Breaking Down The Wimbledon Dress Code

By Charlie Colville

4 weeks ago

The dos and don'ts of tennis style – on and off court


Is Wimbledon on the cards for you this year? If the answer is ‘yes’, then chances are you’ve wondered what to wear – and what you can wear – to one of the biggest tennis events of the year. Here’s everything you need to know about the Wimbledon dress code, for both on and off court activities.

Does Wimbledon Have A Dress Code?

In short, yes, there is a dress code – but it is only applicable to certain groups of people visiting Wimbledon. Players follow a strict set of rules when it comes to their state of dress, while spectators generally have far fewer to worry about. Below, we break down the dos and don’ts:

For Spectators

While there’s no official dress code for spectators at Wimbledon, it is expected that those coming to watch are dressed smartly – especially if they’re seated in the Centre Court or Court Number One.

The only things spectators are strictly prohibited from wearing are ‘ambush marketing’ clothing (this refers to anything with your company logo on it) and political slogans.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Wimbledon (@wimbledon)

The Royal Box

The only time spectators are expected to follow a few rules at Wimbledon is if they find themselves in the Royal Box. Protocol dictates that spectators dress smartly – think a suit jacket and tie for men, and a sophisticated dress for women (just look to the Princess of Wales for inspiration).

Women are also discouraged from wearing hats while in the Royal Box, as this may obscure the vision of those seated behind them.

For Players

Tennis players face a far stricter dress code than those watching the game. For both practice and matches, those taking to The Championship courts are expected to follow a rather large list of dos and don’ts (there are nine rules currently lister on the official Wimbledon website). Some of the key Wimbledon dress code tenets for players include:

Wearing White

By now, we’re all familiar with the all-white attire worn by tennis players at Wimbledon. This has been a key rule since the Wimbledon dress code was written in the 1880s, when the genteel classes dictated that white should be worn to minimise the appearance of any ‘unsightly’ sweat stains. In the decades that followed, tennis whites became commonplace for Wimbledon.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Wimbledon (@wimbledon)

Even today, those playing, both in practice and in matches, are expected to wear white from top to toe. As highlighted by the Wimbledon website: ‘Competitors must be dressed in suitable tennis attire that is almost entirely white [not to be confused with off-white or cream] and this applies from the point at which the player enters the court surround.

‘There should be no solid mass or panel of colouring,’ the website continues. ‘For tops, a single trim of colour around the neckline and around the cuff of the sleeves is acceptable but must be no wider than one centimetre… Shorts, skirts and tracksuit bottoms must also be completely white except for a single trim of colour down the outside seam no wider than one centimetre.’

Note that this small trim of colour also extends to any patterns, which the sporting institute claims, ‘will be measured as if it is a solid mass of colour and should be within the one centimetre guide.’

The dress code does, however, stipulate that female players are allowed to wear solid, mid or dark-coloured undershorts provided they are no longer than their shorts or skirt.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Wimbledon (@wimbledon)

Accessories

Additionally, it is expected that players’ caps, headbands, bandanas, wristbands and socks also must follow the same rules as above; all items should be completely white, except for the aforementioned single trim of colour.

Wimbledon also asks that any medical supports and equipment should be white unless absolutely necessary.

Shoes

Shoes, meanwhile, must be ‘almost entirely white’. Soles and laces are expected to be completely white (no dirt or scuff marks present), and foxing around the shoe should be smooth.

It’s also important that the shoes worn by players don’t interfere with the court itself. As noted in the 2024 Official Grand Slam Rule Book, ‘Shoes shall not cause damage to the court other than what is expected during the normal course of a match or practice. Damage to a court may be considered as physical or visible, which may include a shoe that leaves marks beyond what it considered acceptable. The Referee has the authority to determine that a shoe does not meet these criteria and may order the player to change.

‘At Wimbledon no grass courts shoes other than those with rubber soles, without heels, ribs, studs or coverings, shall be worn by players,’ the Rule Book continues. ‘Special grass court shoes will not be used without the express approval of GST.’

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Wimbledon (@wimbledon)

No Big Logos

Following Wimbledon’s strict policy against large swathes of colour, players are also prohibited from wearing clothing that features large logos or sponsorship motifs – as well as, ‘logos formed by variations of material or pattern.’ Small logos, however, comprise acceptable attire.

When Is Wimbledon?

The Wimbledon Championships 2024 will be played over 14 days from Monday 1 to Sunday 14 July. You can see the full schedule at wimbledon.com

Featured image: Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) playing against Ons Jabeur (TUN) in the final of the Ladies’ Singles on Centre Court at The Championships 2023. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 13 Saturday 15/07/2023. (c) AELTC/Jed Jacobsohn