Who Is the Henley Shirt Named After?

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Who Is the Henley Shirt Named After?

Most people are familiar with the henley shirt. These shirts can trace their history back to the 1800s and are the few clothing items that have remained in style for centuries.

But while you’re likely to find a henley shirt in any man’s closet nowadays, not many people are familiar with the shirt's origins, particularly where it gets its name.

There are many people that ask who the henley shirt is named after. And while that’s a valid question, you may be surprised to learn that the henley isn’t named after a person at all.

Let’s dive into the henley’s origins, where it gets its name, what it’s used for, and whether or not these are still good clothing options in the 21st century.

Who Is the Henley Shirt Named After?

The classic henley shirt is not named after a person. While many people assume that the henley comes from the name of the designer or the first person that used this type of shirt, that isn’t the case. Instead, the henley is actually named for the town wherein it was first used.

Henley shirts were first used in the town of Henley-on-the-Thames in England. As you might be able to tell by now, the shirt actually gets its name from the town where it was first used, not a person.

At this point, you might be wondering why people in the town of Henley-on-the-Thames used the shirts in the first place. Don't worry - that’s exactly what we’re explaining in the next section.

What Were Henley Shirts Originally Used For?

The reason henleys were such a big deal was that they were first used by athletes. The town where henleys originally came from was known for hosting the Henley Royal Regatta, a popular rowing competition. And normally, the rowers would wear heavy, bulky, and collared undershirts while rowing.

Obviously, this got in the way of their performance, as they needed a lightweight and comfortable shirt to have their full range of movement. So, over time, the shirts eventually lost their collars and retained the 3-5 buttons on the placket which are one of the signature characteristics of henleys today.

When athletes switched to these collarless pullovers, they realized that they weren’t just great for performing physical activities, but they were stylish as well. And from that point on, the henley solidified its place in fashion.

Are Henleys Still in Style?

One thing you should know about Henleys is that they are definitely still in style. They are one of the most timeless tops in men’s fashion. While they were originally used as rowing and working shirts, they’ve eventually transitioned into casual and even formal wear.

Nowadays, you can see men rocking henleys with jeans, shorts, and even a full suit. This is a testament to how versatile and flexible the shirt is, which is one of the main reasons they are the most popular men’s shirts today.

So, if you’re looking to elevate your style with comfortable and flexible tops, a henley could be just what you need!


While many people think the Henley was invented by a person with the same name, that isn’t the case. The shirt gets its name from the town wherein it was first used in England. And while it was originally a rowing shirt in England in the 1800s, it has since turned into one of the most stylish and versatile pieces a man can have in his wardrobe.

The henley is the perfect blend of comfort and style - so it should be no surprise that it’s grown far larger than its origins.

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