NEW YORK. While I’m frantically taking notes on spring 2018 attire appearing now during worldwide fashion weeks (New York City’s took place Sept. 7–14), I am still personally stuck on U.S. Open style.
Though my husband and I have taken tennis lessons on and off for years, I’m only mildly interested in watching the sport—I do, however, admire the athleticism of the players. But one morning in late August, a text from a friend who owns a jewelry store reminded me why I care about tennis style if not the game: “I just got a request for safety pin earrings. Off the top of your head, who makes them?” I knew exactly why she was getting this request and which jewelry designers made them.
Maria Sharapova, the Russian tennis player who fell from grace after a doping scandal in 2016, had played Simona Halep the night before in her first round at the Open. Though I didn’t watch the match in its entirety, I caught a glimpse of Sharapova in a follow-up interview. I spied a chic little safety pin earring on her left ear, an understated boss look that perfectly complemented her Riccardo Tisci designed, Nike-made, black-lace-accented tennis dress adorned with Swarovski crystals. Swoon! (I live in tennis skirts in the summer so I was smitten with the frock and the cool earrings.) Sharapova wore them again in a different match with the white version of that Nike dress. I made a mental note to nab a pair of safety pin earrings for myself (see options below).
Although the U.S. Open isn’t a major jewelry-watching moment—unlike the Oscars and the Golden Globes—I was interested in the earrings because they were probably ones she owned. I favor real-life looks at folks’ style preferences over the paid-for jewelry placements seen at most red-carpet events. I’m not impressed by jewels that a brand pays someone to wear, because, first, it’s not an authentic occurrence, and second, those jewels are often a snooze-fest to view. All the best jewelry is made by independent artists like the ones I cover on this website; folks who can’t afford to buy an appearance, and their designs are always a thousand times more interesting and innovative. So, I rattled off the name of designers who made safety pin earrings in gold—Sydney Evan, Lauren Klassen, Ileana Makri, Lauren Stewart, and Anita Ko—for my friend and kept my eye on a few more televised matches to see what other players were wearing.
Venus Williams was next up. I adore her—she is elegant, a phenomenal athlete, loves jewelry, is now something of an underdog in her late 30s, and makes her own line of beautiful tennis clothing. After seeing her in a coral, gray, and black abstract-pattern dress with oversize drop-hoop earrings—one of which flew off during a match—I jumped online to order my own outfit. (I’ve already got hoops.) I snagged a lavender, white, and gray floral tennis skirt, and my 80-year-old mother-in-law bought a pair of navy leggings that are as fly as she is. Williams wore these same earrings to another event before the Open, so again, I’m thinking they belong to her. They looked great on her long slender neck, but I can’t help but wonder how a pair of golden pearl earrings and a matching pendant might come to life on her beautiful skin.
And while other players took home awards—Martina Hingis and Yung-Jan Chan won the Women’s Doubles Final, and Sloane Stephens took home the U.S. Open Title—their jewelry and attire were less than exciting. And the men? Fuhgeddaboudit. I’ll shift gears now to Fashion Week newness, though I may be doing it in a tennis skirt and tee until the weather turns cold.
Make the Looks Your Own
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