An Illustrated History of Tennis Fashion

Cristen Conger

Courtesy: Erin Dreis click on the image to enlarge

In response to our recent podcast "Women's Tennis: From Pat Ball to Grand Slams," super-talented illustrator and Stuff Mom Never Told You fan Erin Dreis sent us a nifty illustrated history of women's tennis fashion she created for a local magazine with research and writing collaboration from Victoria Rose Harley.

As we discuss on the podcast, evolving tennis fashions mirrored women's expanding roles off the court as well. During the Victorian era when women took up the sport, their corsets, bustles and dresses were so restrictive, the daintier-by-necessity ladies' game was nicknamed "pat ball." By the 1890s, white was the go-to color on the court since it best concealed perspiration, and in 1905, Mary Sutton Bundy ushered in the 20th century by daring to reveal her wrists on the court. Scandalous!

Even in recent years, fashionably daring tennis uniforms, such as Serena Williams' 2002 U.S. Open bodysuit, continue to generate headlines and visually remind us of how far women's tennis has come from its early days of corsets and pat ball.

Courtesy: Erin Dreis
click on the image to enlarge

Be sure to check out more of Erin's work here and here.

And if you ever have nifty stuff you'd like us show off, drop us a line at momstuff at howstuffworks dot com.

Related Stuff Mom Never Told You: Women's First Olympics