It may look like your basic undershirt but the Henley shirt has deep roots in menswear and Rowing. The Henley is a knitted shirt with a banded collar and a placket of 2 or more buttons, they most often come in cotton but there is also a wide variety of synthetics out there as well as merino wool options.
1st seen in men’s fashion in the nineteenth century as undergarments, designed to be a more comfortable and easy-to-wear vest. But they soon developed into sportswear and more specifically Rowing. Men’s rowing has a huge connection with the English town of Henley-on-Thames which hold annually the largest rowing race in the UK ‘The Royal Regatta ‘ and this is where the humble Henley T-shirt gets its name.
The Henley Tee stayed in the sportswear wardrobe all the way to the 1970s when buyers from brands such as Ralph Lauren saw potential in the vintage sporting style.
In today’s world, we can see the Henley T-shirt in all stores from high street to bespoke, it has become a staple of men’s casual wardrobe and will probably stay that way.
The Henley T-shirt is one of those pieces which is a great base layer in the winter and can be a stand-alone shirt in the spring and summer, depending on where you live.
The iconic buttons of the Henley elevate it above the standard T-shirt and make it a bit more interesting, and when you are wearing one it doesn’t look like you are trying too hard because it’s such an easy piece to style.
Our advice is to use it as a layering piece with a blazer, spring jacket or overshirt, the buttons add interest to the base layer rather than having it fade into the background.
Let us know if you’ve got a Henley shirt in your wardrobe.