This is one of the most versatile fashion items anyone can own, especially men. It originates from Scotland, where factories experimented with weaves to create four new styles, each named after one of the four best-known universities at the time: Yale, Cambridge, Harvard and Oxford.
If you’ve never heard of the other shirts, you are not alone, I just heard about them, all thanks to this article – only the Oxford has proved popular enough to not be cut from production.
The oxford shirt is known as a woven dress shirt. It is woven from two different strands of yarn (which gives it that distinctive marled appearance) and often, but not always, features a button-down collar. It is employed to make a particular casual-formal cloth in dress shirts. It is versatile as it can switch from formal to casual wear. The oxford shirt has been on trend for over 100 years, now you see why it’s a must-have in every man’s closet. Now let’s see how we can wear this versatile piece.
1. With Chinos
This is a safe way to wear the oxford shirt. Thanks to its history as an integral part of the polo uniform, so it makes sense to pair one with an Ivy League staple for a look that’s safe but distinctive.
Consider pairing them with lightweight chinos in neutral and pastel colours. Bright colours may make you look tacky. No matter how much I love red, I won’t advise you to pair red chinos with an oxford shirt, that’s just wrong.
2. With a jumper
This is one of my favourite things to pair an oxford shirt with. Oxfords are known for their slightly coarser texture, which makes them perfect for knitwear. This is perfect during the cold weather, or times you just want to feel warm and cosy.
Mid- to heavy-gauge jumpers work best for layering over an Oxford shirt, creating a look that delivers on function (it’s warm) and forms (it adds more visual interest up top). When choosing colours, always opt for tonal variations, or clash them like you mean it.
3. Open over a t-shirt
If you are thinking of wearing the oxford shirt with a casual look, this is perfect. Before oxfords were worn alone, T-shirts were worn under them. You have to be careful when wearing it like this, so you don’t look like a teenager. Make sure the T-shirt is relatively plain and the shirt not so baggy in the fit that it looks like you’re waiting to grow into it. To kill this look, you need to practise.
4. With a suit
Some fashion experts have argued that it’s a sin to wear an oxford shirt with a suit, but this is no sin in my books. Sure, its button-down collar might read casual, but in the past one year, tailoring has been shrugging off its stuffiness lately, so styling tricks that dress-down your two-piece aren’t so much off-key as on point.
But remember that the suit must lean casual, so don’t try teaming an Oxford with super-sleek wool-silk suiting.
5. With suit separates
If you are scared of wearing your oxford shirt with a full suit, then swap it for suit separates. You can pair it either with your suits blazer or pants. Choose suits separates made with wool, tweed, cotton twill or corduroy, that will make the most of an Oxford’s off-duty quality, rather than jar with it.
6. With jeans
The oxford shirt will definitely not look out of place with something rough like jeans. You can pair your oxford shirt with a t-shirt and jeans or just with jeans. Just make sure it doesn’t look sloppy.