Fashion: Pssst… what are they wearing?
With the Australian Open just around the corner, I thought I’d take a moment to investigate what the players are wearing for the Australian Open and US winter hard courts – the hits, the misses and the downright fugly.
Starting with the posterboy for tennis fashion, Federer and Nike got it right again for the Australian Open this year by going with purple for the day outfit, and Darth Federer Take 2 for night. I said before that I’m quite sick of Federer in navy blue, so purple is a welcomed change, and something that he hasn’t done before. I also have a thing for white shorts, so I think the whole ensemble looks fantastic. And the purple details down the side of the shorts prevent them from looking too simple.
Unlike Nadal, Federer has kept his AO outfit relatively mysterious by wearing his Masters Cup outfit to Abu Dhabi, but the photoshopped pictures look promising.
Somewhat less enthusiastic about the night outfit. While I liked the all black Darth Federer US Open outfit in 2007, I’m not too sure about the fabrics used for this one, especially for the shorts. The whole thing looks a little mismatched.
Like Federer, Maria Sharapova almost always gets it right with her outfits, especially at the slams. Assuming that she plays the Australian Open, this is the outfit she’ll be wearing – not a fan of this particular shade of yellow, but the design is gorgeous, especially the dark coloured frills.
Adidas gets it right, at last
Just when I thought Adidas is incapable of making an outfit that I like, they come up with something quite special for their boys. This is what the likes of Simon and Tsonga will be wearing for the Australian Open. I love the contrast between black and yellow. Adidas has come up with some quite funky colours for the men’s shorts – yellow this year, as well as the fluro green shorts last season. Good stuff.
Depending on her performance this year, Woz could easily become the new It-girl for Adidas, and it seems that Adidas has already realised that. I have a feeling Wozniacki would look good in a plastic bag, but this is actually quite a good outfit, the design suits her body, and the colours suit her skin tone without being too boring.
The Lacoste Girls
Lacoste probably takes out the Best Skirt award for the girls. The picture doesn’t do it justice, but I just love the colour.
What were they thinking?
But what fun is fashion when people just get it right all the time? Here as the fashion misses of Australian Open (so far).
Shock? Horror? Disgust? Or just strategically wrong wrong wrong? Rafa does sleeves.
What was Nike thinking? Seriously? This is actually worse than the sleeved polo Rafa wore to Arthur Ashe Kids Day. For starters, the colours are just revolting, it’s like Nike couldn’t decide which particular colour scheme to go with Nadal, so they opted for bright blue, white, pink, and fluro green (wristband, bandana and shoes) all at the same time. The design isn’t too bad, as I said, it’s just not Nadal. The equivalent crime would be if John McEnroe of the 80s started straightening his hair, or if Federer went sleeveless, and Pete Sampras got dreadlocks.
Both the night version and the version Nadal wore to Abu Dhabi looked slightly better colour-wise, but all in all, Nike tried to do too much.
Serena the Pink Panther?
Serena Williams is not a “pink person”. Red? Yes. Black? Yes. Fluro? Purple? Deep striking colours? Yes! But pink? And this particular “strawberry lollipop” pink? God save Serena Williams.
And the colour is not the only thing wrong with this dress, afterall, there is a yellow version of the dress which looks much better. But the design itself is doomed to fail. It looks alright on the model, but on Serena Williams? With her broad shoulders, big biceps, bust, hips … she would just burst through the dress. This is a dress made more for a smaller build, the Alize Cornets and MariKiris of this world.
I personally don’t know what do say about this dress. On the catalogue pictures, it didn’t look too bad. The asymmetrical cut certainly looked interesting. But this is another case of something looking better in theory than in practice, because when Ana turned up to Doha last year in this, the biggest flaw of the dress was revealed – it had no shape. It didn’t hug Ana’s body, it just sagged around it.
I have mixed feelings about what Novak Djokovic is wearing. The top is fine, though I have my theory of Novak Djokovic’s form when he’s wearing white. But the shorts are about the same colour as my mum’s dead pot plants. Horrible colour matched by equally saggy looking fabric. The night outfit looks the same, but it’s all black, with yellow lining around the v-neck collar, much safer option.
Dinara Safina: Get Yer Own Clothes
This is the picture that Adidas released for Safina for the AO season, looks familiar?
Give us some creativity Adidas.
Fashion: the Hots and Nots of 2008
Fashion + tennis = Ftennis (Silent F). Having done a McFederer ftennis post, I think time is ripe to look to the other players for the best and worst outfits of 2008.
When it comes to tennis fashion, the legendary Cardigan aside, we’ve had a good deal with gimmicks this year, from Serena’s Wimbledon trench, to the too-brief appearance of Masha’s “tuxedo-inspired” outfit. So here are the hits and misses of the 2008 Ftennis.
The Nike v Adidas Non-Rivalry
When asked about how she felt about the rivalry between Kournikova and herself, Martina Hingis famously replied: “what rivalry? I win all the matches.” The same thing could be said about the Nike and Adidas rivalry, there is no rivalry because, in short – Adidas is getting pwned.
I’m referring here to the designs – on the one hand, Nike divides its designs into season, i.e. AO/IW/Miami, Pre-Roland Garros Clay, Roland Garros, Wimbledon, Canada/Cincy, US Open, Indoors etc. Nike’s posterboys/girls – namely Federer, Nadal, Masha, and Serena – get their own lines, their own gimmicks, special talking points for the first week of grand slams (a la Cardigan, Trench Coat, Rafa-in-Sleeves-yay-or-nay).
On the other hand, Adidas finds it appropriate to dress their posterboy/girl in different colours of the same design for more than half a year. Ivanovic spent about 6 months from Madrid 07 to Roland Garros 08 in fluro-coloured bubble dresses. Novak Djokovic operates by a set formula: Black/White Tshirt + random fluro bits. The exception being his Toronto/Cincinatti outfit, the horrors of which I will talk about later. And does anyone find it strange that Ivanovic and Djokovic get pretty much what the other Adidas players are getting? And what about their other players – Safina, Wozniack, Tsonga? Does anyone even remember any of their outfits? The only saving grace for Adidas is Stella McCartney, and that blonde bombshell named Maria Kirilenko.
The Best of the Players
Best of Rafa
Rafa secured his ascendancy to the No 1 spot on the 18th Aug by making the semifinals in Cincinnati, and man he looked good doing it. The purple sleeveless was striking without being overly flashy. Thumbs up for this one.
Equally striking were the red pirate shorts he wore to the US Open, we don’t see red shorts very often in the men’s game, with most guys opting or black, gray or poo-coloured shorts these days to my dismay. Our World No 1 shows the rest how it’s done.
(Gee, I’m totally (and treacherously) in Rafaland.)
Best of the Sharapower
Sharapova was on fire at the Australian Open this year, and if I looked this good, I would be too. This is the outfit she should have worn to Wimbledon – it was classy, simple, it suited her body, the frills down the middle and at the hem were interesting without being overstated, and she simply looked divine in it.
I find it hard to keep my opinions of the player’s outfit separate from my memories of the matches they played in those outfits. For the first time in quite a while, Nike had two world no 1s coming into Roland Garros. Both Federer and Sharapova opted for a classy navy/black ensemble with a white swoosh at the tournament, and they looked like quite a formidable pair. But in the end, both suffered the worst mental implosions of their respective careers at this particular tournament (though in different ways). Nevertheless, the Miss Prim-and-Proper dress deserves a little honourable mention for being great while it lasted.
Best of Venus
As a child of the 80s, Venus and Serena were my first tennis loves as a young girl, but that love never extended to their fashion sense. Sure they were edgy, they made everyone talk, but for me at least, it was never a talk of approval. This year however, Venus came out looking absolutely sublime at Wimbledon and the US Open. It was essentially black and white versions of the same dress, but the fit was beautiful, the design was feminine without being powderpuffy. As I would say back in my teenybopper high-school days – Vee’s a star! Or at least a planet.
Best of Serena
Serena’s had more than her share of ftennis flops, but I must admit, I love it when the girls opt for striking, bold colours, and Serena at the US Open was the best demonstration of that. The red dress and bandana suited Serena. Thumbs up for Nike.
Equally gorgeous was the black version of the dress, and Serena with the trophy.
Best of Nole and Ana, should such a thing exist in Adidas World
Okay, a little harsh on Adidas perhaps, but I honestly can’t recall a single outfit that was memorable, at least not in a good way.
If I had to pick one, Djokovic’s US Open night outfit was nice with the fluro green shorts. But it was somewhat marred by the fact that he wore it throughout the rest of the indoor season, and the fact that Tsonga wore the same thing in inverted colours. Your posterboy is a grand slam winner, as he so often reminds us, an almost(!)-world-no-2, new-king-yet-to-be-long-lived: give him his own line will ya?
Same for Ivanovic, the bubble dress wasn’t a bad design, it certainly fitted well, and the blue version looked fantastic at the Australian. But as mentioned, she wore it for about 6 months from the YEC in 2007 right through to Roland Garros, making her the bubbles-and-squeaky-shoes-girl, hardly the bombshell she could be.
Best of JJ
I’m not a huge fan of pastels, at least not for tennis, gimme bold colours, fluro highlights or just dark hues any day. It’s no surprise then that JJ has never really been in my tennis good books, the girl spent most of the year dressed like a powderpuff, but she finally got it right after the US Open, and went on to win 3 titles in 3 weeks in that dress, shouda listened to me sooner JJ. Killers don’t wear pastels.
Fashion Prison: Epic Fails, Fashion Delinquents, and General Wardrobe/Colour Malfunction
Fashion Prisoner 1: Imploding-Nole-in-White
Anyone noticing a pattern here? Every time Nole wore white this year, he’s been subpar or emotionally funked. On the other hand, he’s played some of his best tennis in black -at the Australian Open, Masters Cup (ambiguous about that one). But nevertheless, think back to Nole in the Monte Carlo semifinal, Wimbledon 2nd Round against Safin, or when he lost to Tsonga in Bercy.
Or perhaps an even better example – Djokovic was on fire in his quarterfinal match against Roddick at the US Open, wearing – you guessed it – black. The next match, he turned up in the day outfit against Federer, and went down with a whimper. Adidas should steer clear of light colours for Novak Djokovic.
Fashion Prisoner 2: Ana “Petals-are-better-in-theory” Ivanovic
My initial reaction after learning that Ana would be wearing a “petals(!)” dress at Wimbledon was “oooh‘, but when I saw the dress, the “ooh” turned into an “urgh“. Bottom line – petals? What petals? Nothing about the dress reminded me remotely of petals.
Scroll up and see Ana’s body in the blue bubble dress, and compare that to her body in the pseudo-petals dress, you don’t need to be a fashion expert to know that the fit was crap, the design unflattering, and the tennis did not compensate.
Fashion Prisoner No 3: JJ-does-Gossip-Girl
It would have been great dress if it were any other colour. But to make matters worse, JJ decides to add a headband in the exact same colour, complete with a mini bow a la Gossip Girl. What did I say about powderpuffy? She looked like a piece of muscly bubblegum.
Fashion Prisoner 4: Rafa and the Million Dollar Question
Sleeves – yay or nay?
As far as I’m concerned, it’s a big fat nay. Sure he doesn’t look bad in polos and tshirts, but the point is – he doesn’t look Nadal. What’s the point in spending all these years building up your own look – be it intentional or not – only to dump it when you’ve finally made it to the top, to become the posterboy for tennis. This is different to Federer changing his image by getting rid of the ponytail, as Andy Roddick fitting replied when asked what was Federer’s weakness a couple years ago – “now that the ponytail’s gone? Nothing”. But part of the Nadal “aura” comes from the biceps, the pirate pants, the vamosing fistpumps. Nike is making a huge mistake if they think Nadal’s image needs changin’.
Fashion Prisoner No 4: Masha and When-Gimmicks-go-wrong
This is another attempt by Nike to do something a little different, why give Sharapova, the glamour girl/diva of tennis, a dress? Make her wear shorts instead, even better, make her wear some “tuxedo inspired”, semi-sheer, badly fitted top along with those shorts. The result – Masha’s shoulders looked like oversized french sticks.
The Worst Offender: I-ate-Rainbow-Icecream-and-vomited-on-myself
I return to Novak Djokovic, but it’s not just him, many Adidas players had the unfortunate experience of being forced to wear this every-colour-of-the-rainbow top during the US hard-court season. And the scary thing is, I know people who actually loved this outfit. Seriously??
Colour malfunction of the most shocking extent. My mother always taught me never to wear more than 3 colours at once, and I’ve always considered that to be sound advice.
Last but not least, one last cry for Andy Murray to dump the Fred Perry line of potato sacks he’s been wearing – there are better ways to pass off as British mate.
Fashion: Pt 2, McFederer
Cont’d: The Polo Era Misses
US Open 08, night: FedEx goes missing, UPS delivery person turns up
“Noooo Rajaaah, you is making Anna Wintour cryingggg…vot is zis elephant skin?”
I fully credit Federer for dumping the damn thing after just one match in it. He either received some timely advice from those fashionistas he hangs out with, or perhaps he hated it to begin with, but felt obliged to wear it at least once for Nike’s sake. Either way, the red polo was much better, though I didn’t like the smoke coloured shorts.
Indian Wells 07: the Great Leap Backward
The stability of the Polo Era was briefly undermined when Federer turned up to Indian Wells wearing *gasp* a TSHIRT! And not a terribly exciting one at that. Coupled with dismal tennis and the end of his 40-something-match winning streak, was the Polo Era under threat?
Monte Carlo/Rome/Hamburg/Roland Garros 2007: the clay season goes wrong time, and time again….
So many things can go missing during the clay season, Federer’s marbles aside. During the period from Indian Wells right through to the end of Roland Garros, I was quite ready to send Feduruh to fashion prison. After the tshirt fiasco, he opted for The Red Bowling Shirt (blue for Roland Garros). The only thing fuglier than losing to Volandri was losing to Volandri and looking fashionastically confused. Urgh…
Estoril/Monte Carlo/Rome/Hamburg 08: the Clay Season finally gets it right
I can’t say much for the tennis, but the baby blue polo was the first time Federer’s worn something during the clay season that I actually liked. Pity baby blue, humidity and red dirt don’t mix well. This polo was more suited for the green green grass of home in Halle, or the hard courts in the US of A than the red poo of Europe.
The Fugly… and the downright Forgettable
In fashion, the biggest crime is not so much being fugly, but being forgettable (just ask Bjork), and I’m thinking Federer in navy, à la Madrid/Bercy/Basel 2007, Dubai 2007, Roland Garros/Halle 2008, Masters Cup 2008 … the list goes on. Sure he doesn’t look bad, but neither does he look great. It’s safe, it’s unexciting, and it’s not worthy remembering, picturing or hyperlinking. Please, no more navy blues.
Wimbledon is really just something else altogether. Federer Ftennis at Wimbledon is another one of those love it or hate it things. And a lot of people I know who don’t like the Sire Jacket or the Mrs Cardigan image basically find it too much of a gimmick. But Wimbledon is all about gimmicks – the white clothing, the umpires in their high school looking uniforms, the strawberries and cream, the Rolex-as-time-keeper… Federer says the jackets and the cardigan stem from his respect for the tradition at Wimbledon, but I reckon he’s probably having a good ol’ giggle with Mirka every time he tries on his various props. I’m still waiting for the top hat to turn up one year.
For what it’s worth, it’s a “yay” from me for the Jacket 07 – smooth, but a “nay” for Jacket 06 – the colour was closer to cream than white and just ended up clashing with his tshirt.
As for this year’s Rogi of the Cardi – love it or hate it, everyone talked about it. Even the trashiest of my local tabloids had it as “hot” on their hot-or-not thermometer. I must say I agree, I personally couldn’t say no to this –> I went to an all-girls high school, and this just reminded me of an alternative universe where it was possible to walk into the principal’s office and witness something wonderful…
As for the rest of the props – thumbs up for the gold rim on the collar of the polo, I thought it was a nice touch. Also the belt was a new addition this year. And of course, the gold trophy shoes have been a tradition since Wimbledon 2005.
The Million dollar question: who gets the gold trophy shoes next year at Wimbledon? Feduruh? or Nadull? And what is Federer going to wear next year, after the Cardi completely failed him in 2008? I’m thinking that “Federer might be… betterer … in a sweaterer?” Just sayin’…
Misc and Off Court
FedMirka gone wrong
Noooo, noo…. shield yer eyes! The shiny suit jacket, the pantyhose-and-peeptoes, Mirka dressed for a funeral, and Fed has shiny stripes down the side of his pants (in case you didn’t know). Nooo…. *in pain*
FedMirka gets it right: Yup, they got it! Mirka looks gorgeous. McFed looks dashing. Great choice of outfits, and great photo. See also US Open 07 Men’s Vogue party.
Jura Coffee gets it wrong
The leather jacket, the patterned shirt – Jura decided to go all Brokeback Mountain on us. The result – dismal failure.
Jura Coffee gets it right
Jacket? Check. Shirt? Check. Tie? err working on it. Jura gets it right at last.
Tuxedo Fed gets it so…very…wrong
It’s hard to tell, but Federer’s wearing a black shirt, with black bow tie. The pants are a little tight, the shoes far to shiny. Mirka looks like a French maid. The metrosexual and the powderpuffy, ouch….
Tuxedo Fed gets it quite right
They say a picture’s worth a thousand words.
The Best Non-Wimbledon Jacket Award
….goes to US Open 2006.
Practice Makes Perfect: the Best Fashion Moment of McFederer 08
Fashion: Pt 1, McFederer
It’s that time of the year again when Tennis Nation goes into hibernation, and the players go to the Maldives. So I think time is right for me to dedicate some of my blogging energy towards combining the two passions of my life – tennis and fashion – into what I call “Ftennis” (Silent “F”), for a bit of light hearted entertainment. And what better way to start than with a McFederer post.
It must be said that McFederer’s contribution to Ftennis cannot be understated. The trend in his choice of outfits over the last few years has divided Ftennis into seasons – early hard courts (the Australian Open to Miami), the clay season (culminating in Roland Garros, and whatever grass tournament/s that follows straight after), Wimbledon, the US Hard Courts (Toronto – I know it’s in Canada, and Cincy, quite often just a colour variation of the Wimbledon outfit), the US Open day/night outfits, and the indoor season (Madrid and Bercy, with a colour variation of the same style for the year-end Masters Cup).
From a more macro perspective, the McFederer Ftennis times can be roughly divided into three eras – the fashionistically unconscious era (up until Masters Cup 2004), the Tee era (2005 through to US Open 2006) and the Polo Era (Madrid 2006 onwards). And like all fashionistas and fashionistos, McFederer has had his fair share of fashion hits and misses. So here are some of the notable mentions from days gone by.
The Tee Era
US Open 05: The Coolest Shoes and Bandana Combo
I loved the way McFed and Nike tried to spice up a fairly routine outfit with a retro yellow bandana. The colour combination of yellow, blue and white worked well together. Extra brownie points for the blue shoes with a matching yellow swoosh. This is one of the first outfits from McFed that I’ve actually liked.
But I lied, the first outfit of Federer’s that I’ve ever liked was Wimbledon 2005. Incidentally, that tournament also marked the beginning of the trophy shoes with the gold shoe laces. But more on Wimbledon fashion later.
US Open 06: Federer beats Roddick in tennis… and Ftennis
In truth, there was nothing that special about Federer’s US Open 2006 outfit. But the combination of the blue tee, the crisp white shorts and bandana made it as classy and effortless as his tennis was during those two weeks.
And does anyone remember what Roddick was wearing in the final? Never been a fan of Lacoste.
Australian Open 2006: As good as Fluro gets…
Strangely enough, this is actually one of my favourite outfits from any era. While I don’t like the overall fit, this ensemble sported what is – in my opinion – the best bandana Federer’s ever worn. Generally I’m not a huge fan of fluro, but something about this Happy Green at the Happy Slam on a Sobbing Fed just popped.
The Tee Era Flop
Australian Open 2005: It-was-okay-until-he-turned-around
As the title stated – it wasn’t too bad from the front, but then… Either Nike went bonkers or Mirka washed it with the Wimbledon shirts, but the tie dye at the back was just a crime against humanity.
Other Misses: Roland Garros 05 and 06 – they tried to make me go to rehab I said “No, no, no.” It got a lot better after Federer became the posterboy for Gillette and felt obliged to shave more regularly.
The Polo Era
A good call by Nike to market McFederer almost exclusively in polos these days. The style suits his figure, it suits his personality, and it suits his retro-ballet-dancing-tennis. I’m a fan, of the polos and the guy in them. But even so, McFed’s still had his share of hits and misses.
The Polo Era Hits
Madrid 2006: the Dawning of a New Era
Unless I’m missing something deadly obvious, Federer only started to wear polos exclusively at the Madrid Masters in 2006, and what a nice polo that was – simple, classic, but more significantly, it was the consolidation of the McFederer image. He wore a grey-and-yellow variation for Masters Cup 2006 that was a little “meh.” But I did and still do love this style.
2007 Australian Open: best colour combo
Baby blue just works well on McFederer, and this is perhaps one of his best polos. Not the most conspicuous bandana, wristband or shorts, but the polo itself was busy enough for the entire outfit to work. Very nice.
2007 US Open, Night: Darth Federer means business
Since the blue sack Federer wore against Hewitt in the finals of the 2004 US Open, fashionastically (and tenniswise too) he has done everything right at Flushing Meadows. But even by those standards, the US Open outfit last year simply excelled. My first reaction upon seeing it was somewhere along the lines of “are you fudging serious?” And like all good fashion, a lot of people either loved it or hated it.
I personally floved it and the sheer audacity of dressing top to toe in black. Federer’s ensemble spelt “b.u.s.i.n.e.s.s”. It wasn’t an outfit for the fun and games, nor was it for pretenders and impersonators. It was an outfit for the top dog, the epitome of Darth Federer, and it took class, confidence, and a certain degree of cockiness to pull it off. Did I mention this is my all time fave?
Madrid/Bercy 2008: simplicity with a twist
A bit of a nautical feel with this outfit, I loved the contrasting black stripe down the front. Is it just me or are Federer’s shorts getting a lot shorter than they were before? One of these days, the guy’s going to walk onto court in a pair of hot pants.
Brownie points for switching to black socks in Bercy. I love black socks.
Now that I think about it, the US Open 2007 Day outfit was also quite gorgeous. I have a thing for white shorts, and it also was a lovely shade of blue.
Shanghai 2007: just when I thought Federer had stopped experimenting with colours after the US Open, he came up with this classic. The blood red polo looked stunning – his best Masters Cup outfit to date.
Your thoughts …