Wait -- Is This Wimbledon Or London Fashion Week?
I’ll admit, I’m not really a ‘sport’ person.
But (and please correct me if I’m wrong) I honestly thought the tennis was about, ahem… tennis.
It seems I’ve been sorely mistaken.
When Ukranian Elina Svitolina hit the court on Day One of this year’s Wimbledon to take on Aussie Daria Gavrilova, it wasn’t her win that had everyone talking.
FYI, 7-5, 6-0 was the final score. If you care about that sort of thing. Which, apparently, the world kind of doesn’t because people were too concerned with how damn basic her dress was.
Um… excuse me?
Just to get the #facts out there: after Svitolina smashed out her straight-sets win, a fan tweeted that her winning look was “basic” and that Nike had put in “minimum effort” to creating the threads.
First: ouch, girl. Ouch.
But, more importantly, what the actual heck is going on?! Are we here to play tennis or are we here to make a fashion statement?!
I like fashion. I don’t particularly like tennis. But even I can see that the priorities of fans discussing Svitolina’s look here are a bit out of whack. Yeah, there’s the usual equality argument that no-one’s shaming the boys for simple looks, and yep, that’s all true and it all definitely sucks, but what I’d love to know is how critics expect Svitolina (or any sportsperson) to play in anything more elaborate than what she had on.
A ball gown is probably going to hinder her game, and floor-length bell sleeves might look sort of cute, but they’d stuff up her serve for sure. The girl’s gotta move, right?
Plus, as the sports star pointed out when she hit back at the Twitter drag, there is a pleat in the back that also allows for extra mobility -- and it’s so on-trend.
READ MORE: Serena Williams Aces Haters In A Tutu
Pleats have been happening in a major way, so if this practical little nod to #farshun doesn’t satisfy the haters, what will? Maybe a smattering of sequins could’ve added some pizazz without damaging her game… Oh, did we mention she worked hard, played hard and won, so who really cares if her dress sparkled?!
Wimbledon has an all-white-errythang theme, of course, so Svitolina couldn’t really get amongst the season’s neo-mint and sage green trends (which I’m sure was top-of-mind during her match). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against a colour scheme -- everyone rocking the same shade is a chic way to do sport, sure. Real summer-in-the-Hamptons vibes.
And this decree is most definitely enforced. Players in the past have actually had to change clothes mid-game because they violated the colour rules. Venus Williams was reportedly forced to swap out a hot-pink sports bra mid-match in 2017. John Millman had to get his dad to run out and buy him some fresh undies after his were deemed too bright for the court last year. Awky.
But if we’re so damn concerned with what these elite athletes are wearing while they’re smashing the courts at Wimbledon, maybe we’ve got to introduce a few new style rules. I’m not claiming to have all the answers, but I’m happy to offer a couple of my ideas, just to get the ball rolling:
1. Tennis players love a visor, and I’m all for sun protection.
But I’m also feeling a shift towards something of an Easter Hat Parade vibe in the name of style. Instead of practising their backhand, players should be spending the days before a match decorating their headwear with plastic eggs and small fluffy toy chickens in the hopes of taking out the real prize: praise from the Twittersphere on their arts and crafts skills.
2. Let’s introduce a formal-wear round.
You know, for shits and giggs. In the name of #equality, let’s put everyone -- guys and gals -- in full-length gowns, because it’s gotta be easier to run in a tux than with a train, and we’ve got to be fair about these things. It’s only right, in the world of high-performance sport.
3. Would it kill the ladies to play the game in heels?
Think about it: sponsorship by Manolo Blahnik or Jimmy Choo could really elevate tennis to new heights. Let’s dish out extra points for picking a stiletto over a block heel. Oh, and maybe the prize trophy could be swapped out for a pair of $2 million Stuart Weitzman Cinderella heels!
For the record, I have no personal feelings about Svitolina’s dress. I mean, sure, it’s cute, looks practical, it does the job… of… making sure she didn’t play naked?! It’s not a fashion moment. It’s a work uniform. She won, right? I’m going to go out on a limb and say her dress had very little to do with that.
It’s tennis, people. Not the Met Gala. Let’s keep the focus on dem skills, hey? #youneedtocalmdown