If you were to make a definitive list of men’s clothes that never seem to go out of style, there are a few items that will always spring to mind. One of them, is the button-down Oxford shirt. Smart, versatile and effortlessly stylish, it is a must-have in any dapper gentleman’s wardrobe.
What is an Oxford Shirt?
Despite what you may think, the name has nothing to do with the type of the shirt or where it was made. In fact, the Oxford shirt is so-called because of the fabric it is constructed from – which originated from Scotland during the 19th century. So the story goes, a Scottish mill experimented with weaves to create four new styles, each named after one of the best-known universities at the time: Yale, Cambridge, Harvard and Oxford.
Are Oxford Shirts Casual?
Oxford shirts are not entirely casual, however they are less dressy than your ordinary formal shirt. They're smarter than a linen or short sleeve style, but more casual than something like a pin collar shirt. For this reason, they're the perfect smart-casual choice.
The History of an Oxford Shirt
The modern Oxford actually began as a formal garment – worn, as most shirts were, with a suit and tie. After a while, it started to crop up at polo matches across the UK and US, which in effect gave it an aristocratic air that led to Ivy League students adopting it as their own. It was then, that the shirt started to get dressed down, thanks to the youth wearing it untucked and paired with shorts. The look become so popular that it birthed an iconic image that we continue to have of Oxfords today.
How to Wear an Oxford Shirt
One of the main reasons that this timeless garment has stuck around for so long is because of its adaptability. To demonstrate, below are three easy ways to wear this stylish shirt:
How to Wear an Oxford Shirt with Chinos
Thanks to its history as an integral part of a polo player’s uniform, the Oxford pairs seamlessly with other Ivy League staples. Perfect for creating smart-casual ensembles, a classic pair of chinos will help you create an outfit even Paul Newman would be proud of. To achieve an A grade, simply roll up your sleeves and finish the look with some timeless penny loafers.
How to Wear an Oxford Shirt with a Suit
Despite what others may have told you, we believe wearing an Oxford shirt with a suit is by no means a sartorial sin. Sure, it may be more casual than a classic cutaway collar, but times have changed and tailoring is far more relaxed than it once was. To keep things slightly less formal, simply add a knitted tie to the mix and you’re good to go.
How to Wear an Oxford Shirt with a Jumper
Unlike ‘smarter’ shirts available, the button-down Oxford is characterised by its slightly courser texture, making it the ideal partner for some knitwear. When dressing up, we suggest tucking yours in and teaming it with a round neck jumper, trousers and shoes, or for something less dressy, leave it untucked and opt for a V-neck jumper, chinos and loafers.
What Do You Wear with an Oxford Shirt?
If you're not sure what to wear with an Oxford shirt, here are some simple yet effective outfit ideas:
- Chinos, chino shorts or jeans
- Jumpers or cardigans
- Tailored suit and tie
- Loafers, brogues, boat shoes, espadrilles or smart trainers
Now you know everything there is to know about the Oxford shirt, you can shop our full collection. Alternatively, if you'd like to know more about it, why not take a look at our Oxford shirt style guide?