The History and Present-Day Styling of the Oxford Shirt

image via carrie bradshaw lied

We love a good capsule wardrobe piece. And one of the first capsule pieces that comes to mind for this fall is a classic oxford shirt. These shirts are hardly new to the fashion scene, so we thought we would look back on the history of the garment.

Created in 19th-century Scotland, oxford was originally a textile that was part of a line of shirting fabrics, each named after an elite university. The other textiles in the collection, Yale, Harvard, and Cambridge, weren’t hits, but oxford, with its basket-weave structure of one heavy and one light fabric, was favored for being much lighter and less stiff than other materials at the time.

The oxford shirt was initially worn strictly with a suit and tie until people realized how stylish and comfortable it was on its own. Polo players were some of the earliest adopters of this new piece of apparel.

(image via alps and meters)

By the 1950s, oxford shirts were made super-casual by college students who typically wore them untucked with the sleeves rolled up. This style fared well during the 1960s as fashion became much more laid-back. As a woman, if you are a fan of the oxford, you have Ralph Lauren to thank, as he was the first designer to envision the shirt tailored to a woman’s body. While trends came and went, the oxford remained (and still remains) a staple. Read more about the history of the oxford shirt here.

(image via vol. 1 brooklyn via ivy style)

Before we go any further, just know that an oxford shirt isn’t always a crisp, white button-down; oxford refers to the way the fabric is woven. So go ahead and load up on oxfords in all colors and prints. Now, let’s look at some ways to wear these shirts this fall and winter.

(image via the fashion tag blog)

If you don’t like to think about what to wear and enjoy looking polished, an oxford shirt is where it’s at. Seriously, a button-down shirt French-tucked into jeans is so chic and simple. From here, you can keep things minimal by pairing the look with woven slip-ons, a crossbody bag, and boho accent earrings.

(image via carrie bradshaw lied)

Oxford shirts are great for layering. To get this look, use your oxford shirt as a base, then throw on your favorite sweater with jeans or a button-down miniskirt. Top off the outfit with booties, and voila!

(image via cupcakes and cashmere)

Putting an oxford under a dress can be a fashionable way to transition into the fall and winter months. We love this ’60s mod style with a dress that hits you above the knee. Pair the look with pointed-toe loafers and maybe even a vintage silk scarf or sunnies, and you’ve got an outfit perfect for a night out on the town or coffee with your best friend.

What are some of your favorite ways to style an oxford shirt? Share your ideas in the comments below!

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