A Henley shirt is a perfect addition to any guy’s wardrobe. It’s versatile and will work for many occasions.
We love it for weekend hangouts with friends, casual Fridays at work, and garden parties.
But how do you choose one? There are a few things to consider, from fabric to fit quality. Oh, and then there are colors.
Let’s dive deeper!
Not sure what a Henley is? No biggie! In short, according to Fresh Clean Threads, it’s a collarless t-shirt with a 3-4 button placket down the neck and collarbone.
Henley’s are usually made from soft and thin cotton or cotton-poly blends, but you can also find merino wool, cashmere, and other fabric options.
If you’ve watched at least one historical movie, you may have noticed 19th-century laborers wear Henleys at their factory jobs. That’s because the style exploded in the Industrial Revolution when it was called an undervest and was meant to protect clothes from sweat and dirt.
A Star Is Born
Cotton mass production allowed to make as many tees as needed, and by the mid-19th century, they were everywhere.
The shirt was beloved by athletes and, famously, the English rowers who made it part of their uniform and gave it its name. It comes from the town Henley-on-Thames where one of the largest races was held.
Other athletes liked the Henley, too, because it was soft, flexible, and breathable. Keep in mind that for a while, athletes wore actual sweaters (hence the name), so this was a very welcome alternative.
However, larger audiences had to wait until the 1970s to enjoy the Henley. At that time, Ralph Lauren realized it was a great alternative to the classic crewneck and made it widely available.
Today Henleys are everywhere, and you can find one for any preference and budget.
How to Choose a Henley
But with all this massive supply, how do you choose a Henley that will look good, be comfortable, durable, and won’t cost an arm and a leg?
What makes a Henley different from other tees is that it’s usually made from softer and thinner fabric.
The most common fabrics are cotton, cotton blends, cashmere, and light merino wool.
Cotton is excellent for most occasions. It’s stretchy, breathable, and comfortable: choose organic or Pima cotton when possible.
Cotton-poly blends are also a fantastic choice as they’re more wrinkle-resistant and often have anti-stink properties.
Cashmere and merino wool are more expensive and luxurious, so these fabrics will work better when you want to look more put together and need extra warmth.
The Fit and Quality
Henleys can be long-sleeved or short-sleeved. Long sleeves work all year round, and short sleeves are perfect for the summer. Have a couple of pieces of each!
Remember that while Henley shirts are supposed to be a little snug, you don’t want to go too tight. Make sure it hugs your shoulders, chest, and hands but is a little loose at the waist.
The tee should end somewhere mid-fly, so you can tuck it in if needed (though we don’t recommend that).
Lastly, check the seams: they should lay flat, not pull or tug anywhere and be straight and even. That’s a sign of quality and will help you look your best.
Today you can choose from endless colors and patterns, so how do you do it?
First of all, consider what you already have and what’s going to work when creating outfits.
You likely have some black, white, grey, navy, and olive stuff. So grab a Henley in the same colors, so you can easily mix and match.
When it comes to patterns, you can never go wrong with stripes, and for the days when you feel a little adventurous, have a sky blue, mustard, burnt orange, or salmon tee at the ready!
The good news is that quality doesn’t have to be expensive. Find brands you can trust by perusing the internet and reading reviews.
If they don’t have a real shop to go check out the tees (touching the fabric and trying a Henley on is very helpful when deciding on it), reviews will help you get a better understanding.
Zoom in on the photos and go on their social media pages too to get to know the brands better.
Sexy and Stylish
A well-fitting and high-quality Henley will be a great addition to your wardrobe. No wonder it was associated with cool guys from TV, movies, and the sports world in the 2010s!
It was the Henley craze, and we’re not going to lie; we kind of liked it! The collarless neckline is casual, but the buttons you can keep unbuttoned help reveal a little bit of the chest, making it mysterious and sexy.
Henley tee also offers the perfect alternative to classic crewnecks and V-necks, giving any outfit a nice twist.
And let’s not forget the comfort. Whether you’re jogging, playing ball with the guys, or simply need something comfy for the office, the soft, stretchy, breathable Henleys allow the body to breathe and move freely.
How to Wear a Henley
Okay, now that you know how to choose a Henley tee, let’s chat about how to style it.
Don’t worry; there’s nothing complicated! Henley looks good on its own, and as a layering piece, so you will have plenty of simple options for any occasion.
The shirt probably already works with most clothes you already have.
Think jeans and cargo pants for casual Fridays, chinos for the office, and shorts and linen trousers for the summer.
Layer the Henley with a classic cardigan, unstructured blazer, puffy vest, or hoodie, or wear it on its own under a denim, leather, or bomber jacket.
Opt for simple footwear to finish your look. We love sneakers, Chelsea boots, and loafers, but don’t be afraid to experiment.
Need more inspiration or ideas? Go online and check out how Hollywood hunks like Chirs Hemsworth, Ryan Reynolds, or Hugh Jackman are styling their Henleys and copy them!