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

I Saw What I Didn’t Want to See

Earlier this month, I bemoaned a  few new pieces of clothing in the new Nike and Adidas collections. I hoped–prayed!–that they wouldn’t show up at the Australian Open. But alas, they did.

Australian teenager Thanasi Kokkinakis wore Nike’s Gladiator short but I really wish he hadn’t.

Kokkinakis

Eugenie Bouchard wore a high-waisted skirt from the Maria Sharapova Nike collection. Again, I wish she hadn’t. This high-waisted tennis skirt trend needs to die, like yesterday. Somehow, they’ve found a way to make some of the fittest athletes in the world look frumpy.

Bouchard

Victoria Azarenka wore a top that I don’t mind actually, but didn’t think I’d see. I’m just glad she didn’t pair it with a high-waisted skirt.

Azarenka Aussie 2014

I really hope Nike goes back to the drawing board after this tournament because they’ve really churned out some ugly stuff in the past six months.

*All photos courtesy of AustralianOpen.com

Published in: on January 16, 2014 at 8:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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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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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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2013 Aussie Open Nike Preview

With just nine days before the start of the 2013 Australian Open, we get a look at Nike’s newest collections.

For men, there is the Rafa Spring group, of which the main items are a purple top with an orange neckline and gray shorts.  I do not like the orange and purple combo, so I’m giving this look two thumbs down.  Fortunately for my eyes, but unfortunately for the tennis world–who wouldn’t want to see another nearly six hour classic final, except maybe Djokovic and Nadal himself?– Rafa will be missing this year’s Australian Open due to a stomach virus.

Nike's Rafa Spring collection

Nike’s Rafa Spring collection

The RF collection, for Roger Federer, is better but still a swing and a miss.  One shirt option is blue while the other is gray with pink .  Blue is tricky to do at the Australian Open because of the blue courts.  And Federer has done pink before; at the Rogers Masters in Toronto in 2010.  He may choose to wear one color for night matches and the other for day.

Nike's RF collection

Nike’s RF collection

Nike players who aren’t Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer basically get a choice between two ugly looks. The first, the Advantage polo, is covered in geometric shapes and comes in black and white or blue and red.  The black and white is less ugly so I hope more players choose it.  The second, the Sphere stripe polo, is covered in dizzying lines .  The colors aren’t bad but I would hate to play against someone wearing it.

The Advantage graphic polo

The Advantage graphic polo

The Sphere stripe polo

The Sphere stripe polo

Unlike Adidas, Nike’s men’s and women’s clothes are very different, except for a few questionable color choices.

First, there is the Grand Group, composed of two styles of dresses, the pleated and the flouncy, the popular Princess tank, and two styles of skirts, again pleated and flouncy.  While I like the style of the pleated dress, I don’t like the color combination.  The flouncy dresses are not very interesting and that peachy-orange color, which Nike is calling melon, is just plain ugly.

Left to right, Grand pleated dress, Grand flouncy dress in Melon, Grand flouncy dress in Ultraviolet

Left to right, Grand pleated dress, Grand flouncy dress in Melon, Grand flouncy dress in Ultraviolet

Nike has been doing the Princess tank for at least a few seasons now.  I like the style of it but the colors this season make no sense.  The white has orange and “melon” on the straps which I can deal with.  But then on the purple, the neon yellow straps totally come out of left field.  Nowhere else in the Grand Collection does neon yellow appear.

Nike Grand princess tanks

Nike Grand Princess tanks

I like the Grand pleated skirts– except in “melon” of course.  That color needs to be banned.–because they are classic tennis skirts.

Nike Grand pleated skirts

Nike Grand pleated skirts

But the flouncy skirts need to go.  I’m not a fan of the asymmetrical hem line because it looks messy.  And again, the gray comes out of left field.  Like the neon yellow, it appears nowhere else in the collection.

Nike Grand flouncy skirt

Nike Grand flouncy skirt

Nike also put out the Spring group which is just the Grand group done in black, yellow, and gray, much like Adidas’ collections.  Adidas however, used a bright yellow, whereas Nike used a paler yellow.  In the battle of the yellows, Adidas wins because bright yellow looks better than light yellow when paired with black.

Left to right: Nike Spring pleated dress, Princess tank, pleated skirt and flouncy skirt

Left to right: Nike Spring pleated dress, Princess tank, pleated skirt and flouncy skirt

Finally, there is the Maria Group, created for Maria Sharapova, though others have worn it. The colors are the same as the Spring group, and I still don’t like the yellow.  There are three items; a tank, an A-line skirt, and a dress.  I like the design but not the color of the tank.

Maria tank

Maria tank

The skirt isn’t too bad in the black or the white.  But the trim on the bottom of the yellow is an ugly color.  Adidas made the same mistake in its men’s barricade collection, by blending black and yellow to make a dark greenish-gray color that never looks good.

Maria skirtsThe dress would be pretty if not for that geometric design at the top.  Something about it just doesn’t look right.  But I like the fade from yellow to white and the design is very feminine.  Maria usually has a day look and a night look, but the night look has yet to be released.

Maria dressOverall, I am not a fan of these Nike collections.  But this is just one blogger’s opinion.  Tell me what you think!

*All photos courtesy of TennisWarehouse.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on January 4, 2013 at 8:31 pm  Comments (1)  
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2011 Wimbledon White Clothes Preview

Wimbledon is less than a week away. Show of hands, who’s excited? I know I am!

Because ofWimbledon’s strict dress code that requires players to wear all white, it can be the most boring of the Grand Slams in terms of fashion. Players can, of course, add their own little touches to their clothes with splashes of color and, as the Williams sisters and Maria Sharapova have been known to do, have unique ensembles, specifically designed just for them.

Here’s a look at what you may see at Wimbledon next week, based on the collections Nike and Adidas already have out.

Nike women can go with any of the three main collections for dress-code approved apparel; the Flirty, Gridiron and Spark collections all have mostly white pieces in them.  Serena Williams appears to be wearing the Smash Lawn dress, which is a surprisingly subdued dress by Serena standards.  It remains to be seen what her sister, Venus, who wears her own line not connected with Nike, will wear.  Nike player and designer Maria Sharapova does not show her Wimbledon outfit on Nike’s website or TennisWarehouse.com.  For a look at the other Nike women’s tennis apparel, checkout Nike.com.

Adidas, unlike Nike (at least to my knowledge), has released an umbrella Wimbledon collection that encompasses the adiZero and Barricade collections as well as the new adiPure collection.  The collection is mostly white with splashes of red-orange, pink and blue and of course consists of tops, tanks, skirts and dresses.  To see this collection, checkout TennisWarehouse.com.

I am interested in seeing what Caroline Wozniacki will wear because she has basically exhausted the Adidas by Stella McCartney collection.  The only thing she has not worn is the pleated ruffle tank, which is just a fashion atrocity.  My guess is that she will wear the white version of the ruffle dress she wore at Roland Garros.  I am now taking bets as to what it will be.

As for the men, Nike has white shorts and white polos and crews in the collection that Federer wears, the Challenger group. While the collection that Nadal wears, the Showdown group, has white items, the selection is extremely limited. In fact, there is only one shirt, the Sunburst shirt, that would fit the Wimbledon dress requirements.  You can check out all of Nike’s men’s tennis apparel here at Nike.com.

As they did for their women, Adidas released an umbrella Wimbledon collection for their men, encompassing, as was the case for the women, the adiZero and Barricade collections and the new adiPure collection.  The curious thing about the new Wimbledon adiPure collection is that the only shorts in the collection are plaid. I’m not sure if these actually follow Wimbledon’s dress-code. I guess we will find out next week.  The Wimbledon adiZero and Barricade collections are much toned down versions of their spring and summer counterparts.  If you will recall, the adiZero collection featured shirts with a bold (and tacky) finger paint-like motif.  Thank goodness those are gone! To checkout the Adidas men’s tennis apparel you can visit TennisWarehouse.com.

Remember,Wimbledon starts June 20! Get your strawberries and cream—and your white clothes—ready!

Published in: on June 15, 2011 at 12:04 am  Leave a Comment  
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