Saturday, August 13, 2016

Olympic Attire

What to Wear When You Play

I happen to have a free week.  Believe me, that doesn’t happen often.  No meetings, no classes, no lunches with friends.  To my joy, this coincides with the first week of Olympic competition.  In our house, every TV (yes, we have more than one) is channeled onto sport.  While my husband will enthusiastically watch nearly everything, his favorites reflect his own athletic routine of cycling and swimming and all types of sailing,  although sailing in the desert has been  relegated to observing and not participating.

While I enjoy watching many events, I admit tennis is always my favorite.  Which brings me to comment on the various styles of sports apparel worn by the athletes.  Most contests demand certain “costumes”.  For instance, swimmers have high tech suits to enhance their performance in the pool.  Equestrians and fencers wear traditional garb, safety is also a feature here.  Cyclists wear Spandex and helmets.  All this I understand.

But have you watched tennis lately?  Conditions on the court can vary greatly: wind, heat can change the efforts needed by the players to succeed.  They must be able to move quickly and safely around the court.  They must be able to focus their attention  on the oncoming ball, while planning their return strategy.  It seems to me that tennis ( and other sports) has become a fashion extravaganza among the women athletes.  Surely, one wants to look good before the fans and TV cameras, but have some of them even looked at themselves in a mirror?  Unflattering colors and styles abound.  There are few that can wear layers of pleats and  ruffles in bold colors.  Skin tight tops paired with shorts so short they cannot accommodate an extra tennis ball, if a second service becomes necessary.  It would not matter if these outfits were comfortable.   I have seen players tug and readjust their clothing after each point.  This has brought to mind an article in the WSJ Style and Fashion section, Sat./Sun, July 2, 2016, which  lauded, what they called the Wimbledon Whites Advantage.  According to the attire requirement for the Championships Wimbledon “suitable tennis attire that is almost entirely white” is to be worn.  Refreshing and professional.

Now, some will say that is an infringement upon the athletes ability to show themselves as individuals  If one wants to look frumpy,so be it.  Personally, I would rather appear as one very lovely competitor who wore a simple white slip dress over her bloomers.  She did not fuss with her neckline, but appeared focused on the matter at hand.  Athletic wear should be advantageous, not outrageous.

Speaking of which, beach volleyball women have no where further to go.  Although they are awesome athletes and their winnings are uber impressive I remember vividly sitting on a sandy beach in a swimsuit.  Not a pleasant experience.  

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