Henley Neckline

AKA: collarless polo

How to say it: hen-lee

Traditional Features: 

body template

  • no collar
  • round neckline
  • 10 cm long placket at centre front
  • 2 – 5 buttons


…of the style: The Henley neckline began as part of the rowing uniform for crews in the English town of Henley-on-Thames, which is the home of the famous Henley Royal Regatta that began in 1839. Originally part of the garments worn as undershirts, the style became popular with the rowers and thus became known as Henley’s.

The introduction of the style into mainstream fashion is attributed to Ralph Lauren. The story goes that a Ralph Lauren buyer was shown a vintage Henley by a merchant in New York city; the buyer decided that the undershirt would work as a new style of men’s casual wear and this apparently is where the fashion Henley was born.

The style was popular in the 1970s, thanks to Ralph Lauren, faded out and then came back into favour in the 1990s with the Grunge movement. Nowadays the style is popular with both men and women thanks to its comfortable fit and versatility as a layering piece.

…of the name: The style was originally worn on its own by rowing crews in Henley-on-Thames in England. The style was named for the town and its rowers.

For more info on Henley Collars try Wikipedia, Best Made or check out the Fairchild’s Dictionary of Fashion

Random Facts

  • Rowing tradition dictates that the losers of a race would ‘lose their shirts’ to the winners, so over the years many Henley’s have been passed across the hallowed waters of the Thames into the boats of the victors.

21st Century Henley Collars

The classic style of the Henley means that it can be dressed up, dressed down, layered under jackets, coats or vests, or worn on its own. The one-time undershirt has been picked up by high end designers and now comes in a range of fabrics from the traditional cotton to all kinds of luxury yarns.

proenza schouler splendid

Proenza Schouler, Splendid

ralph lauren blue label rag and bone

Ralph Lauren Blue Label, Rag & Bone


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