Making the Calls: A Female Umpire's Journey Through Professional Tennis in Uniform Style

Exhibit Overview:

Mary Lou Tierney was a seasoned professional tennis umpire for 9 years. From 1992-1993 she traveled 42 weeks annually across the globe. According to Tierney, "Being selected to officiate at Grand Slam matches was the only way to earn a living wage, as payment at other events rarely covered the costs of travel, housing, and the purchase of uniforms". This esteemed position, as an independent contractor, required years of training, unwavering determination, and expert skills. Eventually, Tierney rose to the top achieving significant milestones including chairing the women's final match at the US Open in 1991 overseeing players Monica Seles and Martina Navratilova.

Through out Tierney's career, clothing and accessories provided entrance into a profession where accomplishment was visable. Tennis officiants are to present themselves according to uniform standards, so their presence on the court commands respect while not distracting players and viewers. Uniforms in this capacity tend to focus on gender fluidity where the only differences exsisted at Wimbledon as female officiants were required to wear skirts until 2006. This virtual exhibit highlights how a young woman dressed, navigated, and thrived within a unique career at high-profile tennis events on a world platform.

Curators Note: We are most grateful to Mary Lou Tierney for thoughtfully documenting her career as a professional tennis umpire as well as donating cherished artifacts to the Lasell Fashion Collection. We enjoyed creating this virtual exhibit while paying close attention to the symbolism of uniforms in connection to officients who oversee the highest level of tennis competition.

FASH 420 Collection Research and Management
Lauren Barbuzzi 2022, Fashion Merchandising and Management
Kelly Mooney 2022, Fashion Merchandising and Management
Savannah Nolan 2023, Fashion Media and Marketing

Lasell Fashion Collection Assistant
Chloe McGoldrick 2023, Fashion Design and Production


Mary Lou Tierney, Donor to the Lasell Fashion Collection
Clifford Mellor, Consulting Editor for the Lasell Fashion Collection
Christopher Lynett, Chief Marketing Officer, Lasell University
Jennessa Read Borman, Museum Software Specialist, Past Perfect
David Parnes, Professional Photographer for the Lasell Fashion Collection
Staff, Academic Achivement Center Lasell University
Jill Carey, Professor and Curator of the Lasell Fashion Collection

Click Here to Start the Exhibit.

Making the Calls: A Female Umpire's Journey Through Professional Tennis in Uniform Style