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Is it Okay to Wear a Henley Shirt with Loafers? Dress Shoes?

Henley shirt is one of the men's versatile clothing that goes between casual and business casual. While it may look good with loafers, you may have to think twice before pairing it with dress shoes. Check out the several ways of how you can pull this combo off.

Man in a henley shirt and loafers sitting outside the building.

Shoes are often overlooked, but they truly are the cornerstone of your outfit. The right shoes can make or break your look. They can make you look casual or formal, stylish or foolish. 

Can you wear a Henley with loafers? Yes, you can. In fact, it can add more elegance to your look. 

Related: Do Henley Shirts Go with Dress Pants (Trousers)? | Do Henley Shirts Go with Sneakers? If So, What Sneaker Colors?Does a Henley Shirt Go Well with a Jean Jacket? | Is it Okay to Wear a Henley Shirt with a Blazer?

The Right Shoe is Essential 

Man in a suit putting on his dress shoes.

There’s a famous line in the Shawshank Redemption. Red asks, “How often do you really look at a man’s shoes?”

The premise is that Andy went unnoticed wearing the warden’s shoes. It makes great movie logic, but is it true? No. The shoes are typically the first thing someone notices about you. 

It’s easy to see why you must choose the right shoes for the look you are going for. This includes considering what you’ll be doing, where you are going, and your own personal sense of style. 

The Henley 

A pile of henley shirts on a wooden floor.

The Henley shirt is one of the most versatile pieces in a guy’s wardrobe. More importantly, it looks great on anyone. Most importantly, it’s nearly impossible to construct a bad outfit with a henley. It’s essentially foolproof. 

A Henley is a collarless pullover shirt. Its defining characteristic is a placard, typically 2-5 inches long, with 3-5 buttons. There are short and long-sleeved versions. There’s even a sleeveless Henley, which makes me shudder. 

Generally, when someone talks about a henley, they are referring to the long-sleeved version. It can be made from a wide variety of materials, but cotton and thermal material are the most common. 

The Henley is a step up from a t-shirt in terms of style and formality. It’s essentially on par with the polo, straddling the line between casual and business casual. Depending on how you dress it up or down, the Henley covers a wide range of styles and situations. 

If you don’t already have a few in your wardrobe, you really should. 

The Loaf on Loafers

Close-up of a man wearing leather loafers.

Loafers also blend casual with formal. You can wear loafers with your favorite pair of jeans, or even a suit. You will want to stick to casual suits. Loafers are not a replacement for dress shoes.

You can’t rock a 3-piece suit in a pair of loafers unless you want to look ridiculous. You can, however, wear a casual linen suit with your favorite pair of penny or tassel loafers.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, penny loafers look great with a pair of khaki shorts. If casual elegance is what you are going for, you really can’t go wrong with a good pair of loafers. 

Pairing a Henley With Loafers 

Now for the moment you’ve been waiting for. How do you wear a Henley with loafers? The combination is quite versatile and provides you with several ways to pull off the look. 

Get Relaxed With Blue Jeans

Men's outfit including a henley shirt, denim shorts, and loafers against a wooden background.

You want to look cool and comfortable with minimal effort. Perhaps you are going to the grocery store or are simply lounging around the house. You want something more stylish than a t-shirt and a pair of jogging pants, I hope, but you don’t want to look like you are “trying”.

This is when you should reach for your favorite pair of jeans paired with a Henley and loafers. Dark blue jeans and dark brown loafers will create a classy casual look, particularly when paired with a neutral-colored henley. If you want to go more casual, light or distressed jeans are the way to go.  

You can up the ante with a leather jacket or a button-up shirt over your henley. In warmer temps, wear a short sleeve Henley and leave your socks at home. 

Casual Class 

Man in chinos and brown loafers poses near the beach.

When you want to up the style factor, choose a pair of chinos. The loafers will elevate the outfit, making it a great choice for a casual dinner. Charcoal or gray chinos look great with brown or tan loafers. 

To add a little extra class, choose a tassel or horsebit loafer. The detail on the shoe will make the outfit look slightly more formal. 

To dress down a bit, choose a pair of khakis or cargo pants. Just avoid the extra baggy cargo pants that make you look like you are wearing a circus tent. Those don’t do anyone any favors. 

For a unique look, choose corduroy chinos and suede loafers. Opt for neutral colors and let the texture of the materials take center stage. 

Can You Wear a Henley With Dress Shoes? 

Man in a blue henley and black dress shoes poses against the half brick wall.

Dress shoes are designed for formal occasions, right? Today’s trends often include blending formal and casual elements. Many style experts say dress shoes work well with a pair of fitted blue jeans. 

I’m no style expert, but I think dress shoes should be reserved for dressy outfits. When you pair dress shoes with a Henley, it’s a bit too much of a stretch. It’s like you are asking one or the other to be something it’s not. The same goes for pairing your favorite oxfords with blue jeans. Just don’t do it. 

There is a way to get a more polished look than the typical Henley and chinos, though. If you really want to up the formality factor, pair a Henley with a pair of suit pants. Tailored suit pants look great with a henley. It’s the perfect combination of casual and formal, and it works for a long list of events and occasions.

Instead of dress shoes, rock a pair of white tennis shoes with the ensemble.