what is an oxford shirt?

what is an oxford shirt?

by Dylan Baker
Updated on

An oxford shirt differs from other ordinary shirts in its material and fabric.

An oxford shirt is heavier in the material in comparison to other shirts. If we talk about occasions then the Oxford shirt is worn with both casual or formal outfits.

It is something that has existed for a long time, probably worn by our dads and their dads as well!

The name of the shirt also indicates the span of time this has existed for. An oxford shirt is something which is quite elegant, sophisticated, and chic mostly reserved for a more refined look and appearance. 

Let's see what exactly is an oxford shirt


The oxford shirt is usually made from cotton and most of the oxford shirts made from fine cotton are expensive and sold by reputed brands.

If you want to move to a cheaper range of oxford shirts then you'll find shirts made from a polyester blend.

 In both cases, whether the material is cotton or polyester, the oxford shirt is heavily built. This heavy material of the oxford shirt is a signature that is often used to recognize an oxford shirt. 

Unlike other shirts which are woven by a single thread of the same density and uniform pattern, an oxford shirt is woven using two different density threads, one being thick while the other thread is thin.

These two threads are woven together to form the oxford shirt fabric. 


The Oxford shirt is often thought to have originated from England because of its name resembling the university but the truth of its origination is something else.

It was actually the country of Scotland that holds the prominence of Oxford shirts. Scotland was the center of the textile mills and industries. 

There were numerous experiments and inventions taking place to create new combinations of fabric.

It was a common phenomenon to name those fabrics created after the world’s most prestigious universities such as Yale, Cambridge, Harvard, and Oxford.

Out of all the fabrics named after these places, it was only the ‘Oxford’ fabric that retained its relevance and value for the future generations to come while the other fabrics named after the universities lost their values. 

The oxford fabric is made up of a combination of both thick and thin threads, it is this very mixture that makes the fabric heavy in the material.

This fabric took over society by storm during the old times often used as a standard and staple shirt and even uniform for a lot of men.

The sport of polo declared oxford shirts as their uniform and became famous to the local masses and got introduced into their lives.

Soon oxford shirts were used by teenagers under their sweaters which would be the invention of the famous oxford shirt collars along with a pullover sweater, the classic look associated with the 50s and 60s. 

How to Style Oxford Shirts 

Oxford shirts can be paired in different ways with numerous types of pants to give you looks ranging from formal, casual, outing, dinner, or brunch.

Oxford shirts have a range of versatility and this is the very reason that they are so popular among men along with their easy availability in lots of different colors and palettes. 


The classic Chino Pants make the perfect pair with an oxford shirt.

Both the fabrics are famous for their materials as oxford shirts are thick whereas chinos are cross-stitched.

This gives a bold look with the two textures paired together.

Oxford Shirts paired with Chino Pants are perfect for casual outings with friends along with a day out for leisure activities. 

Chinos come in different shades as well, they have denim shades along with khaki colors.

It is important to be careful while pairing oxford shirts with chinos pants as the color combination could make or break the look.

As a thumb rule, Lighter shades of oxford shirts should be paired with darker shades of chinos and vice versa. 

Formal Pants 

As you have already guessed, Oxford Shirts work the best for formal settings, work meetings, or business when you wear them with formal pants.

It is absolutely important to know that an Oxford shirt needs to be tugged in with formal pants along with a belt.

To give off the ultimate formal and professional look, Oxford shirts can be paired up with a tie and buttoned-up collars.

There is nothing that can beat this look as more professional. 

Formal Pants should usually be restricted to the shades of black, blue, brown, and grey. 

Trying any saturated color for formal pants could make the look appear unprofessional.

While pairing oxford shirts with these colors, make sure the oxford shirt is not too bright or loud as this would not match a formal setting too well. 


There is nothing that screams casual more than jeans paired with an oxford shirt.

If you wear a t-shirt with jeans, it becomes way too plain to be worn outside for some casual event.

An oxford shirt takes the look of plain jeans to a new level with its material and appearance. 

Since this is more of a casual look, you can experiment with the color palette based on your preference.

The shades of the jeans are restricted to the blue palette, so you can opt for any color under the sun of your choice for the oxford shirt, there exists no hard and fast rule for a casual look.

Oxford shirt works the best with dark-washed denim but other shades would work too.

You can finish the whole look with some great sneakers

The bottom line: 

Oxford Shirts are a staple piece of clothing in every man’s wardrobe and this blog helps you in understanding the background of oxford shirts, how to recognize an oxford shirt based on the fabric, and different ways that an oxford shirt can be worn by you.

Oxford shirts are the go-to outfit to fit all kinds of occasions be it formal or casual.

If you want to expand your wardrobe at a reasonable rate then oxford shirts are what you should invest in.

You could buy a few oxford shirts in different color palettes and rotate them by pairing them with different pants. 

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About the author

Dylan Baker

Dylan is a Men's fashion and image consultant, He is also the man behind Dapperclan. He is extremely passionate about fashion and wants to help men style and look better.


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