As our longest established tennis tournament, Wimbledon is a true summer highlight — for sport and fashion. Over the years, Wimbledon's style icons have treated us to some defining fashion moments, from Fred Perry and Gertrude Moran to Roger Federer and Serena Williams.
We've examined Wimbledon fashion through the ages, taking notes from Wimbledon style leaders both on and off the court.
Ice-cool Swede Björn Borg was the shining star of tennis in the 70s. His slim-fitting pinstriped Fila polos and short shorts always stayed miraculously pristine and crease-free, even after several sets. Borg’s style was indicative of the decade — a little hippie-chic and a lot international playboy, all carried off with his signature laid-back cool. Take a look at Saint Laurent’s polo shirts in monochrome stripes to bring a Borg element to your athleisure wear.
In the 90s, one man in particular stood out above the rest – Andre Agassi. He was Nike's poster boy; a player who didn't mind taking risks and rebelling against the established Wimbledon dress code with his long, bleached hair (now known to be a wig).
In 1985, Anne White took the jazzercise trend to the next level in her all-white, long-sleeved bodysuit that came complete with a colourful sweatband and tube socks. The equally pioneering Bethanie Mattek-Sands' 2011 Wimbledon fashion moment drew on the avant-garde, with an outsized jacket embellished with fringing, studs and white tennis balls.
The darling of tennis for her short time on court, Russian player Anna Kournikova was renowned for her shorter-than-short hemlines and two-piece uniforms. Sponsored by adidas, Kournikova could often be seen dashing about the court in a pure white crop top that would — controversially — rise up higher when time came for her powerful serve.
At only 22, Laura Robson has already crafted her off-court style – from Alexander McQueen dresses in eye-catching hues to intricate Sophia Webster heels. The young British star is also big fan of social media — she’s constantly Snapchatting and Instagramming her latest looks. Her accounts are a glorious riot of colour that perfectly combine sports luxe style with high fashion pieces.
Renowned for his collaboration with Nike to create his white and gold uniform in 2009 (which just about conceded to traditional Wimbledon fashion), Federer’s off-court style is just as snappy. Rarely seen without a Rolex on his wrist, Federer keeps his jackets sharp and trousers tailored to reflect his aesthetic of old school sophistication.
Wimbledon's style icons don't get much more famous than Serena Williams. No stranger to the red carpet, she drapes her statuesque figure in columns of silk for evening events, while opting for effortlessly understated skater dresses for less formal occasions. A fan of vibrant hues and statement prints, Williams favours slim-fitting designs from labels like Victoria Beckham and Burberry.
A Wimbledon regular, Anna Wintour is often spotted cheering on Federer from the Royal box (in the most straight-faced manner possible, of course). A long-time fan of Manolo Blahnik sandals and floral midi dresses, her Wimbledon fashion is always on point. Look to Chanel and Carolina Herrera to emulate the high priestess of fashion's iconic aesthetic.
Former footballer David Beckham is another frequent Centre Court spectator. With his clean-cut tailoring, statement ties and midnight hues, Beckham’s style is classically refined. Take inspiration from his sharp look with a Givenchy suit next time you’re sipping champagne at the finals.
Although not necessarily the most sartorially adventurous, Kate Middleton’s fashion sense is precise and carefully tailored. Her love of elegant white shift dresses, nautical-inspired jackets and eye-catching prints has placed her firmly on our list of Wimbledon's style icons.
There are many other players and attendees who've just missed out — all of whom managed to put their own individual spin on the strict Wimbledon dress code, from Arthur Ashe and his iconic aviators to our very own Sue Barker in her thigh-skimming embroidered tennis whites. And nor can we forget John McEnroe, who was so much more than his “you cannot be serious” outburst – his colourful headbands, shorter-than-short shorts and lively track jackets wouldn't look out of place in an editorial athleisure shoot today.
It seems like with every year comes a new uniform controversy among the players, and most of the media pay as much attention to the stands as they do to the courts. It’s clear that despite all odds — and dress codes — Wimbledon offers a new type of catwalk.