It’s that time of year again; time to break out the Wimbledon whites and stock up on strawberries and cream in honor of the All England Club’s grand tournament. With Wimbledon’s illustrious reputation come strict wardrobe guidelines, but that hasn’t stopped some players from showing some creativity in the past. So without further ado, feast your eyes on the ten craziest outfits in Wimbledon history.
Starting from the most outrageous, Bethanie Mattek Sands took a page from Lady Gaga’s fashion book in 2011, donning a jacket lined with fringe and white tennis ball flowers up and down the sleeves. Over the years, the American has certainly contributed to tennis fashion with quite a few memorable outfits.
In 1985, American Anne White took the jazzercise fad to the next level with an all-white, long-sleeved body suit, complete with a colorful sweatband and tube socks. At least she took the color theme seriously.
Venus Williams has come up with some buzz-worthy Wimbledon outfits in her day, but perhaps the strangest came in 2011, when she tried to bring togas back. It didn’t necessarily work, as critics poked fun at the billowy sleeves and boxy shape, but it sure looked light and airy!
Three-time Wimbledon champion Maria Bueno was always well-known for her fashion sense, but the Brazilian’s futuristic ensemble in 1996 turned out to be a polarizing piece. The cut of the dress was simple and stylish, but the clear, plasticky hem and midsection made the outfit a daring one.
While Serena Williams‘ 2004 outfit was deemed scandalous by some, there have been plenty of short-short scenarios in Wimbledon history. The surprising part of the dress was the embellishment: slit flaps on the skirt, a puncture pattern throughout, and gold horizontal stripes on the sides.
Making the list for a second time, Venus provoked chatter in 2010 with a frilly white dress with a bodice not unlike a Marilyn Monroe style one-piece. Some compared her to Tina Turner, and others to a flapper, but the dress sure made a splash.
Not to be outdone by her sister, Serena also makes the list for a second time. Wimbledon rules don’t restrict nail color, and in 2013 Serena debuted comic-book, superhero-themed nails, bright orange in color and marked with exclamatory phrases. Pow! The tennis ace also challenged Wimbledon’s strict clothing rules by flashing orange shorts underneath her white dress.
In 1949, Gertrude Moran paved the way for wardrobe scandal at the All England Club, wearing a sleeveless, high-neck dress with a black and white checked collar and hem. It would have been classy but for the fact that her frilly undergarments were on full display, making her the first woman in tennis to show her underwear on court.
Similarly, American Karol Fageros drew the ire of Wimbledon officials with the famous gold lamé shorts she wore under a minidress in 1958. They provoked so much anger that she was banned from match play until she agreed to change into a more suitable pair of white ones.
Finally, in 2002, the beautiful Anna Kournikova wore an itty bitty white skirt with a matching sleeveless top that was far from conservative. Each time she took a stroke, half her stomach became exposed to the crowd, making the top one of the most memorable belly shirts in sports history.