Despite their growing popularity, a lot of people are hesitant to give henleys a place in their closet. On a shoot recently, one was constantly referred to as 'the old man tee' by the photographer. I understand the sentiment, especially given that they are most often just t-shirts with a button neck and usually worn as such. To me, this shortchanges the versatility that they can have given the right combination of fabric, details, and color.
1. Front and Center
Not all henleys are created equal. With the right details, a henley can hold its own with a blazer and chinos just as easily as with denim and a hoodie. Look for things that make it more than just a t-shirt with buttons. With this one, the stiff cotton of the pleated bib front and button cuffs play against the super soft body giving it just the right balance.
Extra Tip : When wearing brightly colored pants, it’s best to pair them with neutrals on top. On the same note, patterns on top should be balanced with solids on the bottom.
|Henley & boots by AllSaints; Jacket by John Varvatos; Chinos by Paige;|
Scarf by Z Zegna; Bag by Jack Spade; Sunglasses by Marc by Marc Jacobs
2. In the Middle
Another approach is to wear a henley as a midlayer beneath a woven or sweater. Most pieces you will find are quite thin which make them uniquely suited for layering. Their popularity makes them readily available which means you can also play with colors.
Extra Tip : Socks are a fun and easy way to add color and pattern to your wardrobe, no matter how casual your look.
3. Over the Top
I usually don’t wear henleys on their own. Instead I prefer to layer them, usually under (as in the last picture), but occasionally as a top layer. The buttons give you some added interest, but with the same functionality of a lightweight sweater. It’s a unique take on a classic silhouette, and depending on the henley it can be as casual or dressy as you want.
Extra Tip : Cords aren’t only for winter. A light, fine wale cord can take you through just about any season. Remember, it’s only cotton.
|Henley, leather jacket, and bag by AllSaints; Woven by Gant Rugger;|
Cords by Gant by Michael Bastian; Boots by John Varvatos;
Scarf by Gant; Sunglasses by Alexander McQueen
If you’re looking for a new piece to add to your spring wardrobe, or just a new way to layer your existing pieces, a henley is a great addition to any closet.