Wimbledon – that most English of sporting occasions – is upon us again. In sporting terms, Wimbledon is one of the four “grand slams” – the most important tennis tournaments for professional players. But most players will admit that Wimbledon is the top tournament and the one which they dream of winning as a child. This has something to do with tradition, history, and style. Respecting these principles makes the English carry off their seasonal events so well – not changing for change sake, and upholding certain traditions that are important to the attraction of the event (although the Lady’s Maid did weep a little when the players’ pre-/post-match bow to the Royal Box ended. Admittedly, it did start to become more likely to see David Beckham in the Royal box than a minor royal, so it saves the embarrassment of tennis players mistakenly bowing to footballers). But other stylish traditions are still alive and well – white sportswear is still the only colour allowed to be worn by players, for example. So strict is the “all-white wear” rule that officials at the All England Club even enforce it for undergarments – heaven forbid that a coloured knicker ruffle should be flashed.
For on-lookers the dress code is thankfully more relaxed. For general ticket-holders there are no specific rules. It is advisable to wear loose-fitted clothes that are comfortable for sitting down all day – five-set matches can go on late into the evening. And a jacket or some form of cover-up if you are staying all day.
In the debentures area the dress code has been relaxed in recent years to allow denim, although ripped jeans and trainers are still banned.
In the members area the dress code for men is lounge suit or tailored jacket, shirt, trousers and dress shoes, so ladies would be expected to match this; e.g. smart day dresses, or smart two-piece outfits.
Here are some of the Lady’s Maid’s suggestions for Wimbledon Wear – let’s hope the sun is shining on Centre Court.