The three-button Henley was originally designed as a solution to regulate temperature. It originated in rowing but was made popular in running during the "Chariots of Fire" era. As more technical fabrics were introduced, though, this elegant solution was phased out. Our VC Henley Tee brings together old and new in a reimagined take on the silhouette.
Our goal was to create a performance top that retained the classic aesthetics of the Henley. We started with our lightweight and antimicrobial 2:09 Mesh, then added versatile features like a three-button placket that lets you open or close the neckline as the temperature changes, and a ribbed cuff to hold the sleeves in place. The result is a technical short sleeve top that combines form and function in a timeless tee.
In the late 1920's, the Henley style was adopted for tennis and other warm weather activities with a bird's eye pique fabric. This textured material featured recessed shapes with a small circle in the middle to enhance air flow. We riffed on this approach with our signature 2:09 Mesh. It's breathable, wicks moisture, and dries in a flash. It’s what makes the Fells a functional training top that can also double as a statement making warm-up top before and after a race.
In the early 20th century, Henleys were embraced across the athletic spectrum by rowers and runners alike for their versatility and warmth. They were typically cut from a waffle knit that worked well in cold conditions, but was not ideal as temperatures soared. That's why tennis turned to the bird's eye pique fabric. These tennis shirts were the forebears of the now ubiquitous (and decidedly non-athletic) polo shirt. We thought it time to bring the style full circle: to return the Henley to its endurance roots, while respecting its aesthetic history. And while we're on the subject of "Chariots of Fire," if you haven't seen it, it's time you did. Some traditions are worth keeping.