|Croquet was introduced in England in 1856 and was probably brought to America
in the early 1860’s. It was considered particularly suitable for women since
it required considerable skills but not too much strength or technique. (Women
were allegedly deficient in both). Although croquet was never popular men’s
game, it had both social and economic advantages: men and women could play
together, and it required little equipment and no special clothing.
Lawn tennis was another popular sport for middle-class women. At first proper tennis form entailed patting the ball back and forth, without keeping score, but, according to both critics and proponents, players soon were caught up in the competitive spirit of the game, finding it an excellent method of exercise and a useful mental and physical outlet. More active than croquet or archery (which enjoyed a brief popularity in the 1870’s), tennis also appealed to men. By the 1880’s it had become the rage in fashionable summer resorts, and magazines devoted space to the proper attire to wear while playing.
Goodie’s recommended "Tuxedo" suits, knitted of fine wool yarn with trim in a contrasting color, for tennis because they were both comfortable and durable.