The Iconic Oxford Shirt

The Iconic Oxford Shirt

A staple that should be in every mans wardrobe, The Oxford Shirt has been around since the sixties and has proved itself indispensable for casual Fridays, under a sports Jacket, with or without a tie or untucked at the summer barbecue.

Ironically, this blog is about one of the first shirts I ever designed. The Oxford Shirt, a classic staple, has been part of men's wardrobes since the '40s and still to this day, enjoys both a cult-like status as well as portraying an inoffensive 'college' style in a dress down workplace.

It regained its most recent resurgence in the late '80s were when it symbolised archetypical 'no tie' Fridays shirt when the workplace was becoming less restrictive and led by the tech and computing era.

So what is an Oxford shirt? To understand this, we need to separate the 'weave' or construction of the cloth from the look and feel of the shirt style itself.

An Oxford weave is a basket weave of sorts, made from double or parallel yarns in the warp and weft. Although the fabric itself can be solid in colour, what gives Oxford cloth its distinct look is the layout of the yarns to provide a chambray appearance by using both coloured and white dyed yarns to give a subtle or 'washed out' look.

The styling of the Oxford Shirt, while not exclusive, is generally of a button-down collar, being typically the style of shirts worn by American college students where the look was initially appropriated in the Sixties and popularised again by designers such as Ben Sherman, and later Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and countless others since – including yours truly.

Treat this classic shirt style as your go-to softer casual shirt – smart enough for the workplace in a white or blue, with or without a tie and yet relaxed enough to wear out to a bar or dinner at night time. In Summertime, a colour such as lemon or pink will take you to the polo or barbecue.
Oh, and your girlfriend or wife will borrow it occasionally.