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What is an Oxford Shirt?


When it comes to clothing, the word essential is thrown around very often to all kinds of garments, but when it comes to menswear, the Oxford shirt is truly an essential piece of men’s clothing. A timeless classic, the oxford shirt is the versatile workhorse of any smart casual outfit. The Oxford shirts has enough character to be worn to casual event but retaining the classic smart look for more formal occasions. As one of the most versatile and durable items available, every man should have at least one oxford shirt in his wardrobe, preferably more.

Men's Oxford Cotton Plain Shirt

History of the Oxford Shirt.

Although named Oxford, the shirt gets its name from the fabric used to construct the shirts. Produced in Scotland, the mill produced four different types of fabric in the 19th century: Cambridge, Harvard, Oxford and Yale. The aim at the time was to produce a cheaper alternative to the dress shirts to meet the demands of the rising middle class. Although the other three textiles failed to generate many sales, the basket weave used in the Oxford material proved very popular and is still thriving today.

Utilizing a basket style weave, which is when two different yarns are weaved in opposing directions, which gives the Oxford cloth a more marled appearance than the shirt materials of the time. This made them a lot thicker than the dress shirts of the time, but also a lot softer and a lot more breathable. The breathability and hard wearing nature of the fabric made this a popular choice for sportswear, particularly with the British polo players at the time. Students at elite universities adopted the Oxford shirt for their sporting clothes, even adding buttons to the collar to stop it flapping around whilst playing. This button-down look has since become synonymous with the Oxford shirt.

As the oxford shirt can go with almost any outfit, it has been worn by many different types of people all over the world. The shirts became firm favourites with students in Ivy League colleges in America, worn in a more casual, ‘preppy’ style. The mods of the 1960s were fans of the oxford shirt, utilising it in a more formal manner. Although how it was worn and the style associated with the Oxford shirt has changed over the years, it no longer has detachable collar and cuffs, but the shirt remains the same.

Men's Oxford Cotton Checked Shirt

Benefits of an Oxford Shirt

The Oxford shirt is one of the most versatile shirts you can own, it doesn’t matter if you are at work, walking the dogs or just having a few drinks with your friends, the durability, breathability and the sleek classic design of the shirt will always be a great choice. There aren’t a lot of items that look as much at home in an office as it does down the pub on an evening.

The basket weave of the Oxford fabric makes it very durable and hard wearing, the oxford shirt is well suited to a day in the yard. The material is also very breathable, so you don’t have to worry about working up a sweat when wearing one. They also wash well and retain their shape easily, so you can afford to get a bit dirt of on it without worrying how it washes.

How to wear an Oxford Shirt

The great thing about the Oxford shirt is how easily it can be mixed and matched to suit any occasion. For a casual look team with a pair of jeans or shorts, our men’s Rupert chino shorts go very well with an Oxford shirt, try rolling up the sleeves for a more relaxed look. Finish the look with a nice pair of deck shoes or loafers for an effortless casual look (We also stock a range of casual shoes that will bring the whole outfit together). The shirt can also be worn with chinos or suit trousers for a smarter look, a nice pair of brogue shoes will finish of the look perfectly.

Men's Oxford Cotton Shirt

Jumpers and other knitwear compliment the Oxford shirt very well, due to its courser material and more casual look than a traditional dress shirt. We recommend a thicker knit, round neck jumper with the shirt tucked in. Our Danby Men's Chunky Shooting Jumper is the perfect country companion to keep a classic country look, ideal for everyday wear or out in yard getting some work done. Of course, what you wear it with is up to you, the versatility of the shirt means any knitwear will compliment your look.

Although some traditionalists may disagree, it is no longer frowned upon to dress down a suit. Tailoring is much more relaxed than it used to be and wearing a more casual cutaway collar is no longer looked down on. Replace your dress shirts with an Oxford shirt for a smart, but more casual and approachable look. Have plans after work? With an oxford shirt you can just ditch the tie and suit jacket, open the top buttons and you have an outfit that won’t look out of place in your favourite bar or restaurant.

Here at Rydale we offer a range of different Oxford cotton shirts in a range of colours. Pick from the classic checked, striped or you can opt for a plain and simple design in our classic colour schemes. Just a few shirts will have you covered for any events you have planned. With the Oxford cotton shirt being a true classic not showing any signs of going out of style anytime soon, why not treat yourself or someone else now? With our two for £40 including several of our Oxford shirts, there’s really no reason not to.

Of course, if you have any questions on What is an Oxford shirt then please get in touch with our friendly customer care team who are always happy help. Be sure to check out the full range of men's oxford cotton shirts for more colours and prints you'll love. 


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