Last week a Trunk Club member emailed his stylist, asking:
Neckties with oxford shirts: yea or nay?
According to prevailing fashion rules, the answer would most likely be “nay.” Oxford shirts, the thinking goes, are generally considered casual, while neckties fit into the “formal / dress” category. The thing is, we don’t particularly care about fashion rules. (We’re the people who advocate wearing white pants all year round, after all.)
Instead of hard-and-fast rules, we prefer general guidelines for dressing well. Here’s our thinking around oxford shirts and ties: As long as the two items share a similar texture, we vote “yea.”
Oxford shirts are highly textured. Compared to a dress shirt, an oxford will feel heavier and rougher. (Strangely, oxfords are every bit as comfortable, if not more so.) We would therefore avoid combining an oxford shirt with a silk necktie, since the rough oxford fabric and the smooth necktie fabric would clash.
A knit tie, on the other hand, would be an ideal choice for an oxford shirt, because the two items would share a similar feel. Other styles of ties can work just as well, as long as you steer clear of silk.
Oxfords also frequently have button-down collars, a style that originated to keep polo players’ collars from flapping around during matches. This link to the sporting life reinforces the oxford’s reputation as the quintessential casual shirt, but arbitrary “casual / dress” distinctions shouldn’t hold you back from wearing what you like.
When in doubt if particular items go together, make sure that their textures complement one another, and chances are you’ll look great. (Don’t forget that your Trunk Club stylist is always available for an expert opinion.)
If all this talk of texture sounds familiar, it’s because we recently answered a reader question about wearing dress shoes and jeans along similar lines. Then there was our post on the navy blazer, which praised the versatility of hopsack fabric.
At this point we risk sounding like a broken record. But then, broken records aren’t all bad: They do have grooves, let’s not forget, which give otherwise completely flat vinyl discs the one thing we can’t get enough of: texture.
Looking to land yourself an oxford shirt and complementary necktie? You’re in luck. We happen to carry both items, and would be happy to send them out to you in a trunk.