The “Challengers” Effect: How to Nail the Men’s Tennis Aesthetic

The “Challengers” Effect: How to Nail the Men’s Tennis Aesthetic

image of a men's Nike tennis sneaker against a background of tennis ball in assorted sizes

By Gabi Meyers | Last Updated: May 2 2024 | 4 min read

While I haven’t played tennis since my days as a camp counselor masquerading as a sports enthusiast, seeing the new Challengers film has me suddenly, deeply invested in the men’s tennis aesthetic.

There’s just something so timeless about the sport’s apparel and general vibe. The unstudied elegance! The worn-in cool! The direct contrast to the affable, mildly dorky aura surrounding the current pickleball craze. (I said it! Don’t come for me!)

Front and center in this tennis style renaissance? The humble tennis shoe.

presented by nike

While the film spotlights the Nike Killshot 2, I’m partial to the brand’s Court Legacy.

Classic with almost a skate style edge, you can dress these bad boys up and down all spring and summer long.

close-up of man in white Nike tennis shoes with prominent black swoosh

The sneaker: Nike Court Legacy, $70

Honoring a history rooted in tennis culture, the Nike Court Legacy brings you a time-tested staple.

  • pebbled upper
  • heritage stitching
  • retro Swoosh design

Below, five stylish outfits to help you capture the men’s tennis aesthetic:

flat lay image of casual, tennis-inspired men's outfit including a cream-colored sweater vest, white t-shirt, tan trousers, socks, a signet ring, and white tennis shoes

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An oversized graphic detail makes the sweater vest — a classic country club staple — more fun and modern.

flat lay image of a casual men's suit with a black knit polo, sunglasses, braided belt, and white tennis shoes

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I love a casual suit and sneaker moment. This olive poplin style looks and feels relaxed without veering into sloppy. I love the black knit polo for a grounding effect, but this striped version would look great with the outfit, too.

casual men's shorts outfit with green striped shirt, trio of white sleeveless undershirts, black drawstring shorts, tall white socks and white tennis shoes

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If you’ve seen the movie, you know I’ve taken inspiration for this casual outfit from one very specific scene which had everyone buzzing when the trailer came out.

I know I’m not alone in saying that I love when men pair a button-down shirt with more casual athleisure shorts. It’s just the right high low mix for a casual hang (or something more?! No spoilers!).

flat lay image of a casual men's outfit with the 'I told ya' t-shirt from the Challengers movie, also featured; jeans, a red Harrington jacket, clubmaster sunglasses and a cartier watch

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I love me some merch, like this “I TOLD YA” shirt released by Loewe (designer Jonathan Anderson is responsible for the characters’ wardrobes in the film) this week.

Not looking to drop $330 on a t-shirt? You can find similar styles on Etsy to help you nail this summer’s men’s tennis aesthetic for around twenty bucks.

flat lay image of a casual men's summer outfit featuring a short-sleeve green button down shirt, tan drawstring shorts, a brown baseball cap and white tennis sneakers

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Spending a day in the sun? These sneaks can take you anywhere. Keep your look comfy & casual with drawstring shorts and a short sleeve button up. And stylish sun protection, of course!

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Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Gabi Meyers went from Team SG's first-ever intern to a trusted fashion editor and stylist. She currently lives in Chicago with a very cute dog.