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As summer nears its end (cue the violin), I’m soaking in the daylight and sunshine with every chance I get. My bucket list looks something like this: more beach days, more park picnics, more tennis sessions.
Growing up, I begged my parents to let me quit playing just about every sport I picked up. Except for tennis, that is. At least, I don’t think I ever asked them to let me drop tennis. Yes, I enjoyed the sport, but secretly I really enjoyed the outfits. While other sports required me to throw on thick, stuffy jerseys and uncomfortable gear, I got to wear a dress or skirt to tennis. It was fun!
Thanks to TikTok, tennis-core has become a trend embraced by Gen-Z. People everywhere are rocking pleated mini skirts and popping their collared shirts. But, for anyone who actually likes to spend time on the court, you know that many of these trend-forward pieces are not so practical for playing. Contrarily, many traditional tennis outfits are not exactly primed for athleisure wear. In an effort to combine form, function, and fashion, TQE team-favorite activewear brand Girlfriend Collective just launched a limited-edition tennis collection, and we’re already obsessed.
Meet The Racket Collection
The Racket Collection breathes fresh air into quintessential tennis wares like pleated skorts, racerback tops, and compression dresses. The whole collection is designed to be mixed and matched, with pieces in the colors Lemonade (a sweet, subtle yellow), Tropic (a light teal), Black, and Ivory. Every item, down to the crew socks, is just. so. cute.
Some of the pieces in the collection – like the Dylan Tank Dress ($94) – are completely new to the brand, while others – like the Paloma Racerback Bra ($48) – are updated versions of the brand’s classics (this bra, for instance, got upgraded with some retro piping for the capsule).
While many of the styles may be new, this collection stays true to Girlfriend Collective’s core values of sustainability and inclusivity. All of the pieces in the collection are available in sizes XXS to 6XL – though we can’t make any promises right now, as things are selling out fast! Every item is made with the same performance, technical fabrics made out of recycled objects (like fishing nets and plastic bottles) that you’ll find across the rest of Girlfriend Collective’s offerings.
With prices between $14-$102, the collection is pretty affordable compared to many of its tennis-core counterparts. But, how does it fare? Tatiana, The Quality Edit’s Creative Director, helped me test some of the pieces on and off the courts to get you the inside scoop…
Game, Set, Mix & Match
Tatiana Ettensberger, TQE Creative Director:
“When I started playing tennis again about a year ago, I was least excited about the courtside attire of it all. During my 7 years of tennis playing as a kid, I remember always hating the tennis skirts and collared shirts—I was more of a basketball shorts and big tee gal. Though my overall wardrobe has gotten more feminine as I’ve grown up, I’ve remained steadfast in one belief—exercise attire should be comfortable, not cute.
In this vein, I was skeptical about trying Girlfriend Collective’s new collection for that very reason—ok yes, the skirts looked cute as all hell, but how would they feel? Could I dominate in them? Could I win?
I’ve now played multiple sets in these skirts and will humbly admit—I was wrong. Turns out exercise clothes can be cute and comfortable, at least when Girlfriend Collective is involved. Both the Lemonade Pleated Club Skort ($62) and the Ivory Ace Compressive Wrap Skort ($62) are incredibly lightweight while the shorts underneath offer the perfect amount of support. I’m not really one to carry my phone on me while I’m playing tennis (is anyone?…), but the little pockets are nifty nonetheless—good for an extra hair tie during a game and even better for a credit card if you’re planning on grabbing a post-game drink (the skirts are so cute that they’d be more than fitting for a drink date).
If you’re like me and thought looking cute while you play tennis was impossible, look no further than Girlfriend Collective’s new courtside collection. Win every point and look good doing it.”
As for myself, as I mentioned earlier, I love the look of (most) tennis apparel, but I do have some qualms. Many of the skorts are way too short on me and many of the pieces lack bust support or are just too sheer to feel comfortable.
I had actually never tried Girlfriend Collective before, but had heard my colleagues and friends sing its praises. I was beyond excited to try this collection and see if my prior tennis-outfitting problems could be solved. I’m happy to report that this collection exceeded my expectations.
Not only is the Pleated Club Skort ($62) buttery soft, but the outer skirt layer completely covers my butt. That’s already a win in my book. To add to the tally, the fit is quite flattering, the striped waistband has a fun retro feel, and the spandex shorts have a pocket for storing spare balls during a set or your phone or wallet during a day of running errands.
The Stretch Woven Play Windbreaker ($102) is the standout, though. Windbreakers usually tend to feel plasticy, but this one is really really soft. It’s still water-resistant and has the same benefits any windbreaker would, but it’s softer, stretchier, and more comfortable. This would be the perfect layer to throw on after a sweat sesh, when you want to wear something that’ll keep you warm without absorbing sweat and causing you to feel sticky. I love the relaxed fit and the adjustable drawstrings, which let you get two different looks out of this: oversized or cinched. Plus, there are zippered hand pockets for extra storage and security.
The only bad news? This collection is selling out so fast.
Whether your version of a tennis day involves picking up a racket or picking up a mimosa, or both, the Racket Collection is the perfect way to serve looks on and off the court. We don’t know when these pieces will sell out, so we highly recommend making your moves fast.