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What to and what not to wear: US Open edition

Serena and Venus
By Erin Bruehl
Tuesday, September 4, 2012

By the end of next weekend, the US Open will crown its champions , as the tournament of course is about winning the final Grand Slam of the year for the players. But while how they perform on the court is most important, let’s not pretend that what they wear while doing it does not matter.

The biggest trend we’ve been this year across many fashion houses, including Nike and Adidas in the tennis world, is neon. It has been around since the summer lines came out in spring and it’s infiltrated the tennis world here in one the fashion capitals of the world, New York.

Who is wearing it the best and who is bucking the trend and going traditional? Let’s find out…

First, let’s discuss the neon. There are really only a handful of colors and their various shades that work in neon form and that has showed as multiple players from the same clothing sponsors have turned up in similar and in some cases, the same shirts, skirts and dresses.

No. 6 seed Angelique Kerber lost to No. 10 Sara Errani in singles yesterday and world No. 89 and British teen Laura Robson upset three-time champion Kim Clijsters last week, both players at very different stages in their careers, but wore nearly identical outfits. Both by Adidas, they fashioned neon aqua skirts paired with a bright yellow top with cascading multi-colored stripes down just one side. Robson, however, went with the cap sleeves on her top, while Kerber went on the sleeveless side. Sania Mirza rocked nearly the same outfit during her doubles matches.

Ana Ivanovic, another Adidas client, went with the dress version of the bright yellow shirt with the cascading of Robson and Kerber, and while not the prettiest dress she has worn, it showed off her lovely figure nicely. On the men’s side, the Adidas trend continued with Fernando Verdasco of Spain and Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov sporting the men’s version of the bright yellow, cascaded striped shirt.

But just why are they all wearing the same thing?

Neon from Nike has been just as prevalent, starting with 14-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams. She’s been crushing all her opponents on the court in the daytime in a neon pink dress with front pleats in black, which must make it great for her to run, in such a moveable skirt. The dress sports a patterned, relatively high waist, to add some oomph to the dress, with matching wristbands. A lemon-lime headband topped the outfit for her fourth round singles win Monday. For the cooler evening of doubles, she went with a three-quarter sleeved black shirt and bright pink skirt with a black, white and pink striped waistband. A pink headband and a lemon-lime ponytail holder (Was it a scrunchy??) kept the hair off her face. On opening night, she had a dark grayish dress with lime accents and headband.

Even doubles partners have sported the same outfit. Errani and Roberta Vinci are both into the US Open quarterfinals in singles and as the No. 2 seed women’s doubles team, are into the semifinals. For their most recent singles victories, they were in unison with their outfits.

They sported bright pink tops paired with black skirts with multi-colored waistbands of white, lime and pink to match the shirt. When they took to the doubles court for their quarterfinal match the next day, the shirt color was used to pop a different color on the waistband of the skirt, this time white.

A partner idea on purpose? Possibly.

Victoria Azarenka also went with bright yellow Nike top, to a black skirt and sneakers, but decorated with shoelaces to match her shirt. Her third round opponent, Jie Zheng, sported a neon orange dress.

Men’s No. 11 seed Nicolas Almagro has been rocking the orange as well, going with not just an orange shirt, but matching shoes.

Also looking lovely in orange was Pippa Middleton, not a player of course but instead sister of royalty. She was present at the US Open as a spectator nonetheless. Wearing an orange, navy and light green dress with white outline, paired with a perfect summer basket-weave bag, she looked very elegant.

And that brings us to those who have ignored the neon trend and gone with the traditional-always-look-good colors. The always elegant on-court Roger Federer usually equals it with his attire, wearing navy during his night matches, with red and white stripes along the collar and down the sides of his shorts. For his day matches, he switched to a light blue version of the shirt, collarless, and therefore more casual for day wear.

Novak Djokovic went with a slightly lighter shade of navy for his most recent day match and Andy Roddick fittingly continued the red, white and blue trend among some of the top men’s players, with his very summer-like white shirt and shorts, with thin blue stripes to match his patriotic stars and striped Babolat sneakers, very representative of how much he has meant to American tennis over the last decade.

Fashionista Maria Sharapova, designer of her own line of shoes for Cole Haan, has worn some memorable outfits in Flushing Meadows, from her ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ black number from when she won the title back in 2006 to the seamless red dress with Swarovski crystals she wore another year. This year, she has been wearing a pretty light pink dress, with darker shades along the neckline and criss-crossing around her waist. For night, however, she broke out a little neon, with bright yellow accents to a dark gray dress.

The most unique dress of the tournament goes to Venus Williams, from her own EleVen line, who has created many unique dresses over the years, but this year is going with a white background decorated with stripes and outlined multi-colored roses and ‘Love’ written in script throughout, with a solid pink skirt.

The biggest fashion ‘miss’ so far has been the lack of variety, and you wonder how much say a lot of players have in their outfits. Ultimately, though, you would think everyone should want to look his or her best on the biggest stage, for all the millions of photos of them snapped, published and tweeted, and it’s harder to find a bigger stage than the sports and entertainment show that is the US Open.

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