Not too long ago, dressing professionally meant a suit-and-tie or a dress or skirt or pants suit. Today, the most successful businesses can be found with a t-shirt wearing executive team. No Jacket Required is understood which also means neckties are a thing of the past.  

Oxford shirts used to be the standard business shirt, with the starched collars and the button-down look.  If you were in business, you had a closet full of them.  

But, odds are that if you are working male and not a lawyer, or banker,  your closet is probably  has button-down shirts lined up next to each other awaiting their turn in the rotation. What’s most interesting is that you’ll be hard-pressed  to tell the difference between a high-dollar dress shirt and a private label brand which  costs significantly less

So if you can’t tell the difference when they’re hanging in the closet, why are you paying top dollar for your business shirts?

The tide is turning in what we wear for business.  

For the longest time, formal suits with corresponding dress shirts were the uniform, then polo shirts and t-shirts with or without jackets.  

Now, more and more companies are going back to sharp, clean dress shirts, with the company logo, for their teams.  And it can be confusing when choosing which type of Oxford shirt to buy for your team.  

Is it about the price and retail brand or about what feels good to your touch and looks good when you’re wearing it? Do you go high-dollar or low-dollar?  How important is 100-percent cotton versus a polyester blend?  Do you need to spend a lot of money on those shirts?  The answer is no.


The Truth About Oxford Shirts

The truth is there is a finite number of manufacturers of woven dress shirts in the world and they produce the expensive Brooks Brothers shirts on the same assembly line as the brands you can buy at a big-box retailer.  

The style is the same, the fashionable colors are the same and they all, basically, look the same.  

The difference between expensive woven shirts and less expensive versions comes down to  fabric, some style details and most of all…the marketing dollars woven into the cost of the shirt. THAT is where the expense really lies.  

There’s no question a dress shirt made of 100-percent cotton is going to be more expensive and the higher the thread count, the more expensive it is.  

It’s also going to wrinkle more and be harder to iron.  And how many business people do you see ironing their shirts in a hotel room while on a business trip?  Almost none.

Another option is a dress shirt made from 60-percent cotton, 40-percent polyester.  The finish is the same as a higher-thread-count cotton shirt, with the same sheen, but it definitely wrinkles less.  

Poly-blends are warmer, and in the olden days, they didn’t breathe as well. But not true these days with the performance fabrics used to make blends and shirts of 100% synthetic fabrics.,As is true with 100-percent cotton shirts, there are different levels of quality in all fabric contents

The second difference is in marketing. Companies like Brooks Brothers and Ralph Lauren spend millions each year to sell their very expensive dress shirts, along with the rest of their clothing line.  

On the other hand, , Red House and Port Authority spend almost nothing. These are the private label brands that use the leverage of the Promotional Products market to drive brand recognition and demand. Obviously, if these brands weren’t top quality, they wouldn’t have the success they experience today.

Take a look at these 3 shirts. Can you guess which one is Brooks Brothers?



Quality is King

The quality of big-name expensive dress shirts often doesn’t match the amount of money you’re spending.  You’d expect a shirt you paid big bucks for will wear like iron, but you might be disappointed.  

In an article for Consumerist, one writer found his Brooks Brothers shirts didn’t make it very long before they started showing wear; that experience isn’t isolated.  

At the same time, others have found less expensive shirts lasted longer.


Making The Decision

Regardless the type of Oxford shirt you choose for your company or for your personal closet, it’s important to look at samples.  Think about the last time you went shopping for clothes.  

All around are men and women in front of mirrors with the fashion of their choice, feeling the fabric and seeing what it’ll look like on them.  

Touch, feel and look are as important, if not more, than fabric, brand name and cost.  If you choose shirts that feel scratchy or don’t wash well, they won’t be worn.  So getting samples can mean all the difference in your choice.

Only the most reliable promotional products companies will send you samples to try out.


Do you want a sample? We will send you one, so you can see the difference.