There are garments that deserve to be in the must-have category such as the white T-shirt, the tailored suit, jeans and the jacket leather. And then there are garments that are icons of menswear, like the Oxford shirt. Why? Simply because it is an extremely easy piece to wear, and it is no exaggeration to say that it can easily be worn with any type of outfit. But one step at a time: what makes it such a staple of classic shirts? The Oxford cloth, from which the shirt takes its name, is a weave of fine and thick threads (see Oxford) giving it a unique, compact structure that resembles honeycomb, lightweight to the touch and soft on the skin. A characteristic that makes the Oxford shirt very comfortable, resistant and suitable for all seasons and occasions, from those where a casual look will suffice to those that require a slightly more formal dress code.
Not convinced yet? OK, if you are observant you will know that the Oxford shirt looks good with any type of collar: for example, the straight-point collar is suitable for when you need to wear a tie, such as in the office or to an elegant dinner, while the button-down collar works for a casual, sporty look. In addition to these defining characteristics, another distinctive feature of the Oxford shirt is its three classic colours: plain white, light blue and pink or striped.
So why is the Oxford shirt an essential garment? Because of its extreme versatility, for the ease with which it can be worn either under an elegant or casual business suit or for a more relaxed, sporty look with a pair of jeans or chinos, under a bomber, a blazer or with sneakers. In short, this shirt goes really well with everything, even under a dressing gown with a pair of long black socks, as in the famous photograph of Andy Warhol by Oliviero Toscani.
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