Wimbledon is all about tradition, from strawberries and cream with a Pimm's chaser to plain-as-possible tennis whites. While the All-England Club isn't forcing anyone to consume red fruits and heritage liqueurs, the esteemed grass court slam remains the only event on the tour to enforce a strict dress code. And until just before this year's Wimbledon, it even extended to spectators in the spectacularly priced debenture section, who were only allowed to enter if wearing a smart jacket and tie and dresses, but can now wear open-neck shirts, trainers (as long as they're not dirty), jeans (not torn) and shorts (can't be the sporty kind and must be tailored). If you thought this subtle reform signals a more relaxed attitude toward the players' kit, you'd be wrong. In fact, even coloured trim is limited to a meagre 1cm in width, and ladies can forget about finding a loophole up their skirts in coloured knickers - Sharapova's bright orange shorts of last year are now banned - and yes, they are checking. But there's a reason for this heavy-handedness beyond the traditional notions; it keeps Wimbledon free of bold and unsightly sponsor logos - notice there aren't any brands screaming at us from around the court? There are sponsors but they're discreetly placed, and they want that reflected in the players' clothing.
Limitations brings challenges, and this can actually be a good thing for fashion as it makes the designers think more creatively. So how do you make all-white tennis outfits exciting, stylish and above all else - covetable? Well, on the women's side, you can use layering, cut-outs, and transparency as seen in the new dresses from Adidas by Stella McCartney (one of my favourites for activewear), worn by Caroline Wozniacki (right). Or you can keep it simple with flattering cuts and textured techno fabrics. There's still something for everyone. As for the men, some of the clothes typically seen are such eyesores with their clashing colours and patterns that a clean slate can come as something of a relief. Roger Federer, the men's most stylish player - Anna Wintour wouldn't be sitting with his camp at his semi-final and final matches if he wasn't - thinks the all-white rules are too strict and hopes they'll relax, but says for now that he 'respects' them.
Tennis fashion has become so good that there's a demand for the look on the street. Activewear reflects active lives and therefore is becoming more and more a part of our every day wardrobes, with both high-end designers and the high street consistently churning out new interpretations.
Not into wearing cute ruffle skirts and second-skin, breathable tops? You can still get the Wimbledon look at home, quite literally, with an official Wimbledon bath or beach towel from Christy Towels. And there's always the strawberries and Pimm's.