As men, we spend a large portion of our time searching for garments that can traverse the boundary between warm and cold weather. After all, optimization is key, especially in terms of seasonal clothing. Since it’s difficult to find shirts that can fulfill all of their important roles in both the summer and winter, we’re relegated to a handful of classics that have been getting the job done for decades — centuries, even. The henley is one such example.
Devised all the way back in the 1830s, this slick, three-button staple has stood the test of time as one of menswear’s most important layering pieces. It began as a collarless polo used primarily for rowing, before making its way into the spotlight for style-minded consumers. Over the years, the design has continued to capture the hearts and minds of men everywhere, thanks to its simplified, layer-savvy design, calling upon a recognizable long-sleeved demeanor, two-to-five-inch front closure, and ribbed cuffs, helping to regulate body temperature during the colder months. Today, the style is as prominent as ever, reinforcing its role as one of the most important garments of all time. Below, we’ve curated a list of our favorite offerings from some of the genre’s most renowned outfits.
Everlane Premium Weight
Everlane’s Premium Weight henley is a suave, minimalistic take on the refined mid-layer, boasting a structured drape, durable knit, and cozy embrace. But what makes the garment so special is its dense, 6.2-ounce cotton construction, which has been designed to take on a more comfortable feel over years of wear.
The North Face Terry
When you hear “The North Face,” thoughts of oversized parkas, weatherized expeditionary gear, and other, more robust outdoor staples come to mind. Interestingly enough, the brand also dabbles in men’s midweight layers, including the “Terry” henley that you see here. This comfortable model features a functional French terry stretch fabric, flatlock seams, and a subtle, logo-clip label on its front hem.
Cuts L/S Curve Hem
Cuts’ L/S Curve Hem is based on the long-sleeve legend that changed the world of menswear forever. This warm mid-layer features an all-original curve-hem design, as well as an elevated bottom to keep bunching to an absolute minimum. Pair that with the brand’s premium PYCA Pro Fabric, and you’ve got a dressy model that’s breathable, soft, and ready for a night on the town.
Patagonia Long-Sleeve Work
Patagonia is well-known for its efficient outerwear, so when fall and winter begin to show their true colors, you can bet that the brand’s Long-Sleeve Work henley will have your back. Each example is crafted from a hefty 8.4-ounce industrial hemp and organic cotton blend, giving it a durable, long-lasting feel that you might not get with less robust models. As such, this unique silhouette has been touted as a working model, including a traditional three-button design, rib-knit collar, and cuffs that remain out of the way while you tackle your trade.
Buck Mason Pima Curved
Buck Mason’s Pima Curved henley is a testament to the origins of the original garment. Calling upon its history as a staple within the world of rowing, the brand has created a versatile utilitarian version catered toward stylish poise. At its core, a soft-spun Pima cotton makes the curved henley lighter and more breathable than its counterparts, allowing it to take on the role of a perfect mid-layer.
L.L. Bean Signature
L.L. Bean’s Signature henley is a slim-fitting example that’s soft, supple, and durable, thanks to its heavy-set construction. To keep it at the top of its range, the iconic brand has integrated a healthy woven cotton twill material, finishing the garment with the addition of formidable ribbed cuffs and subtle twill detailing. Since the Signature henley is a bit more weighty than its counterparts, it’s the perfect offering to utilize on its own.
Flint and Tinder Heavyweight
Flint and Tinder knows what it takes to create the perfect piece of heritage menswear, and the brand’s Heavyweight henley is a testament to that fact. It’s crafted from a heavier fabric than the vast majority of the options on this list, making it a perfect layer for over-the-top wear. But what makes the Heavyweight so special is its vintage yarn spinning technique, providing a rough and rugged alternative to many of this list’s more formal options.
Mack Weldon WarmKnit Waffle
Mack Weldon’s WarmKnit Waffle takes the traditional henley style and incorporates it with some of today’s most cutting-edge textile technologies. As you might surmise, this micro-waffle variant places an emphasis on exceptional warmth and heat retention, calling upon the brand’s Thermolite tech to keep it as cozy as possible. The best part? It maintains its warming properties without the addition of any extra weight, making it a great choice for transitory seasons.
Alex Mill Sueded Jersey
Alex Mill’s attention to detail is second to none, especially when it comes to the recreation of timeless garments. Its specialty shines through here, thanks to the Sueded Jersey henley — a unique, brushed-fabric offering that bridges the gap between weighty, ruggedized offerings, and the softness of more traditional variants. To round things out, each example is crafted from 100% cotton jersey fabric, giving the shirt a “sueded” look that oozes timelessness.
Reigning Champ LS
Reigning Champ’s LS henley is a substantial offering that capitalizes on the brand’s adherence to tradition. Referencing its expertise in training and athleisure, the outfit’s classic long-sleeve garment features flatlock seams for improved chafing control, underarm gussets for increased mobility, and a snap-button closure that deviates from the original for a more intuitive (and trendy) design.
Taylor Stitch Heavy Bag
Taylor Stitch knows a thing or two about the construction of long-sleeved staples, and the henley is no exception. The brand’s Heavy Bag offering features the same fan-favorite fabric that’s been utilized in its Heavy Bag t-shirt lineup, gifting it with a substantial, heavyweight construction lauded for its unique feel. This means that the garment is almost twice as heavy as its traditional, mid-weight counterpart, complementing its handsome appearance.
Marine Layer Dk Ls
Marine Layer’s Dk Ls is a shirt that’s been crafted for those comfort-obsessed buyers in our audience. Each example boasts a soft and supple double-knit construction, giving it a more substantial feeling than your regular, everyday henley, while an ultra-smooth interior lining helps to cut back on chafing, discomfort, and abrasion.
Saturdays NYC Mitch Pima
Saturdays NYC specializes in the bespoke fitment of today’s most style-oriented men, and when it comes to basics like the henley, they’ve got us covered. The brand’s Mitch Pima boasts a casual appearance while remaining undeniably soft, thanks to the inclusion of its luxurious Pima cotton. If you’re looking for a calm and collected henley that’ll cover all the bases during the colder months, this is it.
Proof 72-Hour Merino LS
Proof’s 72-Hour Merino LS is an oddball, for sure, but that doesn’t mean that it’s any less deserving of its place on our list. Instead of focusing on the recreation of a timeless menswear piece, the brand decided to innovate upon its established silhouette, bringing buyers a modern garment that can be worn for 72 hours straight, without acquiring any sort of odor. This means that the formidable, merino wool offering is as well-equipped as they come, providing wearers with a stylish, contemporary alternative for travel.
Rag & Bone Cotton Jersey
Rag & Bone’s Cotton Jersey rounds out our list as the quintessential white henley, thanks to its ultra-soft cotton knit, buttoned placket, and subdued design. While other offerings devote their time and effort to the faithful recreation of garments past, Rag & Bone’s unique offering boasts a tasteful, modern silhouette that’s cleaner and lighter than the rest, helping it to traverse the boundaries of summer and winter.
The 30 Best Winter Jackets & Coats For Men
Sometimes, henleys won’t cover all the bases when it comes to wintertime wear. To ensure that you’re ready for anything that the season has to offer, head over to our guide on the best winter jackets and coats for men, where we outline the best heavy-weight offerings for warmth retention.
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