Henleys can be a great alternative to t-shirts when you want something equally casual, but visually more interesting. The half-placket, pullover style was originally made popular in the ‘70s, before making a comeback in the ‘90s through Ralph Lauren and Eddie Bauer. These days, you’re most likely to see one layered underneath a flannel shirt or Army jacket for a workwear look, but there are tons of other designs as well – designs that can work for a variety of wardrobes. I’ve been wearing mine, for example, with a black leather moto jacket from Margiela. It’s perhaps more wanna-be motorcyclist than wanna-be lumberjack.
If you’re looking to don henleys this season (get it?), here are some options to consider:
- Under $50: Thankfully, there are lots of good options for under $50 from Uniqlo, Todd Snyder, Barbour, J. Crew, and Pistol Lake (some advise sizing down on the Pistol Lake design, so you might want to ask for measurements). Don’t forget to check the sale sections of more expensive labels. Billy Reid, Gant Rugger, Ralph Lauren, and Unis, for example, have some on discount right now. Homespun Knitwear is also sometimes available on sale at J. Crew, but not as often as the company’s mainline offerings.
- The Athletic-Inspired Option: No surprise that some henleys draw inspiration from mid-century athletic shirts given the similarity in designs. For a sporty, all-American look, turn to Epaulet, Ebbets Field, Saturdays NYC, and Reigning Champ.
- The Refined Henley: Henleys will always look a bit rugged, but for something that’s less workwear-ish, try Barena, Vince, Sunspel, and Onia. The henley above is from one of Barena’s previous seasons. It’s a fine-cotton model with a thin collar and French placket, which makes it feel more refined than those with reinforced openings.
- Indigo Henleys: Although these won’t fade like your jeans, the indigo on these henleys helps give them a nice, deep blue color. Available this season from Orslow, Alex Mill, RRL, Pure Blue Japan, and Kapital.
- Above $100: I really like Merz b. Schwanen’s loopwheeled knits for a rugged look. The Real McCoys and Iron Heart are also great if you plan to wear yours under tough leather jackets and field coats. For some American options, try these beefy knits from Wolf v. Goat and Archival Clothing. Lastly, Chimala and Wings + Horns have some made from slightly more interesting fabrics, which gives them a bit more visual interest than the smoother cottons on this list.
(Pictured above: Margiela lambskin 5-zip leather jacket, Barena Venezia Fino henley, Margiela side-zip boots, 3sixteen SL-220x double-black jeans, and Iron Heart Garrison cowhide belt)