In partnership with Tommy Hilfiger
Do you remember your first Oxford shirt? Mine was a hand-me-down from a cousin when I was about twelve years old. Pale blue and white cotton poplin with a structured collar that still lives in my closet, albeit a little more fitted than it once was on my pre-teen self. The Oxford shirt has been a longstanding staple in the wardrobes of so many of us, offering versatility, consistency, and a sense of timelessness at a time when fashion can be so inconsistent. Despite the ever-changing trends, the classic Oxford shirt will always be there for us, presenting us with myriad ways to style the wardrobe staple, reinventing itself over and over again.
The classic Oxford button down is a staple for American houses like Tommy Hilfiger, meeting the needs of everyone from preppy school kids to those who work on Wall Street, and all who fall in between. Styled up with a classic, sharp suit, or worn pared-back and unbuttoned with jeans and a t-shirt, its versatile nature is why we continue to reach for it.
For the Brand's new Classics Reborn collection, Tommy Hilfiger echoes this sentiment. "Classics never go out of style,” states Hilfiger. “This collection is about a modernization and reinterpretation of prep, finding new ways to keep timeless styles fresh. Reinvention is a constant source of excitement for me.”
RUSSH gathered a group of the next generation in fashion and creativity for a photo series, tasking them with reworking the Oxford button down to reflect their own personal style. Fashion designer Aggie Choi is joined by model, actress, and musician Bridget Hollitt, musician Siala, podcast host, model, and mental health advocate Harrison Kennedy, tennis player Lizette Cabrera, and content creator Moe Alhassan. For a lot of the faces of these images, their first memories of Oxford's started with their parents.
"I would have been around 5 and I remember my dad wearing an Oxford shirt and tie to work," Kennedy tells us. "At that time he was a giant compared to me, I would look up in awe as he wore his suit. I would always ask to dress up like him and wear his shirt, which was bigger than I was at the time."
Choi's experience was the same, memories of her father wrapped up in the crisp cotton. "Seeing my dad come home from a long day of work in his Oxford button down when I was a kid. I think subconsciously it shaped my understanding of this type of shirt – hard work, warmth, quiet resilience." She says.
For Cabrera and Alhassan, their mothers were the shirt-dressing protagonists of their fashion memories. "Mum wore hers throughout my childhood till this day." Cabrera recalls. "It always made her look so elegant. So I may have stolen it and added it to my wardrobe! I love that it is always in style and that there are such so many fun ways of styling the button down."
Meanwhile, Bridget Hollitt cannot shake the academic associations of the Oxford shirt, having worn them as part of her Catholic school uniform. Still, when she considers the shirt, what stands out is its "structure, neutrality, simplicity. I will spill my coffee on this," she says.
Alhassan's memories of the Oxford stem from being dressed in them throughout his childhood on special occasions, a tradition that has stayed with him since his youth. "That’s how my mum used to dress me when she took me with her to any event, then I wore button downs at high school birthday parties and now I wear them to special occasions."
Oxford shirts can be interpreted in many ways, as exemplified through the collaboration between RUSSH fashion director Charlotte Agnew and each of these faces, who reimagine the possibilities of Tommy Hilfiger's most recognisable silhouettes which have been reworked for the Classics Reborn collection.
Some lean towards a more casual approach, like Cabrera, who wears hers "with a pair of jeans and a cap and vintage sunnies" or Hollitt, who prefers to "fasten the top button only and let it drape". Choi, on the other hand, styles hers "oversized and open with a singlet underneath and a pair of loose jeans," while Siala styles it with "black jeans, tucked into a nice silver vintage leather belt and a Blade Runner-type coat with some Dr. Martens".
For others, it's all about empowering them to feel put together in more formal settings. "Usually I style a button down in a more formal way with a tie and coat or leather jacket." Says Kennedy, echoing Alhassan, who opts to style his layered with "a knit or a blazer over, with relaxed pants and loafers".
There is more to the perfect button down than just well selected cotton and sharp cuts. Ultimately, it's all about how it makes us feel when we put them on. Powerful, relaxed, put together, effortless, all come to mind when thinking of an Oxford. "The perfect button down makes me feel put together even when I'm not." Siala notes. For many of the talent pictured, a sense of class is provided within the shirt, imbuing its wearer with an untouchable attitude.
All styles of the Oxford shirt can be found on the Tommy Hilfiger website.