Aussie Open 2014 In Review

When the Aussie Open began two weeks ago, I don’t think anyone expected Na Li and Stanislas Wawrinka to be the champions. In becoming such, they achieved something rare. Na Li is the first Asian winner of the Grand Slam of Asia Pacific and Wawrinka became the first person outside of “The Big Four” to win a Grand Slam title since Juan Martin Del Potro won the U.S. Open in 2009.  But this tournament was also rare because it taught us so much. Here’s what we learned from the Aussie Open 2014:

1. No one is invincible Seeds fell early as upsets abounded this year. Novak Djokovic’s loss to eventual champion Wawrinka was the most notable upset on the men’s side as many had Novak tapped to win his fourth consecutive and fifth overall Aussie Open title. On the women’s side, favorite Serena Williams lost in the Round of 16 to Ana Ivanovic who was then upset by Canadian teenager Eugenie Bouchard. Sharapova and Radwanska lost to finalist Dominika Cibulkova and defending champion Victoria Azarenka lost to Radwanska.

2. There is beauty in simplicity The current trend among tennis clothing seems to be the busier the better, especially with Nike and their crazy shorts and tops. But Alize Cornet taught us a valuable lesson with her Lacoste dress: that more is not better.

CornetThis dress is simple yet pretty and I have to say, it’s one of my favorite outfits of the tournament. The sleeves are sheer mesh and add a little something special without being overpowering or distracting. Thank you, Lacoste for breaking from the outrageous and the neon to bring us this classy look.

Alize wants to know why Nike and Adidas have to go all crazy with their designs

Alize wants to know why Nike and Adidas have to go all crazy with their designs

3. The “hanger effect” can also happen in reverse You know the scenario. You see something on a hanger in a store and you fall in love with it. You take it to the dressing room and try it on but it just doesn’t look as good on you as it did on the hanger no matter how much tugging and readjusting you do. This is known as the “hanger effect.” But we learned at the Aussie Open this year that if it looks bad on the hanger, it might not look so bad on you. Case in point, Caroline Wozniacki’s Adidas by Stella McCartney dress.

Woz Aussie 14This didn’t look nearly as bad on Caro as I thought it would. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m still not a fan of it because it’s just too busy. And I’m also sad to announce that it’s now available in blue. Looks like we’ll be looking at this style until Roland Garros.

On the other hand, Flavia Pennetta’s Adidas by Stella McCartney outfit looked just as bad as I expected it to.

PennettaThis is a good look for no one.

4. Nike needs new designers The person who designed the high waisted skirt for women needs to be fired. The person who designed the multicolored striped shorts for men needs to be fired. Maria Sharapova needs to stop designing dresses that involve visible undershorts.

Strike 1

Strike 1

Strike 2

Strike 2

Strike 3

Strike 3

You're out! (Here's hoping)

You’re out! (Here’s hoping)

5. Back injuries blow Nadal was severely hampered by his second set back injury in the final and it’s a shame because it was shaping up to be a good match. But then he was out there sandbagging and Wawrinka’s play seemed to drop with Nadal’s and we had one very weird men’s final. And it wasn’t good in a weird way. Would Wawrinka have still won had Nadal been able to play at his normal level of sublime tennis? We’ll never know. Not only is the back one of the worst injuries you can sustain in tennis–I know from experience. You don’t realize how much you use your back in the sport until you injure it and every step and every swing hurts–but it made the men’s final far less exciting than it could have been and it denied Wawrinka the chance to really and truly celebrate his first Grand Slam title.

*All photos courtesy of AusOpen.com and TennisWarehouse.com

Aussie Open Apparel Preview

With the Australian Open less than a week away, there’s no better time than the present to take a look at what the Nike and Adidas players will be wearing.

First up is the Maria Sharapova dress. The color is pretty but that’s about where my like for this dress ends.

Maria Sharapova's Nike Aussie Open dress

Maria Sharapova’s Nike Aussie Open dress

Yes, this is a dress. A really short dress. A dress so short, you have to wear shorts underneath that stick out half a foot. This isn’t the first time Sharapova has come out with a dress like this. At the U.S. Open 2013, she was slated to wear a dress of similar cut with shorts underneath. She missed the tournament due to injury but Eugenie Bouchard wore it and it was not a good look.

You know what this look reminds me of? The last time I went to Disney World, in 2007, there were several big groups of Brazilian teens who were all wearing the same field trip T-shirts.  But most of the girls were wearing printed bike shorts. I was highly confused by this because that’s what I wore back in the early 1990s. Fashion has a way of repeating itself but this is not a trend I ever wanted to see again. Does it come with a matching scrunchie?

Nike’s next look is for Serena Williams. At first glance, I liked this dress, too.

Serena Williams' Aussie Open dress

Serena Williams’ Aussie Open dress

But then I see it in pink and on a person and my first thought is old lady swim dress.

Dress or swimsuit?

Dress or swimsuit?

Some swim dresses are cute if they’re the right cut and worn by the right person. But this one is just straight up old lady. But wait a minute, it’s not a swimsuit. It’s a tennis dress!

The rest of Nike’s looks are pretty basic. Your basic tanks and pleated skirts. Only a couple of the looks are noteworthy but they may not be worn by any of the players.

Nike womensThe top isn’t bad, just kind of busy. The skirt on the other hand is bad. Remember Victoria Azarenka’s terrible high waisted skirt at last year’s U.S. Open? It’s the same cut with added pattern. Let’s hope no one wears it at the Aussie Open.

Now on to the Nike men. First up, Rafa Nadal with a crew that’s simple yet appealing.

Rafa shirtRoger Federer’s polo is simple and classic.

RF PoloClassic and simple is a nice break from their other crew options.

Nike crews

Busy, busy, busy! So busy! And to wear the blue or black would be suicide in the Melbourne heat. It may be sub-freezing in most of the United States but let’s not forget, it’s the middle of summer in the Southern Hemisphere and it’s been known to get well above 100 degrees on court. The red crew is thankfully not busy but the dark color may cause problems during day matches. But hey, if it’s hot, just jump into a pool right? Nike has you covered!

Nike shortsContinuing with Nike’s bathing suit look are these men’s shorts. Yes, these are shorts, not swim trunks. I sincerely hope no one wears these.

Now let’s turn our attention to Adidas.

First up, Adidas by Stella McCartney. At first, Caroline Wozniacki was the only one to wear this label but now it boasts Laura Robson, Maria Kirilenko and Andrea Petkovic among its wearers. This dress however (thankfully) is only worn by Woz.

Stella McCartney 2014I mean, really, there are no words. Except maybe heinous and atrocity.

The separates aren’t much better.

Stella McCartney tops & skirts Pleats, prints, stripes. There’s just too much going on, just like the dress.

I’m on the fence with this next look.

Adidas dress 2014I love the blue color of this dress–it matches the courts!–and I love the orange accent sports bra underneath. I also love how the back is sheer with this crisscross pattern. What I don’t like is the cowl neck. Sure it looks fine in this picture but let’s take a look at it close up.

Adidas cowl neckThis is what happens when cowl necks are not maintained. And by not maintained, I mean when you don’t sit like a statue and not move at all. They inevitably flop over. And since tennis players move around so much, that cowl neck is not going to stay in place. It just looks sloppy to me. Although I do like the color of this top–the dress is only available in blue–but that’s probably because I’m partial to orange because of my Sam Houston State Bearkats.

The skirt that goes with this top has me on the fence as well.

Adidas skirt 2014It looks like she’s either pulled her skirt aside or a big chunk has been torn out but it’s supposed to look like that. It doesn’t look too bad from the front but from the side, it’s just strange. I wouldn’t have worn this when I played tennis.

And finally, let’s take a look at men’s Adidas.

First we have the barricade and Galaxy crews.

Adidas barricade crews

Adidas barricade crews

Adidas Galaxy crews

Adidas Galaxy crews

I like these for their simplicity, which is a nice change from Nike’s busy looks, as well as Adidas’ own neon looks from years past. Aside from the black for player heat safety reasons, the only one I don’t like is the barricade crew in Solar Slime. Aside from it having a terrible name, it’s slightly eyeball searing. But only slightly.

The Australian Open begins on January 13 (or January 12 if you are in the United States). I can’t wait to see these new looks debut. You never know, sometimes clothes look better on the person than on the hanger.

*All photos courtesy of TennisWarehouse.com

Published in: on January 8, 2014 at 12:17 am  Leave a Comment  
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Fashion Face-Off: Serena vs. Azarenka

This face-off of the two women’s finalists is Nike vs. Nike.  Both also ended up on the worst-dressed list.

Serena wore a Nike dress made of Nike’s new combo material of Dri-Fit and spandex jersey.  Her day dress was pink and her night dress was gray. I’m not a fan of either.

Serena

The good thing is that at least on Serena, it doesn’t look like an ice skating costume as it does on the model on TennisWarehouse.com.

ice skating Nike

 

Azarenka also wore clothing made of Dri-fit and jersey spandex. It too is bad, especially the high waisted skirt.

Azarenka

However, props go to Azarenka for not choosing the purple version.

purple skirt Nike

I regretfully declare Serena the winner of this contest. In no other situation would that dress have been picked as a winner. That should speak volumes to how very bad Azarenka’s outfit is.

 

*Photo credits top to bottom: Zimbio (Serena left), wwtdd.com (Serena right), TennisWarehouse.com, USA Today, TennisWarehouse.com

Published in: on September 8, 2013 at 3:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Nike a big flop at U.S. Open

At this year’s U.S. Open, very little Nike apparel was visually pleasing.  Here’s a look at some of the worst.

Azarenka

Victoria Azarenka wore two of Nike’s pieces that are made of Dri-Fit material and spandex jersey, the fabric that lends the skirt and top their slightly heathered look. I’m not a fan of the effect. Nor am I a fan of the high waisted skirt–and yes, it is supposed to be high waisted.  As a rule, the only high waisted article of clothing anybody should wear is a pencil skirt, and even those are not exactly “in” anymore.

 

 

Bouchard & Keys

Eugenie Bouchard wore this creation that was supposed to be worn by Maria Sharapova who withdrew before the tournament.  I’m not entirely sure what the pattern is supposed to be–New York City skyline and harbor maybe?–but whatever it is, it’s ugly. And the undershorts that stick out? Not a good look. I expect better from Sharapova.

 

Serena

Serena’s pink dress was for day matches and the gray for night matches.  Both were bad. The skirt was a bad play on the current high-low dress trend. But instead of the front being high and the back low, the sides were high and the front and back were low. And like Azarenka’s pieces, these dresses are also heathered.  It looks good on neither.

 

Federer US Open

I don’t know what happened here. Federer is usually so well dressed. Then again, Federer usually makes it past the fourth round and he didn’t do that at this year’s U.S. Open either.  Much like Caroline Wozniacki’s Adidas by Stella McCartney dress, there’s one too many shades of blue here. Those shorts don’t even remotely go with the rest of the look.

 

Nadal US Open

Finally, Rafael Nadal wore this all gray get-up for his night matches.  Why was Nike obsessed with gray? It looks good sometimes but too much is drab. And looking at this outfit makes me sad. I’m also not a fan of the Pepto pink swooshes.

 

Na Li

The outfit worn by Na Li was Nike’s shining start of the tournament. When I saw it on TennisWarehouse.com, I thought it was so ugly. So maybe it’s one of those things that looks better on you than it does on the hanger.  But then the gray raises its ugly head on her skirt. But it was so short–so short in fact that her normal tan lines were not covered by it–that it wasn’t over powering, unlike Azarenka’s too-long skirt, Serena’s night dress, and Nadal’s all gray outfit.

 

*Photo credits top to bottom: USA Today, TennisWarehouse.com, Zimbio (Serena left), wwtdd.com (Serena right), USOpen.org (Federer, Nadal, Li)

Published in: on September 8, 2013 at 2:43 pm  Comments (2)  
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What the heck is a skapri?

Yesterday, I visited my friendly neighborhood Academy Sports and Outdoors store for a completely un-tennis-related matter.  As I was looking around in the women’s clothing department, I stumbled upon these:

skapriBehold: The “Skapri.”  That’s right, the “skapri.”  For those of us familiar with tennis skirts, we know that many of them come with shorts built in underneath. But these…oh no. These come with cropped leggings underneath.  I have just one question: WHY?  This is one heinous piece of clothing.  And who’s to blame?  My guess: Victoria Azarenka.

Vika is my favorite women’s tennis player but during this year’s Australian Open, she continually wore purple leggings under her peachy dress as seen below.

Vika leggings

This is just not a good look. And might I also say, unnecessary?  I know cold tennis.  The high school tennis season started in January back when I was competing.  One particular tournament had me playing in 30 degree weather with North winds reaching at least 30mph.  And I managed to do it in nothing but my skirt and tennis tank…and Under Armour long sleeves…and fleece jacket…and warmed up wearing my leather letterman jacket.  But nothing on my legs. Sure, it was cold but after a while I warmed up.  I see no point in wearing built-in cropped leggings. What if you get hot? Then you’re screwed.  Why can’t we just slip some pants on under our skirts and over our undershorts? Why can’t we, Nike? Why can’t we?

 

*Photo credits: Nike Skapris courtesy of Nike.com; Victoria Azarenka courtesy of Zimbio.com

Published in: on April 17, 2013 at 5:37 pm  Comments (5)  
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Aussie Open Women’s Final: Nike vs. Nike

Na Li beat Maria Sharapova to reach her second Australian Open final and Victoria Azarenka beat Sloane Stephens to reach her second Australian Open final as well.  Not only is this a great match-up, it sets up an all Nike final.  Both Na Li and Azarenka wore clothes from the Grand group.  Azarenka wore the Grand flouncy dress in melon while Na Li wore the Grand flouncy skirt and polo.  The theme of this fashion face-off is pick-your-poison.  Na Li  chose the worst skirt in the collection.  I hate the asymmetrical hem line because it looks messy.  The only saving grace is its color.

Na Li

 

The opposite can be said about Azarenka’s dress.  The color is the worst part.  It’s called melon but looks like peaches and cream.  And it’s pretty boring to boot.

Vika

 

The winner of the match has yet to be decided but I regretfully choose Na Li as the winner in this fashion face-off.

*Photo credits: AustralianOpen.com

Published in: on January 24, 2013 at 8:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Clothes don’t make the man

Novak Djokovic muscled out Stanislas Wawrinka in a five-setter that went 12-10 in the fifth set in the fourth round at the Australian Open–and nearly gave me a heart attack in the process. It should be illegal to do that to a girl.

Following the marathon thriller, Djokovic, as he did following last year’s Aussie Open final, ripped his shirt off like the Incredible Hulk.  So the clothing that made headlines in the match wasn’t what Djokovic wore, it’s what he didn’t wear. I’ll admit, seeing Djokovic shirtless makes me forgive him for nearly killing me from all the fourth and fifth set stress.

Novak Djokovic is...the Incredible Hulk

Novak Djokovic is…the Incredible Hulk

It's OK to stare at the screen, ladies

It’s OK to stare at the screen, ladies

*Photo credits: The Associated Press

Published in: on January 20, 2013 at 7:58 pm  Comments (1)  
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WTS? Why the shorts?

Although Jamie Hampton put up one heck of a fight last night against Victoria Azarenka, I have some serious problems with what she wore. Well, OK, one serious problem.  The shorts.

Hampton

It’s no secret that female tennis players wear shorts under their skirts or dresses.  In fact, they have become part of the fashion statement of the overall look (remember Maria’s red shorts under her pink and lavender dress? Did it make sense? No. Did it make a statement? Yes, but I’m still trying to figure out just what that statement was.). But the shorts you see sticking out from Jamie Hampton’s skirt can’t possibly be a fashion statement.  If they were, I would assume she would pick a different, more bold color rather than the black with the gray.

The only purpose these can possibly serve is 1) they have ball pockets in them which she uses because she doesn’t like to stuff the balls in her undershorts (yes, there are additional undershorts under that skirt) or 2) they are some kind of compression short that helps more than say, wrapping her thighs in a whole roll of tape.  I really hope the latter is the case.  I see big things in this girl’s future so I think we’ll be seeing much more of her.  If the shorts are for medical purposes, I can tolerate them.  If not, they need to be burned.

 

*Photo courtesy of AustralianOpen.com

Published in: on January 19, 2013 at 8:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Nike’s Grand Group is a Grand Flop

As I stated in the Nike preview, I do not like Nike’s Grand Group collection.  The colors do not go and by themselves, are actually pretty ugly.  No two players demonstrate this better than Victoria Azarenka and Petra Kvitova.

I usually like what Azarenka wears but that dress is just plain bad.  It comes in purple but she chose to wear it in “melon” and let’s just say it’s a poor color choice.

Vika

Petra Kvitova made even poorer choices.  But the shame goes to Nike who designed this stuff in the first place.  Petra wore a printed top which is bad enough.  For her night match, she wore a purple skirt that matched the bottom of the top, creating a bad super high waisted skirt illusion.

Kvitova 2

Her day look was even worse.  She replaced the purple skirt with an orange one in the same style. All together it produces one very, very bad look.  First of all, there are too many colors going on in one look.  And second, the colors don’t even go.

Kvitova

*All photos courtesy of AustralianOpen.com

 

 

Published in: on January 17, 2013 at 8:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Bernard Tomic: Clash of the Patterns

Last night, Bernard Tomic kept Australia’s hopes for a native champion alive when he fought off Daniel Brands in an entertaining four setter. But his clothing choice could have been better.

Tomic wore the Nike Advantage graphic crew, which is ugly by itself, and paired it with plaid shorts.  I love a good plaid short and I consider myself a plaid short expert, having attended Catholic school for twelve years–and wore plaid shorts almost every day for five of those twelve years–and worked in a private school uniform store for three years–and dealt with plaid shorts on a daily basis.  So when it comes to plaid shorts, I know what looks good and what doesn’t.  The shorts by themselves aren’t bad.  But when paired with a contrasting print, the whole look falls apart.  There is a reason Catholic school girls wear a solid polo or a middy blouse with matching plaid tie with their plaid shorts.  Now, I’m not suggesting any more plaid for Bernie, just a solid color crew.

Tomic

*Photo courtesy of AustralianOpen.com  

Published in: on January 17, 2013 at 7:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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