Is there a proper length for a tennis skirt?
Even asking the question makes me squirm a bit inside. I like doling out a little good-humored snark, but playing hemline cop doesn’t appeal to me. Still, I can’t help looking askance when I see the lengths, or should I say the shorts, to which some young women will go.
I’m clearly dating myself since nowadays I see girls as young as middle school wearing shorts with the lower part of their butt cheeks hanging out. They wear these micro-shorts in front of their parents, who have either given up the fight or truly don’t care. Personally, I’d say save the micro-shorts for going to the beach or (if you’re older) clubbing. There’s a time and place for flaunting your assets, and Rite-Aid on a Wednesday afternoon isn’t it. (My own daughter’s in college, and I have no idea what she wears to Rite-Aid. This is probably a good thing.)
But I digress. Tennis players are, so far, keeping their cheeks safely tucked inside their knickers. It’s just that some of these knickers are getting an awful lot of exposure.
Take CoCo Vandeweghe, for instance:
Honestly, I can’t watch her play without wanting to rush onto court in full mom-mode and tug that skirt back down.
And of course, there’s the Italian hottie, Camila Giorgi:
Can we really call this a dress, or is it just a longish shirt?
Giorgi and Vandeweghe are as covered as they’d be wearing bicycle shorts, so we’re not into obscene territory here. In truth, my question about tennis hemlines centers less on modesty than on aesthetics.
To me, these dresses look like they shrank in the wash. Giorgi’s hemline in particular hits her body in an awkward place. The dress exposes her figure but doesn’t flatter it. (I know most hetero men will fail to grasp this distinction. For them, the smaller or tighter the outfit, the better. I get it, and I promise my feelings won’t be hurt if those guys want to stop reading now and go google pictures of Giorgi.)
The crotch-high hemline actually isn’t a new phenomenon for women’s tennis. Back in the ’70s, players like Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, and Rosie Casals sported what I’d call micro-dresses. I haven’t researched this theory, but I’m guessing that era’s radical hemline represented feminism’s rejection of the traditional long-skirt trappings of “ladies.”
Here’s a classic Martina photo from Wimbledon in 1978.
(I know–WTF with the lapels?! I hope they were sewn down and not flopping around in her face while she played!)
So what IS an aesthetically pleasing, well-proportioned hemline for tennis? Is there a simple guideline? Some public schools institute dress codes that require shorts and skirts to extend to a person’s fingertips, but these often controversial codes are about what’s appropriate, not about what’s attractive.
Or are fashion guidelines themselves passé, as arbitrary as not wearing white after Labor Day? It’s possible that I just haven’t kept up with the changing times and have fossilized into a crotchety old lady. (Wait, what are those kids doing on my lawn…)
Well, this topic ended up a little weightier than I was expecting. Let’s bring back the fun with FOUR poll questions…