OCBD’s For Women

… are remarkably hard to find. Which is weird because I think they look great, and I am offering up this paucity as a business opportunity for someone. Ivy has come back, and this niche is sooooo empty.

For LL Bean, a woman’s oxford is a straight collar. In fact, for literally 99% of retailers, that is the case. Image search for “button down collar shirt women” gave me 42 straight collars with no buttons, and then this.

… which is a uniform.

Brooks has them.

See, she looks great, right?

So maybe, Mr. Bastian, do more of this.

She looks great too.

Any idea why this isn’t being addressed? I am being serious, I can’t figure it out.

Personal aside – the cancer thing in my family had a complication, which is hopefully over Tuesday, in which event we are back to full swing. THANK YOU for being so patient.


36 Comments on "OCBD’s For Women"

  1. whiskeydent | February 6, 2023 at 9:43 am |

    The best looking OCBD on a woman is the one you wore last night.

    • Marc Chevalier | February 6, 2023 at 3:24 pm |

      You wore a woman last night?

      • whiskeydent | February 6, 2023 at 3:59 pm |

        I am not a grammar expert but I’m fairly sure that”…on a woman” is a prepositional phrase that merely modifies “OCBD.” Remove “on a woman” and the sentence still makes sense. Perhaps I should have worded it differently to make it clearer for you. Would replacing “one” with “shirt” work for you? Nonetheless, you’ve brought up an interesting concept, don’t you think?

  2. How Ghastly!

  3. Charlottesville | February 6, 2023 at 12:33 pm |

    JB – I agree. My wife has a handful of old BB and LL Bean OCBDs, but no current source. Also, it seems that most of what is available in oxford cloth, albeit with a straight collar, is non-iron. That isn’t a deal-breaker for her, but my favorites among her small collection are two pink shirts from LL Bean in the same sort of substantial must-iron oxford cloth that Brooks offered for men 20 years ago.

    Also, I am so sorry that your family health issue hit another snag, but praying that it will be resolved successfully tomorrow.

  4. MacMcConnell | February 6, 2023 at 1:16 pm |

    Think back to the 1980’s. All those college girls wearing OCBDs were wearing Polo boys’ shirts. Polo still makes them.

  5. The Brooks example above is one of the small handful of things they’re doing right. They originated the women’s OCBD so I certainly hope they keep making it. My mom had one I’ve seen in photos from back in the day, but it’s evidently not something she wore for long. (She prefers more dramatic styles in dark colors.)
    Is this a neglected market opportunity, or have the clothing industry powers-that-be decided that women aren’t much into the style? Like many here, I adore OCBDs and I take note when I see a good one on anyone of any gender.

    My thoughts are with you and your family JB. Going through what you’re all going through takes more than a lot. I’m grateful for you and your continued dedication to this community, and I well understand how the cancer thing spreads one quite thin. Wishing you all grace and healing. And total remission, too.

  6. whiskeydent—

    That’s really creative of you.

  7. Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren, Lands End, off the top of my head.

  8. I hit every too quickly. I meant to say, those are the few I can think of off the top of my head. JB, take your time. The site will be here!

  9. O’Connell’s carries a few OCBDs for women as well. Andover carries something that’s almost a women’s OCBD, but it has a straight collar.

    The origin story of the women’s OCBD is interesting – collegiate women in the 1940s (mainly Seven Sisters students) were buying Brooks Brothers shirts in the boy’s department. The store worked with Vogue magazine to design a female-specific shirt, which debuted in 1949 to much fanfare.


  10. Kaaterskill | February 6, 2023 at 4:46 pm |

    @OCBD Ralph Lauren does have some cotton twill shirts with (short) button down collars, but the only shirt in their current lineup that they label an oxford doesn’t have a button down collar: https://www.ralphlauren.com/women-clothing-shirts-blouses/classic-fit-oxford-shirt/638591.html?dwvar638591_colorname=Bath%20Pink&cgid=women-clothing-shirts-blouses#start=1&cgid=women-clothing-shirts-blouses

  11. Best wishes and prayers for your recovery.

  12. malcolm Wolcott | February 6, 2023 at 10:04 pm |

    I know that some women used to use the mens full cut BB ocbd’s as night shirts. I also think women look very attractive in them with the first 2 buttons open. When BB started making women’s ocbd’s I know they could’t keep the pink and white in stock the demand was so good. John glad to see you are back and best to ALL

  13. michael powell | February 7, 2023 at 4:21 am |

    About a year ago, my sister-in-law and a very good friend both asked me if I had a white shirt is could give them. I had two; and gave one to each of them. I didn’t ask what they wanted the shirts for; but I’d sure like to know. The next month, I bought two Brooks WOCBDs. Don’t ask what I want them for.

  14. The timeless, classic look for a woman (assuming they are not repurposing an Oxford shirt from a male partner) is a white button-up shirt with or without collar buttons. There are numerous retailers offering these in numerous fabrics, including Oxford cloth, though most women in my experience do not typically demand collar buttons or Oxford cloth shirtings. Poplin is much more common and readily available, which incidentally is the striped example from Brooks Brothers you mistakenly singled out above. But if you really need an Oxford shirt, they are readily available.

  15. A good men’s shirt SHOULD be a whole lot easier than it has been recently. Men can wear an almost identical shirt 5 or 6 times/week. Ladies wear is entirely different. For one thing they might not like Oxford cloth, and some might prefer a more noticeable taper or darts, among many other unknown (to us) variables. awaiting moderation…

  16. Most women, it seems, INSIST a “button down” shirt has buttons neck to hem down the front of the shirt. I’ve seen women’s OCBD in pink/white, occasionally blue/white, but the shirts tend to be rather expensive. Truth is, button down collars on men’s shirts were promoted to the mam who rode polo ponies, or hiked out to windward on a sailing yacht, or drove the roadster top down to the college football game. I, who has a motorcycle, have added collar buttons to sunscreen shirts to keep the collars from flapping up against my cheeks at speed. Button down collars on men’s shirt vs women’s shirts is a lot like epaulets on men’s shirts vs women’s shirts.

  17. the mens BB ocbd’s were very popular with the women in the 60’s to be used as nightshirts. When BB went to the women’s model that couldn’t keep the colors pink and white in stock at 346 Madison the demand was so great.

  18. Pink tax on shirts

  19. ” … if you really need an Oxford shirt, they are readily available.”

    True, this. Easy to find.

    • Dean Pascal | February 9, 2023 at 9:01 am |

      True, as are OCBDs for men.
      The same applies to chinos and penny loafers. In short, Ivy items are not really difficult to find, although some would have us believe otherwise.

    • Charlottesville | February 9, 2023 at 12:10 pm |

      S.E. (and Sandy above) – Please let me know where to find a well-made, must-iron, logo-free, all cotton OCBD for women with a traditional collar roll. They must be around somewhere, but the shirts I see all seem to be non-iron. While my wife can find plain-collar, white and blue non-iron shirts, she would love to know where to find the traditional sort she used to be able to find at several local shops as well as LL Bean and Brooks. Maybe one of the custom shirt-makers?

  20. Did anyone else see Paul Winston’s comment followng James H. Grant’s recent article on the topic of OCBDs? Fascinating to hear how vexing the attempts at replicating BB’s collar roll were. No such roll can be seen on the women’s OCBDs (or poplins) pictured above. But “The Roll” (which in this context deserves to be capitalized) flatters anyone of any gender, in any shirting fabric.

  21. malcolm Wolcott | February 9, 2023 at 9:47 am |

    I have written 2 comments and none have been published

    • Malcolm,
      If you wrote two, and they have not been published, it’s “neither”, not “none”.

  22. you have never published my comments

  23. My wife has two of the made in North Carolina BB OCBDs and they are great. They even have a nice roll and mop buttons.

  24. G. Ellery Cobbold | February 12, 2023 at 9:57 am |

    Mercer is the solution to this problem. 13 neck and tapered waist. If that’s a little big, well, OCBDs are supposed to be a little big. And the lady will have a collar roll instead of a collar she can slice bread with. BB swings and misses again. http://www.mercerandsons.com/MercerSons%20Shirt%20Specs%20-%202020.pdf

  25. Mercer & Sons. Or, if you want made-in-the-U.S.A. oxfords that are just as good but less expensive, then try Liberty Shirt Co.


    High quality, well-made, classic Ivy is now a small, modest niche, representing a negligible crumb of the clothing market. A working theory is that it always was–even during the so-called “Heyday.”

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