Fashion-forward females add glamour to Wimbledon

Tue Jun 28, 2011 11:58am EDT
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By Kylie MacLellan

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - When the Wimbledon tennis championships got under way at the All England Club in the 1900s, refined-looking competitors wore boater hats, long sleeves, neatly pressed trousers and floor length dressers.

While it remains the most traditional tournament, as the only grand slam requiring players to wear white, the outfits on display at Wimbledon have become a little more outlandish.

Five-times champion Venus Williams raised eyebrows when she took to the court for her first round match in an all-in-one lace outfit, featuring a zip up the front and a cut-out back which the American deemed "a peek-a-boo."

"It's just kind of like a trendy dress, it's a jumper, jumpers are very now, as is lace," she said of her creation, which appeared to put the quest for style before practicality.

"The shoulders have a lot of draping, which is also in at the moment, it's fun. I'm really into zippers, so it has like a focal point of a zipper in the front."

While Wimbledon's organizers are not oblivious to fashion, choosing Polo Ralph Lauren to design outfits for its umpires, line judges, ball boys and girls, elegance is the order of the day with court officials dressed in clean-cut navy blazers, cream trousers and flat caps.

Defending champion Serena Williams favored this more reserved approach when picking her outfit for this year's tournament, despite accessorizing with big jewelry and long glittery purple nails.

"The inspiration was to be classic. So I kind of took classic lines and brought it to tennis with a cardigan as well as the dress," she told reporters.   Continued...

<p>Venus Williams hits a return to Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London June 27, 2011. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett</p>