The Oxford cloth button-down shirt guide part 1

The Oxford cloth button-down shirt guide part 1

Hallmarks of an Oxford cloth button-down shirt, number 1:

As the name implies, it must have a soft button-down collar without interlining. The proper look is achieved by a collar roll which requires the buttons to be placed closer to the collar than if they would lay straight. Many shirt manufacturers simply use a standard collar with interlining that is buttoned down, but that is not what defines the look of a classic OCBD.

Hallmarks of an Oxford cloth button-down shirt, number 2:

It must be made of Oxford cloth. Oxford is a particular weave that is similar to a plain canvas weave with the exception that several yarns are woven in strands together, rather than individually.

Hallmarks of an Oxford cloth button-down shirt, number 3:

Of course, great OCBDs feature a number of distinct details, but none of them is essential to qualify it as an OCBD. I will discuss quality hallmarks and details later in this guide.

The history of the button down:

Today, many people mistake the button-down for a typical dress shirt, thinking if it buttons vertically, it must be a button down. It is not. In fact, the button down was created for use by polo players using a button on either flap of the collar to allow the wearer to secure polo shirt so the wind would not flap it in his face during a match. This is a significant part of the evolution of the polo shirt created by Polo players in India in the 1850s and then brought to England in the decade after that.

Brooks Brothers invented the Oxford cloth button-down shirt, number 1:

On a trip across the pond to England, American haberdashery Brooks Brothers spotted this trend and decided it could become a cultural icon and menswear staple. They were right.

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