Zendaya Tennis
Photo by Arnold Jerocki/Getty Images for Warner Bros Pictures
April 30, 2024

Tenniscore Is Taking Over. Here’s How To Nail The Trend

If only we could all look like Zendaya in a tennis skirt.

As Lana Del Rey once said, there are chemtrails over the country club. Tennis wear — AKA tenniscore — is making its way off the courts and into our closets, taking a cue from Luca Guadagnino’s 2024 film Challengers. Famed stylist Law Roach has been dressing lead actress Zendaya in athleisure-adjacent looks for the film’s press tour — sourcing vintage pleated Ralph Lauren; gracing the actress in custom Thom Browne adorned with racket motifs; and even paying homage to tennis legends Serena and Venus Williams’ 1998 photoshoot with Annie Leibovitz. 

Brands like Lacoste and Ralph Lauren are known for their preppy take on luxury athleisure, making cotton polos and striped ensembles casual attire for Malibu moms. But these are clothes made for watching tennis from a distance with a glass of lemonade, not playing it. After all, these luxury brands are too expensive to sweat in. Much of tenniscore’s appeal is its hearkening back to a time of old-money sophistication, with vintage vignettes and luxury labels. Tennis is a sport intrinsically tied to its fashions, both in function and aesthetics, and sometimes upholds elitist expectations for players. This is why country-club chic has been aestheticized by high fashion brands like Chanel, Gucci, Miu Miu and Thom Browne in recent years, hoping to provide a glimpse into an exclusive sports world through exclusive logos.

Image Courtesy of Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

Courtside Celebrity

Wimbledon, the most prestigious tennis tournament of the year, is an underrated red carpet moment for celebrity spectators. Most attendees dress to the nines in smart linens and muted pastels, all accompanied by sunglasses to shade their eyes from the sun while watching the pros. Most of the women opt for elegant English countryside-inspired floral patterns and stiletto heels — because we all know they won’t be stepping onto the grass. The men are often pictured in monochromatic suits with matching silk pocket squares. Those who really commit to the event’s fashions can be seen abiding by the infamous all-white Wimbledon rule, dressed in cream colors from head to toe. 

Pristine whites and horizontal stripes are characteristic of typical tennis wear, both on and off the court. We first saw this shift towards casual tennis-inspired wear in the early 2010s, when the classic Wilson pleats were used as inspiration for American Apparel’s indie sleaze uniform. Maybe you remember oversized v-neck cable knits French-tucked into the iconic mini skirt and paired with white Keds, an academic take on sporty chic. After all, the best part about tenniscore is that you don’t have to be carrying a racket or be accompanied by a ball boy to reference the sport’s fashions. So: where can we buy accessible athleisure wear? 

Image Courtesy of Miu Miu

Contemporary Brands Go Tenniscore

Contemporary brands are no strangers to the sports-inspired fashion trends of today, playing on the wearability and comfort of athletic attire. Sporty & Rich is a line of women’s clothing with a whole section of their website dedicated to tenniswear. You can even buy a tennis bag to hold your racket or a hat embossed with “Sporty & Rich Tennis Club” from the site’s Health and Wellness Club. The brand’s tenniscore offerings are composed of t-shirts, hoodies, and pleated skirts, all embroidered with its cursive logo — taking inspiration from classic tennis apparel brands like Lacoste

Another brand that calls upon the latest athleisure trend is Malibu Juice Club. With less of a varsity approach, Malibu Juice Club reimagines the tennis dress as a sexy bodycon dress with cutouts at the waist and a halter tie around the neck. From the back, the dress looks like a matching two-piece sports bra and skort — making you look like you’re ready to hit some balls over the net.

Image Courtesy of Sporty & Rich

Where To Shop The Trend

Gil Rodriguez is a Los Angeles apparel brand with an emphasis on slow fashion. Their ethically-made dresses are perfect for summer dinner parties, but they have a line of lesser-known terry cloth sets that take inspo from retro collegiate gym outfits. Their ultra-comfortable terry cloth line is unisex (and they have matching children’s sets, too!), with collared necklines and shorts that hit mid-thigh. The material is breathable and soft, but the silhouettes are casual and cute.

Frankie’s Bikinis is best known for their feminine swimwear, but they also have adorable matching athleisure sets. Their Swift Tennis Dress is minimalist yet full of character, with a flattering drop-waist tennis skirt. The dress comes in hot pink, baby blue, and Hawaiian-flowered spandex fabric, taking a classic athletic form and changing it up for a fashionable, more laid-back outfit. Pair it with sneakers or Mary Janes — it’s up to you.

Image Courtesy of Instagram/ @cassdimicco

Many of these more affordable brands are reimagining tenniscore fashions to be wearable and casual for everyday life. You can find some iteration of a matching set with a collared neck or a tennis dress with a pleated skirt in almost every store you walk into. The best part? You can make your upper-echelon mood boards come to life and feel comfortable, all at the same time. Game, set, match.

Erica DeMatos

Erica DeMatos is a writer and editor based in Cambridge, Massachusetts who finds herself interested in the art of listening more than that of speaking. She searches for meaning in everything and is most interested in memoirs, diary entries, words written in sharpie on bathroom stalls and other shared secrets that were once held close to the heart. When she is not writing or reading you can find her at the beach, no matter the weather. You can read more of her fashion writing in HALOSCOPE magazine or whimsical daydreams on her Substack @ericadematos.

Skip to content