The Origins of the Henley

We’ve always had great enthusiasm for the Henley. Perhaps the most redeeming quality of the Henley is its versatility. It’s for this reason that you’ll find no less than nine different styles of Henley’s available from

What’s a Henley?

In general, a Henley shirt is a pullover shirt, but with no collar. Fitted below the neckline is a placket where two-to-five buttons are featured. You can think of it as a collarless polo shirt. The sleeves can be short sleeve or long sleeve and it can be made from any fabric, although cotton and cotton-polyester blends seem to be the favorites of choice.

Daniel Sheehan, of Sheehan & Co. has seen firsthand over the course of his career, numerous examples of unique Henley styles. His own styles range from the traditional Long Sleeve Henley to the more audacious, but popular, styles of the Double Leather Placket Henley and the Tuxedo Bib Henley. 

“The Henley is a timeless piece of fashion and function,” said Daniel Sheehan, discussing the garment. “The more that I looked at it, the more possibilities I saw for how to adapt the Henley esthetically. The Henley has long been a part of my top five overall fashion designs.”

Where does the Henley come from? And why is it called a Henley?

Roughly 100 kilometers west of London lies Henley-on-Thames, a town in Oxfordshire, England. Since 1839, the town has played host every year (except during WWI and WWII) to the Royal Regatta, the largest rowing race in England.

Teams doing early morning rowing exercises would do these exercises in their undershirts, or what we would today call a Henley. The name stuck and now, over 180 years since first being recognized at the Royal Regatta, the Henley has remained popular to this day.

The sporting world and Henley’s seem to be forever intertwined. Appearing in short and long sleeve versions, the Henley’s soon gained prominence being worn by Rugby and Polo teams.

Sheehan's vintage inspired, 100% cotton men's Henley’s and short sleeve Henley shirts are modeled after the timeless Henley’s from the turn of the 20th century.

“What I love about the Henley is the absolute variety of ways it can be adapted,” said Sheehan. “A short sleeve Henley is great in warmer temperatures; a longer sleeve Henley is suited obviously toward cooler conditions and for a formal Henley look, there’s the Tuxedo Bib Henley. I like to think that we have some of the best Henley shirts out there.”

henley bib
To get a view of the nine unique-styled Henley’s offered by Daniel Sheehan’s retail fashion brand,, visit
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