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What exactly is: An Oxford shirt?

What exactly is: An Oxford shirt?

In a nutshell

One of the most versatile items you can own: a shirt made from Oxford cloth, whose thick weave gives it a good structure.


The Oxford has nothing to do with the town that bears its name. In fact these shirts were designed in Scotland, where 19th-century weavers aimed for a sense of sophistication by naming their creations after great universities. (Their other designs, the Yale, Cambridge and Harvard, weren't popular enough to stand the test of time.)

How to wear one well

"Traditional Oxford shirts have button-down collars and chest pockets, but they now come in a range of styles, from smart to casual," says Thread lead stylist, Kasia Katner. "If you want to go smart—and particularly if you're planning to wear a tie—avoid an Oxford shirt with a chest pocket, which can look distracting under a suit jacket. Oxfords look best with other natural, nonshiny fabrics (think cotton chinos, matte wool trousers and jeans) and the most classic colours are white and pale blue."