Tennis Identity

Tennis Fashion: The 1960s

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The times they were a-changin’ in the 1960s, and tennis fashion was, too. (Slowly.) For the next few weeks, we’ll look at a different decade of tennis attire, from the 1960s through the 1990s. First up, the 1960s.

Group shot

Arthur Ashe

In the early part of the 1960s, there was white. And that was it. Maybe a tiny bit of navy blue trim or whatnot, like on Arthur Ashe’s socks. But that was it. Lacoste, Slazenger and Fred Perry owned the fashion look, lock stock and racquet press. Remember those? No? They were used to keep the wooden frame from warping. Here’s the Slazenger panther:

Roy Emerson

Remember, during this time, tennis was pretty much strictly a genteel, country club sport- and the attire and gear reflected that. Exhibit A:

Fred Perry Couple

Then again, there were some…lapses in common sense, too:

Lots of bulky cable knit pullovers. It was what it was. You wore white. Period.

Sneakers were little more than canvas shells. You think those could stand up to hard court pounding at the Open these days?

Here’s some more Fred Perry on a couple of tennis legends. Note they had their initials underneath the wreath logo.

Rod Laver

Billie Jean

Towards the end of the decade, Ted Tinling added a splash of colour (have to use that spelling) and style to women’s fashions. Men’s looks would really remain unchanged for several years yet.

Next week: The Italian lines invade the 1970s.

Fred Perry ad from Parka Avenue. Other photos from Pinterest.

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