Every man’s wardrobe should include an oxford shirt with a button-down collar. Versatile and wearable with a wide range of wardrobes, it can be dressed up or down.
Although many men’s publications advise investing in quality, and many brands offer “definitive” oxford designs, the components of a well-made shirt are at best vague.
To better understand the materials and construction of a quality oxford shirt, we asked Todd Shelton, known for his attention to detail, and Chris Olberding, of American shirting brand Gitman Vintage.
Even though they differ from dress shirts, Oxford shirts are still very sartorial. Every sportsman’s closet should have these as a must-have item. Some things will never go out of styles, such as white tee shirts, tailored suits, and a good pair of jeans.
What makes a good oxford shirt? Quality Cloth Means a Quality Shirt?
The quality of the yarn is important. Oxford is such a basic fabric that the quality of the yarn is essential. Using thicker yarn is necessary for Oxford, which is a heavy fabric.
Two or more finer yarns can be twisted together to form thicker yarn, or a single thicker yarn can be used. Softer and more luxurious Oxford cloth is made from multiple finer, twisted yarns. The impact is significant.
High-quality Oxford cloth is a combination of high yarn quality and the mill’s weaving and finishing skills. When it comes to fabrics, especially Oxford, I’ve found that you get what you pay for, and the highest quality oxford comes from Europe.
GITMAN CLOTH: Gitman uses an oxford weave developed in cooperation with a mill that provides a high level of comfort and durability. It is also made of long-staple cotton.
Be Mindful of Construction
My understanding is that all shirtmakers employ the same basic methods of construction. To be considered a creator, one needs to be able to apply these techniques in a disciplined and creative manner.
Is the calibration of the machines correct? Are the stitch count and thread count the same? The seamstresses are either experienced or not. Do they enjoy their work?
CO: To make a shirt, 75 minutes are required, 50 steps are involved, and about 25 different components are used, organized into three different sections on the factory floor: cutting, finishing, and inspection.
The Collar – Create the Aesthetic
An oxford shirt has only one complete detail, in my opinion: the button-down collar. The length of a collar point is among the most important considerations for a brand. Button-down collars are made with a 2 5/8-inch point.
However, I could not overcome the fact that my two 3/4-inch collar was an eighth of an inch longer than usual, and I found this unattractive. By lengthening the collar, the shirt becomes more traditional. It is generally accepted that the collar length should be about three inches.
A popular style has a centre box pleat for ease of movement, a 3-inch button-down collar with strengthened buttonholes, two-button barrel cuffs, an Army-gauge 1 1/2 inch front placket, and reinforced buttonholes that are double-stitched.
Fit Is King
The shirt pattern is the biggest differentiator between brands in terms of quality. It serves as a guide for how each brand builds shirts. The shirt’s components and how they’re sewn together are all based on a single pattern. A shirt’s fit is entirely determined by its pattern. Is it worth investing in the finest materials and cleverest features if they don’t fit? Fit reigns supreme.
In Italy, I discovered a horn button years ago. It suited our company’s look. However, bull horn buttons are harvested, so I didn’t want to harvest them. On the other hand, an Iowa company’s version is made to look like a horn.
It’s nice that each button is slightly different. That mother-of-pearl button is best is only valid because it’s expensive, not because it’s the best. Mother-of-pearl iridescence has never been a favourite of mine.
We have a variety of buttons available, from mother-of-pearl to our chalk! Burberry even offered a plaid button when we made shirts for them. Our t-shirts are printed with either MOP, MOP-like, or chalky ink.
Quality and Durability Go Hand in Hand
Low-quality manufacturers can produce a good-fitting shirt, even with a decent collar roll. It would be nice to see a T-shirt that lasted longer than six months of continuous use and washed in the United States. Those are difficult to find.
For Care, Wash Cold and Hang Dry
It would be great if men could embrace a shirt with some wrinkles and not feel the need to have it professionally pressed. They’d save a tonne of money, time, and chemicals this way. An industrially cleaned and pressed shirt, in my opinion, is out of date. Even in a professional setting, clean-groomed men wearing great fabrics with a slight rumple look natural and cool.
We recommend that our customers wash their shirts in cold water and hang them to dry; this preserves the shirt’s lifespan. An ironing session at home can be ideal if you have the time and patience.
CO: hang to dry, and iron if necessary after washing in cold water. Alternatively, you can wash and dry your clothes in a machine if you’re short on time. There is no need to worry about your Gitman being ready to go.