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What exactly is: A henley?

What exactly is: A henley?

In a nutshell

A henley is what to wear when you're tired of t-shirts; it's only a subtle change but it adds a bit of detail.


Born in the 1800s, henleys were really just underwear—but they were also the uniform of the rowers in Henley-on-Thames, where the first Henley Royal Regatta was held in 1839. The style didn't hit the mainstream until the 1970s, when Ralph Lauren saw a vintage henley and brought it into his range.

How to wear it well

You can think of a henley as being like a polo shirt without the collar; it's also like a more casual version of a granddad-collar shirt. "I recommend them to clients when they're bored of t-shirts and polos," says Thread stylist Alice Watt. "They're quite masculine and rugged, particularly with indigo jeans and trainers or boots." There are just two things to avoid. Never undo the buttons (that's very early-2000s Abercrombie) and don't try to dress a henley upl It's casual, so it wouldn't look right under a blazer."