Friday Fashion Face-off: Worst Dressed at Wimbledon 2022

It’s Friday, and we have a face-off! We are back in business, baby! (No, we’re not. It’s now Saturday. Progress, not perfection.)

Nominee #1: Kristina Mldenovic 

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Before we start, let’s agree on our terms. Are we going to call this top a shirt or a bra?

Adidas calls it the “Parley London Crop Tank.”

Well, okay. We could also call it the “Parley London Sleeveless Collarless Buttonless Cropped Polo Shirt with Built-in Support,” but that doesn’t make it a polo shirt. It’s a sports bra.

The question, then, is whether it’s okay to wear a sports bra as a top at Wimbledon. 

Interestingly, the tournament’s written dress code, which runs to 10 separate rules defining just how white your outfit must be, says nothing about how much coverage that outfit should provide. Instead, it alludes to “suitable tennis attire.”

Why so vague? I suspect it’s to encourage some variety. If you’re going to be overly prescriptive, you might as well issue uniforms. Probably it was hoped that a sense of decorum would prevail when interpreting the guidelines.

Decorum’s a prim word, belonging to the realm of exacting schoolmasters and ever-shushing librarians. Still, it’s a useful concept to consider when someone wears a bra to Wimbledon. Let’s loosely define it as the behavior and dress appropriate to a particular place and time–in other words, “suitable.”

So, is a sports bra “suitable tennis attire”? Here’s my take:

At a public park, sure. At the U.S. Open? I’d probably go along with that, too. But is it appropriate apparel at this ivied venue, where the future queen of England bestows the champion’s trophy? I don’t think so.

All that being said, violating my square-toed sense of decorum isn’t why this outfit lands on my worst-dressed list. It’s here because it just plain looks bad.

It’s common fashion advice to balance a tighter top with a looser bottom. And if this “crop tank” were paired with the fluid elegance of palazzo pants and high heels, we’d have a beautifully proportioned silhouette. 

Here, however, we have sneakers and shorts, or as Adidas might describe them, “crop palazzo pants.” Without the long leg to balance the width of the shorts, they end up looking too voluminous and making Mladenovic, one of the most svelte women on tour, appear bulky around the middle. 

And if there’s one thing dress code devotees and dissenters can agree on, it’s that nobody wants to be bulky around the middle. 

Nominee #2: Jelena Ostapenko

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Loads of fabric. Frou-frou shoulder ruffles. This mess has decorum written all over it. I guess I should be careful what I wish for. 

Nominee #3: Simona Halep

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The Romanian always shines no matter what she wears, but Nike misses the mark here. I don’t understand what look the company is going for. The top half is basically a Fruit of the Loom undershirt…

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…while the bottom half goes ultra-feminine with delicate pleats and an elongated hemline. The result is a grotesque hybrid, like a bulldog’s head on a poodle’s body. 

I’m super curious about how the voting’s going to go for this one. Usually, I have a good idea who’s going to “win” worst-dressed, but this week the title’s up for grabs. Cast your vote–and give me your thoughts on the whole bras-as-tops issue. Am I completely out of step with the times?!

Let me know what you think!

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