We give a lot of credit to baseball, football and basketball when it comes to shaping modern style, and rightfully so. As some of the biggest and most popular sports in the U.S. it’s only natural that we define sport and style around this metaphorical “big 3”. But outside of the realm of major league team competition, there’s a sport that’s had fashion at the very foundation of its game right from the start. With Wimbledon recently in the rear view mirror, we take a look back on Tennis’ ever-evolving impact on sportswear.

As wild as the late 20th Century was for tennis style, it’s always been a sport with at least some degree of a dress code. As early as the sport’s founding years in the 1500s, royal decree established that players were to wear puffed up shorts with stockings. As time gave way into the Victorian-era (spanning roughly between the years of 1837 and 1901) tennis too fell to the rigidly conservative societal codes of the period. Full-length skirts and flannel trousers, along with long sleeved shirts and sweaters were the bare minimum for proper on-court dress. Considering that the game grew in popularity as an aristocratic pastime, there was a level of propriety required for play. The traditional concept of “Tennis whites” originally rose to popularity as a way to hide sweat. Considering that tennis was a sport that both men and women could play in a time of restrictive gender roles, the dress code was always more about keeping up appearances than functionality. “Especially for the women, being seen to be perspiring was unthinkable and incredibly unsightly,” notes Ben Rothenberg, author of The Stylish Life: Tennis. This mentality of old money and aesthetic traditions color the game even today—Diddy’s incredible white parties aren’t the reason that you still see all-white wardrobes on every player at Wimbledon year after year.