Henley shirt

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Outlines of shirt types

A Henley shirt is a collarless pullover shirt, characterized by a placket beneath the round neckline, about 3 to 5 inches (8 to 13 cm) long and usually having 2–5 buttons.[1][2][3] It essentially resembles a collarless polo shirt. The sleeves may be either short or long, and it can be made in almost any fabric, although cotton, cotton-polyester blends, and thermals are by far the most popular.[4] Henley shirts are generally regarded as menswear, but women's versions have appeared as business casual and casual wear as well.

They were so named because this particular style of shirt was the traditional uniform of rowers in the English town of Henley-on-Thames.[4]

In his biography of Ralph Lauren, the journalist Michael Gross quotes a New York merchant who recalled showing a vintage shirt to a Ralph Lauren buyer: "I showed this fellow underwear—a three-button long-sleeve shirt by Johnstown Knitting Mills. He said, 'This is a new shirt.' That's where he got the idea for the Henley shirt."[5]

In popular culture[edit]

  • Dexter Morgan, the vigilante serial killer and title character of the Showtime TV series Dexter, typically wears a Henley shirt when killing someone. Richard Rys of Vulture magazine noted the rare (and risky) instance, in season 6, when Dexter spontaneously killed someone in a fit of rage: "For a guy who’s so meticulous, the fact that he’d drown a dude in the middle of a public beach on a moonlit night speaks to the fury that’s been building up inside him (and, by proxy, in us) for so long. He’s not even dressed for a murder — no gloves! No four-button Henley!"[6]
  • Nathan Drake from the uncharted series wears Henley shirts throughout his adventures
  • The Driver from "Drive" (2011) wears a Henley shirt under his jackets.


  1. ^ "Henley Shirt". H&M. Archived from the original on 2016-03-23. Retrieved 2016-06-04. 
  2. ^ "Homespun Knitwear coalminer contrast henley". J.Crew. Archived from the original on 2014-08-22. Retrieved 2016-06-04. 
  3. ^ "Indigo Tissue Long Sleeve Henley". American Apparel. Archived from the original on 2016-06-04. Retrieved 2016-06-04. 
  4. ^ a b Centeno, Antonio. "Henley Shirt – Classic Alternative To The T-Shirt – Stylish Casual Shirts For Men". RMRS -- Real Men Real Style. Realmenrealstyle.com. Retrieved 31 May 2015. 
  5. ^ Gross, Michael (2003). Genuine Authentic: The Real Life of Ralph Lauren. New York: HarperCollins Publishers. p. 22. ISBN 9780060199043. OCLC 50520401. Retrieved 2 October 2013. 
  6. ^ Rys, Richard (November 7, 2011). "Dexter Recap: Night of a Thousand Awkward Moments". Vulture.