What Is an Oxford Style Shirt?

by Alissa Marrapodi

The classic oxford weave dates back to the 19th century in Scotland. A type of basket weave, a colored yarn is often combined with white yarn, which gives oxford weave fabric its classic checkerboard pattern. Oxford-woven shirts are almost always long-sleeved with a button-down collar; they are versatile and can be dressed up or worn casually.

The Oxford Occasion

Oxford shirts can be styled for work, the weekend, a wedding or even a day spent sailing on the water. Mainly woven with cotton but sometimes a mix of cotton and synthetic fibers, men have their choice of colors and patterns. A bright orange or red oxford is fitting for a summer barbecue, while a classic, crisp white does well as office attire. Patterns such as blue stripes with a contrasting horizontal pocket pattern or plaid are suited for a day on the water. A French collar adds texture to the classic oxford and makes it easy to transition from casual business to after hours.

Styling Your Oxford

For a casual look, tuck your oxford shirt-- be it striped, white or light blue -- into a belted pair of khaki chinos or dark-stained jeans. Add a pair of oxford dress shoes or loafers to either pant for a sleeker look. Or, wear a knit sweater over your oxford and style it with a pair of tennis shoes for a preppy look.

For a summer-casual, weekend-warrior look, roll up your oxford's sleeves and throw on a pair of brightly colored casual shorts. Or, mix it up by wearing a dark-colored T-shirt under your unbuttoned oxford; this gives you a layered, yet polished look. For an outfit that transitions from warm days to cool nights, pair a light blue or white oxford with a pair of chambray or linen pants in dark blue or gray.

Business casual requires an unstructured blazer, a white oxford shirt and chinos, paired with a pair of oxford dress shoes. This look is perfect for office environments that are sans suit and tie.

The key to dressing up your oxford shirt is ensuring it's pressed and neat. Style a white oxford shirt with a gray or navy two-piece suit and tie.

About the Author

With 10 years of journalism experience, Alissa Marrapodi is the managing editor of Boardroom Journal and Food Product Design. Covering everything from health and nutrition to beauty and fashion, she holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.