evaporate more quickly. The addition of Tencel also makes Redvanly attire much softer than typical 100% polyester apparel.
|Men's Polo ($90)||Women's Polo ($90)|