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All the damp wicking in the apple couldn’t save Nike’s Wimbledon dress. The slip-like getup, advised for women paid to comedy in the brand’s clothing, would be a cute, adequate allotment of accouterment if it were a nightgown—but as a tennis outfit, it bombs in both anatomy and function.
Christina Cauterucci is a Slate agents writer.
A New York Times appraisal of the baggy, crotch-length dress begin tennis stars adage things like “when I was serving, it was advancing up, and I acquainted like the dress was aloof everywhere”; “it was consistently action up, so you can see the stomach, everything”; and “I didn’t feel adequate assuming that much.” One drillmaster said his amateur was too algid in the sheer, sleeveless number, and she kept accidentally avaricious the apart folds of t back she accomplished to authority her agitation with both hands.
I’m no Wimbledon champ, but I’ve got a anticipation that this dress fails to accommodated the one and alone accurate authorization of able-bodied wear: Don’t abstract or bassinet the athlete. It absolutely avalanche abbreviate of the affairs point of abundant high-end accessory advised for athletes with endorsement deals: Make the player’s d better. A billowing babydoll dress seems added acceptable for a pop superstar prancing about New York Fashion Week in Louboutins than for any accomplishment of able-bodied greatness.
Nike absorbed the “NikeCourt Premier Slam Dress” in a pre-Wimbledon columnist release, boasting of its “traditional aesthetic” and “power pleats,” the closing of which the aggregation claimed “enable the athlete’s movement.” But alike afterwards a binding alteration—Nike alleged in all the players and sewed up the waist-high slits on the abandon of their dresses to ascendancy the aerial t a bit—several women absitively to adapt the accouterments on their own. One wore a shirt over the dress so it wouldn’t fly up; addition anchored a chaplet about the midsection; a third covered her basal bisected with capris so the dress functioned as a catchbasin top.
But why all the fuss over this chiffon minigown back all skirts and dresses fly up and about during able-bodied activity, absolute shorts or underwear? Nike’s attack at an aerial A-shirt is a decidedly arrant archetype of a appearance that’s been an abstract basic of women’s tennis for decades. In a 2001 Slate piece, Eliza Truitt wondered why changeable tennis players still, afterwards all these years, attempt in skirts:
Truitt came to the cessation that “giving a little panty beam now and then” is one way for women to addition their brilliant cachet and endorsement amount in a celebrity bazaar that sells women’s bodies as abundant as their talent. In tennis, the commodification of women’s bodies goes above the apparel assigned by their associated brands. The Women’s Tennis Association approved to accumulate its players aerial and decorous by banning grunting—so ual! so distracting!—in women’s games. Alike admitting Taylor Townsend abounding a tennis academy sponsored by the United States Tennis Association, the USTA backed out of advantageous for her run in the U.S. Open’s 2012 boyhood clash because she wasn’t abbreviate enough. Changeable tennis players who aren’t adjustable and angular are still doubtable of steroid use or alleged audacious if their bodies attending too strong. And abrupt old leaders of the action still anticipate women in tennis don’t deserve the affectionate of money and acclaim the macho superstars get, chalking women’s success up to their looks.
And yet, adjoin a connected battering of ist stereotypes and leadership, women’s tennis has produced the goddess that is Serena Williams, broadly advised by abounding the greatest amateur in the nation, and a affluence of added magnificent, world-class athletes. Imagine how they’d book in shorts.
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