(***Or, Tuesday Tennis Togs Take-down?)
Shame on me for letting our worst-dressed award day pass by without a poll. Saying I was busy is a poor excuse because snarking at fugly clothes should be my top priority, even more than improving my tennis game.
Let’s not waste any more time, then. Our nominees for worst-dressed player at the French Open are [drum roll]:
Nominee 1: Tommy Paul
Of the many ways I screw up when I’m playing tennis, overthinking may be the most humbling. When I think too much, I overcomplicate things, make monumentally bad decisions, and end up looking quite foolish. Better to keep it simple and play by my gut.
You can blame overthinking for Nike’s French Open clothing line, too. In what must have been a very late night of brainstorming, some bleary-eyed designers decided to offer an homage to French culture. Bees have long symbolized royalty in France, so the designers created a bee-based polka-dot fabric (polka-bee?). Toile, the traditional patterned fabric featuring pastoral scenes, originated in France, so the designers came up with a modern toile with tennis-playing skeletons. (I’m guessing some of this brainstorming took place at a bar.) The Nike line also includes a densely intricate floral pattern, perhaps as a nod to French tapestries.
Any one of these fabrics paired with a solid color might be okay. But combining them? Just don’t do it, Nike.
Nominee 2: Roger Federer
Roger must have missed last year’s fashion face-off, A Study in Brown, where we considered Andre Agassi’s Charlie Brown shirt and Kei Nishikori’s fast-food-establishment uniform. More than 70% of you agreed brown is a poor color choice for tennis attire.
I’ll argue that it’s an even worse choice for Federer than for Nishikori. Yes, he’s the GOAT with 20 slam titles, yada yada, but he’s also a somewhat scrawny armed, almost-middle-aged family man, traveling with a wife and four kids. He better start dressing for intimidation rather than dressing for shuffleboard.
By the way, Uniqlo is responsible for both Federer and Nishikori’s outfits. So for the 28.57% of you who wanted to see more brown tennis clothes, you know where to shop.
Nominee 3: Rafael Nadal
This outfit’s okay. I’m tired of the shirt, which Rafa owns in every color of the rainbow. I sort of like the matching stripe on the shorts, but I’m not crazy about its off-center placement. And does anyone else think these shorts are a smidge too tight?
But, really, from the knees up, he’s fine. It’s the sneakers I object to. Here’s a close-up:
Apparently the sneaker incorporates elements from each of the eleven shoes Rafa wore at his previous French Open victories.
That’s right. Eleven styles in one shoe.
Unsurprisingly, the result is a hodgepodge mess. Even the toes don’t match.
The shoe, like the French-themed clothing, is meant as an homage. I guess you can’t really say “no, thanks” when someone’s giving you an homage, right? I imagine Rafa opened the shoe box and stammered something like, “Oh….um. Wow. Gosh. You shouldn’t have.” (The French probably rolled their eyes and muttered, “Mon dieu, les Americains…”)
When I started this post, I almost didn’t include nominees 2 and 3, figuring no one could compete with Tommy Paul. But now I’m not so sure. Roger and Rafa may be giving Tommy a run for his money.
Let’s see what you have to say…
Yeah, nobody competes for worst-dressed against skeleton toile and bees. No contest. Seriously, Nike? Someone really screwed up.
I guess my first instinct was right. It’s not much of a contest. But there’s still time for Rafa and Roger to have a last-minute surge of support. I mean, look at those shoes!