Taking the world by storm in style.

By Liz Wendler Styling

Varsity Pickle and Zozos pickleball gear, styled by Liz Wendler

Pickleball has become a global sensation, and the rise of pickleball courts, clubs and fashion is officially trending. I have started playing pickleball. Before getting into fashion, I first want to share a brief history of where this fascinating sport originated.

Pickleball, the game that’s taking the world by storm, has its roots from a fun and impromptu moment back in 1965. Three friends from Bainbridge Island, Washington—just a hop, skip, and a jump from Seattle—were hanging out with their kids, trying to beat the boredom. They wanted to play badminton but couldn’t find the right gear, so they got creative. Grabbing some table tennis paddles and a perforated plastic ball, they turned a badminton court into the birthplace of Pickleball. Designed for maximum family fun, the game quickly caught on, and by 1967, official rules were set instone.

Recess pickleball gear, styled by Liz Wendler

Now, about that quirky name—pickleball. Have you ever wondered why it’s called that when no pickles are involved? The story goes that Joan Pritchard, wife of one of the game’s inventors, Joel Pritchard, thought the mashup of different sports reminded her of a “pickle boat” in rowing. In crew, a pickle boat is made up of leftover rowers from other teams. The term has nautical origins, too: the last boat to return from fishing trips would pickle the catch in brine. Cool, right?

Pickleball was created as a fun, easy way to keep families entertained, and now it has sparked an incredible trend of community and camaraderie. It’s a blast once you get the hang of the rules and lingo. But let’s get to the real fun part: the fashion. Pickleball fashion takes its cue from tennis attire, or “tenniscore,” which seamlessly blends leisure and luxury with a sporty, chic vibe. Think pleated skirts with shorts underneath, paired with polo tanks, tanktops, polo shirts or sports bras. Throw in shorts, workout dresses, visors or hats, and white tennis shoes. While tennis fashion has traditionally been about classic whites and a somewhat rigid style, pickleball is breaking the mold. Many tennis players transition to pickleball with their existing gear, but pickleball fashion is carving out its own identity, leaning into vibrant colors, fun patterns and personality. Although it’s natural to start with tennis clothing, the rise of pickleball-specific brands adds a fresh twist to wardrobe options.

House of Shan pickleball gear, styled by Liz Wendler

Here are a few fabulous women-owned pickleball brands from Austin that are redefining the game:

  1. Varsity Pickle: celebrates inclusivity with high-quality, cool and comfortable apparel focused on tech and performance. They also offer some fun varsity styles.
  2. Recess: offers chic, design-forward paddles and activewear that effortlessly transition from the court to everyday life. The variety of patterned paddles and sets will fashionably complement your outfits, and you can even design your own paddle.
  3. Zozos 0-0-Start: offers style, comfort, and functionality in the silhouettes offered such asa racerback dress, skirts and tops to be worn on and off the court. They are also dedicated to giving back to the Women of Pader Uganda to offer hope, healing and empowerment
  4. House of Shan: offers fun and colorful accessories, hats and shirts with an imperfect heart that reminds us to embrace all of life’s imperfections and live our passion. The branding truly makes you feel happy, and if you snag the LWYL x Tangerine Pickleball Paddle, there will be smiles all around. Not to mention, $5 from every purchase goes directlyto a monthly charitable partner.
  5. Runway Athletics: rose during the pandemic, developing their top-selling scalloped A-line skirt locally made in Texas. They offer fun color-coordinated pieces that make you want to play pickleball in fashion-forward silhouettes. You will also find fun pickleball motifs on hats, sweaters and accessories that will make you go all in.
Runway Athletics pickleball gear, styled by Liz Wendler

“Pickleballcore” is all about athletic chic, ensuring you look as good as you play. Matching sets are all the rage, with coordinated colors and themes that make every outfit pop. Accessories are key, too—think color-coordinated paddles, hats, socks and bags that add the perfect finishing touch.So whether you’re a seasoned tennis player stepping into the pickleball scene or a newbie looking to make a stylish splash, the fashion choices are endless and oh-so-fun. Get ready to serve up some serious style!

Austin's MLP Ranchers Team pickleball gear, styled by Liz Wendler

Bonus: Austin’s MLP Ranchers Team Merchandise. If you haven’t heard, the newest MLP (Major LeaguePickleball) team has come to Austin so for anyone looking to jump on the bandwagon early, the team offers their best-selling hat along with branded accessories and loungewear that will make you a super fan. Kendra Scott is one of the top female owners of the team

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