What to wear when playing tennis

Tennis has always been the most stylish of sports. There's an elegance with tennis clothes that you don't get when dressing for other sports.

But that's not to say that walking on a tennis court is like stepping on to the runway at Paris Fashion Week. As much as you want to look good on court, you also need to ensure that what you're wearing gives you the comfort and performance you need to play your best tennis. Ideally, your tennis outfit is fashioned from breathable materials that wick away sweat and let you move freely for every shot.

If you're wondering what to wear on the tennis court, we're here to help. Our guide includes answers to some frequently asked questions, such as whether sleeveless shirts are allowed and what you should wear when it's cold.

Is there a dress code in tennis? 

On the elite men's and women's tours, players are expected to dress in a "professional manner", and in recognized tennis clothing, with the risk of being defaulted if they make any style errors. Your local club will almost certainly have some kind of dress code, though it will differ from club to club, so make sure you check what you can and cannot wear before taking to the court.

The All England Club, which stages Wimbledon, insists on players wearing almost all white, and there are a small number of other private tennis clubs around the world that require members and guests to wear white. While most clubs are relaxed about the colors you’ve got on, they usually want you to wear tennis clothes. At almost any club, you will look out of place if you turn up to play wearing any old thing.

Are tennis clothes specially designed for tennis?

Yes, some pieces are designed specifically for tennis, offering the style, comfort and performance you'll want when playing. But you'll find that almost all tennis pieces are so stylish you'll happily wear them anywhere and not just on the court.

Can you wear leggings for tennis?

The women's WTA Tour amended the rulebook in 2019 to clearly state that players could wear leggings on court. Most clubs should also allow leggings.

What about one-piece suits?

Yes, they are also allowed.

Are sleeveless shirts allowed?

While sleeveless shirts are permitted in men’s professional tennis, and also in most amateur settings, some clubs will insist that men wear a shirt with sleeves. It tends to be more relaxed for women, who can usually wear sleeveless shirts. If you're allowed to go sleeveless, it's worth considering as it helps to keep you cool on hot days, and you are completely unrestricted when swinging your racquet arm.

Do men and women wear different clothes for playing tennis? 

Men wear shorts and a shirt. Women can wear the same, and they also have other options, such as a dress, a skirt and leggings.

What should girls wear when playing tennis? 

Girls can wear shorts, skirts, dresses or leggings. Whatever they find the most comfortable. Girls might find they prefer to practise in shorts and a shirt but compete in a skirt or dress as that helps them to be in the right mindset for a match.


Ideally, your T-shirt, polo shirt or tank top should be made from modern materials that are breathable and wick away the sweat, helping to keep you comfortable. When trying on a shirt, make sure it allows you to move freely in any direction. If you are restricted in any way, that's going to stop you performing at your best.


Tennis shorts tend to be a different cut than regular sport shorts. For women, shorts are sometime seen as being more casual than a skirt or a dress. Some women like wearing shorts for practice and then competing in skirts or dresses, while other women choose to always wear shorts on court, whether it’s training or a match.


Many women will choose to wear a skirt, which allows you to move as freely as if you had shorts on, and also offers feminine style. You can wear shorts underneath.


Crafted from modern materials, a tennis dress offers style and femininity along with comfort and performance. As with a skirt, a dress should allow women to move as effortlessly as when wearing shorts, and you can wear shorts underneath.


Cushioned socks will help to protect your feet when you're running around the court. Choose socks made from modern materials that wick away the sweat. Longer socks will stop rubbing and, if you're playing on a clay court, will help to prevent dust and granules from getting inside and causing irritation.


As tennis is about movement, and everything starts with the feet, we recommend investing in a pair of shoes that are made specifically for playing tennis. If you're often playing on clay courts, you should choose shoes that are made for that surface, with a herringbone tread pattern. And if you're playing a lot on grass, find a pair of shoes that are engineered for the sport's original surface, with the right grip.


Caps and sun-visors will help to protect you from the sun, while also preventing sweat from dripping into your eyes, and keeping your hair in place. Depending on your personal preference, you might prefer a headband, which wicks away sweat and keep your hair back as you dash about the court.


If you sweat a lot, you might want to wear a wristband on one or both wrists. You can wipe the sweat from your face, and it also stops the perspiration from trickling down your arm on to your hands, which could make it harder to grip the racquet.

Can you wear tracksuit pants or trousers on court, such as when it's cold?

If it's chilly, you might wish to keep your tracksuit trousers on after you have warmed-up, but only if you feel as though as you can move freely in them.

What else can you wear to play tennis when it’s cold?

To keep warm, wear a top over your shirt, but again you need to ensure it allows you to move easily.