Men’s Guide to the Oxford Shirt

Written by Marc | 13/02/2017


How To



The men’s Oxford shirt is quickly becoming a must-have this Spring/Summer. One of the most versatile pieces in your wardrobe, you can dress them up or down depending on the occasion you’re wearing it for. With such a variety of colours and fabrics, you’ll always find an Oxford shirt to suit your style. Here’s our guide on everything you need to know about this timeless classic and how to wear it…

What is an Oxford Shirt?

Contrary to its name, the Oxford shirt was in fact not made in Oxford. These classic shirts were originally designed in Scotland when 19th-century weavers aimed for a sense of sophistication by naming their creations after four highly renowned universities – Yale, Cambridge and Harvard weren’t popular enough to stand the test of time.

What started off as a long-sleeved shirt worn by polo players during their matches, is now an absolute staple for the modern man to have in his wardrobe. The difference between a formal shirt and the Oxford shirt is primarily the fabric. Classic formal shirts are usually made from cotton or polyester which is a fine material, compared to Oxford cloth which is thicker, therefore making it just a bit more casual and comfortable.

How to Wear an Oxford Shirt

The best thing about this style of shirt is that it is very versatile and easy to wear. This essential piece can be easily mixed and matched with other items to create anything from a smart, office-appropriate outfit to a relaxed, casual look and everything in between.

Smart: The great thing about the Oxford shirt is that although it’s a tailored piece, it is also extremely comfortable and easy to wear – meaning you can look put together, without the uncomfortable clingy feeling of a polyester formal shirt.

Take your long or short-sleeved Oxford shirt and pair it with chinos/smart trousers, loafers and a trench coat to create a sleek, sophisticated office-worthy outfit.


Get the Look: Lacoste Long Sleeved Oxford Shirt | Pretty Green Mayfair Trench Jacket | Hugo Boss Orange Schino 1 Slim Fit Trousers | Armani Jeans Logo Loafer Shoes

Smart Casual: Striking the balance between formal and casual can be difficult. Luckily, the Oxford shirt is the epitome of smart casual. Basing your outfit around this piece will make it ten times easier for you to pick out the perfect smart casual outfit.

Wear your Oxford shirt with slim-fit jeans, a cable knit jumper and a pair of boat shoes – Easy!


Get the Look: Lyle & Scott Short Sleeved Oxford Shirt | Barbour Cashmere Cable Knit Crew Neck Jumper | Armani Jeans J45 Slim Fit Jeans | Hugo Boss Orange Nydeck Mocc Shoes

Casual: For the man that still likes look to put together, even on a casual day – The Oxford shirt can be mixed and matched with more casual clothing items to create a comfortable, laidback vibe to your outfit.

Put on your Oxford shirt with a pair of chino shorts, white trainers and your fave sunglasses and you will be ready for Summer! Typical British weather struck again? Swap the chino shorts with a pair of slim-fit jeans and throw a classic bomber over the top.


Get the Look: Fred Perry Short Sleeved Oxford Shirt | Farah Vintage Hawk Chino Shorts | Ralph Lauren Hanford Trainers | Tom Ford Leo Sunglasses | Nudie Jeans Long John Super Tight Fit Jeans | G-Star Raw Rakam Bomber Jacket

Brief History of the Oxford Shirt

So, we know where the Oxford shirt originated but where did it go from there? Typically, it was worn in formal scenarios with ties and suits, perhaps most famously by President Kennedy who by position and lineage further reinforced its aristocratic heritage.

More recently the Oxford button-down shirt has been associated with preppy style; adopted by Ivy League students in the 1950s for its rich heritage, clean lines and sports background. While there are still some traditional Oxford shirts out there, they usually only come in two styles nowadays – the button-down collar for more casual wear and the traditional pointed collar for more formal wear.

As with every tailored garment, the key to wearing an Oxford shirt ensuring it fits right. This will leave you with endless outfit options from smart to casual, day to night. Basically, you can never go wrong with this classic shirt!

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