Is It Time to End Wimbledon’s All-White Dress Code?


Strawberries and cream, royal patronage, and jugs of Pimm’s are all synonymous with Wimbledon, yet it’s the tennis tournament’s distinct all-white image that stands it apart from its fellow grand slams.

Since its beginnings in 1877, the All England Club – the home of Wimbledon – has honored a strict dress code that goes along the lines of “suitable tennis attire that is almost entirely white”.

Deviation from this allows for different colored trims on skirts and polos (no more than 1cm wide) with “caps, headbands, bandanas, wristbands, and socks” following the same mantra.

Yet, when world number 40 and eventual Wimbledon runner-up Nick Kyrgios stepped onto Centre Court last week wearing red Air Jordan 1 Lows pre-match, it begged the question: Is it time to end Wimbledon White? Hear me out.

As a resident Highsnobiety Style Writer, I’ve been scouring Wimbledon – as I do for the French, US, and Australian Opens – for enviable fits, nice looks, or even a delicious pair of shoes, yet such is the strict dress code at SW1, they’ve been few and far between.

Gone are the days of Bjorn Borg in a zip-up FILA track top and John McEnroe in that Sergio Tacchini warm-up jacket, for the rules have taken over.

This year around it was David Beckham clad in a brown and beige suit, Rami Malek looking like he’s on his way back from a GQ awards show, and Cliff Richard resembling my nan, with both looks on and off-court leaving a lot to be desired – which made me question whether Kyrgios had a point.

When a journalist questioned Kyrgios as to why he wore code-violating sneakers as he walked out to face American Brandon Nakashima to reach this year’s quarter-final, he replied with “I do what I want”, while the following week – after the four-set loss in the final to now eight-time Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic – he twisted the knife once more by wearing a red Jordan cap – something that’s expected to see him “fined heavily”.

Of course, Kyrgios isn’t the only player to have twisted the Wimbledon rules. Swiss legend Roger Federer wore white sneakers with orange soles back in 2013, while Pat Cash was reprimanded for wearing a black-and-white headband back in 1987. Andre Agassi’s penchant for bright colors and outlandish outfits even saw him refuse to play at SW1 in the late eighties and early nineties.

While tradition is there to be respected and remains truly in the spirit of Wimbledon, maybe it’s time to reconsider the all-white rule in the spirit of, well, fashion? Maybe next year.

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