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Oxford Cloth: Lessons On The Iconic Shirting Cloth

15 January, 2023

The thicker, rougher Oxford cloth, usually brought to life with a button-down collar and breast pocket, is an iconic shirting staple. Here’s the story.


The History

At the beginning of the 19th century, when Scotland was the centre of the textile manufacturing industry in Europe, a leading mill release four new innovative weaves, naming them for the four most prestigious educational institutions of the time: Oxford, Cambridge, Yale and Harvard. While three of the weaves lost popularity and became obsolete, the Oxford has persevered to present day.


The Characteristics

Rougher and thicker than ordinary cotton shirting cloth, Oxford textiles contain extremely fine textures and a noticeable weight. The basketweave texture gives the fabric durable and (somewhat counter-intuitively, for a thicker fabric) extra breathability. It’s also sturdy and more resistance to abrasion and chemical agents.


The Execution

The Oxford cloth is known as a slightly more casual and sporty iteration of the cotton dress shirt, often designed with Ivy-League inspired button-down collars and a breast pocket. It’s most commonly worn with denim or chinos, but increasingly under a wool work suit as a way to lend laid-back casual vibes to your Monday to Friday wear. Look to former US presidents (like JFK) and Italian sartorial icons (like Gianni Agnelli) for best in class lessons.

JFK Oxford Shirt.jpg

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