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Serena Williams at the French Open, 2018
Though the response to the catsuit ban (even saying it out loud, it sounds outrageous) on social media was critical and political, Williams herself took it in stride: “When it comes to fashion, you don’t want to be a repeat offender,” she said in a press conference.
Gertrude Moran at Wimbledon, 1949
The hemlines of tennis whites have crept up since the 1940s, but at the time, Gertrude Moran’s hint of lace underwear scandalized the tennis world. Ahead of the 1949 Wimbledon tournament—Moran’s first—she had requested permission to wear a colorful look, breaking with the tennis club’s tradition of all-white ensembles. When she was denied her request, she decided instead for a more subversive statement: a lace trim along her underwear, which briefly flashed during play. The All England Tennis club reportedly accused her of bringing “vulgarity and sin into tennis”—and the controversy even had a day in Parliament. To top it off, Moran lost her match.
Anne White at Wimbledon, 1985
Ah, the original catsuit. Anne White’s catsuit, which she wore to the championships at Wimbledon in 1985, was designed by Ted Tinling, the same designer responsible for Gertrude “Gussie” Moran’s lace-trimmed underwear. After losing her match to White, Pam Shriver complained to Wimbledon officials about her opponent’s look, and it was banned (even though it adhered to the club’s all-white policy).