Tenniscore is trending, but does it have anything to do with the sport?

Off the court, we investigate the history and trajectory of the trend, and the impact of micro trends on the fashion industry at large.

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Growing one plead skirt at a time, tenniscore is going to be your fashion serve this summer season. Don't believe us? Turn to Zendaya, whose experimental approach to fashion (recently seen in her press tour for her latest, Challengers), often in the garb of method dressing, saw her serve plenty tenniscore moodboard, adding only more fuel to the already well-ignited fire of tenniscore. Our favourite has to be her Loewe holographic silver dress with black trimming complete in the white stilettos featuring neon yellow tennis balls punctured through them. Or perhaps her Them Browne halter neck gown with mesh detailing. 

Despite the tennis aesthetic footing its resurgence in with Miu Miu's Fall/Winter 2022 collection, it is now flourishing as a full-blown trend, evidenced by the significant rise in Google searches as well as the 2.8M views on TikTok. As the name commonly suggests, the Tenniscore ethos is centred around the idea of merging the quiet luxury of minimalism with the easy-going practicality of casualwear. It entails everything that one can adorn on-court and extends it the possibility of stylized everyday off-court looks. From cute jumpers to preppy polos and pastel skirts, tenniscore embraces the idea of retro athleisure as an appendage to the old-money charm, which has always been synonymous to tennis.

Tennis’ correspondence with luxury and leisure is rooted in the historical play of the sport, as it has always been played at exclusive country clubs and upscale resorts. By mixing recreation with elegance, your appearance can lie on either ends of the tenniscore spectrum: the sporty side or the subtle, with white pieces predominating the look. For example, an oversized sweatshirt can be paired with either a pleated A-line mini skirt or a form-fitting cycling shorts, both best accompanied with high rise socks. 

Why is tenniscore trending?
Though the revival of tenniscore is massive, the trend only extends its premise to fashion while lacking to provide an upswing on the sport itself. The Gen Z's interest may not entirely lie in picking up the tennis racket but resonates in their interest in pleats and polos. The rise of the trend reflects the generation's disposition to hop on to whatever clothing aesthetic is on the rise as a solution to the perennial "what to wear?" problem.


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The conversion of this core to a trend is not just owed to Zendaya though but also to Anna Wintour, whose longstanding love for tennis has lent the sport the fashion credential it embodies today. Not only has she been attending the  Wimbledon for many years but had also co-hosted the Met Gala last year with her friend Roger Federer. With the countdown to Wimbledon commencing in less than a month and tenniscore emerging in its prime, the demand for sporty, chic outfits has conspicuously risen. On the second-hand fashion resale app Depop, searches for tennis skirts and polo shirts have gone up 52 per cent and 53 per cent respectively.

Along with this, high fashion brands have also played their part in tenniscore’s revival. While Louis Vuitton and Loewe contributed to the trend by customising ensembles for the Challenger’s press tour, brands like Lacoste and Casablanca returned to the runway with tennis-inspired collections in 2023 and 2024. According to Depop, sport brands like Adidas have seen a surge in their searches by 90 per cent this month while searches for specific tennis clothing like tennis skirts and polo shirts are up over 50 per cent. The viral Instagram account databutmakeitfashion affirmed that the popularity of "tennis style" has increased by 80 per cent overall.

Trajectory of tenniscore
Luxury brands have been embodying Tenniscore in their collections for a few years now. Though its current rise is almost flamboyant, the synergy of high fashion and sports goes way back to the 1920s, when the French player Suzanne Lenglen adorned Jean Patou designs to the court. Moving forward, revered names in tennis such as that of René Lacoste, Fred Perry and Stan Smith lent their names to the modern vanguards of the fashion industry—Lacoste, Fred Perry, and Adidas, respectively. 

Miuccina Bianchi Prada initiated serving the tennis inspired looks through her Fall Winter Miu Miu 2022 collection entailing pleated skirts and polo tops. 

Miu Miu FALL WINTER 2022
Miu Miu Fall Winter Collection 2022

Propelling towards the trend, Emily Oberg's luxury label Sporty & Rich teamed up with Lacoste in June 2023 to launch a 22-piece tennis collection, which provided a contemporary rendition of Lacoste’s archival pieces from the 1970s and 1980s. Furthermore, in August 2023, the luxury label Casablanca created its first-ever official tennis racket as a tribute to its origins, which was developed by MAD Paris. 

Commencing the present year, Miu Miu released its Spring/Summer 2024 Collection, which focused on the trend with its stock of mini-skirts, polos, and V-neck jumpers, further awakening the preppy trend. At the previous season of the Paris Fashion Week, Lacoste's signature sporty aesthetic was showcased with high fashion, presenting pleated miniskirts and tennis greens with elevated polos and knitwear. 

How trends impact fashion
Although the fragility of creating a core seldom lies in the hands of the social media’s most viral content creator, the tenniscore trend has been on the rise for over two years now and has now made it to the top, owing to numerous factors other than the sport itself. Ensuing the ‘clean-girl’ aesthetic and ‘cottagecore’, it has become an affirmation that every little style of dressing aesthetic gets carved into a niche, which is fed to the impressionable audience as an escape from their everlasting 'what to wear' conundrum. 

With TikTok birthing trends after trends, whatever ‘core’ garners the most talk and can be seen on celebrities gets fanned into full-fledged trends by the online fashion communities.  The ‘core’ bandwagon lacks longevity for obvious reasons and creates a platform for fast fashion brands to capitalise on these niches. What one fails to realise amidst the propagation of these trends is how the general audience is merely presented with a romanticised, red-carpet version of the aesthetic that may or may not be practical to work through with everyday budgets and environmental factors to keep in mind. 

Where these trends can commence to have a positive impact is when they shift from selling fashion ideas to acting as an inspiration for fashion enthusiasts. The audiences consuming these trends must strive to create their own attainable versions of the trends, which gives them a unique edge over the others. And this has to come from the consumers themselves. 

Aesthetic hoping is the root of fashion burnout. Our advice is to acquaint yourself with the ‘cores’ and ‘starter packs’ but use them as an inspiration for your own fashion style and clothing niche—borrow from the trends to create a wardrobe that emanates the 'you-core'. 


Feature Image Credits: Miu Miu, Lacoste

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