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What is tennis core? Key trends inspired by Zendaya's new film Challengers


TENNISCORE is the latest trend you may have heard bouncing around. And it’s not just because Wimbledon is fast approaching Wimbledon whites are in store rails.

The recent release of Challengers, starring Zendaya, has taken the world by storm, including the fashion firm.

Have you seen Challengers yet?


Have you seen Challengers yet?Credit: Alamy

Following the release of the film fashion has been inspired by tennis clothing, such as pleated mini skirts, cable knit jumpers, tennis dresses, polo shirts, and preppy garments.

Research carried out by Crew Clothing found the demand for cable knit jumpers, which are a layering essential off the tennis court, has soared by 1250%, while polo shirts have seen a rise of 222%.

Alongside the clean-cut garments, tennis core also involves a simple colour palette: predominantly comprised of crisp whites, creams, butter soft yellow, greens and black – though rest assured there’s no neon nods to the tennis ball.

Not only did Zendaya’s character inspire the fashion trend, but her Challengers press tour ensembles have been an epic continuation of the tennis core trend – just with added embellishment and floor-length gowns, proving this trend is more versatile than people assume.

The tennis core trend has also been blowing up on social media too, with influencers sporting pleated mini skirts, knitted vests, white trainers, and headbands.

Zendaya's press tour looks are always on fire.


Zendaya’s press tour looks are always on fire.Credit: AFP
You must have seen Zendaya's incredible tennis shoes


You must have seen Zendaya’s incredible tennis shoesCredit: Splash

Though, this is not the first time Tenniscore has proved to be fashionable.

The late Princess Diana made a case for the athleisure look in the 90s, and in 2022 the trend showed its head, but this spring summer it is all we are seeing.

Even designer fashion labels, such as Miu Mu, Prada, and Jacquemus are spearheading the preppy tenniscore trend.

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So if you want to replicate the look, we have found the best garments to add to your wardrobe. It’s a great fresh, spring update to replace the former mob wives aesthetic we loved last season.

What is the tennis-core trend?

1. Grand Slam Tennis Skirt

The key ingredient to nail tenniscore


The key ingredient to nail tenniscoreCredit: Alo yoga

Grand Slam Tennis Skirt, £63 (Was £91) from Alo Yoga

Nothing screams tennis core louder than a pleated tennis skirt, and Alo Yoga has nailed this design.

The skirt features a flattering waistband to provide the necessary support around your waist before the skirt fans out into small pleats, which are elegant, classy, and super flattering.

What we love about this design is while it is a mini skirt, it also has built-in shorts, and a pocket, so rest assured your modesty will be covered at all times.

Pair with a sports bra, crop top, vest, or t-shirt, tie an oversized jumper around your neck, sip on your comfy white trainers and sports socks and you are ready to go.

2. DayFlex Built-in Support Plunge Neck Vest

This vest is perfect for everyday wear, evening, and working out


This vest is perfect for everyday wear, evening, and working outCredit: Tala

DayFlex Built-in Support Plunge Neck Vest, £44 from TALA

TALA blurs the lines between athleisurewear, loungewear and outerwear in the best way, as every garment is suitable to wear for any occasion.

There are plenty of items we adore from the fashion brand founded by Grace Beverley, but to nail the tennis core you will want to shop TALA’s dedicated Dayflex Health Club collection, which will help anyone nail the tennis core trend.

The Plunge Neck Vest can be paired with matching leggings, shorts, or tennis skirt, even layered with jeans, or tailored trousers, and worn under a blazer, to take you from courtside to the office, brunch with friends and cocktails after work.

3. Crew Clothing Classic Polo Shirt

Pair with jeans or a trendy tennis skirt


Pair with jeans or a trendy tennis skirtCredit: John Lewis

Crew Clothing Classic Polo Shirt, £25 (Was £35) from John Lewis

Crew Clothing has consistently nailed the preppy vibe, and is the place to shop for polo shirts to help nail the tenniscore trend.

We can tell when something is popular when it has almost sold out, which is exactly the case for this polo shirt, which usually comes in various colourways, though some are out of stock.

You can layer under a sweatshirt, knitted vest, or blazer, or pair it with shorts, leggings, jeans, or trousers, depending on the look and occasion.

4. Rae Cropped Sweater

It's giving preppy Gossip Girl vibes


It’s giving preppy Gossip Girl vibesCredit: Levis

Rae Cropped Sweater, £80 from Levi’s

We are always in need of knitwear come rain or shine, and this stylish cropped sweater is bang on the tenniscore trend and will keep you warm too.

The wool and polyester blend ensures any chills are kept at bay, yet it is still lightweight for the spring months thanks to the crop design.

The Rae sweater is super soft to the touch perfect for the cosy aesthetic, but it is also versatile enough to style over a shirt, or even layer over your shoulders and over a preppy tennis dress to nail the tenniscore look.

5. Brooke Cropped Polo Shirt

It comes with a matching skirt too for an uber-chic look and a nod to tenniscore


It comes with a matching skirt too for an uber-chic look and a nod to tenniscoreCredit: Reiss

Brooke Cropped Polo Shirt, £40 (Was £98) from Reiss

Reiss always has stunning tailored pieces and formal attire but this season has still managed to to weave in the tenniscore trend while keeping the looks elevated.

The Brooke Cropped Polo Shirt is a nod to tenniscore with a twist on the classic polo shirt, with a cropped finish, subtle v-neck opening, and collar detail, as well as stripe hem detailing.

This top can be styled with smart tailored trousers in black or white, or the matching skirt, to achieve a sophisticated tenniscore look ideal for the office or a formal occasion.

Alternatively layer with jeans, tailored shorts, or even a tennis skirt for those more off-duty days.

6. ASOS COLLUSION tennis polo mini dress

It's perfect for on and off the court


It’s perfect for on and off the courtCredit: ASOS

ASOS COLLUSION tennis polo mini dress, £22.99 from ASOS

ASOS has plenty of tenniscore-inspired outfits to shop online, so if you want the trend to take over your wardrobe, this is the retailer to shop.

The tennis polo mini dress combines many tenniscore elements, including the mini dress, Wimbledon white, polo shirt neckline, and A-line fit to flatter the wearer’s body without being too skintight.

This is perfect for hitting the court, but also just for running errands, as it is comfortable but casual.

7. ASOS DESIGN seamed mini tennis sundress

Nail the trend in a more subtle way


Nail the trend in a more subtle wayCredit: ASOS

ASOS DESIGN seamed mini tennis sundress, £24 from ASOS

If you are looking for something less obvious when styling the tenniscore trend, our favourite piece would be this ASOS mini tennis sundress.

It nails the tenniscore trend because of the classic white colourway, the mini length, and the slight puff skirt, but is in the most subtle way.

We plan on living in this dress all summer long, because it is lightweight thanks to the breathable cotton and linen blend fabric. It features corset-like structuring around the bust and waist to flatter the figure before floating out, which makes it ideal for those conscious of their stomach area as the fabric skims over the mid-lower part of the body.

We would wear it with sandals, trainers, even thong sandals or kitten heels for a more dressy summer party.

If the summer evenings get chilly simply add a preppy sweater or a denim jacket.

8. Zip Front A-line Dress

A little extra warmth for those spring and summer days


A little extra warmth for those spring and summer daysCredit: Adanola

Zip Front A-line Dress, £48.99 from Adanola

Tennis dresses come in numerous styles, and for those who prefer a long-sleeve design over a short-sleeve, Adanola has created the perfect hybrid for you.

This dress features long sleeves, is mini-length, and features a polo shirt collar.

The A-line design is super flattering and comfortable, as the zip neck fastening makes it easy to slip on and off, and moderates your body temperature whether you are darting from different ends of the tennis court or coffee shop to brunch spot this summer.

The polyester and elastane blend provide the necessary stretch to make for a comfortable fit, especially if you are working out you will be able to complete every movement easily without being restricted by your clothing.

9. Strappy Tennis Dress

Layer under a blazer, or linen shirt or wear solo


Layer under a blazer, or linen shirt or wear soloCredit: Adanola

Strappy Tennis Dress, £46.99 from Adanola

If you are looking for a more skimpy summer dress, the Strappy Tennis Dress is a popular choice, and it comes in black or white.

This dress boasts spaghetti straps and is a flattering fit with a slight a-line style skirt- but it is also fitted with built-in shorts to provide that extra security and coverage.

The flattering dress also boasts a four-way stretch, so it provides the necessary coverage when working out, and it is squatproof should you sport for your next HIIT class.

However, this dress can also be worn off-court, slipped under an oversized blazer and paired with kitten heels or ballet pumps.

10. Pleated Wide Leg Trousers

Pair with a tenniscore-inspired cable knit or vest to the office or everyday wear


Pair with a tenniscore-inspired cable knit or vest to the office or everyday wearCredit: Uniqlo

Pleated Wide Leg Trouser, £34.90 from Uniqlo

While we wouldn’t work out in Uniqlo’s Wide Leg Trousers, we would wear them to work, everyday wear, to brunches, lunches, dinners and evening drinks.

These trousers fit the tenniscore trend as they are loose fitting, but tailored, thanks to the front pleat running down the wide-leg trousers.

Tenniscore has seen some return to Adidas tracksuit bottoms, which are a slim/straight fit, but if you want to elevate that look and make it more formal then simply switch out the athleisure garment for these sophisticated trousers.

We would pair with a t-shirt, vest, linen shirt, or more structured cotton shirt, for the daytime, and a jazzy blouse or cami top for the evening depending on the occasion.

For a casual tennis core look pair with trainers, flat sandals, or ballet pumps, for the daytime, while more formal outings could see you dress the style with kitten heels or heeled sandals.

CHALLENGERS Official Trailer 2

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