Personally, I always get excited to show off a little clavicle. It’s the most skeletal part of me besides my head when my hair is wet, and skeletons are very mysterious — you only see them on Halloween and in science class and if you follow National Geographic on Instagram. They’re sort of like ankle bones in that they’re scandalous, but not, and they just might be the one area of skin that remains as blemish-free as the day Zeus said, “Let there be light.”
In order to not be sexist, then, I understand the exposed clavicle’s appeal to men. Was it not I who waxed hirsute on hairy chests and the fun they must have under Hawaiian shirts? (It was.) Here in 2016 gender is fluid and therefore trends — bare skin and flared pants — are free for all. Besides, Urban Outfitters 2009 spawned the unisex dawn of the deep-V and following that, in LA, the rise of the dropped U-neck.
What I’m confused about is how the clavicle-framing henley swooped back around from Abercrombie’s early-2000s heyday to now and replaced that J.Crew Gingham oxford as the Hot Guy Shirt of 2016.
But first, who’s a Hot Guy?
– Ryan Gosling, obviously
– Kanye West
– David Beckham
– Anyone who could be what the kids call a fuckboi except that, while some lingering essence of douche remains from their youths, they’re mostly good dudes, especially if they’re dads. Say what you will about Scott Disick.
Exception: The Bachelor contestants
– Knowing that they’re excused from the above clause, The Bachelor contestants
– Many of the objectively attractive males at bars who aren’t your type but seem perfectly nice if not a little bit torn between their desire for a drink infused with lavender egg whites and shots
Hot Guys are like the new metrosexual minus the term’s antiquation. They are trendy on purpose, receive some sort of monthly subscription box, appear on television or wish they appeared on television and, either way, have head shots set as their dating app default photos. They wear fedoras or have seriously considered it. Mostly, they are harmless.
The men are. Not those awful hats.
Back to the shirt: Just as our own Harling worried about her premature off-the-shoulder top fatigue, scared that she’d never again feel the sartorial spark it first elicited, I suppose that men eventually got sick of navy gingham. They over-wore it at every party, fete and function. They went on dates in the shirt, took pictures in the shirt. It was their very favorite Going Out Top.
Until it wasn’t.
Until they got sick of “tucked or not?” and trying to master the rolled sleeve. Until someone who they deemed cool steered them toward a collarless leather jacket and said, “This is in.” And then collectively they realized that your average button down just wasn’t gonna work with that hypothetical motorcycle already revving up in their imaginations.
So the contingent of Hot Guys got together, pulled up various inspiration boards and said, “Ok, team. What will it be? The Hot Guy shirt of 2016?”
One brave man raised his hand and offered up a relic from back in the day: “The henley.”
And smack in-between sets of clapping hands, clavicles world-wide rejoiced.
Feature Photographs by Jesse Grant and Mark Robert Milan via Getty Images; carousel photographs by Ilya S. Savenok and Josiah Kamau via Getty Images.