Why do we dress in white to practice certain sports?
If in our western cultures, white is above all a symbol of purity, light or balance, it is however quite dirty. So why wear white to play tennis, cricket, polo or archery? Where does this tradition come from?
White, like its counter color black, can be found at both ends of the color spectrum. White can mean the sum of the colors, or the absence of them, thus designating the departure of all things or the arrival. As a color of passage, the white has a limit value, oscillating between the matt and the brightness, the nothing and the whole, the emptiness and the full.
In this respect, white, candidus, is the color of the candidate, that is, the one who will change state. In the early days of Christianity, baptism was called enlightenment. And it was after he had taken his vows that the new Christian born to life, put on clothes of a bright white. Isn’t it interesting to note that the communicants also wear a white alb, like at the first point of the day?
This white among the Celts was reserved for the priestly function, the druids. Apart from the kings, the warriors in charge of an exceptional religious mission had the right to white clothes, immaculate outfits that we also find among the Crusaders.
Let us say then that white is an initiating color. White represents the color of revelation, of transfiguration, because whiteness can only appear on a summit!
It is therefore not surprising that white is linked to the initiation of traditional sports, from their origins, chic sports par excellence, such as tennis, cricket, polo, archery or winter sports.
If today, white is still a part of elegance in some sports, let’s not forget that the practice has certainly taken over. Indeed, the wet stains of perspiration are invisible on white, while they are not on colored or dark fabrics.
Anne Vogt-Bordure, Founder and Curator