Is pickleball the new tennis? If Moda Operandi has anything to say about it, the answer is yes. So much so that the e-commerce retailer is offering a pickleball paddle and pickleballs as a part of its new Club Moda summer capsule collection. And they’re not the only ones who are leaning into the fashion side of the sport. In recent months, Norma Kamali started selling her own pickleball dress, while Alice + Olivia and Nike have also dipped their toes in pickleball merch. Pickleball has been declared America’s fastest-growing sport, according to a 2022 report by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association.
But what does pickleball fashion look like? The idea of pickleball itself may be camp, and its fashion interpretation even more so. After all, it’s a low-risk, low-impact sport that was previously mainly enjoyed by an older crowd before its recent spike in popularity. In dressing for pickleball, one could theoretically wear the same kind of outfit as one might for tennis, but getting a little bit more specific makes it all the more fun. Think the Yuppie aesthetic combined with ’90s New England prepsters or a sporty Carolyn Bessette Kennedy. Or, on the other hand: lots of color, as professional pickleball players like Anna Leigh Waters often gravitate towards neon pinks and electric greens.
For Moda Operandi’s Club Moda summer collection, for example, the retailer partnered with 24 established and emerging designers—including Brandon Maxwell, Jil Sander, Rosie Assoulin, House of Aama, and The Frankie Shop—to design pieces 70 exclusive styles, such as little pleated skirts, striped wool crepe mini dresses and more, alongside the aforementioned pickleball set created in collaboration with the pickleball gear brand Recess. “One of my favorite summer destinations is Nantucket; for our capsule with Moda, we transformed some of our core pieces to embody the spirit of the nautical landscape,” Maxwell says of the striped pieces he designed. “Pulling inspiration from the vibrant hues and motifs of sailboats and beach cabanas, we had fun playing with the traditional nautical stripe.”
Moda Operandi’s campaign for the collection features models Natalia Montero and Camilla Deterre, shot by photographer Blair Getz Mezibov at The I’On Club in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. In one photo, the model sits against the net–wearing all-black with a matching elastic headband, dark sunglasses, a chunky silver watch and high white socks. It’s exactly the kind of slightly vintage-coded inspired pickleball outfit that feels so of the moment.
Lauren Santo Domingo herself, Moda Operandi’s co-founder and Chief Brand Officer, is also planning to learn the sport this summer. “Thoreau famously said, ‘Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.’ Well I say…those are the best kind.”
Shop your pickleball summer wardrobe below.
Paddles and More
You’ll need a paddle and pickleballs to get started. And while you’re at it, you might as well pick up a pickleball bag!
If you find yourself in a shopping pickle, opt for a tennis or golf dress.
Show Your Stripes
Lean into the prepster side of it all with striped dresses and oversized polos.
Pickleball Pleated Skirts
An everyday pleated tennis skirt is at the core of the pickleball wardrobe.