Henley shirts are a wardrobe staple for men. However, there is a bit of controversy over how they should be worn. Can you wear a Henley shirt with dress pants? Yes, you can wear a Henley with trousers. In fact, if you aren’t already, you should be!
Related: Do Henley Shirts Go with Sneakers? If So, What Sneaker Colors? | Is it Okay to Wear a Henley Shirt with Loafers? Dress Shoes? | Does a Henley Shirt Go Well with a Jean Jacket? | Is it Okay to Wear a Henley Shirt with a Blazer?
Henley’s first appeared well over 100 years ago. For the first 100 years, they were strictly sports attire. In the 1970s, they began to be worn in other situations. They quickly became a popular replacement for the standard crew neck shirt.
These days, Henley’s come in a wide variety of styles, colors, and materials. They can be worn with nearly anything, from blue jeans to suit pants, which is part of their appeal.
A Henley has a flat collar with a placard. The placard is 2-5 inches long, and typically has 2-3 buttons. This detail gives it a slightly more formal look than a t-shirt, and offers great versatility.
Putting the “Smart” in Smart Casual
Smart casual allows you to make the most of the wardrobe pieces you have. It allows you to mix and match, getting far more bang for your buck. The key is to choose individual pieces that can work with many other pieces in your wardrobe.
Henley’s work well as part of smart casual wardrobe because they can be dressed up or down. You can get many different looks from one shirt, depending on the items you pair it with.
Why Wear a Henley with Dress Pants
There are a few reasons why you should wear a Henley with dress pants. First, you probably own at least one killer suit. How often do you wear it? Unless you have a strict business dress code or frequently attend upscale events, the answer is probably very rarely.
Using Your Wardrobe Pieces
This means you have a pair of pants that are elegant and look great on you, that are doing little besides taking up space in your closet. Suits have limited functionality. The events where a suit is the right style choice are few and far between. Pairing your suit pants with a Henley opens up an entire new world of possibilities and puts your clothing to good use.
Stand Out From the Crowd
The ensemble also sets you apart from the crowd. There’s a fine line between standing out and looking pretentious. Wearing a suit while everyone else dons a t-shirt is not the way you want to stand out. It looks pompous at best.
However, pairing your elegant suit pants with a Henley shirt is a perfect combination for many occasions. You’ll be better dressed than the other guys around you, but not so much you look like a jerk.
A great outfit doesn’t do you any favors if it doesn’t look great on you as well. Part of the henley’s popularity is that it looks great on nearly anyone. It hugs and flatters your body without drawing undue attention to itself.
A pair of well tailored pants are also flattering. They can enhance your natural body type, and hide imperfections, including giving you a slimmer appearance.
How to Wear a Henley With Dress Pants
Now that you know you should wear a Henley with suit pants, the next question is how.
The Right Fit
You’ll want a tailored fit for your trousers. Think a slim cut, with a tapered leg and no break, particularly if you want to wear casual shoes. Pairing your Henley and dress pants with a pair of white tennis shoes keeps it casual but classy.
However, you’ll need a tapered leg if you go for this look. Trousers with generous hems are more formal, and will require more formal shoes.
Your Henley should also have a tailored appearance. Aim for form fitting, but not skin tight. You should be able to move comfortably in the shirt, and it should drape well. A short sleeve Henley should hit your mid-bicep. Pay attention to the fit of the sleeves, ensuring that they are not too tight but not loose.
It’s important to match the material, or at least the weight of material, when pairing your Henley with trousers. Lightweight cotton trousers should be paired with a cotton or cotton blend Henley. Wool trousers or suit pants should be paired with a heavier weave cotton Henley.
Where to Wear a Henley and Dress Pants
Now that you know why to wear a Henley and dress pants, and how to wear the style, there’s only one question left. Where do you wear the outfit?
One of the great things about this ensemble is that you can wear it nearly anywhere. It’s a perfect choice for a first date. It looks like you care about your appearance, without looking like you’ve tried too hard. It can also be a good choice for a brunch, cocktails, and some networking events.
If the dress code calls for casual or smart casual, this outfit will fit the bill. There are a few places where you shouldn’t wear the outfit. These include funerals, formal dinner parties, weddings, and formal job interviews.
Final Thoughts on Dress Pants and Henley
With all the reasons to wear a henley with dress pants, there’s really no reason not to have it in your rotation. It’s versatility and classic style make it an easy choice for a wide variety of situations.