Blue Oxford Shirt Privee Paris

The Oxford Shirt: A Timeless Sartorial Icon


The fabric of the Oxford Shirt was invented in the 19th Century in a weaving mill in Scotland. The name of this mill has since been forgotten but it is here where they began experimenting with different weave styles. They marketed four new weaves each named after a prestigious university (Harvard, Yale, Cambridge, and Oxford).
Although the other three textiles failed to generate many sales, the basket weave used in the Oxford material proved very popular and is still thriving today.


It was the English polo players in India which took up the shirt and used them while playing. The Oxford shirt’s breathability meant it was ideal for keeping the players cool during the hot weather.
Utilizing a basket style weave, which is when two different yarns are weaved in opposing directions, which gives the Oxford cloth a more marled appearance than the shirt materials of the time. This made them a lot thicker than the dress shirts of the time, but also a lot softer and a lot more breathable. The breathability and hard wearing nature of the fabric made this a popular choice for sportswear, particularly with the British polo players at the time. Students at elite universities adopted the Oxford shirt for their sporting clothes, even adding buttons to the collar to stop it flapping around whilst playing.

In the late 1890s the shirt makes its way to America where men adopted the shirt as a more casual style, a refreshing move away from the stark formality of the Victorian era. It is during the 20s and 30s that American college students start to adopt the sportswear style and make it a fashion statement that could be worn on all occasions.

It quickly became associated with the Preppy look, and soon became a staple shirt in America. JFK was even spotted wearing an Oxford shirt during the 40s, 50s, and 60s. By the 1960s, the Oxford shirt was a mainstay of campus clothing stores, and soon became an emblem of the Ivy League look.

Benefits of an Oxford Shirt:

The basket weave of the Oxford fabric makes it very durable and hard wearing, the oxford shirt is well suited to a day in the yard. The material is also very breathable, so you don’t have to worry about working up a sweat when wearing one. They also wash well and retain their shape easily, so you can afford to get a bit dirt of on it without worrying how it washes.

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