In the early 1900s women emerged in the world of sports especially in tennis and golf. They started out with only their ankles barely showing, corsets, long sleeves, and big skirts that touched the floor.
As they continued to play into the 1920s they wore cocktail-like dresses that fell right below the knee. They began to notice that the length of the dresses limited their mobility during games, causing them to shorten the hemline and adopting the usage of skirts rather than dresses.
Once again the skirts limited players movement so women began opting to wear more flattering high waisted shorts in the forties. In the fifties, during the red scare, women’s tennis players returned to a more “ladylike” attire with dresses that fell right above the knee and long sleeve cardigans to wear on top. Hemlines continued to come up higher on the leg in the sixties.
During the seventies (also known as the disco decade) the women took a big leap in tennis fashion by wearing tight skirts and occasionally shorts.
Then moving to the early 2000s we can see women like Maria Sharapova wearing brightly colored, tight, short skirts and tight tank tops that occasionally exposed her midriff. Today we have high school women’s tennis players wearing similar outfits to what is seen on Maria Sharapova.
On our own campus our women’s tennis team’s uniforms consist of shorts skirts and t-shirts or tank tops. However, recently some of the girls have opted to play in spandex rather than skirts. They wear spandex during every practice and would only wear their skirts during a match.
When they did wear spandex for the first time during a game they were judged for what they were wearing.
“Spandex are easier to move in and more comfortable,” said senior Grace Herrick. “I felt really uncomfortable that I was being judged by parents and other players, simply for wearing what made it easier for me to play,” Herrick added. Based upon the history of tennis uniforms it is possible that spandex are the next step in tennis fashion. Skirts are out and short tight shorts are in. Similar to what was seen in the 1950’s, shorts allow for taking large quick steps, unlike skirts.
In other sports, like basketball, girls wear long baggy shorts and loose long tank tops which is probably appropriate for the sport. In sports like volleyball the uniform is more similar to tennis with short bottoms (shorts). In volleyball as well it is necessary to take quick steps and they players are in need of free movement of the legs.
It seems as though it is harder to move their legs in skirts. Which is exactly why players have been opting to wear spandex when able. If they are able to wear them during practice they should be allowed to wear them during games too. It is all about preference and what uniform is best for the sport.
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