Jan 20, 2012

Game : Set : Style Match!

(Ginger Rogers posing in 1941.)
Thwap, thwap, thwap.
The gentle and oh so delicious sound of tennis balls 
being thwapped 
across the court.
It's tennis season in Melbourne 
- and the Australian Open 
is in the first week.

In honour of the fabulous blue court surface, 
I wore a navy spotted dress to the match last night,
to see Roddick & Hewitt play.
Such drama, such excitement.
The sense of intimacy as so many spectators sit hushed,
watching eagerly,
listening to that thwap, thwap.

For the advent of modern comfortable tennis clothing for the players, 
we have one May Sutton to thank. 
The British-born American shocked the crowds at Wimbledon in 1905 
by wearing pushed up sleeves and a dress above her ankles.
She went on to win the Ladies Championship that year
in her newfound freedom of dress.
Which was a big leap from what the tennis playing ladies
were wearing before.
This illustration is from 1882.
Can you imagine running around the court in this outfit?
Tennis has long been associated with elegance & style,
as perfected here by Olivia de Havilland (1930) & Ava Gardener (1941).
And by Suzanne Lengl, in fabulous pleats at Wimbledon, in 1924.
The boys aren't to be outdone by the girls in style.
Rod Laver & Roy Emerson have that confident suavity of their era,
in these images from the Australian Open in the 1960s.
All this talk of tennis has me reaching 
for my vintage collection 
of rackets.
I can feel a weekend of tennis coming on! 
Pass the strawberries 
and would you like another glass of bubbles, perhaps?

images: 2/3/9 blue fruit


  1. Something Gorgeous20/1/12 4:57 PM

    My daughter is in Melbourne thoroughly enjoying the tennis as well. I have to be content with watching the tv coverage and living precariously through my daughter. Enjoy x

  2. Ah well the television coverage is pretty good! It is certainly the next best thing - and you can still eat strawberries and drink Champagne just as prettily in a comfy chair by the screen. V x

  3. My boyfriend is always trying to talk me into tennis playing, but I'm afraid that I couldn't be so good as only ball chasing :) But this is so wonderful inspiration post!
    ♥  xoxo Ra


  4. AHH Virginia - such cool pics - sends me straight to Wimbledon with Pimms in hand and strawberries and cream (Or OZ open :)
    Happy weekend, and thanks for the lovely comment on my blog today - you sweetheart:)

  5. Beautiful outfit, Virginia. Tennis is one of my passions, don't play but love to watch.
    Wish you a great weekend.

  6. Linda from OEKE21/1/12 7:44 AM

    What a lovely combo to wear to the tennis you picked. If I had have known you were going I would have spent the whole time pressing pause on the crowd shots to see if I could see you (-:

    Watched Bernie play last night - he did good .. real good.

  7. Oh - we were in row 5 so we were on tv - but I wasn't half as interesting to watch as the fabulous game. And last night - oh my goodness - what an extraordinary game! Bernie is so young at 19 to have played so well. They both played beautiful tennis, can I describe it thus? Perhaps not a manly adjective, but well, you know what I mean. Soft shots, belting shots, dashing all over the court - none of this stay on the baseline stuff. V x

  8. Thank you Tereza, and I wish you the same wonderful weekend too. I much prefer watching to playing - it's certainly not a natural skill for me so best left to the experts! V x

  9. Enjoy watching the tennis!  p.s. How the heck did those women wear those long dresses to play tennis? 

    LR @ Magnificent or Egregious

  10. Eternalicons21/1/12 2:54 PM

    Those vintage photos are amazing! Extra talent must have been needed to play in those outfits!
    Enjoy the tennis!
    x KL

  11. thecurtiscasa22/1/12 11:12 AM

    beautiful! so fun to see all these photos and think of venus williams and the tennis ladies of today. happy weekend!

  12. Hello and welcome to Glamour Drops Curtiscasa! Our tennis ladies are so lucky to play in their fabulously comfortable dresses now aren't they? Much, much easier than these brave pioneers of women's sport. It's been interesting that the men's outfits this tournament have been stunning - more so than the ladies, I think. They have taken bright colours to new heights - and the rich reds in particular look incredible on the blue court. V x


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