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The whites and the trim: Wimbledon has taken it a bit too far

  • The dress code at the 'proper' English venue has often taken regulation a bit too far. Here we bring you instances where it really went wrong.
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Modified 25 Jun 2015, 22:20 IST

No neon blue, bright purple, flashy orange and hot pink.  No floral shirts and plaid shorts. No leopard print dresses. Only whites. No off whites. No cream. Only whites.

Where Courtesy counts above all else

Where Tradition trumps reputation

Where the Purity of White is always Center Court

Where every day is a day in History…

As the Wimbledon fever sweeps over the World all tennis players, qualifiers and Champions, are reading and re-reading the Wimbledon rule book. The players have to ensure that their tennis attires are almost entirely white from the moment they step onto the court.

The attires are tantamount to not just shirts, shorts, dresses and skirts. They also include tracksuits, sweaters, caps, bandanas, wrist bands, headbands and socks. The list does not end here. The shoes should be completely white, including the soles, with no large brand logos. Even the foxing around the toes must be smooth as per the rules.

The undergarments have not been spared either. Whether they take refuge inside a male player’s shorts or play peek-a-boo with the outside world when a female player executes her serve or come alive as the match progresses owing to the player’s perspiration. They ought to be white and nothing but white.

Medical supports and equipment can take a breather and don any colour other than white, only if absolutely necessary.

The only solid mass of color that is allowed to adorn the whites is a trim around the neckline or cuff or the outside seam. The trim should be within 10mm.


If a player flouts any of these rules, the tournament Umpire will caution them immediately and the player has to abide by his decision to make changes to his or her attire.

Even if it entails a female player replacing her coloured hot pants with men’s white shorts. Now that puts the spotlight on Ms. Kournikova and she ain’t complaining.

Wimbledon Faux Pas over the years

Some got away scot free and the rest received a rap on the knuckles. English style!

Gorgeous Gussie caused a stir

Gorgeous Gussie showing off her controversial outfit (Wimbledon 1949)

The first woman to ruffle feathers was Gertrude Moran, nicknamed Gorgeous Gussie. She qualified to play in Wimbledon for the first time in 1949.

Most players would be nervous and, in all probability, would have butterflies in their stomach about their first appearance. Not Gussie. She wore an outfit that complied with the rules but scandalized the Wimbledon officials. She was accused by the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club of bringing vulgarity and sin to tennis.

Gussie’s outfit was a short dress that revealed her lace-trimmed knickers underneath. Ted Tinling, her outfit designer and the Official Wimbledon Host for 23 years, also bore the brunt of her “naughty” dress. He was not invited to The Championships for the next 33 years until 1982.

When Anne wore White

Anne White in her lycra body suit (Wimbledon 1985)

1985. Clad in an all-in-one spandex bodysuit, Anne White was slated to play Pam Shriver.  Pam Shriver was reportedly distracted by Anne’s white body suit. With the match leveled at one set a piece, it had to be abandoned due to bad light. Wimbledon Umpire Alan Mills took this opportunity to ask Anne White to wear an appropriate outfit for the next day.

The next day she did oblige and stepped on court wearing an acceptable outfit. But lady luck seemed to have absconded, wearing her spandex body suit. Anne White ended up losing the match to Pam Shriver.

Hotpants trouble

Tatiana Golovin (L) and Maria Sharapova (R) wore colored hotpants

In 2007, Tatiana Golovin’s bright red hotpants got her into trouble with the Wimbledon Officials. Six years later in 2013, the Officials experienced déjà vu when Maria Sharapova sported orange hotpants under her white dress.

By Wimbledon 2012 the Officials had probably given up. Serena Williams wore pink hotpants to match her pink bandana. This did not hog the limelight, as she went on to win her 14th Grand Slam and 5th Wimbledon title.

Serena Williams flirted with the rule book and won the title.

Bethanie Mattek Sands does a Lady Gaga

Bethanie Mattek-Sands : The Lady Gaga of Tennis

Fashion statements and disasters happen only on the red carpets of award ceremonies. Says who?

In 2011, Bethanie Mattek Sands put Lady Gaga to shame. Her outlandish jacket left many fashion pundits slack jawed and tongue-tied. Thankfully for the officials, she did not wear it while playing. Bethanie Mattek Sands is known for her unconventional styling that, more often than not, borders on horrendous.

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Published 25 Jun 2015, 18:47 IST
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