By Courtney Carlson
Picture your closet. Now look in your closet and find the MOST universal and versatile garment in there. Once you look past your t-shirts and jeans, you’ll probably find a classic oxford button-down shirt. And if you don’t, it might be time to go shopping.
If there is one article of clothing that is considered universal, the Oxford shirt is it. Casual enough for class yet dressy enough for a night out, both men and women of all ages LOVE this shirt. The aptly named oxford fabric is originally from Scottish fabric mills back in the 19th century and is so great that we still use it almost exactly as it was then. Obviously there are some synthetics out there now, but let’s be real, the classic cotton oxford is the best. The style is almost identical to the original, with a button-down front and aptly named oxford collar.
The thing that makes the Oxford different from any other button-down shirt is the weave. This super specific basket weave includes one thicker yarn going the opposite direction than two smaller yarns woven together. This special basket weave is obvious to the eye and easy distinguishable to even the average shopper.
Oxfords were popularized in the 20th century in England…surprise, right? While the fabric had already been named when it was made, the style of shirt became popular for polo players because it was breathable and easy to move around in. That’s when the shirt started catching on as part of the “preppy” look, where it continues to thrive. So you can all thank the polo players for your comfy shirt next time you hop across the pond!
Clearly, oxfords caught on in the good old USA. They’ve become classics that work in almost any environment and they are totally timeless, so you never have to worry about suddenly being out of style. Nothing is better than effortless style, right?
The big evolution of this product has been the transformation of use. Oxfords were originally for polo players, then made the move to social wear slowly after. The function and style of the shirt has remained almost exactly as it originally was, but they were not originally intended for women. Obviously, modern women love rocking an oxford shirt with their skinny jeans and flats. Ladies didn’t take long to adopt the oxford shirt, they caught on very soon after its major adoption.
Oxfords are all over the big (and small) screens. I started compiling a list, but quickly realized that it would probably break my keyboard to type out every film an oxford button-down is featured in. Celebrities rock oxfords all the time…it’s practically their uniform for casual days. Rihanna and Taylor Swift were at the top of the list on oxford shirt looks, and Tom Cruise is even featured rocking one of these classics on the red carpet for a movie premiere! Clearly, oxford button-downs have made it to the big time.