Oxford ShirtsOxford shirts, Oxford Cloth Button Downs (OCBDs), are a classic style of shirt for men and women and a staple of many wardrobes. A more formal shirt when new, they can be comfortably used in more casual settings when showing some wear.
White OCBDs are an essential wardrobe piece for men and women. (JD)
|All Original Photographs from Archives|
- Mercer & Sons <http://www.mercerandsons.com/>,<http://www.mercerandsons.com/swatches_and_pricing-oxfords.htm>
- Brooks Brothers <Link>
- Ben Silver <http://www.bensilver.com/Button-Down-Collar.html>
- J. Press
- Gitman <http://www.gitman.com/collections/dress-shirts>
- Kamakura <http://kamakurashirts.com/world>
|White Brooks Brothers, Blue Mercer & Sons|
- Ralph Lauren
- Ann Mashburn <http://www.annmashburn.com/shop/shirts/white-oxford-ann-mashburn-button-down-shirt.html>
- Claridge + King <http://www.claridgeandking.com/shirts/>
- Iron vs. Non-Iron
Many avoid garments that have been treated with a Non-Iron finish. While some swear by them for their crisp appearance, ease, and for the money they save on laundering, more note the edges wear prematurely, they do not breathe, many don't trust the chemicals, and they simply do not look "right".
Some opinions from earlier comments:
Some opinions from earlier comments:
Untreated all the way. Cotton is supposed to wrinkle, the no iron finish makes the shirt or pants look plastic. Plus, the no iron garments tend not to be as comfortable as its regular cotton cousin. I'd rather be wrinkled and comfortable than shiny, smooth and tacky looking like I bought my shirt, tie and suit on one hanger, prematched for me at some factory. (Pedro)
There's quite a few non iron devotees in my office. The clothes, shirts especially, always stand out a mile. Very unnatural looking. (F Jack)
The misery is I can't find non-treated khakis or shirts (usually) at BB anymore. I loathe non-iron shirts and khakis, and gladly would pay to have the "real thing" laundered. (Reggie Darling)
I made the mistake of buying a non iron oxford (ll bean) once and will never do it again. The collar and cuffs look too bulky, stiff, and artificial. The worst was trying to wear a sweater over it, the sweater didn't stand a chance against that massive stiff collar and stretched out in all sorts of unnatural directions. (HPG)
A while back the New York Times had an article about allergies caused in the home and found that that chemicals like formaldehyde are used in the manufacturing processof wrinkle resistant clothes and as such give off fumes that can irritate persons who not only wear clothes but closets that store them as well. (John I)
I have worn both, but for the time being I strongly prefer un-treated shirts. Non-iron shirts are convenient but they are scratchier and worse looking.(Bantam in Chicago)
The weird thing I've noticed about my non-iron BB shirts is that their cuffs get much, much dirtier than my 'must iron' shirts.(Patsy)
What kills me is Land's End's new catalogs lauding their supima no-iron shirt. When I saw it, I had to exclaim out loud, "Why would they make a shirt out of such exquisite cotton, then ruin it with a no-iron finish?!" (Marcus Smith)The results of a poll on this site were as follows:
OVER THE NEXT YEAR, I PLAN TO BUY NEW KHAKIS AND BUTTON DOWN SHIRTS THAT ARE:
- Should men wear oxford shirts untucked?
Some opinions from earlier comments:
If a shirt tail is curvy--longer in front and back than it is on the sides--it should be tucked in. Always. I think an untucked OCBD looks sloppy in any context outside lounging around the house. And they can be worn tucked successfully even in shorts at the beach. (Gary K.)
There is also the issue of height. Men who are shorter than 5'10" should not wear OCBD's untucked under any circumstance. They just fall way to low. Taller men can pull them off, but only, say, at the beach. (Paul)
Wearing OCBD shirts untucked is an abomination. Along with men wearing tank top undershirts in public, backward baseball caps, tramp stamps, vinyl siding and flip flops; it's a further sign of the unraveling of our civilization. (Bernie, June 26, 2014)
No one cares if women wear their shirts untucked. Why the double standards? (nutrivore)
Don't wear tails untucked for the same reason I don't chew gum. In prep school, both would get you detention on Saturday. (Beresford)
- Women wearing Men's shirts
It can be difficult for women to wear Men's shirts often for two reasons. One is that Men's shirts are long and can thus look a tad odd if a woman is not on the taller side. The other is that Men's shirts are not often forgiving enough through the hip area and thus to have a shirt fit comfortably around the hips one must size up which can then look bulky throughout the chest and shoulder area. Full-cut classic Men's shirts can be an exception if you are tall enough. The full cut should extend to the the hips (so you can order a smaller neck size for the upper body) and while they are usually long, some traditional tails are shaped in a way that is more flattering than most.
Women can wear their oxford shirts out.
|A Men's Mercer Pima Cotton Oxford Shirt on a 5' 8" Female|
|A 14 1/2 Neck and a 33 Inch Sleeve|
|Long, Uncut Tails|
- Mercer & SonsMercer & Sons is a small company that makes shirts the old-fashioned way, offering traditional style and fit.
- Mercer & Sons <http://www.mercerandsons.com/>
He loved the 100% cotton, with its thread count and non-non-iron feel. He loved the pure, classic cut.
And there was one detail he loved most of all. He wrote,
Something that only a true purist cares about is the collar roll, on the OCBD. Absolutely the best, IMO. Others have tried to take the shirt apart and copy the collar, but the roll that competitors come up with never approaches the perfect "bell shape" of the Mercer roll.
Maybe the most compelling advantage of being a Mercer customer involves the fact when you call the 800 number, you talk to Dave Mercer, in person. He seems to know you personally after a short time, and will do whatever it takes to make you a satisfied customer. Could be the Maine heritage.He signed off, "Just one customer, with no interest in Mercer, with the exception that I hope that Dave and his wife Serena never decide to retire."
Along the way, this reader also described the shirts as being a great value. He was not the first person to say this, which seems like a strange compliment for a shirt that is by most accounts not inexpensive. This is because these last a very long time. And for many people, the total cost per wearing will be significantly less than even much cheaper shirts.
I only have six or seven of them in my closet right now, but that's because they wear so well that I haven't needed to replace them. They make the nonpareil, archetypal, classic OCBD. (Michael)
Own some tattersalls. First rate shirts. Reminds me of vintage B2 with collar roll & full cut. Old school grownup shop. Definitely not for J Crew -AF hybrid metrosexuals. (Comment)
I've been purchasing from Mercer for years and I don't believe the shirt has any competitors. The Mercer shirt is a completely different garment than (for example) anything on offer from Brooks. And I mean anything... Now, whether those differences are worth paying extra for is up to you. As for the full cut: I've noticed that they no longer include the slogan "Baggier Is Better" on the label of their shirts, but I hope that this is their only concession to current fashion. A bit of bagginess in an oxford is essential. (Sartre)
|Mercer & Sons Shirts - Hand Cut and Sewn in the USA of English Fabric|
- Brooks Brothers
Brooks Brothers has recently "updated" their classic button-down oxford shirt. The reviews on their site <Link> are not stellar.
- Historically, Sero and Gant
There may still be some NOS (New Old Stock) available of the original made-in-Connecticut shirts at O'Connell's.
|Yale Co-Op Sold Gant Shirts|
|Saved 1960s Advertisements|
- Other Sources for Oxfords
I have owned a number of OCBD shirts over the years from various companies (e.g. RL, Brooks, Bills Khakis). Some of these were great in certain aspects, but the fit has never been quite right for me. I recently purchased a custom white OCBD from New England Shirt Co. through Hubert White in Minneapolis, and it is the best fitting shirt I have ever owned. I was also able to pick all the details, such as a locker loop, box pleat, third collar button and a flap pocket. Just ordered several more through Hubert White, and I'm eagerly awaiting their arrival. (Comment)
Salt Water New England Gallery
|Governor, Ambassador William Scranton; In the Crowd, A Young John Kerry Wearing His|
|Headmaster Seymour St. John|