Difference Between Oxford and Housewife Pillowcases

Difference Between Oxford and Housewife Pillowcases

Author: James Higgins

Your pillowcases are the finishing touch when it comes to choosing bedding, completing your bedroom aesthetic and ensuring total comfort. But what types of pillowcases are there to choose from? In this article, we’ve outlined what Oxford and Housewife pillowcases are, the differences between the two types, the pillowcase sizes and what style of pillowcase is best for you.


The quick answer:

Housewife pillowcases have a sewn edge, which fits around the pillow.

An Oxford pillowcase has a fabric border around the edge ranging from 2cm to 10cm.


Having dealt with thousands of pillows in both Oxford and Housewife types, here's some other information I can share.

What is an Oxford pillowcase?

The easiest way to identify an Oxford pillowcase is to look out for the distinctive wide-stitched hem around the border. It’s this elegant bordering that makes Oxford pillowcases so popular, with the trim creating the illusion of a larger, fluffier pillow – especially when combined with some minor padding! 

There are two categories of Oxford pillowcase: true Oxford and mock Oxford. The main difference between the two is that a true Oxford will have well-defined corners, while a mock Oxford pillowcase will be embellished with decorative frill.


What is a Housewife pillowcase?

A Housewife pillowcase can be identified by its straightforward design, unembellished border, and simple but effective tucked flap that keeps the pillow in place. 

Housewife pillowcases are often seen as minimalistic and traditional, with their modest design prompting people to refer to them as the ‘standard’ make. A popular pick, Housewife pillowcases can be comfortably combined with most other types of bedding and are typically the style that comes with basic bed linen bundles.


What's the difference between an Oxford and a Housewife pillowcase?

The main difference between Oxford and Housewife pillowcases is the way they’re designed. Oxford pillowcases are often chosen as a decorative addition to the bedroom, largely used to add a touch of class to your bedding, whereas Housewife pillowcases are plain and straightforward. 

However, with an Oxford pillowcase, the extravagance is in the fabric border, while the traditional Housewife pillowcase has plenty of room for you to add your own personality and character through patterns or colour picks. 

Additionally, because Oxford pillowcases are also the more traditionally decorative of the two, they’re ideal for throw pillows. This means they’re generally made using more refined fabric, such as silk, satin, or a velvet blend. That said, we know a thing or two about luxury bedding, so even our practical Housewife pillowcases are made to the highest standard. 


Housewife vs Oxford pillowcase: which is better?

Simply put, choosing between a Housewife vs Oxford pillowcase is entirely down to personal preference. Both are perfectly comfortable and equally functional, and the choice depends on which you like the look of best. While Oxford pillowcases are often used as a showpiece, you can sleep on them just as restfully as a Housewife pillowcase. In fact, your quality of sleep is more heavily dependent on the type of pillow you choose.

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Why do Oxford pillowcases have a border?

The border on an Oxford pillowcase is an aesthetic addition, but that’s not to say it doesn’t serve a purpose. Most notably, the hemming adds an element of extravagance to your bedding that you can’t quite get with the more modest Housewife pillowcase. 

If you’re looking to make a statement, the Oxford pillowcase is the perfect pick, and the additional bordering can also make your pillows appear a little bigger, which can complement a large bed that might otherwise swamp a more basic design.


What size pillow do I need for an Oxford and Housewife pillowcase?

You know the differences between the Oxford and Housewife pillowcases, but what about finding the right size? Find out which dimensions to measure to fit your pillows for each case.


What size pillow do I need for an Oxford pillowcase?

A standard pillow is 50cm x 75cm is size, which will comfortably fit in a typical Oxford pillowcase. That said, the external dimensions of your Oxford pillowcase will be a little larger, roughly 60cm x 85cm, because of the fabric bordering around the outside, so it’s important to measure the inside length and width before purchasing pillows. 


What size pillow do I need for a Housewife pillowcase?

A Housewife pillowcase will fit a standard 50cm x 75cm pillow, with the case dimensions matching. However, you can find alternative sizes if your pillow measurements vary. 


Why are they called Oxford and Housewife pillowcases?

We’ve explained the differences between the Housewife and Oxford pillowcase, but where did the names for each originate from? 


Why is it called an Oxford pillowcase?

The Oxford pillowcase name is derived from the type of fabric that was traditionally used in its production: Oxford cloth. Tough and durable, this is a thick and versatile fabric that’s also commonly used in shirt production. While modern Oxford pillowcases are often made with sleeker materials like satin or silk, it retained its name.  


Why is it called a Housewife pillowcase?

In the 19th century, pillowcases only had one opening at the end, meaning pillows were prone to falling out. Naturally, this became a frustration for people, so the Bolton Housewives Cooperative at the time decided to address the problem and design a flap at the open end to tuck in and keep the pillow in place. Ever since, the name has been used to refer to this style of pillowcase. 


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What is a Continental Pillowcase?

Continental pillowcases differ from Oxford and Housewife pillowcases because of their size and shape; rather than fitting a traditionally rectangular pillow, continental pillowcases are styled to dress square pillows. Importantly, the name refers to the size rather than the style, with continental pillows available in Oxford or Housewife design. 

Now you know the difference between Oxford and Housewife pillowcases, you can start to pick out the perfect bedding for an uninterrupted and relaxing night’s sleep. Check out our full selection of luxury ethical bedding, or explore even more helpful guidance over on our blog.