For the current season we have produced our signature, English-made button-down shirt in a hearty American oxford cloth. Who better then, than the endlessly knowledgeable G. Bruce Boyer, to guide us through the transatlantic history of the oxford shirt?
Well, it’s all come full circle. The button-down collared shirt was conceived in Britain, popularised in the USA, and now it’s back on the British side of the Pond again.
And nothing particularly ironic about it, it’s just the way history ebbs and flows. Initially the button-down shirt never caught on in the UK much beyond the polo-playing crowd for whom it was intended. It took a certain Mr. John Brooks [read Brooks Brothers here], who started manufacturing and selling the shirts in New York City in 1896, to popularize it in the States. Other prestigious menswear names such as J. Press started to do a good business in the button-downs, particularly as it came to be manufactured in a sturdy plain-weave cotton known asoxford cloth(another invention originally from Britain), and by the 1940s every campus shop in every town anywhere near an American college or university stocked more oxford button-downs than any other shirt. The thick and durable oxford cloth beauty with the unlined, soft rolled collar in solid white, blue, pink, yellow, and ecru paid the rent.