FOR THE WEEK OF SEP. 04, 2006
U.S. Open fashions create buzz beyond tennis fans
Discussions about appropriate clothes also arise in workplaces and schools, where dress codes may ban T-shirts, flip-flops, crop tops or short skirts. Use the newspaper as a resource for photos of street wear that may not fit classroom or office standards. Invite students to list reasons for personal appearance rules in business, educational and religious settings, and to discuss the balancing act between self-expression and respectful attire.
Fashion reports from the U.S. Open show how topics overlap newspaper section themes. Challenge students to find other examples -– such as Business section articles that could have run in the Features section, or Travel reports that could move to the Food section. Another discovery might be news about health, science or technology that might appear in Metro, Business or a specialized page. Students can consider how they read the paper –- and what might be missed by not looking at each section.
Sports news touches many aspects of society beyond clothing styles, which usually are not a focus of sportswriters. See how many off-field issues class members can identify in Sports sections from several days or the past week.
Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova, 19, is using her high-visibility position to show the world something that female athletes already know: Attractive and athletic are not separate things. At the U.S. Open championship tournament in New York last week, the teen player drew comments and news coverage by wearing a little black cocktail dress with beaded crystals for a night game. For a daytime match, the Russian wore a lavender dress with lace mesh – also not traditional tennis wear, which had been basically white until a decade or so ago.
This glitzy mix of sequins and sweat extends the young blonde competitor’s image from TV ads to center court. Nike, which made the evening-style party dress that includes its swoosh logo, features Sharapova in commercials with an "I Feel Pretty" theme. In one spot, bystanders serenade her with that song from the musical "West Side Story" before she fires off a power shot –- showing that girls just wanna have wins.
Other stylish athletes at the U.S. Open included Bethanie Mattek in a sheer, sleeveless, shocking pink outfit and Serena Williams, who played in a purple, red and bronze number. Rafael Nadal wore his trademark sleeveless shirts and long baggy shorts.
Player says: "The whole inspiration for the night dress was Audrey Hepburn. I’m really inspired by her. I’m in a phase where I’m like watching all of her movies. Then I read some books about her. . . . It's classy. It's elegant. It's one of my favorite dresses that I've ever worn. Everyone wants to feel confident and feel good about what they're wearing -- little girls, women, anyone." – Maria Sharapova
Nike says: “Maria's obviously someone who captures a lot of attention with a big following among young female consumers.” – Spokesman KeJuan Wilkins, acknowledging the dress "has generated a lot of interest."
Tennis official says: “If this helps us sell the game, that's spectacular. Tennis is in a decline. The active kid who played tennis (back) then is probably kayaking or mountain biking now.” -- Bob Ruzanic, U.S. Tennis Association
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