strat investigates

Why Do Male Celebrities Love Henleys (and Which Ones Should I Get)?

Three of Urbinati’s famous clients in henleys. Photo: Getty Images

As writer Alex Ronan observed over on the Cut, male celebrities like Ryan Gosling, Kanye, and (of course) Mark Ruffalo sure seem to love their henleys. Wondering what explains the micro-phenomenon, we decided to go to an expert — fashion stylist Ilaria Urbinati, who counts famous guys like Bradley Cooper, Ryan Reynolds, Chris Evans, Ben Affleck, and Rami Malek among her clients — with all our questions: Why the henley? How do you find a good one? And (most importantly) which ones should a person buy?

Why do you think male celebrities love a henley?
Well, it’s body-conscious, but still relaxed, so it’s rugged and masculine at the same time. It’s flattering on a guy because usually the shoulders and arms are very fitted (that’s the proper kind of henley to buy). Because it’s open at the neck (the buttons should be undone!), it’s less stiff-looking compared to a crew neck and cooler than a V-neck, too.

I’d assume that as a celebrity, you’re in good enough shape to wear one, too.
Exactly, the henley really does hug them in the parts that they want to accentuate.

Is there a wrong way to wear a henley?
If you’re not in the shape of a celebrity — who is? — you probably shouldn’t wear one in a material that’s too clingy. Get something in a thicker cotton that’s a little bit less clingy. I like the Rag & Bone ones for this kind of material.

What do you look for in a good henley?
Good fit is the top priority, but simplicity is also key. Don’t get one with too many bells and whistles in the stitching or the buttons. It should feel a little vintage, like you didn’t put too much thought into it — make it look like the kind of thing you would wear to fix your car.

So is it just a summer in L.A. thing?
Not at all — during the colder months, I like switching from the standard cotton versions to knit henleys in that waffled material (super old school), or even the cashmere ones for something luxurious and warm.

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Why Do Celebrities Love Henleys (and Which Should I Get)?