What Is an Oxford Style Shirt?

Updated July 19, 2017

Oxford shirts have become a popular trend in current fashion. Though they used to be reserved for men and thought of as a dress shirt, they are becoming more adaptable. Oxford shirts are now available for women and they are becoming more popular for casual wear.


Oxford shirts are shirts that are primarily worn by men. They have buttons all the way down the front, and feature collars and sleeve cuffs. Despite being available in many colours and patterns, they are always manufactured using Oxford cloth.


A defining characteristic of this shirt is that it is made with oxford cloth. Oxford cloth is a durable fabric that is slightly heavy. It has an elevated, soft feel to the fabric. The Oxford weave resembles a basket pattern. Typically it is made from either 100 per cent cotton or a combination of cotton and a synthetic material such as polyester or rayon.


The Royal Oxford pattern was originally used in Oxford, England, in the early 19th century, giving this fabric its name. The fabric was originally made using pure cotton and only available in white. Today, however, though some manufacturers still make pure cotton oxford cloth, it is much more common for them to be made of some combination of cotton and synthetic fibres. Additionally these shirts now come in a vast variety of colours and prints.


Oxford shirts can easily be put in the wash. They tend to hold their shape better than most dress shirts and therefore don't require starching,though they can be starched if desired. The weave of the Oxford cloth is fairly breathable, making this shirt one of the most lightweight types of dress shirts available for men and ideal for summer or spring wardrobes.


Oxford shirts are generally thought of as "dress shirts," therefore they are typically worn with ties and/or jackets. Often men chose to wear them tucked in with khakis or other dress trousers. Women often wear them as part of a suit or with a skirt. It is becoming more commonplace, however, for these shirts to be worn with jeans or shorts for a more casual, classic look both men and women.


Oxford shirts can be purchased for a variety of prices based primarily upon retailer. They are available in either short or long sleeve. Furthermore, they can be purchased in a vast variety of colours and patterns including pink, green, blue, stripes, plaid and even Hawaiian print.

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