Zendaya Has Sparked A Tennis Takeover With Her Challengers Outfits

By Charlie Colville

1 month ago

Here's how to ace tennis season

The latest trend to take a swing at our summer wardrobes is Tenniscore, the sporty-casual aesthetic set to dominate the courts, parks and streets this season – partly in thanks to Challengers star Zendaya. Ready to play? Call a game, set, match with these tennis-worthy dresses, skirts, tops and accessories.

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What Is Tenniscore?

Another movement hailing from the realm of TikTok, Tenniscore (as the name suggests) is a fashion trend that draws its inspiration from classic tennis aesthetics. Blending sporting attire and elevated streetwear, the trend is all about bringing the drama away from the court – while highlighting tennis staples in a fun, playful and elegant way. ‘The style set have rightly caught on to how flattering and “quiet luxury” the tennis aesthetic is and are adopting elements of the world’s most sartorially refined sport within their day to day wardrobe to create elevated “off court” looks that are proving to be a hit on Instagram and Pinterest,’ says Laura Ward, founder of EXEAT. ‘Pleats, polo shirts, V-necks, sumptuous cottons, ankle socks and an awful lot of white are the order of the day. The overall effect, if done well, is a timelessly chic take on preppy athleisure.’

Zendaya raking photos in Rome

(c) Warner Bros Pictures

The term ‘tenniscore’ has made its way onto everyone’s lips this spring – long before the tennis season begins here in the UK – largely thanks to the upcoming sports drama Challengers and its star, Zendaya. The actress has been storming her way through the film’s promotional circuit, serving (pun fully intended) up a wardrobe of ultra-glam tennis-themed looks and inspiring a new wave of sportscore fans. ‘Tenniscore always comes to the fore as the weather begins to get warmer and Wimbledon edges closer,’ says the team at Joules. ‘However, we can’t deny that Zendaya has breathed new life into the trend and fully started “tennis girl summer” through the press tour for Challengers. The looks were preppy, playful and feminine. And those shoes – white pointed-toe pumps with a sharp stiletto spike threaded through a literal tennis ball. Ace.’

‘Zendaya’s stylist, Law Roach, is a magician when it comes to headline-grabbing dressing that sets the trend agenda for the season,’ adds Laura. ‘With the Challengers junket he’s raided the fashion archives to construct a roster of looks that touch on the core aesthetic elements of the game – everything from the breathtaking elegance of the chequered green and white Louis Vuitton dress coat reflecting the colours seen on a manicured grass tennis court, to the crisp custom Calvin Klein suit reminiscent of the sharp tailoring and white palette that define the sport’s famous dress code.’

Zendaya in tenniscore outfit

(c) Caroline McCredie/Warner Bros Pictures

But, as the team at Joules have already noted, tenniscore isn’t a newfound fad. ‘Since the sport’s inception in the late eighteen hundreds, tennis and style have gone hand-in-hand,’ they say. ‘Due to the upper-class society nature of the sport in its early days, the potential for a meet-cute established an early precedent of taking appearance and style into consideration while playing tennis, to the detriment of practicality or comfort. Men wore blazers and flannel trousers, while women wore corsets and long skirts. And whilst comfort and performance mean formal looks are now reserved for spectators, recent on court looks have always felt quite fresh off the court. Not too long ago everyone’s style icon, Princess Diana, was papped sporting looks that would now be referred to as tenniscore – and TikTok has obviously latched onto the trend’s latest wave, bringing this effortlessly classy and cool sports-luxe look to a new audience.’

This is a trend that, evidently, is rooted in classic style principles – summer whites, pleats, polo shirts, sporting knits – that can be lifted and shaped for any occasion, even a red carpet.

How To Style Tenniscore

Unfortunately, we can’t all be Zendaya – but we can find our own way to channel tenniscore. Laura recommends sticking to some of the sport’s style staples: ‘Think of razor sharp pleating that adds elevated fluidity to the silhouette as opposed to bulk and flounce, a button up polo shirt in luxurious butter soft fabric and, of course, the perfect tennis dress that’s cut to flatter and will take you seamlessly from court to coffee on the Kings Road.’

The Joules team seem to be in agreement. ‘Polo shirts in pastel shades, chino shorts, baseball caps are all good places to start,’ they say. ‘Think clean and crisp styles, tennis-inspired knits (probably draped around your shoulders) and a pair of box-fresh white trainers with a new pair of white socks. Of course, you don’t want to look like you’ve got all the gear and no idea, so one or two pieces will do. Accessorise with a lot of confidence.’

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Featured image: EXEAT