Tennis Fashion Blogger, Rachel, talks to Ivincia about the latest tennis trends, what makes a grand slam worthy tennis outfit, and how you can use your personal tennis style on the tennis court to feel empowered and to play your best tennis.
Aside from running her tennis fashion blog Balld, Rachel is also a Textiles Technologist and an avid tennis player who plays both socially and competitively. We are thrilled to bring you this exclusive interview where she shares with you her unique perspectives on tennis fashion!
Where do you look to discover the latest tennis fashion trends? Are there any editorials you follow for inspiration?
I don’t necessarily look specifically for tennis trends. Since I currently work in fashion I spend most of my time looking into the trends of the fashion industry, particularly sportstyle and athleisure, and then visualise how these trends could apply to my tennis fashion. WGSN is my favourite place to look for upcoming trends and new innovations in textiles, especially in the sustainability realm. Pinterest is also one of my favourite places to look for inspiration and makes it easy to gather ideas. But I think most of my inspiration comes from observing what other tennis players are wearing, not so much professionals, but just people I see when playing Saturday competition or local tournaments and on social media.
I love that you wrote “watching the grand slams were like watching celebrities on the red carpet”. What do you think makes a winning tennis outfit for a grand slam?
There are a few things that would make up a winning tennis outfit for me. Firstly, a perfect fit can make the biggest difference. No matter what you choose to wear, it should fit you well, allow ease of movement while you play and most importantly flatter your figure. Secondly, details and trims can turn a plain white dress into something glamorous. It doesn’t have to be over the top, but something like a cut out back, or some mesh inserts, extra pleats or even a few diamantes. And finally, print and colour. I love a clean, white dress but to really stand out I like to wear a pop of colour or a subtle print.
What inspired you to start a tennis fashion blog? What do you enjoy most about it?
Tennis has always been a big part of my life, sometimes I loved it and sometimes I really hated it. But even on the days where I never wanted to touch a tennis racquet again, I still got a thrill out of putting on my favourite tennis dress and braiding my hair perfectly before each match. I started Balld to share my passion for tennis fashion, but also to express my frustration with the lack of appealing tennis apparel out there in the market right now, especially from the big brands.
I have always been complemented by friends, team-mates and opponents on what I wore on court, so this is what inspired me to create my tennis fashion blog and help others explore outside the box when putting their tennis outfits together. The thing I have enjoyed most about creating Balld is connecting with other people and players who share this same passion.
Have you discovered anything surprising in the tennis fashion world since starting Balld?
I think the best thing about starting Balld was being so surprised by the amount of people who shared the same interest and opinions as me on tennis fashion which was really refreshing. I was also surprised by the number of boutique tennis apparel brands that I would never have found if I hadn’t of started Balld.
You talk about the power of fashion in tennis in one of your blog posts, I particularly liked your quote “A good tennis outfit should also have the power of intimidation”. How do you achieve this through a tennis outfit? And would you dress any differently if you were playing tennis just for fun with a friend?
This is a great question and I think the answer is different for everyone. There is no particular style or outfit you should wear to achieve intimidation through your outfit, it’s about what makes you feel confident because I believe that confidence can be very intimidating on the tennis court.
I do dress differently for different occasions of tennis, in the same way a person would for an occasion in everyday life. For example, I wouldn’t wear a cocktail dress to a casual night out with friends. So I wouldn’t wear a competition dress, when having a casual, fun hit with friends. But no matter the occasion I still put thought into what I wear and make sure I’m still looking my best.
You have quite the extensive tennis wardrobe! From testing out so many different tennis clothes, what are the most important features you now look for when shopping for a stylish tennis dress?
Firstly, I like to look for something that no one else is wearing, I dread showing up to a tournament or competition wearing the same thing as someone else (unless it’s planned of course). The next feature I look for would be detailing and trims. A stylish dress must have some points of interest to make it extra special. Like lace, mesh, pleats, beading or a jacquard pattern woven into the fabric. Something that makes you look twice at it. Most importantly I look for a flattering fit and style that suits my figure. If I have this, then I don’t get distracted on court- adjusting straps or pulling down my shorts (I’m sure we have all been there).
If you could play tennis with anyone anywhere in the world, who and where would you choose?
Roger Federer in Switzerland. Switzerland is one of my favourite countries in the world (that I have visited so far) and well…….it's the GOATs homeland.
You mention you play tennis both socially and competitively, do you have any rituals that make you feel more confident before a tennis match?
A good meal is always first. I love my food and it’s very important that I have a nutritious feed before I play to ensure I’m prepared for a long match. I then braid my hair. I always have my hair in a fishtail braided ponytail, it makes me very uncomfortable if I don’t have my hair like this for a match haha. I also like to go for a walk by myself and listen to some pump up tunes (which can range from Kanye West and Childish Gambino to a bit of Shania Twain). It gives me time to myself and calms my nerves.
Which tennis player’s style do you admire the most?
I think for tennis style you can’t go past the William sisters. Their outfits aren’t always on point and can sometimes be very confronting but I do admire their efforts to push the boundaries and stand out from everyone else on tour.
In your tennis fashion blog you write about creating a “Balld moment” on the tennis court, can you tell us what this means and when your last Balld moment was?
Balld is a play on the word bold, meaning to be confident and courageous. But in regards to colour, also meaning strong, vivid and eye-catching. All these synonyms are what Balld represents. To me it’s about wearing an outfit that can make you feel strong, confident and fearless on the tennis court.
Hmm my last Balld moment… I try to make all my moments ‘Balld’ moments :) But I think my most recent was a few weekends ago playing Saturday comp in one of my favourite Adidas by Stella McCartney white dresses, paired with a neutral belted cropped trench and rounded sunnies.
If you loved this interview, you will definitely love Balld! Discover more of Rachel's tennis fashion insights here and don't forget to follow her on Instagram here!