March 30th, 2010

Venus Williams…

…wears the strangest tennis outfit I’ve ever seen in my life.


This is a good example of a fashion principle I’ve noticed: if a woman isn’t naturally a girly-girly sort, ruffles or bows or glitter will not make it so. Much better to stick to something more streamlined and classic, which can be feminine without looking like you’re trying too hard.

29 Responses to “Venus Williams…”

  1. Tatyana Says:

    …wears the strangest tennis outfit

    Let alone the strangest name. Totally out of sync with the visual.

    “Feminine” is not the first word that comes to mind, regardless the garments.

  2. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    It’s the bottom of a cancan dress attached to a Victorian corset, died the wrong color and worn by the wrong woman. What was she thinking?

    Fashion commentary is a LOT more fun than health care reform commentary.

  3. expat Says:

    I agree with the three of you. Yuck!

  4. csimon Says:

    I grew up in the days when “tennis whites” were still pretty much “de rigeur” — and I am not THAT old!

    I rather liked the custom — one focused on the shots, the skill, and the athleticism of the players, as opposed to their outfits.

    Funny thing is, though, this doesn’t bother me that much. I’ve seen both Serena & Venus play in person, and been up close to them. These women are Amazons! Topping 6′ with rippling muscles, huge shoulders…. Serena is slightly more feminine in physical appearance with a little softer bone structure, but the traditional clean A-line tennis dress or a demure pleated skirt wouldn’t work for either!

    As it happens, both fancy themselves fashion designers — it’s always been one of Serena’s dreams and I beleive she now owns a co. (no idea how successful it is).

    The fact, however, is, that African American atheletes such as these women don’t fit into our traditional notion of “feminism” and “lawn sport.” In fact the sport is quite different today and the best are among the top-trained athletes out there. Maybe they’re still searching for their “look.” But there’s no doubt they’ve both mastered te game!

  5. neo-neocon Says:

    MrsWhatsit: I’m also struck by how uncomfortable it looks.

    How about this instead?

  6. CV Says:


    Clearly you missed the streamlined black shorts underneath the mini-can-can dress.

    A classic combination!

    By the way, please warn us when you plan to go all Fugly in the midst of the HCR commentary.

    I was drinking coffee…perilously close to my keyboard!

  7. SteveH Says:

    Looks like a tutu. Which for some reason when worn by a fine feminine figure just gets called a mini skirt.

  8. neo-neocon Says:

    csimon: we must agree to disagree on this. I think a cleaner line (although not necessarily a boring one) would be much better.

    But I’m talking about a general fashion principle, not just tennis. I’ve noticed that if a women has a more masculine look (not that there’s anything wrong with that) like that of the Williams sisters, ruffles and lace and bows just look silly. They almost make them look like transvestites, which of course they are not.

    I think that some of the time they wear outfits that look fairly good. But not this one. Here’s Serena in a much more classic look. And here’s Venus.

  9. Mr. Frank Says:

    She has great arms, just like Michelle. As Bo Diddley used to say, she has to sneak up on a glass of water to get a drink.

  10. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    Neo, I love the olden-days tennis costume you linked — but not for playing tennis in!

    as for my own comment, I meant “dyed,” not “died.” Rrrrrr.

  11. marine's mom Says:

    Better arms than Michelle.
    Scary outfit.
    The other one you linked to is much more flattering. But then, what do I know, my kids despair of my fashion sense too!

  12. Teresa Says:

    Ruffles and bows generally don’t look good on anyone over the age of 5. I can think of few women who can carry off the look and far too many who wear them and look dreadful. The corset look on top of it doesn’t help at all.

    The fact that the Williams sisters are both tall and muscular means they (like every woman) have their own wardrobe type of challenges. Sadly Venus seems to have no eye for what will flatter her body type and make her look the part of a highly talented pro-tennis player. Unfortunately for the general public – far too many of us are then subjected to eye-bleach moments. If they were like the rest of us, the wardrobe choices would only impact neighbors.

    I wonder if someone could introduce her to Queen Latifah’s stylist… now there’s a woman who knows how to dress beautifully.

  13. IgotBupkis Says:

    You sure that’s a woman? If it is, she must do more steroids than Mark McGwire.

    Has anyone tested this Venus for a tuck?

  14. IgotBupkis Says:

    Yeah, they’re both doing steroids. There is no way you improve that substantially in performance as you head into your late 20s. Tennis is a young person’s game, and they ranked consistently in the bottom five of the top 10 in the first half of the 00s, now they both rank in the top five?

    Uh-huh. Right.

  15. IgotBupkis Says:

    More support for that claim:

    Martina Navratilova — Highest Rank: #1, 1978, age 22
    Steffi Graf — HR #1, 1987, age 18
    Gabriela Sabatini — HR #3, 1989, age 19
    Tracy Austin – HR #1, 1980, age 18
    Chris Evert – HR #1, 1975, age 21
    Maria Sharapova – HR #1, 2005, age 18
    Martina Hingis, HR #1, 1997, age 17
    Lindsay Davenport, HR #1, 1998, age 18

    Yeah, that’s their first #1, the best exception would be Davenport who managed to get her fourth #1 in 2005 at 29… But she was NEVER a middling player like Venus and Serena.

  16. CV Says:

    Given the topic of this thread, I feel compelled to make my first and last positive comment about Nancy Pelosi.

    She always looks great (from the neck down :-) Very flattering, elegant clothing. Classic ensembles.

    Too bad the same can’t be said for her policies.

  17. rickl Says:

    Maybe the purpose of the outfit is to distract her opponent.

    It’s hard to play your best game when you’re thinking, “WTF is that?”

  18. Boots Says:

    Regarding the positive comment on Pelosi’s fashion sense, yes she always dresses beautifully. Of course, the fact she’s worth about $60 million probably buys a lot of fashion advice.

    Of course all that money does her face no good.


  19. FenelonSpoke Says:

    Lol, Ricki. I don’t even play tennis and I was thinking, “WTF is that?”

    Mrs. Whatsit, You nailed the description, I think. You obviously have a future in fashion design. ;^)

  20. CZ Says:

    An man wearing a nightie. It’s just soooo…San Francisco…

  21. will Says:

    I wonder what’s become of the old man?, he was a scary dude. The outfit, truly horrific.

  22. Trimegistus Says:

    A very athletic woman wearing a frilly babydoll dress winds up looking like a man in drag. Whereas something sleek and bodyhugging would make her look like a superwoman.

  23. Michael Says:

    My friend Barbara has a What not to Wear feature from time to time in her blog. If I could figure out how to do links in comments, I’d send you some. She does not have that acute fashion sense herself, but relies on a friend who does. OTOH My wife, who has no friends so close that she’d consult them on sartorial matters, has always dressed well, even on a sometimes very constricted budget. Just one more reason to admire her, as well as love her. (Our teen aged daughter is now her fashion critic, and has her mother’s very good eye. She even tries to dress me better. Silk purse, sow’s ear, put ‘em together as you may.)

  24. waltj Says:

    “Cutesie” just doesn’t work on Venus. She ends up looking like one of the crossdressers I sometimes see standing on streetcorners late at night around Jakarta. Except they’re more feminine than she is. I wouldn’t be at all surprise if ‘roids were the cause.

    Didn’t the sisters’ father get himself banned from matches a few years back because of his bizarre behavior? Maybe that’s why we don’t see him much these days. Don’t miss him, either.

  25. Old Rebel Says:

    C’mon, you gotta keep up with sports fashion!

    The outfit you mock is from the new tennis line of clothing designed by Dr. Frank-N-Furter of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

    Oh, Venus!

  26. Tatyana Says:

    On seemingly unrelated note: Neo, I stumbled across this Jello blog from Brooklyn!

  27. Michael Says:

    So there……

  28. Artfldgr Says:

    All one has to do is attend a Fusca runway show…
    (i will send neo a few images)

    and then one would understand that what this is, is an attempt to develop a culture by antithetical means.

    That african americans have had their identities removed, and so have been told that to be a part of american culture or western culture or european culture is to no longer be african.

    so what you see is this completely artificial cargo cultist version of pseudo Americanization.

    or you see, like a teenager, the development of culture defined by opposites to what your trying to not be.

    you can see the same thing in most extreme feminism where they rail about how buildings and missiles look like penis. where the women have decided that they are going to break away from male dominated society by redefining those things that are in it that they FEEL can be reinvented

    just so you dont think i am being kooky:

    Luce Irigaray, the noted French feminist thinker, is probably most famous in American and/or/therefore Internet circles for having been metaphorically raped by noted rightwing nut and “science wars” Kulturkampf fighter Alan SoCal. In his book with Jean Baudrillard, “Intellectual Impostures”, SoCal upbraids Irigaray for her suggestion that a feminist mathematics, working in a more intuitive sense with less emphasis on male concepts like “proof”, would revolutionise the world and solve hitherto insoluble problems.

    Now the noted genius Stephen Wolfram has proved her right.

    in feminist mathematics, one does not ‘attack’ a problem. one does not ‘reduce’ problems.

    all those icky male terms…

    anyway… back to the subject at hand… which is the same class consciousness bs as applied to race.

    and so, in the absence of a real connection to real culture which in a way is an interface between our brains and the world, and a way to be able to interface socially given our brains ability to adapt. that is, sans brain adaptability, culture is no longer necessary. but if the brain becomes general purpose knowlege rule plumber, seeking out rules in a general sense rather than internally develop them in an instinctual sense, then culture and communication become more and more important to the functioning of the whole.

    sorry if that is completely antithetical to social sciences, but then again, Marx who is one of the inventors fo such, never sought to actually understand culture in a way that was respectful, they just wanted to know the controls and pinions of it so that they could grab the wheel and steer the car with no driver (society).

    this has led to some very very weird curiousities in the african community. For instance, the blind faith in false ministers, who since Sanger wrote in hier autobiography were used to direct the black community. also how maintaining this antithetical cultural situation, creates an oil and water situation which is reflected in the economic differences between the people who practice it and those that don’t. with the most successful of those that practice being entertainers promoting the same condition, and the most successful in those that don’t, are people like ken chenault, who runs American express (people like obama have their own place)

    this has also had them be susceptable to race games, and the invention of culture. it has allowed them to inject one thing or another as a cultural thing, and then not have the origins of it be known.

    for instance ‘keeping it real’ comes from the theories of a side man to the frankfurt school that rarely gets mentioned. his theories that only HATRED and Violence are honesty…

    a more circumspect version of this comes from the idea that when people do what is culturally expected, they can hide things behind it. the man in a suit can be anyting, while the man as a biker, is limited to the honesty of that role, or the dishonesty of posing in that role.

    but the more detailed version is in the african community and they have no idea where its fron, and many cant even define it. but its logic is that if i punch you in the nose, i am more honest to you than if i smile and shake your hand.

    it injects an odd kind of paranoia…

    then there are the fake holidays, which again, people assume origins of, and not know. Kwanzaa is such a holiday, made up by a progressive (now islamic i think) affrican american, who went to prison for some really nasty things, and when came out, went into eduication like ayers did.

    kwanzaa was invented by Ron Karenga, in 1966.

    [edited for length by n-n]

  29. DavidD Says:

    It looks like she’s wearing a babydoll to play tennis–it looks like something out of a Frederick’s of Hollywood catalog.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.


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