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‘I don’t shop a lot’: Serena Williams on her three wardrobe essentials

What’s the oldest thing in your wardrobe?
A blue, beaded Valentino gown from the ’90s I wore for the Laureus [World Sports] Awards. It’s the first designer piece I bought and I don’t have the heart to get rid of it. It’s a classic.

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And the most recent addition?
I don’t shop a lot, maybe once a year. In Paris back in October I bought a few things from Gucci – sweaters, bags, dresses … Actually, I bought a lot! I just hung out in the store and got some cool things. They’re always really nice to me so it was fun to get an opportunity to be there.

What would you wear …
… on a first date? A dress, or jeans and a top with a low neckline. Always heels, unless it’s a smaller individual.
… on a plane? Some leggings from my collection, S by Serena. They’re cosy and comfortable, perfect for travelling. Plus an ATM sweater and Nike sneakers.
… to the Oscars? In 2019 I wore this beautiful Armani Privé gown. I’d worn Versace a lot – I have a good relationship with Donatella and I love her – but I was thinking, “What do I wear? What can I do different?” A lot of things came up, and then there was Giorgio and it was clear. We were excited to do something together.

What are the three essential items in your wardrobe?
A pouch or smaller bag that I can fit my essentials in, something I can throw into a cross-body or shoulder bag, because when you have a kid it’s hard to handle everything! Plus my S by Serena leggings and red lipstick.

Singer and actor Diahann Carroll, who died in 2019, remains a source of inspiration for Serena.

Singer and actor Diahann Carroll, who died in 2019, remains a source of inspiration for Serena.Credit:Getty Images

Can you remember a favourite outfit you wore as a child?
When I was four or five I had this purple dress that I wanted to wear every day. I remember one day my mum threw it out. She said, “You’re too big for it.” It’s hilarious because some things you don’t remember at all but I vividly remember how obsessed I was with this purple dress. I don’t know why, but it was definitely my favourite.

What was your first fashion moment?
For the ESPYS sports awards sometime in the 2000s I wore this crazy low-cut pink gown. I actually designed it – it was nuts.

What items are at the top of your fashion wish list?
There are few pairs of Stuart Weitzman heels I’ve been eyeing. When I’m not training, I love to wear heels.

What’s a must-have item for wearing on court?
A Berlei sports bra – I wouldn’t be able to play at the level I do without a reliable sports bra. I’ve been wearing them for 15 years now. The support and comfort they provide is something I rely on.

What’s your favourite off-duty look?
A T-shirt and jeans.

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What shoes do you wear the most?
Nike x Off-White sneakers.

Is there something you’d never wear?
No. I have this attitude that if I go to a store I’ll try on anything. I might not buy it, but the wackier looks, the crazier looks, I’ll try them on because you never know.

Who’s your favourite fashion icon?
Diahann Carroll – she’s the ultimate classic beauty.

Is there a current trend you like?
I love the leisure trend, I’m all about it. I’m really into the matching sweats. It’s perfect for the time we live in, especially in the States. Australia has done an amazing job of keeping COVID at bay, but for us? It’s stay at home, be careful and wear sweats.

This article appears in Sunday Life magazine within the Sun-Herald and the Sunday Age on sale February 28. To read more from Sunday Life, visit The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

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