Introducing: The white PS Oxford

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On the final day of the pop-up shop back in October, it occurred to me to bring in my blue PS Oxford shirt - to show how it had softened with age. 

The response was telling. Half of the people that felt it bought one on the day, and several of the others bought online subsequently. 

For anyone afraid of PS becoming too commercial, I think frankly it shows how downright amateurish I am about selling things. Of course I should have brought it in earlier.

The way the cloth washes and wears is one of the main selling points - and the one hardest to get across on a computer screen.

I won’t repeat that mistake in the next pop-up. The original shirt, beautifully softened to the point it is the most comfortable thing I own, will be on display.  

And as regards this post is concerned, you’ll just have to take my word for it. Or that of readers.

The white version of the PS Oxford cloth is finally available - and on the Shop now, both as cloth and as finished shirts.

With that addition, it feels like this authentic oxford project has reached a watershed. The shirts are now available in blue, white and cream/blue stripe, and present perhaps the full basic range. 

Those three will be the most useful oxford colours for most guys, and cover all eventualities, from the casual to the smart. 

There will always be other interesting options of course - pinks and reds and yellows - but these three are the core. 

From a styling point of view, a white oxford shirt is interesting. 

Smart in colour but casual in texture, it sits on the borderline between formalities - and could be seen as neither one thing nor the other. 

But if you dress relatively casually - perhaps defined as not wearing a suit and tie most of the time - then the white oxford does fill a particular need, I think.

It is smart enough to be worn with a navy blazer, wool trousers and shoes. But also with a charcoal tweed jacket. With an oatmeal crewneck. Even with pale vintage jeans and tennis shoes. 

The colour helps it wear smart, the texture keeps it casual. And it could go with almost anything in the sun of summer. 

In the image above, it works well with a cardigan and flannels. Indeed it dresses up both those things.

But in the image below (and higher up) it also works well with tailoring. 

That’s a double-breasted corduroy jacket from Sartoria Ciardi, charcoal Fox-flannel trousers from Whitcomb & Shaftesbury, and dark dark brown monk-straps from Edward Green. 

The trousers and shoes in particular make the overall combination rather smart. 

And then I’ve pictured it with something much more casual below.

The cardigan is from Loopwheeler in Japan, and akin to a sweatshirt in formality - particularly with those big pockets. 

While the trousers are the Army Chino from The Armoury: robust selvedge twill, high waisted and full in the leg. 

It’s almost a workwear combination, but the white oxford works with it all. Indeed the white is particularly nice with the cream cardigan and fatigue-green chinos. Blue wouldn’t be as pleasing. 

For those not familiar with the PS Oxford project and fabric, I’ve included a brief summary below. 

But if you already know the product, or even own it, everything you need is on the shop page.

The full background is available on the launch article here

Summary:

  • The PS Oxford project was born out of a frustration with the lack of slubby, authentic oxford cloths available for bespoke. 
  • The bespoke shirting market still focuses on dress shirts primarily, and there was nothing out there. So I worked with Italian mill Canclini to make one. 
  • We wanted: heavier weight and thicker yarn, to make it more comfortable and soften with age; and a subtle variation in the blue/white yarns that leads to that nubby, natural appearance.
  • The texture comes from using a short-staple cotton, so the weft of our PS Oxford is single-ply 10-count.
  • But in the warp we used two fine yarns (both of them two-ply 90-count), instead of another single-ply one. 
  • This keeps the thickness and character, but also avoids some of the downsides of short-staple cotton, such as pilling.
  • There are better oxfords available ready to wear, such as Mercer & Sons, but even those use 2-ply in both weft and warp. After a lot of testing, I think the Canclini warp-weft combination is the best overall. 

Practical points: 

  • As with all the PS shirt cloths the fabric is pre-cut into 2m lengths, which should be enough for most guys (roughly, anyone 6’3’’ and under).
  • The fabric is pre-washed, but as with most oxfords is still prone to a little shrinkage. We recommend allowing an extra 1cm in the body width and sleeve length, 2cm in the body length
  • If anyone wants to send the cloth to a shirtmaker, please put them as the delivery address - and let them know it’s coming.
  • The shirts are the same as other PS shirts, made by Luca Avitabile in Naples with several points of handwork, and vintage-style mother-of-pearl buttons
  • The cloth costs £59, the shirts £185, both ex-VAT. Each has gone up slightly on a year ago, reflecting exchange rates

Photography: Jamie Ferguson