How to style an Oxford shirt

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Whether at work or a wedding, on a date or a lad’s night out, the Oxford shirt is the go-to garment for men who want to look their best. Classic, versatile and oh so stylish, these button-downs are popular for good reason.

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Where Oxford shirts come from

Despite the name, these shirts didn’t originate in Oxford but Scotland. In the 19th century, a pioneering Scottish mill created four new weaves and named each after the world’s four most prestigious universities; Harvard, Yale, Cambridge and Oxford.

Although it began as a formal garment, over time Oxford shirts became particularly popular with polo enthusiasts and hence acquired button-down collars to stop them flapping in the wind. The Oxford was enthusiastically adopted by the Ivy League as an unofficial uniform and started being worn more casually – usually untucked and with shorts. The shirt then became emblematic of a young affluent culture on both sides of the Pond.

It’s this adaptability of the Oxford shirt that has spurred its ascension to the lofty heights of a timeless classic. Here are just a few ways to wear one.

With Chinos

Embrace that Ivy League vibe by paring an Oxford shirt with classic chinos for the perfect smart-casual ensemble. A blue shirt, like those found at designer outlets such as
EJ Menswear, combined with tan chinos make a great casual outfit. Just roll up your sleeves, don your best watch and slip on some loafers! Darker chinos really emphasise the ‘smart’ in ‘smart-casual’ when paired with a white Oxford shirt and Derby shoes.

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Under a Suit

Ignore the traditionalists – you can wear an Oxford shirt under a suit. With business attire, it’s button-down collar offers a contemporary twist. For black tie events, consider pairing a white Oxford with a black suit. For most other occasions, you can mix it up a bit – try wearing one with a coloured suit and knit tie like those seen here

With a Jacket

The Oxford was simply made to fit beneath a jacket. Pair mens Ralph Lauren Oxford shirts with blazers for the perfect mid-ground between casual and formal, or under sports jackets for less structured but sophisticated style.

Under a Jumper

The textured weave of an Oxford button-down makes it the perfect companion for a round neck jumper. Wear with trousers and leather shoes for a cosy but fashion-forward winter look.

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