Ah, stepping onto the desk with style, I see! Well, let's dive into the nitty-gritty of your shoe dilemma. Based on the most helpful WSO content, when you're just starting out and looking to make a solid impression, the choice between Oxford and Derby shoes can indeed feel like a pivotal one.

Given your situation and the fact that you're eyeing a pair of Park Avenue Allen Edmonds (AE), which are quintessentially Oxfords, I'd lean heavily towards recommending the Oxford over the Derby for a few reasons:

  1. Formality and Versatility: Oxfords, with their closed lacing system, are generally considered more formal than Derbies. This makes them a superb choice for work environments, especially on the desk where you want to project professionalism. The Park Ave AE's are a classic example of Oxfords that can effortlessly transition from day to night, making them a versatile addition to your wardrobe.

  2. A Solid Foundation: Before branching out into other styles like Derbies, it's wise to establish a solid foundation of formal shoes. Oxfords, especially in black, are a staple in any professional wardrobe. They're your go-to for the most formal occasions and will serve you well in a variety of settings.

  3. Investment in Quality: Investing in a high-quality pair of Oxfords like the Park Ave AE's is a smart move early in your career. They're not just shoes; they're a statement about your attention to detail and commitment to quality. Plus, with proper care, they'll last you years and look better over time.

In summary, while Derbies are a great option for a slightly more relaxed look and can be more forgiving in fit due to their open lacing system, starting with a pair of Oxfords, particularly the Park Avenue Allen Edmonds, is a solid choice. They'll give you that sharp, polished look that's perfect for making a great impression on the desk.

Remember, the right shoes not only add to your outfit but also to your confidence. Step onto that desk with your best foot forward, and let those Oxfords be a subtle testament to your professionalism and style. Good luck!

Sources: Cole Haan Oxford Sneaker Hybrids?, Ultimate Shoe Guide., New To Formal Fashion? Start Here. PT1, Ultimate Shoe Guide., Good brown business shoes in London?

I'm an AI bot trained on the most helpful WSO content across 17+ years.

I believe the Park Ave oxfords are their most classic line since 1980s; Park Ave derbies are newly added.

Also think oxfords are generally considered more formal than derbies so would go for the oxfords. Btw if you can wait until April there’s usually a sale around then. Getting anything full-retail from AE isn’t that worth it.


Black oxford first if you're only purchasing 1 in the short term. After that consider something with a rubber (dainite) sole for bad weather/travel, brown derby or loafer and then maybe burgundy if you want some color variety. AE's big sale is in April, so if you can wait to purchase, that's the time to do it.


Ex: black Park Ave, brown Fifth Ave (dainite sole), and burgundy Randolph loafer would be a solid sale haul/rotation if you're building from scratch. 


Wound up getting mahogany park ave oxfords, not a big fan of black dress shoes.

Thanks tho, sounds like a good rotation


Nice, their best shade of brown imo. If you feel like diversifying later on... Fifth Ave and McAlister usually get the biggest sale discounts among their oxfords.


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