Men's Wardrobe Essential: Blue Oxford Cotton Button Down
A sartorial safety blanket
When building your wardrobe, versatility is key. Pieces that can fulfill multiple purposes save both time and money. Every guy needs pieces that can work hard and play even harder, and in the shirting world nothing does this better than a great blue oxford button down shirt (also know as the OCBD). From client meetings to tailgates, a good oxford shirt is every guy’s sartorial safety blanket.
How to Wear It
The essential: Lands’ End, $35
A good oxford goes with literally everything. Literally. An oxford with chinos or jeans is a classic look that any guy looks great – and feels even better – wearing. Toss a sweater or sweatshirt over top for a dressed down look in cooler temps or a blazer to dress the look up. Traditionally, oxford button down shirts were never worn with suits… and then came our 35th president, the future style icon Jack Kennedy. JFK popularized the high-low pairing look during his tenure in office (not to mention Hyannis Port chic). Soon the prep faux pas became the go-to look for the trend-conscious. The key to pulling off dressing up an OCBD is the tie. A silk knit or grenadine tie will coordinate with the text of an oxford better than your typical silk tie.
Color and collar
Outside of nailing the fit, there’s really only two things to consider when investing in an oxford shirt: color and collar. While oxfords come in a range of colors, white and blue are the classic go-to colors. If you can’t decide which one to go with, get blue for the simple fact that over time a great blue oxford will fade and distress not unlike denim. While it may not be your go to shirt for the office, it will be the most comfortable shirt in your closet. You want a collar that’s tall enough to accommodate a tie that has a nice roll to it. When it comes to button down collars, it’s all about the roll. A nice roll on the collar of a button down collar shirt is a sign of quality (and it just looks better).
What it’s an essential
First things first: what is oxford cloth? Simply put, it’s a cloth woven in a basketweave pattern that over time has become one of the most popular shirting fabrics for stylish men. A big reason for its popularity is the durability of the weave. Oxford cloth, much like denim, can take a beating over time and remain elegant and appropriate. In fact, just like your favorite jeans, OCBD’s often look better over time. It’s the fabric equivalent of your buddy from college that goes out every night but somehow aces every test and is never hungover.
Oxford cloth can come in a range of weights, so rest assured that whether you live in Alaska or Arizona there’s a shirt that’s just right for your climate. Your typical OCBD is going to be a medium to heavyweight oxford, but during the spring time many brands offer lighter versions appropriate for warmer climates.
DO YOU DRESS YOUR OCBD UP OR KEEP IT CASUAL?