Some of the male players are varying their shirt colors at the Open, but generally they keep to the same overall color scheme — this year, it’s mostly a red, white and blue one. But Nike has upped the glamour quotient with its top female tennis celebrities by giving them dark dresses to wear for evening matches. All this costume-changing is making the fashion experience of the US Open feel more like a Mary-Kate and Ashley movie.
Maria’s dress for daytime matches is a demure pink, with brown criss-cross stripes that form a diamond under the bust. Its clean lines and sleek shape emphasize her cover girl proportions. While the pink is pretty, in my opinion it’s far too dainty for Maria’s incessant grunting and ruthless style of play.
The nighttime dress offers sheer sex appeal. Sewn from a shimmering fabric that’s not quite black, not quite brown (Nike calls it “Anthracite”), it drapes slinkily over Maria’s body. The back yoke is cut in to expose the shoulders, with gold thread detail that traces a Spiderman-type of motif. What does Spidey have to do with tennis? The dress is gorgeous, but really: the sexy fabric and gold Spiderman decoration? All she needs now is some Swarovski crystals embedded in the bodice.
Like Maria, Serena has different outfits for day and for night. In her case, however, the style is the same, only the colors vary. Her daytime dress is a strong pink color (“Fireberry”) that complements her powerful game. For night matches, she wears the same dress in navy. With both ensembles, Serena sports the neon yellow/greeen (“Volt”) headband.
While the flared skirt style probably works best with William’s body type, I’m not sure the contrasting fabric running down the middle is the most flattering feature. It may work on Serena, who’s muscular and fit, but “regular” tennis players might find the stripe to accentuate the flaring of the skirt even more. Meaning, of course, it could make us look fatter than we really are. Also, call me old-fashioned, but isn’t the skirt a bit short on Ms. Williams? It doesn’t always cover her backside, even when she’s standing up straight. Some mommas would disapprove.
The US Open is the most highly-attended of the grand slam tournaments, with over 700,000 visitors. Its setting in New York lends an air of cosmopolitan glamour, fast-paced excitement and modern sophistication unique to its location. Some spectators attend the event as much for the partying as for the tennis, and the USTA makes sure to put on a good show. If you missed the opening ceremonies, be sure to catch them on the US Open’s website (audio quality isn’t the best, and you’ll probably want to skip ahead, but check it out). If you’re interested in the philosophy behind the artistry, the USTA put together an interesting video in their Beyond the Baseline series. It gives a sense for the extensive planning and investment that went into setting the tone for this year’s signature USTA event.
So here at the US Open, costume changes somehow make sense. There’s lots of good tennis ahead this week — sit back and enjoy the show.