White Oxford shirt Our stylists’ favourites for you, plus some tips on how to wear them well

Why you need a white Oxford shirt
You could wear the same white oxford shirt for a week in a different way every day: by itself, open over a white t-shirt, under a jumper, under a blazer, under a sweatshirt … I could go on. Oxfords also work year-round for occasions from formal to super casual. Plus they don’t have to cost a lot.

Stylist, Brooke Philips

The anatomy

1. Fabric: Oxfords are named for their thick, basketweave fabric.

2. Curved hem: means it can stay untucked (which makes sense: the short sides can be tough to tuck in).

3. Collar: Go for one that's at least two inches wide; any narrower makes your neck look thin.

4. Pocket: Not actually for storing things (sorry).

The icon

JFK is proof of two important Oxford-related things: 1. They can just as good when creased. 2. They work equally well with shorts at the beach and under blazers for days in the office.

The most versatile fit

A slim-fit Oxford is most flattering and gives you the option of tucking the shirt in; regular cut shirts are usually too loose to neatly tuck in.

The care tips
  • Wash cold with whites only.
  • Air dry on hangers to help them keep their shape (and save you ironing time).
  • If your shirt’s neck gets grimy, hand-wash it with dish soap before throwing it in the wash. The soap will cut through oil from your skin.
The history

The shirt’s breathable, basketweave fabric dates to a 19th-Century Scottish mill, where it was named for the university. And its button-down collar was inspired by 1890s-era English polo players, who used buttons to keep their collars from flying around during play.

The smartness scale
  • Smartest outfit: Oxford with a blazer, tie, formal trousers and brogues.
  • Most casual outfit: Oxford with shorts and boat shoes, light-wash jeans and trainers, or completely unbuttoned over a white t-shirt.
The secret to the sharpest Oxfords

Getting shirts dry-cleaned is cheaper than you might think (as little as £2 a shirt), the best way to keep them crisp, and increasingly easy: the likes of Laundrapp do free pickup and delivery.

The two-step casual cuff

1. Roll once until the whole sleeve is above your elbow.

2. Take the bottom of the fold and turn up again. No need to neaten the cuff; it looks best as is.

The glossary
  • Pleated yoke: Two folds in the centre of the back between the shoulders. When a shirt has one, it means there's a little more fabric, so it looks best untucked.
  • Button-down: In the UK, a shirt with a collar that buttons down. (If it's there, keep it buttoned.) In the US, any shirt with buttons down the front.