Closet Constructor: Serving Country Club

"Challengers" is the sexiest movie of the year. It might be the best-dressed one, too.

May 3, 2024 1:03 pm
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"Challengers" altered our brain chemistry. Here's how to emulate the style.

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Welcome to Closet Constructor, a weekly series where I (a style editor) help you (a well-meaning person who likes clothes) discover new, interesting, and affordable ways to really start dressin’.

Challengers did not disappoint. I left the downtown Brooklyn location of Alamo Drafthouse absolutely buzzing last Saturday after a 10:30 a.m. tete-a-tete with Zendaya and her white boys, high on a supply of a bumping Trent Reznor soundtrack, the logistics of bisexuality and naturally, a masterclass of costume design.

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No spoilers here, of course, but after letting the mind marinate in the veritable style stew of “I TOLD YA” tees, Chanel baby flats, aubergine Stanford hoodies, a suspected Loro Piana half-zip, Mizuno trainers, (not-so) mystery shorts that you can smell through the screen and a host of On and Uniqlo for the better part of a week, I’ve decided I’m okay with putting all my eggs in one basket — I am hereby crowning Challengers the most stylish movie of the year. It’s early, yes, but to my knowledge, no other 2024 flick has commandeered the hottest designer in the world for its costuming. Eat your heart out, The Fall Guy.

But beyond a general appreciation for the sartorial bonanza, Challengers has left me contemplating what there is to be gleaned (or straight-up stolen) from tennis’ distinct on-court style. Even beyond designed-splattered films, the gentleman’s game remains one of the most lifestyle-facing physical activities out there — like most activewear, it relies on performance materials and breathable designs to reinvent classic garments — and unlike, say, golf, a functional reality and dedication to a certain sophistication endows the majority of tennis gear with a sensibility totally applicable to everyday garb.

On’s newish foray into tennis garb has produced kits and footwear that wouldn’t look out of place at an Equinox…or on a runway. (Photo by Aaron M. Sprecher/Getty Images)
Getty Images

This revelation is nothing new. Clay and grass have long dovetailed with menswear, from Arthur Ashe to Elton John to Roger Federer (whom owns a majority stake in the aforementioned On, and is the face of the aforementioned Uniqlo). Linked sweater vests and plaid short shorts are par for the course (should I say court?) in 2024.

All of which to say…it’s not particularly monumental to incorporate racquet-centric pieces into your everyday look, but should you want a little piece of the Challengers action, I highly suggest you do, even if smashing forehands is not one of your notable skills. It’s a simple like-for-like substitution — just swap your lightweight jacket for a sleek track top, or your oxford for a silky tech polo. Hell, you could go all in and rock a full kit. No one has to know your country club membership expired years ago.

Hit the showers. But buy some THE ROGER Pros and a pair of 5″ Gingham shorts first. Enjoy your Challengers-filled weekend.

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