A Preppy wardrobe essential is of course the Oxford Cloth Buttondown (OCBD) Shirt. It defines authenticity: it functions in business situations when new and for gardening and field work when well worn.
Specifics to look for include:
- The front placket should have at least seven buttons.
- Blue is the most classic color. White, pink, and sometimes yellow are the only other options. University Stripe versions include blue, green, red, pink and again, sometimes yellow.
- 100% combed Pima cotton (No polyester). Wrinkle-resistant finishes should be reserved for travel only, if at all.
- Shirts should have a front chest pocket (which can be monogrammed) unless you are Ralph Lauren and substitute a polo player.
- The fit should be roomy (No Trim Fit)
- The shirt should have a split shoulder yoke, and back box pleat.
- The tail should be sized generously enough to stay tucked in, and be properly rounded.
- Sleeves are better with gauntlet buttons.
- There should be single-button barrel cuffs (but a second button can be tucked away next to it for better fit adjustment).
- Look for single-needle stitching with double stitched shoulder seams.
Identifying the right oxford shirt can seem a bit nuanced. But it is worth it, as the right garment will be in service for years, perhaps even decades.
See also Ralph Lauren Women’s Oxford Shirts: Classic Fit vs. Skinny Fit.