Editor’s note: For more menswear-oriented shopping picks than your wallet can possibly handle, head over here.
Perhaps moreso than any other shirt (except maybe the polo), the Oxford shirt — and Oxford cloth — have a long and rich history (that’s saying something as far as shirting goes). And for a piece that has its origins in 19th-century Scottish fabric mills, the Oxford shirt is still a style essential today (especially here at The Style Guide). It’s one of the rarer icons of heavy prep style that’s still remained timeless (sorry folks, but the gold-button blazer looks a bit dated to this style guy), and for good reason. The essential qualities of a good Oxford have remained intact no matter where you go or at what price point you might be searching — as you can see from the picks below. The fits and fabrics are better than ever, too. So with that in mind, the picks we’ll focus on today are either white or light blue — the quintessential colors of a true Oxford (although we can head to the Male Fashion Advice Reddit thread to continue that debate if you’d like). The best part about this shirt is there’s no wrong season to wear one, so you can buy one in the depths of winter — like, yesterday — and wear it on through the summer. Let me know if I missed any by checking in with The Style Guide on Facebook!
#1. JackThreads Slim Oxford — $49
Available in a plethora of colors, from navy to classic white and light blue options, the JackThreads Slim Oxford brings together everything that the brand’s menswear vertical does well. For starters, the price is great for a shirt that’s more modern than other Oxfords from higher-priced brands. It also fits slim and features high armholes and trim sleeves, making it easy to layer under both blazers and V-neck sweaters. Plus, it’s got good quality and durability for the price, having rocked on myself. And that’s all there is to it.
#2. GAP Oxford Standard Fit Shirt — $49.95
Just a touch more expensive than the first option on this list, this GAP Oxford is yet another basic that the brand continues to get right. It’s affordable, the fit shouldn’t require too much tailoring (it does note that it’s a standard fit, after all) and the white or “imperial blue” options feature a smooth weave that’s easily wearable either untucked with khaki chinos or tucked in with some wool trousers (similar to this #OOTD look). Again, it’s a fail-proof pickup at a nice price.
#3. J. Crew Slim Vintage Oxford Shirt in White — $69.95
This J. Crew Oxford shirt is a tad bit pricier than options one and two on this list, but that’s the price you pay for this brand (and it’s certainly still reasonable). With all the struggles the company has been going through as of late, it’s tough to forget that they can still do the basics well — including classic shirts like this one. You can grab a similar, yet cheaper, Oxford over at J. Crew Factory, but sometimes, it’s nice to spend a bit more and get a better fit plus slightly higher quality. Shelve those shorts for the time being, but know that this Oxford can definitely be styled just as in the above picture.
#4. Taylor Stitch The Jack
The Taylor Stitch Oxford shown here is nearly the definition of an American classic. It’s made in California, for one. And it features a premium and super-soft (yet tough) Japanese-milled rugby Oxford fabric. Combine that with a tailored fit, high armholes and durable buttons, and you have yet another premium Oxford shirting option to consider. Seriously, this piece should be just about as timeless as the navy blazer and slim khaki chinos that can (and should) rock it with. And for that price, I’d advise you to wear it as much as you can.
#5. Todd Snyder Japanese Selvedge Oxford in White — $185
Oh, man. That goes for both the stunning quality and construction of this shirt, and the price — definitely a bonus (…or tax-return?) purchase. Still, Todd Snyder’s shirting is excellent (check out this piece on the Hemingway Elbow Patch Shirt, to start), and you’re paying more for one of the best American menswear designers out there. The Japanese selvedge Oxford cloth is crafted into the shirt you see here on a vintage loom, an extra old-school touch that’s pretty neat in and of itself. It’s exactly the kind of shirt you can rock sans jacket with some slim denim, a sharp wristwatch and … dare I say, a tweed vest?
So, those are the top picks this time around as far as great Oxford shirts go. You can absolutely start wearing them now if’s cold where you are (doubly so it’s warmer), and rock them reliably through the winter weather. If you’re on an extreme budget, give a place like the Merona line from Target a try — and work your way on up to one of the aforementioned pieces. Once you get one in your wardrobe, you just might wonder how you ever got dressed without one. Pick up that Todd Snyder shirt for me in the meantime, will ya?
‘Til we shop again!