The styles and scope of girls’ tennis clothing has recently blossomed to match the rapid growth of fashionable women’s tennis clothing, and seems to gain momentum year on year.
There’s a twin conflicting desire for women to both model their tennis outfits on the most successful and stylish players in the game, and yet at the same time look different, exclusive and unique.
There’s yet another desire to wear state-of-the-art apparel that maximizes protection and cooling on court, to gain a competitive advantage as the tennis match ‘heats up’. Most women’s tennis apparel now contains technology to protect against the sun’s rays, to ward off odor-causing bacteria growth, to cool the skin by efficiently channeling away moisture, and even to cushion and support muscles for optimum performance.
Naturally, mothers want their fledgling tennis stars to benefit from all these tennis clothing attributes, in style and textile technology. Tennis clothes manufacturers have catered to this demand with dresses. skirts, skorts, tops and shoes for girls that sport many or all of the features of their adult counterpart.
This is good business sense on the part of tennis apparel manufacturers like Adidas, Nike, Fila, Prince, Babolat etc. Once a young lady gets to liking a particular tennis brand, she’ll likely stay loyal throughout her tennis years.
Way back in the early 1970s, at about the time that Chris Evert was emerging as a world class tennis player, a woman called Marilyn Kosten was getting very frustrated at the lack of pretty tennis clothing available to buy for her two daughters, who were about to compete in junior tennis competitions. She channeled that frustration into forming her own tennis apparel business, designing the girls’ clothing herself.
Her business really took off in 1977, when a young rising star called Tracy Austin wore one of Marilyn’s dresses during her passage to victory at the US Open. Tracy also wore the dress at Wimbledon, and so introduced this innovative and stylish girl’s tennis clothing to a much wider audience.
Three and a half decades later, tennis apparel has changed out of all recognition. Fashion is even more to the fore, vying with sports clothing fabric technology to yield a fusion of style and function that shapes every new garment. 100% cotton is now a rarity, with subtle combinations of man-made fibres best able to offer the comfort and mobility demanded by today’s athletes.
Mary Kosten’s ‘Little Miss tennis’ business is still flourishing, and now caters to young boy’s tennis clothing needs as well, with the LMT range. Now, all the major tennis gear manufacturers have girl’s, boy’s or unisex kids tennis apparel lines alongside their adult clothing, so lack of choice is no longer an issue.
Women who look to the high-fashion, cutting-edge tennis apparel worn by the leading players for inspiration, can now encourage their daughters to do the same. For example, the identical Adidas adilibria tennis dress recently co-designed and worn by Ana Ivanovic was available in girls’ sizes with all the ‘Climacool’ technology and comfort meshing of the adult dress. Other familiar Adidas tennis lines like ‘Barricade’, ‘Edge’ and ‘Competition’ also have their girl-sized counterparts, so mother and daughter can wear complementary apparel at the tennis club.
Nike, as you might expect, have their own
lines such as ‘Athlete’, that mirror the apparel worn by the women. Like Adidas, there’s plenty of variety in dresses, skirts, skorts, shirts, tennis shoes and accessories, with comfort features like Dri-FIT, to give the same cooling and moisture management as the adult version.
Fila, with two of the game’s big hitters, Kim Clijsters and Svetlana Kuznetsova on their books, is hot on the heels of the two largest tennis apparel manufacturers, Adidas and Nike, with it’s own girls’ selection. They produce junior varieties of familiar women’s tennis favorites like the ‘Essenza’ tennis dress. These dresses are made with sun protective material, to reduce UV damage to young ladies’ skins. This can be an important consideration in warmer climes where tennis is an outdoor activity.
There will come a time when your young lady would rather wear distinctive (tennis) clothing than try to copy her mother as she moves into adulthood. There’s a tennis apparel manufacturer keen to cater to these more rebellious instincts – DUC. They’re happy that their clothing isn’t designed for people too far into their 20s or beyond. They draw a little from the history of women’s tennis dress with subtle pleating, but make it asymmetrical to keep abreast of the times.
Much of the clothing is labeled with assertive, slightly racy tags like ‘Dominate’ (dress), ‘Compete’ (skirt), ‘Rush’ (racer-back top) and 2-Timer (reversible top), and accentuates feminine contours. The 2-Timer top actually refers to it’s reversible two-tops-in-one feature, which when combined with the large choice of colors and reversible skirt, creates a wide range of styles – great for emphasizing your unique style. Reversing your apparel and changing your look during a match might also have beneficial unsettling effects on your opponent. Though cutting edge in design, DUC tennis clothing lacks none of the comfort features prerequisite in modern tennis clothing.
So, from youngster to young women, varied, vibrant, in vogue girl’s tennis clothing is in plentiful supply. Thanks to determined women like Marilyn Kosten, the ‘dark ages’ are over, and girls can revel in the choice of cutting-edge tennis apparel that was until recently the sole preserve of their parents.