Our Original Polo® Button-Down Oxford:
The shirt that started a menswear revolution
Fashion’s most imitated item, the Brooks Brothers Button-Down, is known the world over to be the original. It is also highly likely that it’s one of the first items of sports clothing adapted to be worn off the field and onto the street.
The story starts one fateful day in 1896 on a polo field in England. John E. Brooks, then Brooks Brothers president and the grandson of our founder, had decided to take a break from a busy buying trip abroad hunting fine fabrics and elegant accessories to take in a polo match. He noticed something special about the players’ collars: They were pinned down to prevent them from flapping in the wind as the polo ponies sped about. Mr. Brooks knew a good idea when he saw one. Bringing the novel idea stateside, back at Brooks Brothers he asked his tailors to perfect the design.
In 1900 when we introduced the button-down collar to America, the unique design immediately took hold. Unlike the incredibly rigid detachable, pre-sized collars that constantly needed pressing to maintain a crisp appearance, the button-down collar was soft and comfortable, making it perfect for daily wear. It marked a departure from the stuffy styles of the previous century and sparked something of a fashion rebellion.
Others never quite managed to duplicate the soft roll of the collar that made our original so iconic. Brooks Brothers recognized this appeal early and marketed a version in white oxford cloth that redefined men’s shirts from that point forward. Worn by movie stars, artists and politicians alike, it became a signature staple of American fashion in the twentieth century, much like denim jeans and aviator sunglasses.
Worn by movie stars, artists and politicians alike, it became a signature staple of American fashion in the twentieth century
In 2016, we reintroduced a successor and heir to the original oxford. Equal parts evolution and revolution, today’s Original Polo® ButtonDown Oxford shirts boast many of the features that first endeared it to the public more than a century ago. We removed all lining from the collar, cuffs and placket so they were softer than ever, and we perfected the signature roll of the collar.
Today the button-down collar is offered in many fabrications, colors and finishes and continues to be one of the most enduring and recognizable symbols of timeless style.