Tennis shorts first made their appearance in 1932 when the British tennis player, Bunny Austin, chose to wear shorts rather than the traditional flannel trousers at Forest Hills and then at Wimbledon. Although ridiculed at first, the less restrictive and cooler shorts soon became the norm. During the next four decades changes to men's tennis fashion were minor. The length of shorts varied slightly from decade to decade.
The 1970's gave us outrageously short shorts, which were also tighter to show your arse and legs off to the best effect - whether or not you had a nice arse! For this reason, pockets were often left out altogether from women’s shorts - they didn't want to spoil the line! Men's shorts usually include pockets, some of the coolest are those with towelling pocket lining - to keep the balls dry?! During the 1970s colour was added to men's tennis apparel for the first time since the earliest days of the sport when white was considered the only acceptable colour as it masked signs of perspiration! However, this was largely reflected in the shirts, tops and headbands worn by the players- shorts remained largely white.
Players branding began way back- Rene Lacoste was a champion in the 20's and Fred Perry the 1930's, these brands have become leaders in tennis wear throughout the world, certainly no other players have had the same success. Sports brands and sponsorship came aboard tennis in the1970’s and 1980s. The top players were and continue to be stars in their own right, so the key brands were keen to promote themselves through them. Colour, designs, and prominent logos on light breathable fabrics began to appear while player endorsement drove sales. Today players branding is a big business - most have their own logos included on individualised name brands which are also available to the public at vastly inflated prices. Brand endorsements are one of the biggest influencers of modern tennis style.
Summer sports means one thing for certain: TENNIS, and for sure you are going to need some cool tennis shorts. Obviously, you could buy some run-of-the-mill, off-the-peg sports shorts but you could go for a hip look! There are so many cool styles of tennis short from which to choose going back over many decades.
Obviously, women still wore skirts on the whole, however, Pauline Betz, one of the women who dominated the immediate post-war Wimbledon years, sometimes wore shorts -albeit loose shorts that resembled skirts! The outfit worn by American tennis player Gertrude Moran at Wimbledon in 1949 was a hint of trends to come. She wore shorts under her skirt with lace that peeked out as she played. Photographers lay flat on the ground to try to get pictures of the lace shorts - of course they did, bastards. Mod fashion took the 1960s by storm and showed up in tennis uniforms, graphic shorts were popular, though still worn under a tunic or dress.
The much maligned 1980's provided a huge variety of shorts style, white shorts were rapidly replaced by brightly coloured shorts made from synthetic moisture-wicking materials like lycra. Designs included shorts with peg pleating to the front and turn-ups at the hems, or maybe pastel coloured abstract designs to the pocket linings, waistbands and sides - more tasteful than you might expect and just the thing to make you stand out on the court. During the 1990s, the short-shorts favoured during the 1980s were dropped in favour of baggier, Bermuda style shorts. Players like Agassi started wearing colourful lycra cycling shorts underneath these shorts – for men a trend that continues to this day. Women on the professional circuit continue to wear both shorts and skirts with the shorts remaining short but emphasising a focus on performance, comfort and ease of movement.
At Repsycho we sell vintage shorts of all styles and brands for a snip. Most of our shorts are branded ones; for instance, Adidas, Lacoste, Fred Perry and Nike. We also sell shorts which have been tennis star branded with their own individual logos - eg Becker, Lendl and Edberg - have a look at our website, all you need to do is find a style to suit you and click!