Indian Wells fashion: the players

Indian Wells fashion doesn’t generate the same excitement as fashion does at a Grand Slam event. The BNP Paribas isn’t a tournament where the pros’ sponsors supply them with new outfits to generate buzz and drive sales of their merchandise when TV viewers buy online or visit their local tennis shops to refresh their gear. However, I still enjoyed seeing the player fashions up close, and a few of them were even sporting new outfits.

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Jelena Jankovic’s Fila Heritage Carwash Skirt

One of the most talked-about fashion statements was a new skirt design by BNP Paribas Open sponsor Fila, for Jelena Jankovic. Dubbed “the carwash dress,” owing to its front fabric strips resembling the felt runners in brushless carwashes, the skirt or dress (it comes in two versions) is one of the more innovative tennis fashions this year. When the player is standing still, the fabric strips look like pleats in a cheerleader dress. But when she moves, you can see they are strips of fabric. Thankfully, Fila put these fabric strips only in the front — the back of the skirt has neither slits nor pleats. It looks great on Jelena, but I’m not sure the carwash skirt is a look I’d want for myself.

 

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Wimbledon 2012 fashion in a word: white — well mostly

Few countries know how to uphold tradition as staunchly as the Brits, and we Americans not only admire their tenacity in clinging to traditions, but also enjoy making jabs at long-sacred customs like the “all-white” convention at the All-England Club Championships. Our rebellious spirit probably dates back to a little tea party in the Boston Harbor over two hundred years ago. But at Wimbledon, we’re just having some fun.

Most of the Wimbledon fashion buzz has revolved around who’s flaunting the “white rule” most flagrantly.A quick history lesson: the “predominantly white” regulation was brought out in 1963, and in 1995, the “almost entirely in white” rule became valid. The All England Lawn Tennis Club’s dress code guidelines specify preference for no solid mass of “colouring,” “little or no dark, bold or fluorescent colours,” and a preference for accent colors in pastels.

 

Thus it came as no surprise that Serena’s outfit, a sleek white dress with magenta Nike swoosh and matching headband and tennis shorts underneath, caused quite a stir at the tradition-bound AELTC. Even the official Wimbledon website offered commentary about Serena’s outfit, suggesting that this year’s infractions of the white dress code might be related to the decision to relax the all-white rule for the Olympics, in order for countries to wear uniforms sporting their national colors. Ha! I can’t imagine Serena or Nike were “confused” at all — they were just pushing the edge, rocking the boat in Great Britain. And Serena has the tennis and star power to back up her mini-rebellion.

 

Maria Sharapova’s Wimbledon outfit, also by Nike, was similar to Serena’s, but it fit within the Wimbledon guidelines. She wore her usual visor, in white this time, and the trim on her slim-fitting white dress was light green, matching the grass of the All England Club. While her green tennis shorts might have been a bit out of line with the dress code, I’d wager the men who interpret the AELTC regulations were happy to overlook that detail, since it was Maria’s green tush they were glimpsing from time to time.

 

 Rafa, Rafa. Such a shame he lost to Rosol — especially since his Wimbledon fashion was the perfect combination of “predominantly white,” yet youthful (no collar), as well as slightly unusual — with red, grey and black triangles subtly merging in stripes across his shoulders. The look worked well for his ferocious style of play — too bad we didn’t get to watch him play more matches.

 

 Of course all British and especially Scottish eyes are on Andy Murray, so a fashion review wouldn’t be complete without a glance in his direction. He’s switched the orange shorts of the French Open for predominantly white ones — a change for the better. He’s still looking a little scruffy, but perhaps that’s a look his countrymen love, or at least will tolerate.

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Forcing myself to unplug in Yosemite

Despite magnificent weather, gorgeous scenery and the company of three of my four favorite people (our daughter wasn’t there), I still struggled over “unplugging” from the Internet in order to enjoy our family’s trip to Yosemite last weekend.

I knew from past trips that cellular coverage was spotty at best, and wifi would likely be available only in our motel’s common areas.  No problem – I had worked furiously on Internet-related projects before leaving town, so I figured things would be fine.

But I didn’t consider how pulling out my iPhone to check messages, get a weather report, or do a quick Google search has become a habit – something I do to fill a spare moment without even realizing it.  I knew from observing the 2011 National Day of Unplugging that I might have some “issues” – but this weekend brought me face to face with them, again.

When the front desk receptionist informed me that Yosemite Lodge now provides free wifi in the rooms, I thought, “How great — our national parks are joining the digital age.”  Then she added, “It’s been kind of touch and go lately.  What can I say?  I.T. is working on it.”

Sure enough, we got to our rooms and found that, while our sons were able to get random, weak wifi, my husband and I found ourselves sitting side by side, staring at blank browser screens and watching our “loading” wheels spin.  Also, our TV was tiny — you needed birding binoculars to check the Giants’ score unless you sat right next to it.  Which was kind of a problem, since there was only one chair in the room, and it was more of a desk chair, not a TV chair.  But what was I expecting, the Four Seasons?  That wasn’t the point, I reminded myself — we were here to enjoy Yosemite’s grandeur.

 

Mirror Lake 2012, by Micah Rosales

 

The next day was sunny and warm, not too hot.  Blue cloudless sky.  In other words, perfect.  We chose to hike up past Mirror Lake, a ideal route because, since a rock slide had closed off the trail higher up, few people bothered to go past the Mirror Lake destination. But at the same time as I was enjoying our journey, I knew the Prince of Smooth was playing Lord Valdemort in the French Open semi’s, and my iPhone wouldn’t even give me a score update, due to the lack of cellular data coverage.

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