Can You Wear White In Table Tennis?

As a sportsperson, you are aware every sport has strict rules and regulations regarding the sport itself and, more specifically, the dress code. The rules determine how the game is played and how the dress code distinguishes one sport from another.

The International Table tennis federation states a sportsperson cannot wear white when playing table tennis. They recommend that the garment worn, with the exception of the sleeves and collar, be a different color from the ball, which in most tournaments is white.

Like every other sport, table tennis has a dress code for sportspersons playing competitively. This article is for you if you require more information on what to wear when playing table tennis. Here you will learn why wearing white is unacceptable, what colors you can wear and what types of garments are appropriate for table tennis.

Is White Clothing Acceptable In Table Tennis?

As a beginner or a seasoned pro, at some point, you’ve probably wondered if white clothing is acceptable in table tennis. Unlike tennis, another racket sport, where white clothing is mandatory, in table tennis, it is unacceptable for participants to wear white.

When you play recreationally, there is no concern over what you may wear. However, the rules regarding wearing white clothing only apply when table tennis is played competitively, national or international.

As a player or a spectator of table tennis, you know if you turn your head for even a second, you can miss the game. That’s because sports people play table tennis at a fast pace. And when you cannot see the ball and cannot react quickly enough because it blends with your opponent’s clothing, this can cost you your game.

However, players are permitted to wear white clothing when they use an orange ball. But in the case of an orange ball, players cannot wear orange clothing because this stops the player’s visual of the ball.

The game of table tennis is so carefully planned and thought out, right down to the colors of the table and background. The table is either blue or teal. The background and floor, on the other hand, are in red. All these colors are so that everyone can clearly view the ball, from the umpires to the spectators.

The International Table Tennis Federation has even stipulated the colors on table tennis paddles. The bats need to be red on one side with contrasting black on the reverse side.

The International Table Tennis Federation and the United States Table Tennis Association stipulate the rules for competitive table tennis. The officials are stringent regarding the rules around clothing; when not followed, it can mean automatic disqualification from the competition.

Appropriate Clothing For Table Tennis

When competing in table tennis matches, knowing and following all rules stipulated by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) or the United States Table Tennis Association is crucial. They recommend players wear colored clothing. Also, each opponent must wear a contrasting color to not clash with one another.

In the case of a doubles match, both partners should wear the same color. And there are no exceptions to that!

Other dress codes from the ITTF requires each player to dress in short-sleeves or sleeveless shirts. And shorts for men and skirts for ladies. Although the primary color of the sportswear is not white, players are allowed white accents on the collars, sleeves, and trimmings along the side seam.

The shirts can also have splashes of white spread across, provided the color does not detract the players from the game. Players’ shirts are allowed to have patterns that do not distract the players’ game.

At this point, you’re either wondering whether you should resign from the game and change to another sport or need to know what clothing you can adorn. Don’t panic right now! There is more information awaiting you.

ITTF rules allow you to wear the following clothing types when playing table tennis. And as long as they aren’t white, you may continue to enjoy playing your favorite sport.

Shirt Requirements For Table Tennis

  • Loose-fitting shirts are recommended when playing table tennis. Players can also wear Polo necks and sleeveless shirts.
  • Shirts that are too baggy should also be avoided.
  • Form-fitting shirts restrict movement and must therefore be avoided. Table tennis is quite a strenuous sport where you don’t need your blood flow and circulation to be cut off by your clothing.
  • Your shirts must also be breathable to draw moisture away from the body. Therefore polyester-cotton blends are suitable fabrics for table tennis shirts.

Table Tennis Requirements For The Lower Body

The exact color requirements that apply to the upper body also apply to the lower part of the body. So, players’ shorts or skirts cannot be white. Additional requirements listed below are also recommended.

  • It is preferred that players wear loose-fitting shorts or skirts so as not to restrict movement.
  • The shorts/skirt length is left up to the player. Although the Federation allows for flexible clothing, their only stipulation is that the clothing does not hinder or hamper movement in any way.
  • Select fabrics with a good amount of stretch, like Lycra, or any type of polyester blends. Considering your body twists like a pretzel during the game, you need your clothing to stretch with your body. And they allow you the freedom to reach out to hit that ball over the table.

Can Table Tennis Umpires Wear White?

These rules apply to the players, and you may be asking yourself, can table tennis officials, referees, umpires, etc., wear white? Interestingly enough, officials and umpires, etc., cannot wear white, yellow, or other light colors that divert the player’s attention from the ball.

Table tennis umpires and officials wear jackets from High Street tailors. The jackets are usually navy blue, and their shirts are a lighter shade of blue. 

The ITTF sets table tennis rules for the umpires, referees, etc. These officials are well informed of the guidelines of the Federation and enforce the rules strictly. They also let the officials know what uniform to wear for the game.


Regarding dress codes, the rules for table tennis are very different from those in tennis. Players are instructed not to wear white when competing nationally or internationally. The reason behind this is that in many instances, the ball is white, and players cannot see it if their clothing is the same color.

You may think your clothing does not affect the game, but it does. Therefore select your clothing carefully but enjoy your game!


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