5 Best Henley Shirts for Men: These Push My Buttons

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by  William Barton | Last Updated:  May 11, 2021

Getting a quality henley isn’t as easy of a task as picking out the perfect t-shirt. There’s a lot more going on than meets the eye.

That’s why, after years of trying different brands, we put together this list of our favorite henley shirts for guys.

Best Long Sleeve
  • Raglan shoulder seams emphasise your shoulder muscles
  • Cotton, Tencel, and Spandex combine to provide excellent comfort and breathability
  • Flatlock stitching doesn’t chafe, and it’s wrinkle resistant so it’s low maintenance
Best Short Sleeve
  • Pronounced placket and buttons for a stylized look
  • Tailored fit and fairly heavy fabric that makes the shirt look rich, even though it’s a short sleeve tee
  • Made responsibly with sustainability in mind—zero water is used, and the fabric is mostly upcycled
Best Heavyweight
  • The look of a henley, but the heavy and soft feel of French terry cloth cotton
  • Unique looking piece that ages well the more it’s washed
  • Free 60-day returns through Huckberry
Best Lightweight
  • Garment dyed fabric leaves each shirt with a rich, subtly imperfect color that looks relaxed and adds texture
  • Hemmed sleeves keep the arms from flaring out, which is great if you don’t want to look like you have noodle-arms
  • Available in 10 different colors
Best Waffle Knit
  • Rich textured waffle knit fabric
  • Relaxed fit that looks best with sleeves pushed up
  • Excellent layering piece for cooler weather

Want to look slightly more buff and manly? 

Throw some buttons on that t-shirt and call it a henley.

GQ even noticed that for whatever reason, every leading man in a Nicholas Sparks movie wears a henley at one point or another. If Ryan Gosling wore one in The Notebook, you can bet the ladies have a special affinity for this type of shirt.

There’s a time and place for henley’s, and it’s all the time, everywhere. Ok, that’s not necessarily true, but this fantastic t-shirt alternative is a sure-bet through the warmer months, and makes for a killer layering look in the cold. 

After trying dozens of brands over the years, these are my favorites.

5 Best Henley Shirts for Men

Best Long Sleeve: Public Rec Go-To Long Sleeve Henley

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This young athleisure brand is bringing trim fits and high quality comfortable fabrics to the masses. The Public Rec Go-To Long Sleeve Henley features raglan sleeves, which gives it a unique look. 

If you’re not familiar with raglan shoulder seams, think of one of those iconic two-toned baseball shirts. You know how the sleeves come up to the collar all in one piece? Yep, that’s a raglan sleeve, and it has a visual-bulking effect on your shoulders.

Regardless of how much time you spend in the gym, the cut of this piece is flattering for men as it emphasises the chest and shoulders. Plus, with the cotton, Tencel, and Spandex fabric blend, this is also the most comfortable shirt on this list.

What I Like

  • The raglan sleeves make this a flattering piece to wear on its own.

  • With a soft technical fabric blend and flatlock stitching, this shirt is very comfortable and doesn’t wrinkle easy.

  • It’s slimmer through the arms, which makes the piece look more fitted and smart.

What I Don’t Like

  • Because the fabric is so light and soft, it fits close to the skin, which is excellent for emphasising your chest and shoulders, but can be problematic if you’ve got a bit of a belly.

What Other Reviewers Say

Hundreds of reviewers for the Go-To Henley give this shirt plenty of praise. Most of the positive comments focus on how light, breathable, and comfortable this shirt is. A few folks said the arms are a bit long, though I found that even the reviews that mentioned that issue were still 5-stars. 

A promising sign, and something I always look for in the reviews, is that several people said they went back for more. On every page of reviews, I saw someone say some variation of I now own three, and I also picked up the short sleeve, too.

The Verdict

If you’re looking for a go-to long sleeve henley that’s not too hot in the summer, and makes for a great layer in the winter, check out the Public Rec Go-To Henley

With the technical fabric blend, it’ll stay wrinkle-free so you can take it out of your drawer, toss it on, and head out for the day. 

Whether you’re running errands, or heading to the park for a kickback, this lightweight piece stays cool, wicks away any sweat, and can stand on its own. Unique to our list, the Go-To Henley has raglan sleeves, which is going to emphasise your shoulders and chest. That’s never a bad thing.

Public Rec Go-To Henley

Regardless of how much time you spend in the gym, the cut of this piece is flattering for men as it emphasizes the chest and shoulders. Plus, with the cotton, Tencel, and Spandex fabric blend, this is also as comfortable as shirts can get.

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Best Short Sleeve: Taylor Stitch Heavy Bag Henley

The Taylor Stitch Heavy Bag Henley is made with the brand’s custom-formulated Heavy Bag fabric, which looks and feels thick, but is surprisingly lightweight. It’s also made with upcycled materials and doesn’t require any water in its production, so it’s as sustainable as it is good-looking.

What really speaks to me about this short sleeve henley though is the pronounced placket. While most henleys have a neat three buttons running a few inches down the collar, the placket on the Heavy Bag Henley runs most the way to your sternum. Check out the pics before buying to see if that’s what you actually want, but I dig it. 

To me, that relatively large placket gives this shirt a rich and unique look that really separates this from a standard old t-shirt.

What I Like

  • The fabric is thick and sturdy, so it drapes nicely over the chest and shoulders.

  • The placket is pronounced, so you really get a unique look with this shirt. 

  • The Heavy Bag fabric is sustainably made and uses no water in its production, plus limited carbon-emission.

What I Don’t Like

  • There are only three color options. 

What Other Reviewers Say

Taylor Stitch makes seriously unique clothes, so it’s important to know what you’re getting into. Most reviews are positive for this shirt, but the folks who gave it a one-star weren’t expecting what they got. 

This is called the Heavy Bag Henley for a reason—it features 8oz cotton, which is much thicker than what you’d normally get from an “average” t-shirt (twice as thick as a “heavy” shirt, and four times thicker than a “lightweight”). It’s nearly half polyester, which takes a lot of weight off, so it’s still breathable and soft. But it’s thick. If you’re looking for a lightweight shirt that fits close to the skin, this isn’t your shirt. 

But for folks who are looking for the extra structure of a thick fabric, the Heavy Bag Henley is a dream. 

The Verdict

I put the Taylor Stitch Heavy Bag Henley on this list because it’s truly different than a short sleeve tee, and is a fantastic example of how henley’s can stand out as a category of their own. 

With the extra-thick fabric and pronounced placket, the Heavy Bag Henley stands on its own as a fantastic piece. But despite the thickness, the added polyester makes it light and breathable, so it’s still appropriate to wear through the summer. 

Taylor Stitch makes their clothes more slim fitting, so order a size up if you want a more relaxed look. And to get your warm and fuzzies, the limited carbon emissions and zero-water consumption is a sustainable cherry on top.

Best Short Sleeve
Taylor Stitch Heavy Bag Henley

The Taylor Stitch Heavy Bag Henley is made with the brand’s custom-formulated Heavy Bag fabric, which looks and feels thick, but is surprisingly lightweight. It’s also made with upcycled materials and doesn’t require any water in its production, so it’s as sustainable as it is good-looking.

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Best Heavyweight: Flint and Tinder Henley Sweatshirt

There’s a heavyweight henley, and then there’s a heavyweight henley. I’m a fan of the Everlane Premium Weight Henley if you want a heavyweight while staying in the realm of a t-shirt. 

But when you’re ready to take it to the next level, the Flint and Tinder Henley Sweatshirt is my top choice for a cold-weather henley. 

It’s probably the least-versatile shirt on the list because unlike the Public Rec Go-To, it’s far too warm to wear in the heat of summer. 

What you get in exchange though is a beefy henley that’s totally unique. Made with super-soft and cozy-comfortable French terry cloth cotton, this Henley Sweatshirt features a chest pocket, which just adds to the unique style of this piece.

What I Like

  • If you’re looking for a heavyweight henley, it doesn’t get more heavyweight than a sweatshirt.

  • The chest pocket is an awesome touch.

  • It features a ribbed hem and arm cuffs, so it has that sweatshirt vibe. 

What I Don’t Like

  • There are only two color options, and neither are olive, which is my true love. 

What Other Reviewers Say

I wasn’t able to dig up any reviews around the web for this shirt, so I can’t say much about others’ thoughts. 

That said, you should be aware that this is technically a sweatshirt more than it is a shirt. 

Above I mentioned the Everlane Premium Weight Henley, which is a great option for a more “shirt-like” heavyweight henley. But Flint and Tinder is a well-loved brand by those who’ve tried them before, and I’m a big fan of the thicker French terry cloth fabric.

The Verdict

For the heaviest of heavyweight shirts, the Flint and Tinder Henley Sweatshirt is the go. It’s a bit of a departure from a standard henley shirt, as the French terry cloth is much thicker and warmer than what you can expect from any other shirt. 

But this is my favorite cold-weather henley for exactly that reason. Don’t expect to bust this out on a warm summer day as it’s not cut with any technical fabric like the Public Rec Go-To. But for late fall and winter, it’s hard to beat this as your main layer.

Flint and Tinder Henley Sweatshirt

Made with super-soft and cozy-comfortable French terry cloth cotton, this heavyweight Henley Sweatshirt features a chest pocket, which just adds to the unique style of this piece.

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Best Lightweight: J.Crew Garment Dyed Slub Cotton

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If you’re looking for a super casual lightweight henley, it’s hard to beat the J.Crew Garment Dyed Slub Cotton shirt. Usually you can pick up most items at a discount as J.Crew has sales year-round. 

Because this shirt is garment dyed, it has an irregular color that looks rich and textured, even though you’re just dealing with cotton. 

I’m also a fan of this shirt because of the hemming on the sleeves. Unlike other t-shirts, this J.Crew piece won’t swallow your biceps, and it has a pretty universally flattering fit.

What I Like

  • With 10 color options and a unique dying process, there’s a lot of variety and the shirts make a nice base for your outfit. 

  • J.Crew has sales often, so while I think the full price is worthwhile, there’s a good chance you can find it for significantly less.

  • The fit is flattering, especially because of the hemmed sleeves, which lends a bulking effect to your arms.

What I Don’t Like

  • The collar is a bit thin—I’d love to see it about an half-inch wider

What Other Reviewers Say

After reading through the reviews on J.Crew’s website for these henleys, the fit is the biggest standout factor. A lot of reviewers (presumably with a variety of body shapes) say the fit is ideal: slim, but not small or tight. A few people say these shirts are a bit short, so if you’re 6’3” or taller, I recommend going with their “tall” sizing option.

The Verdict

If you’re searching for that worn-in, relaxed sort of look, the J.Crew Garment Dyed Slub Cotton Henley is the way to go. Because of the irregular dying process, each shirt has a unique textured appearance. 

Beyond that, the slimmer fit and hemmed sleeves offer a pretty universally flattering style for guys. J.Crew seems to always have a sale going on, so it’s worthwhile popping over to see what price you can snag these for. 

J.Crew Garment Dyed Slub Cotton Henley

The garment dying on this shirt gives it a rich texture, and the hemming on the sleeves will keep it from swallowing your arms. J.Crew usually has a good sale going on, so that sweetens the pot.

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Best Waffle Knit: Everlane Waffle Knit Henley

walking in frank and oak style plan outfit

The waffle knit henley is the equivalent of a pumpkin spice latte spike with a shot of bourbon. It should only come out in fall, but it’s got a manly edge to it that can’t be denied. 

Waffle knits make for fantastic bottom layers, and pack a masculine wallop when paired with a work shirt or a chore jacket. 

My favorite version is the Everlane Waffle Knit Henley, though it does come with a warning. The material and construction on this shirt is excellent, but the fit is unique. The sleeves are billowy and the shirt will shrink a lot. If you’re in between sizes, always order the larger size. 

And because the sleeves have extra room in them, this shirt looks best with the sleeves pushed up. It’s also fine if you’re wearing a jacket or heavy shirt over it, too. The point is: this shirt doesn’t look good on its own with the sleeves all the way down. 

But I always wear long sleeves with the cuff pulled up, and this shirt is perfect for that. 

What I Like

  • The waffle knit texture is deep and defined, which makes this an excellent layering piece.

  • Everlane’s color palette is unique and perfectly suited to the season.

  • The quality is superb—I’ve washed mine dozens of times without fading or warping.

What I Don’t Like

  • The sleeves are billowy, which looks great when they’re pushed halfway up your forearm, but looks slightly “medieval squire” when all the way down.

What Other Reviewers Say

Over 100 reviews on Everlane’s site give the Waffle Knit Henley a high rating. It’s important to note that this shirt is more of a “relaxed” fit. It’s better for a “cozy” look than that sort of tight-fitting, motor oil-stained manly vibe. Reviewers looking for the relaxed fit got exactly what they wanted, but a few people looking for a form-fitting shirt were disappointed.

The Verdict

There are two ways to wear a waffle knit henley: you can have a relaxed fit, built for warmth and comfort. Or you can get the form-fitting style that more closely resembles a pair of long-underwear. 

The Everlane Waffle Knit Henley is the former. It has a looser fit, especially in the arms, so it really looks best when it’s either layered, or the sleeves are pushed up a bit. 

It’s my favorite waffle knit because the texture is so defined, and the quality is superb. But if you want a more form fitting piece, this isn’t ideal.

Everlane Waffle Knit Henley

With bulky arms and a slim fit torso, this henley is more stylized than most. It makes for an excellent layer for fall and winter.

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What is a Henley Shirt?

Fresh Clean Tees henley fit

A henley is essentially a t-shirt with a placket and two-to-four buttons. Henley’s come in short sleeve, long sleeve, waffle knit, linen—you name it. They’re not necessarily more “dressy” than a t-shirt, but many guys like them because the added buttons make them a bit more interesting. 

The same style rules apply to henleys as they do t-shirts: fit is king. The shoulder seams should cut right where your shoulder blade ends (not your shoulder muscle). Any extra room through the torso and arms will swallow you up and make a henley look sloppy, just like the same oversized fit does with t-shirts. 

That’s why I tend to stick with trusted brands where I’m familiar with the fit. I know Public Rec has a tailored fit, so I’m quick to trust what they put out. And their Go-To Henley didn’t disappoint. 

Just like t-shirts, henleys make for great layering pieces, though they should always be worn on bottom, or closest to the skin. 

How to Wear a Henley Shirt

Henley’s are fantastic year-rounded pieces that can take the place of the common t-shirt in your wardrobe. 

If you’ve got a stable full of short sleeve t-shirts and your summer days are feeling a bit stale, swap out a tee for a short sleeve henley. They’re essentially the same, but the added placket and buttons on a henley are more interesting. 

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When summer is over and fall sets in, I go ham on long sleeve henleys. They’re an excellent choice in 60-degree weather, and work like a charm as the bottom layer with a thick overshirt or a bomber jacket.  

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Depending on how you accessorize, a solo henley is an easy, low maintenance piece that you don’t really need to think much about. Just ensure you get the right fit and the rest is easy. 

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You can always swap out your standard white tee for a white henley t-shirt. It’s the same effort, but the impact is just that much more powerful. 

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Henley’s are ideal for layering, too. Throw on a leather bomber and call it a day. Because you have the placket and additional buttons, it looks more thoughtful and “put-together.”

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If you’re going with the solo henley, match it to the rest of your outfit like you would with a standard t-shirt. Earth tones and neutrals are always a safe bet. 

How to Layer a Henley Thermal

model wearing Style plan by Frank and oak

Henley thermals should be fairly form fitting, so they should always be worn as the bottom layer, or closest to your skin. 

If you’re looking to buy a henley thermal, I recommend going with a lighter color, like white or off-white. As a general rule, you should always put the darkest layers on the outside, with lighter layers underneath. 

If you’re wearing a henley thermal, you want to show off the placket and buttons, so avoid any crew neck sweaters, and instead opt for something with a collar. A work shirt or chore jacket is a fantastic option, as it has the same masculine vibe as a henley thermal, and also gives the henley a chance to show. 

How to Measure Arm Length for a Henley Shirt

When measuring the arm length for a henley shirt, use a tape measure to note the distance between your shoulder blade (the bone, not the muscle), down to the end of your wrist. 

Most brands have measurements in both cm and inches, and most tape measures have each demarcation on either side, too. Just don’t mix the two up, or else you’re in for a very odd fitting shirt. 

Long sleeve henleys are more forgiving than other types of shirts because they look fantastic with the sleeves pushed up. So even if you get the measurement slightly off, just budge the sleeves up an inch or two and you’ll look like an effortless hunk. 

Button Up

What can I say? I’m a henley man. 

There’s so much variety across the different styles of henley, so they’re truly a versatile, year-round piece. 

If you want a fantastic long sleeve with a slim fit and works equally well as a layering piece as it does on it’s own, I recommend the Public Rec Go-To Henley.

Public Rec Go-To Henley

Regardless of how much time you spend in the gym, the cut of this piece is flattering for men as it emphasizes the chest and shoulders. Plus, with the cotton, Tencel, and Spandex fabric blend, this is also as comfortable as shirts can get.

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For a unique heavyweight short sleeve, check out the Taylor Stitch Heavy Bag. Or you can opt for a lightweight, more standard choice like the J.Crew Garment Dyed Slub Cotton

In winter months, when you want something heavy, check out the Flint and Tinder Henley Sweatshirt, or get a double-dose of texture with the Everlane Waffle Knit

In any case, it’s time to switch things up from the boring ol’ t-shirt and step into the wide world of henleys. 

FAQs

Are henley shirts attractive?

Women love a man in a henley shirt. But like t-shirts, henleys don’t really do much “concealing” if you’re out of shape. But by no means do you need to look like a Greek god to look good in a henley.

Are henley shirts still in style?

Henley shirts are definitely in style right now. While I don’t recommend going all henley all day every day, they’re a great alternative to a t-shirt. Wear them solo sparingly, but feel free to layer them as often as you want for casual style.

Can skinny guys wear henleys?

Skinny guys look great in henleys. If you look good in a t-shirt, you’ll look good in a henley. Make sure you get a slimmer fit, and if you can find a shirt with hemmed sleeves, even better. The key is find a fit with less fabric through the torso and arms so you don’t get “swallowed” by an oversized fit.

Can you wear a henley with a blazer?

A henley with a blazer is a nice balance between casual and dressy. If you’re pairing this unusual duo, opt for a dark henley underneath, to keep it from being too casual. The key to nailing this look is having a nice, crisp henley (of course, the blazer should be high quality, too). If your henley is faded, wrinkled, or too baggy, you’ve crossed over into the “disheveled” category, rather than looking stylish.

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