Tennis Fashion in the 90s

We all remember the 1990s fashion and those crazy colours, mixed with all kinds of unique accessories, which allowed everyone to stand out and accentuate their personality. Well, tennis was no different. Moreover, the 1990s brought a kind of revolution to the tennis court because, for the first time, things weren’t all white. Instead, the new reality was a mix of bright and bold colours with unique patterns. Suddenly, tennis became much more than a game. It wasn’t just about serves and volleys, this area brought visual appeal to the spotlight. We saw brand-new pieces of apparel, often unconventional by the standards before. Baggy shorts and denim were some of these things and you know what? Some of the items from that era are popular even today. 

What Was Tennis Fashion Like Back In the 90s?

As mentioned, tennis fashion was like a big burst of colours and patterns back in the day. Suddenly, players ditched white clothes and started practising something way more dynamic. Green, pink, yellow – the era of colours started and the tennis court started looking more like a fashion runway than something that was all about forehand and backhand. So, instead of just playing tennis, it felt like a cool advertisement for the brands they loved. And let's not forget the baggy shorts and skirts – players wanted to be comfy, so tight and clingy was out, and loose and laid-back was in.

But it wasn't all about looking like a walking rainbow. Tennis pros started showing off their personal style, making things more interesting. They played around with denim on the court, giving the game a streetwear vibe. Then, there were shoes. Of course, technology was advanced and they were becoming better in terms of keeping ankles stable and grippier. But, they also became more appealing, while one of the most special places of the 90s fashion was occupied by all those headbands and wristbands.

Here are some of the most essential things that characterised 1990s tennis style:

  • Bold Colours and Patterns
  • Baggy Shorts and Skirts
  • Logo Mania
  • High-Cut Sneakers
  • Headbands and Wristbands
  • Polo Shirts and Collars
  • Denim on the Court
  • Personalised Styles

Bold Colours and Patterns

During these decades, one of the most important characteristics of every piece of clothing was colour. And, it’s all about being bold. Players ditched white and started wearing eye-catching nuances of green, yellow and ping. But, that was not all. Patterns also played a significant role. Players linked to stand out on the court, and their clothing reflected that with a lot of visual pop.

Imagine a tennis court where players weren't just in plain white or dull colours. Instead, they'd be rocking outfits that looked like they came from a highlighter palette - super bright and hard to miss.

This trend wasn't just limited to the pros. Even at your local courts, you'd see people playing in gear that made a statement. The '90s tennis scene was all about making your presence felt, and fashion definitely played a big part in that.

Baggy Shorts and Skirts

Back in the 1990s, tennis players started ditching tight and snug shorts and skirts. Instead, they went for a more relaxed and loose style. Picture shorts that weren't hugging the legs but had a baggy and comfortable fit. For guys, it was all about those roomy shorts that didn't cling. And for the ladies, flared skirts were in - not tight and fitted, but flowing and easy.

The idea of this vintage fashion was to be more at ease on the court. Players wanted freedom of movement, and the baggy trend delivered just that. It was a shift from the tighter styles of the past, and suddenly, tennis clothes got a bit more casual. So, instead of worrying about clothes sticking to them, players could focus on acing their game while looking laid-back and cool.

Logo Mania

Tennis players were all about showing off logos on their clothes back in the day. Logos are those brand symbols or names you see on clothing. So, most players rocked outfits with big, fugly logos or screamed some brand's name all over them. The game was almost secondary; players had to showcase the brand at every game. They were literally a moving advertiser of the brands they loved. This trend wasn’t just limited to tennis; it was part of a larger fashion fad in the ’90s where people wanted to show off their affiliation with the brand by wearing their logo. Therefore, a player you saw back then wasn’t just a player. He had tons of logos painted on him.

High-Cut Sneakers

High-cut sneakers were another integral part of tennis fashion during the last decade of the 20th century. "High cut" just means the sneakers covered more of the ankle. It wasn't just about the style; these sneakers provided extra support to the ankles during quick movements on the court.

Picture tennis players with shoes that went a bit higher up on their ankles compared to regular sneakers. They were not only practical for the game, giving players more stability, but they also looked cool. These high-cut sneakers often came in bright colours and had some extra design elements, making them stand out on the court.

So, in the '90s, if you were rocking high-cut sneakers on the tennis court, you weren't just focused on your footwork – you were doing it with a bit of extra style.

Headbands and Wristbands

If you are old enough to remember this, the headbands and wristbands were crucial. Think of them as sweat-absorbing accessories that help players feel comfortable while on the court. It was normal to see a band around the forehead – that is the headband – and another around the wrists. But here is the kicker, the bands were not exhibiting; they played a vital role in keeping sweat away from your eyes. Assuming most of these players also held a grip on the racket, the bands further absorbed the sweat along your arms to ensure you remained comfortable. Therefore, when you see tennis players on the court and backcourt wearing colourful bands along their heads and wrists, don’t assume it is fashionable; it is necessary.

Polo Shirts and Collars

The 1990s were bold and colourful, but there was enough room for a few classic pieces of clothes as well. This particularly refers to polo shirts. These shirts had collars, which means they had a folded part around the neck. It was a bit like a mix of a casual shirt and a sporty style.

Regular T-shirts were no longer in. It was time for shirts that had collars and buttons. That definitely made the players look classier but besides aesthetical impact, these shirts were also more comfortable, as they provided much better sweat absorption.

This decade embraced the polo shirt trend. Such shirts become a gold standard. Suddenly, players started looking classier on the court.

Polo Shirts and Collars

Denim on Court

People were experimenting so much in these decades, and the tennis court was no exception. We saw things we never thought we would see at the court and if there is something to point out, that’s definitely Denim. It was one of the oddest things ever seen on the court, seeing players wearing a material that’s used primarily for jeans.

And what’s also interesting is that both male and female players practised this material. Instead of classic shorts and skirts, some players started wearing denim shorts and skirts. We can’t say it looked particularly sporty but it definitely made everything look more casual. And while it wasn’t a standard thing at major tournaments, it was pretty common during exhibition matches.

Personalised Styles

Tennis players were all but uniform in the 1990s. They started to get more creative with their clothing. They wanted to show off their individuality, so they personalised their styles.

Players went beyond the standard outfits and added their own twists. This could mean unique colour combos, special details, or even unconventional fashion choices. It was about standing out and making a statement on the court.

So, instead of everyone looking the same, you'd see players expressing themselves through their clothes. Whether it was a specific colour they liked, a cool design, or just something different, personalised styles became a thing in '90s tennis. It was like saying, "This is me, on and off the court."

Most Authentic Tennis Players of the 1990s

While many of the previously mentioned examples involved style icons who changed tennis because of their fashion, some players used this opportunity to showcase their style as well. 

  • Andre Agassi famously became a fashion icon for wearing colourful shirts with patterns, bright warm-ups, and even denim shorts. 
  • Similarly, Venus and Serena Williams used their opportunity to shine on the tennis court to showcase their personal style with their tennis outfits. Although most female tennis players prefer plain, unobtrusive clothes now, Venus’s bold fashion statement started the trend. Both Williams sisters started wearing bright warm-up clothes with daring design ideas and innovated the dynamic fashion scene on the ‘90s tennis court. 
  • Steffi Graf saw no need to avoid fashionable clothes, and the colourful and elegant German could show her best on and off the tennis court just as easily. 
  • Anna Kournikova was a mediocre tennis player with a lot of success in the marketing industry. Gratifyingly for her, she always made heavy comments on social prejudice that fancy women could not use sports as a platform and look stylish while doing it. 
  • The high mark of Boris Becker’s best appearance, of course, was his spruced-up James Bond outfit on the doubles court. 
  • Monica Seles’ tennis speaks for itself; what needs less argument is the formal setting she established on the tennis court. Although she never properly coloured, she adopted the ’90s look not by wearing it frequently.

In this case, all these players contributed to the development and reflection of the 1990s fashion trends in the realm of tennis. They were not just the best at what they did but also grew to become a fashion statement that represented freedom and uniqueness, which was so sought after in the 1995s. Their choice of clothing on the court crossed the border of official tennis garments and made them the faces of the era’s unique style.

Most Authentic Tennis Players of the 1990s

The Impact of the ‘90s on Today’s Tennis Fashion

The impact of ‘90s tennis fashion on the sport's clothes is still noticeable today. Some aspects of the 1990s tennis style have made a comeback, influencing the current trends in the sport. Let’s check some of them:

  • Patterns: Colours used in the tennis fashions of the 1990s were vibrant and loud. While colour coordination may have been questionable, the bright shades have carried over to the 21st century. Players and brands alike continue to adorn bright colours, as well as designs that are eye-catching. This reflects the ‘90s taste and style.
  • Individuality: Customization and personal style in the 20th century have become a trend. Almost regular wear can be put on by various famous tennis players in the ‘90s, with their distinctive class. Even in the 21st century, players continue to balance individual uniqueness with professionalism.
  • New Fabric Tech: In the 20th century, sportswear was modernised with technological textiles. Comfortable and simple fabrics, distinctive cotton blends, and flexible products can be found in modern tennis uniforms.
  • Streetwear: Streetwear was intended to resemble denim in the 20th-century tennis clothing market. Current players mix between sportswear patterns, while athletes navigate the complex environment on the sports field and in the wardrobe.
  • Athleisure: Tennis clothing in the 1990s offers us an increased emphasis on convenience and sense. Athleisure that may be worn on and off the field is a style.