Like the French republic, Rene Lacoste was born in the month of July. He’s the man who essentially gave the world the original preppy polo shirt, and since the polo is ostensibly making a comeback, according to spurious news sources, it’s a good excuse for a tennis-themed image gallery on this summer weekend.
Above is a vintage tennis sweater and necktie from Newton Street Vintage; below, another vintage specimen:
Pete’s looks rather dingy in comparison:
Rand’s looks much better:
J. Press York Street:
On the left is Bobby Riggs in 1947 with girls from Smith College:
They really did wear those sweaters everywhere, even in Kalamazoo:
Tennis sweaters presumably died out for style reasons. They look elitist and old fashioned, though are just as functional as a Nike-emblazoned warmup jacket. Trousers and canvas shoes, however, are just too impractical for the modern game. This is from Wimbledon’s website:
Same goes for wooden rackets:
This probably isn’t meant to be practical:
Bud Collins in 1964 before go-to-hell pants from The Andover Shop became his trademark:
As we draw to a close, here’s man himself. Lacoste died in 1996 at the age of 92:
He had one daughter. Some crocodiles can lay up to 95 eggs:
You say elitist and old fashioned like that’s a bad thing.
You could get punched in the face for wearing one of these.
One in XXL would be quite Trad.
I am referring to the sweater.
Not bad things to me, but for those in Nike warm-up jackets.
Nice post and yes, timely.
I love tennis sweaters and should probably stop buying more, but…..
Weren’t these things Cricket Sweaters before they were Tennis Sweaters?
The tennis or cricket sweater is on my short list of iconic preppy clothing items considered to be a must have.
I’m amused that no one ever comments on the hidden, ever-present gay imagery in selling the preppy lifestyle. Or maybe the “trad community” just enjoys looking at two guys sharing a bashful look as they both grasp a tennis racquet.
Not just two guys; two pretty guys.
What’s being censored in the last picture?
Elitist and old-fashioned are positive adjectives in my book.
If you have to ask…………………. 😉
In the early 1980’s, as I was approaching 30, I played a great deal of tennis. I got into the best physical condition of my life. Tennis whites were still worn by a lot of players, and I bought a tennis sweater to complement the shorts and shirt. My old racket from high school was pretty shabby, and I happened across a Maxpli McInnroe, in a department store, mislabeled at $ 9.95. The others were marked at $ 60. I’m sorry to say that I took advantage of the store’s error. Shortly after that, I bought a Prince Pro, ($110) one of the first oversize rackets. My game improved dramatically with the utilitarian metal. I still have it.
One day, I played with a visiting 74 year old gentleman, very distantly related to me. He had worked on the Manhattan Project during WW2, actually met Einstein, and had retired as some kind of executive at Kodak, having a degree in chemistry, and a PHD from Yale. He beat the tar out of me. After wearing me out, he casually commented that he could play all day. We had a nice lunch afterward, which he treated. The nicest tennis outing I ever had. He lived into his 90’s.
I ‘ve found out those old Maxpli’s are quite collectible. Too bad I gave mine away years ago.
During the heyday as last man on the team at Loomis, I pridefully wore my tennis sweater sporting the iconic label, “Made for J. Press by Alan Paine of Godalming.”
@JWK and Wriggles – Thanks for sharing!
Some good looking sweaters from both Hilfiger and York Street.
Happy Independence Day!
In Australia an England they are still worn when playing cricket at all levels (from High School to Professionals)!
Herringbone tweed jacket and cricket sweater is an unbeatable combination. The tie with the tennis racquets is brilliant.
Eddie Jacobs LTD in Baltimore always claimed he had the crossed rackets logo trade marked and nobody else could use it. I think I bought my first tennis sweater there. I just counted six of them in my closet, five from Harrods, one from J Press, the most recent. All sizes.
I always wore Jack Purcell shoes except one pair of Tretorns which I ditched because they were women’s shoes, I believed.I had a pair of striped white flannels from Cable Car. I cannot play tennis, 10 years now, because of my bad back. Miss it dearly!
If you’re in the market for a tennis sweater or other trad tennis wear, you ought to check out this guy: https://grasscourt.com
Thanks for the reminder on Grasscourt. When I last bought from them, they were in CT and Hangover NH. Good stuff.
I loved my Alan Paine tennis sweater circa 1964. Alter about 40 years I had to face the fact that it was hopelessly outgrown, so I gave it to my haberdasher who was retired by that time. He was thrilled and gave it to his grandson.
I don’t know how to post an image here, so I’ll suggest Googling The Brothers 4 BMOC.
Tennis should have stuck with wooden racquets – it makes for a more interesting game with a greater emphasis on strategy and less emphasis on power. Pro tennis declined in popularity when the epic serve-and-volley matches of the heyday gave way to ace-ace-fault-ace, etc. It’s boring.
Tennis/cricket sweaters are one of those items of clothing that seems to make certain people angry. It’s a strange phenomenon. Navy blazers, esp double breasted, can have a similar effect.