Know Your Terms: Henley

Because dropping the lingo is half the fun of dressing well.

A vintage military henley.

Named for the English town Henley-on-Thames, where rowers in the royal regatta made it a part of their uniform in the latter half of the 19th century, a henley is a collarless polo shirt with a four-to-six-inch slit down the chest supporting between two and five buttons. One story has it that their reappearance in the 20th century is due to a New York menswear wholesaler showing an underwear garment of henley design to a Ralph Lauren buyer, who then introduced it as casual wear. Whether you wear them to bed or out in the street, with short or long sleeves (raglan or otherwise), in cotton or blends, the shirt is adaptable for all seasons and flatters the physiques of men both lean and buff.

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