One of the most prestigious and quintessentially British sporting events of the year, the Wimbledon Tennis Championships….. and with that prestige comes a dress code. No, I’m not just talking about the players. Yes, us the spectators have to confirm with the dress code too, just ask Lewis Hamilton (more on that later).
The famous all-white attire for the players is a tradition that The All England Club takes very seriously and it certainly sets this tennis Grand Slam apart from the others. The French Open, Australian Open and the US Open have no such rule and players are free to wear what colours they wish or what their sponsors tell them to!
The dress code derived from a rather unseemly sources; sweat patches! The sight of sweat spots through coloured clothing led to the now famous “tennis whites” which have become an institution at Wimbledon and many UK Tennis Clubs. In sports such as golf many clubs have relaxed the dress code to keep up with modern times and fashions, however, the All England Club have gotten more strict in recent years. In 2014 the Club issued 10-part “decree” included in the competitor’s guide all players must follow. Included in the decree are new rules revolving around the wearing of white, including stipulations like:
“White does not include off-white or cream.”
“There can only be “a single trim of colour no wider than one centimetre.”
“Any [coloured] undergarments that either are or can be visible during play (including due to perspiration)” are not allowed.
In 2013’s tournament, 7 time Wimbledon champ Roger Federer was told his orange-soled shoes were too much and he would need to switch them for the next match. “My personal opinion: I think it’s too strict,” Federer said in a press conference.
But the formal attire applies both on and off the court, with ticket holders of Centre and Number One Courts to be equally as smartly turned out. Although in recent years the strict dress code for fans outside the Members and Royal Box has become more relaxed (no tie necessary), there are still some cardinal fashion rules to stick to perfectly demonstrated by stylish celebs like Bradley Cooper and David Beckham over the years.
Here’s my breakdown of what you should wear to Wimbledon if you have hospitality tickets or general admission:
For the women those denim ripped skinny jeans will score you no advantage points, so opt for a nice smart dark-wash pair like Kim Murray or a well-fitted dress like Kate Middleton. For the men again it’s no ripped jeans so many go for chinos an open neck shirt and a blazer to be on the safe side. Branded t-shirts are also a faux pas at Wimbledon so be sure to avoid.
If you are one of the lucky ones that have member’s or Royal Box tickets, the dress code is more defined, with Gentlemen required to wear lounge suit or tailored jacket, shirt, tie, trousers and dress shoes. Ladies are expected to dress to a similar standard. The most famous case of this was in 2015 when Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton was barred from the Royal Box on Men’s Final day because he wasn’t wearing a blazer or tie.
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