Tennis Identity

KIT-icism | Up-ton Funk

The best tennis apparel combines style and functionality. The fashionable player must look good, but still be able to perform on the court. Before we dismiss Kate Upton’s kit for Love Magazine’s Advent Calendar video series as ludicrously preposterous, let’s consider a few things.

Kate Upton tennis

1. Court movement: A player’s ability to move on count cannot come at the expense of fashion. I think we can all agree on that. I’ve always considered a pair of tasteful, white tennis shoes to be the foundation of any tennis kit. But, it appears Ms. Upton has proven me wrong. I can already picture Kate, decked out in her high-heeled, suede booties, with aqua muskrat fur accents, smoothly navigating the baseline. Or charging the net like a New York Housewife at an Alexander McQueen sample sale. Obviously, a shoe with such a tiny heel-to-court ratio is best suited for hard surfaces. A nuance that I’m sure Kate considered before hopping on to the squash court for her PG-13 video session. And wouldn’t a high-heel be ideal for those tricky lobs that are often a weakness for bikini models? It’s hard to disagree with her “progressive” footwear select.

WATCH: Kate Upton Plays Tennis in Heels & Thong

2. Swing restriction: A free, unencumbered, swing is paramount to success on the tennis court. So, usually I’d frown upon the “tennis scarf”. While perfect for flying a WWI-era biplane, a scarf seems to be absolutely the worst item one could select before walking on to the court. But, pair it with a thong-back one-piece swimsuit and a beautiful lace brassiere… well, who wouldn’t adjust their swing-plane for this artfully-crafted look. Ms. Upton certainly appears at home with her woolen neck-piece dancing about as she takes her mighty hacks. Who am I to judge?

3. Functionality: My belief is that every piece of a finely tuned kit serves a purpose. At first, Kate’s transparent visor confused me. It did not seem designed with sun protection in mind. But, when I looked at it as a face-mounted wind screen, my outlook changed. Keeping in mind that Kate’s booties are perfect for high-speed directional shifts, I saw the inherent value in wearing a windshield on her pouty face. Between the rushing wind and that flapping scarf, eye-protection must be top of mind each time she steps on the court.

4. Comfort: There’s nothing worse than being acutely aware of your ill-fitting tennis togs. Baggy shorts or an ill-fitting shirt can sabotage a match. Kate seems to avoid most fit issues by keeping half of her outfit tucked in-between her butt cheeks. Out of sight, out of mind, I guess. I’d like to believe that would be uncomfortable, but Kate seems to be reveling in it. Mr. Nadal, please take note.

Eric Panke has worked 20+ years in advertising and prefers white tennis shoes. Follow on Twitter: @twoPANK

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