Easily one of the best shirts for men, the humble Oxford shirt is a time-honoured wardrobe essential that every guy should own. The ultimate shirt for both casual and formal looks, and with such a variety of colours and fabrics, you’ll always find the best oxford shirt to suit your style. So here’s everything you’ll ever need to know about this classic.
Read more Men’s Style Guide features.
- 1 How To Wear an Oxford Shirt
- 2 Best Oxford Shirts for Men
- 3 Styles of Oxford Shirts
- 4 How an Oxford Shirt Should Fit
- 5 Fabric Choice: Oxford, Poplin, Twill or Broadcloth?
- 6 Further Reading: A History Of The Oxford Shirt
- 7 How to Wear an Oxford Shirt
- 8 On That Note
How To Wear an Oxford Shirt
You may be asking yourself, “What is an Oxford Shirt?” – The Oxford shirt can come in an incredibly large variety of fabrics, cuts, and colours, making the possibilities seem endless when it comes to styling. If you’re buying your first or seventh, you’ll want to find the best oxford shirt, so we’re here to help!
How To Wear A Grey Oxford Shirt
We’ve created a smart but stylish look below that’ll easily see you from a casual setting to post-work drinks. Team your grey oxford shirt with light wash jeans, either slim or straight cut, then add a quality statement jacket to give the look a bit of personality. Finish off with some boots, or simple trainers for an ideal weekend ensemble.
How To Wear A White Oxford Shirt
The humble Oxford shirt is, hands down, one of the best white shirts for men. With its unrivalled versatility, it can be styled to suit both casual and formal events making it a worthy investment regardless of your style. We recommend dressing it down with some cuffed fitted joggers, classic one colour trainers, and completing the look with a bomber jacket for the ultimate urban vibe.
How to Wear a Pink Oxford Shirt
Keep the look slick and subtle with slim fit chinos, a simple overcoat and some classic boat shoes. It’s a great look for the office or even date night, after all – what woman doesn’t like a man who wears pink?
Best Oxford Shirts for Men
Best Grey Oxford Shirts For Men
We’ve narrowed done some of the best grey oxford shirts for men for you to have a gander at. From close to black, to just as light as white, the choice is completely up to you.
Best White Oxford Shirts For Men
Nothing beats the classic white oxford shirt, and over here at Idle HQ we believe that every man should own at least one. Check out some of our favourites below!
Best Pink Oxford Shirts For Men
A pink oxford shirt is another great staple to have in your wardrobe, albeit a little more daring for the average man – when styled correctly it’ll really diversify the smart looks at your disposal. The key is in keeping the rest of your look relativly subdued, especially in terms of colour.
Styles of Oxford Shirts
Long vs Short Sleeved
The choice of sleeve length can be mainly put down to personal preference, however, there are a few other things to consider like the suitability to where you plan on wearing said shirt.
- Short sleeved oxford shirts are best suited to a casual look due to the bare arms, which is considered an informality. This makes them a great choice for warmer months when paired with some chinos or chino shorts.
- The long sleeved oxford shirt is suited to both casual and formal situations due to its ease of styling. While typically worn under a blazer or jacket, they can just as easily be worn alone or unbuttoned over a t-shirt for a more casual vibe
With or Without a Pocket
An oxford shirt with a pocket is great if you’re after a classic, formal piece that provides both style points and functionality. The addition of a pocket will immediately add a more casual air to your outfit, but not so far that you can’t be sporting a pocketed shirt with a blazer. After all, who’s gonna know what you’re wearing underneath that suit of yours!
How an Oxford Shirt Should Fit
- Collar: Virtually all formal shirts are categorised on the measurement of collar size. They’re measured in half inches, so you should have a near perfect fit around the neck. Ideally, it should touch the neck all the way around, but not feel tight. You should also be able to fit two fingers between your neck and the collar. Any more or less, and it doesn’t fit.
- Shoulders: The vertical shoulder seam sits at the edge of the shoulder as this prevents tugging or twisting on the shoulder seam when rotating the arm. You’ll know it’s too tight when the seam is too much into the chest, not allowing an effortless rotation of the arm. You’ll know it’s too big when the seam will be down the arm.
- Chest and Torso: It should gently rest on your chest, with no pull on the buttons. If you can see through the gaps, or it’s bulging – you need to go up a size. Avoid excess shirt material hanging out of the sides around your hips.
- Sleeve Length: The perfect length would be measured by where the watch is positioned on your wrist. If it’s placed well, then the sleeve should cover maybe half or a quarter of the clock face.
Fabric Choice: Oxford, Poplin, Twill or Broadcloth?
What Are Yarn Numbers & Ply?
- Yarn: Many brands and companies advertise their available fabrics with a yarn number as an indication of quality. A yarn number only tells you one thing: the diameter of the yarn used in the fabric. Thick fabric has a lower yarn number because the yarn used to make the shirt is wider, while thinner fabric has a higher number.
- Ply: Ply is a term used to describe the number of yarns that are spun together in the shirt fabric. Two-ply means that two different yarns are twisted together before the shirting fabric is woven.
- Fabric: Fabric is created by weaving two sets of threads together. The “warp” threads run vertically on the shirt. “Weft” threads run horizontally.
What is Oxford?
- Created by weaving thick yarns in a basket weave
- Thick, textured fabric that has a slight variation in shade
- Traditionally reserved for casual shirts, and inherently more casual than poplin or twill
What is Dress Oxford, Royal Oxford, Imperial Oxford?
- Often woven in a diamond-shape, sometimes basket
- Texture of the weave is much easier to see from a distance
- Noticeably thinner than regular oxfords, similar in thickness to pinpoint oxfords
- Soft, warm, and easy to iron
What is Pinpoint Oxford?
- Made with very fine yarn in a basket weave
- Thicker than poplin, but thinner than twill or oxford fabric
- Fabric texture is more interesting than the smoothness of poplin, or the unvarying diagonal ribbing of twill
- Moderately warm, but great breathability
What is Poplin?
- A poplin shirt is made from a plain weave of fine yarns, creating a thin, soft, smooth, long-lasting fabric
- Thin and breathable
- Can be slightly transparent due to its thinness
- Retains smoothness after being ironed
- Sometimes described as broadcloth (technically different, but pretty much the same)
What is Twill?
- Distinctive diagonal weave
- Soft, and a bit thicker and warmer than poplin
- The twill dress shirt has a tendency to wrinkle easily
- Not as breathable as poplin
- Can be difficult to remove stains
What is Herringbone?
- Made with twill fabric that has been woven into a distinct alternating diagonal pattern
- Same advantages and disadvantages of twill
- Herringbone weaves can vary widely in width, angle, etc
What is End-on-End/ Fil-a-fil?
- A plain weave that’s created by alternating contrasting horizontal and vertical yarns
- Structurally identical to poplin, but the two colours of yarn produce a heathered visual effect
- Breathable, durable, soft, and other advantages of poplin, but looks better
Further Reading: A History Of The Oxford Shirt
The Oxford shirt originates from Scotland back in the 19th century. At the time, as mills began to create their own unique weaves they opted to name them after the popular universities of the day. As such; Yale, Cambridge, Harvard and of course Oxford rose to the top of the pile – with Oxford besting the rest with its staying power.
It was typically worn in formal scenarios with ties and suits, quickly becoming the unofficial uniform of those attending polo matches and, by association, Ivy League students began to adopt the style themselves. Soon enough, students began to style the shirt in their own unique way, wearing it un-tucked and pairing it with whatever took their fancy.
While there’s still some relatively traditional Oxford shirts around, they’ll typically only comes in two main styles these days; the button down collar, for casual wear, and the traditional pointed collar for formal wear.
How to Wear an Oxford Shirt
As with most tailored pieces of menswear, the key to wearing an Oxford shirt is all in the fit. Ensuring the shirt fits well leaves you open to a plethora of outfit options, from smart to casual. Pair some chinos with a contemporary blazer and some leather Chelsea boots for an outfit that’ll work from day to night.
On That Note
The oxford shirt is, by far, one of the best men’s shirts you can have in your wardrobe. Unrivalled in versatility, it can take you through any event or season and easily integrates with any man’s personal style.
So there you have it. The complete guide of the best oxford shirts for men. We’ve covered everything from outfit ideas to fit, fabrics, history and, best of all, style tips. You’ll never question your knowledge of oxford shirts again!