Your 9 – 5 wardrobe in 10 easy steps.


Hi Everyone!

While it’s all well and good splurging on a beautiful pair of heels or dress for a night out, realistically, a huge chunk of our time is spent living in what we wear to work.

So how do you go about building up your 9-5 wardrobe? Well here is The Shee Side’s take on things.

Hope you like it!

1. Dress Code:

Ok, so first things first, you need to be familiar with your company’s dress code, if they have one, and always bear that in mind when considering the following points.

2. Create an Image:

Next, before you go out and start picking up random pieces of clothing, decide what kind of image you wish to create, or how you would like to be perceived. Go on Pinterest, create a work wear mood board. When adding images to your mood board, try to stick to a “theme” and only add images which match this theme. For example, have a work wear mood board purely for monochrome styles or basic colours such as black, white, grey and camel. See samples below:

Images Source: Pinterest

If Pinterest isn’t your thing, why not pick a celebrity or someone who you see as a style icon and put together some of your favourite looks by them. We’ve gathered some looks from Olivia Palermo and Victoria Beckham as a sample for you below:

Images Source: Pinterest

3. Create a budget:

Once you’ve got your dream image in mind, you need to work out what you can afford to spend. While we would all love to accessorize our black peg leg trousers with a Gucci double G buckle belt, you don’t necessarily need the designer price tag to create the image you want. To start, you’ll need to invest in a couple of good quality basics, that you can later build upon, and these will take up the bulk of your budget.

4. Build the basics:

A few key items in your 9-5 wardrobe will be tailored trousers, fitted jackets, skirts, blouse/tops and dresses. For these items, its easiest if you stick to classic, never-going-to-date, quality items that you can mix and match.

Staple colours include black, white, navy, grey, camel / tan and khaki. These colours can be worn head to toe or are easy to pair up with one another, in various combinations such as navy & white, white & camel, black & grey, grey & white, khaki & tan etc.

H&M, Dorothy Perkins, Tesco’s Florence & Fred, Zara, New Look, Asos and of course Penney’s are (in our humble opinion) some of the best places to find affordable work wear basics. We have sourced some good “basics” options for you below:

HM jacket

Shop here: H&M Black Jacket €29.99

HM skirt

Shop here: H&M Skirt €39.99

HM trousers

Shop here:H&M Tailored Trousers €14.99

HM tie trousers

Shop here: H&M Tie Waist Trousers €29.99

DP Dress

Shop here: Dorothy Perkins Khaki Dress €65.00


Shop here: River Island Frill Top €34.00

Asos Curve

Shop here: ASOS Curve Black Dress €56.75

HM Cashmere

Shop here:H&M Cashmere Top €59.99

DP White Dress

Shop here: Dorothy Perkins White Dress €49.00

RI Black Top

Shop here: River Island Black Top €40.00

Ri Shirt

Shop here:River Island Lace Shirt €37.00

DP Navy Dress

Shop here: Dorothy Perkins Navy Dress €49.00

DP Grey Dress

Shop here: Dorothy Perkins Grey Dress €45.00

Closet London

Shop here: ASOS Closet London Dress €60.81

HM Linen

Shop here:H&M Linen Blend Navy Trousers €29.99

4. Add colour / prints:

Once you’ve gathered together your staple pieces, you can then play with colour to change things up a bit. Adding a colour or print which is on trend will keep your wardrobe looking fresh and up-to-date.

However, chances are you won’t get as much wear out of a coral dress as one in a staple colour. But a coral scarf could be just what you need to brighten up a look. This is where accessories come in.

5. Accessories:

A staple accessory you’ll need for work is a handbag. A structured handbag looks great and adds a professional feel to on outfit, such as this one from River Island.

RI Bag

Shop here: River Island Bag €64.00

Other simple work accessories include a nice watch and some earrings. Statement pieces can really add to on outfit and take a really basic look to something more fashion forward in minutes. Try adding an embellished faux collar under a basic sweater or wrap a contrasting belt around your simple dress.

Image source: Pinterest.

6. Shoes:

Comfort is key. If you are sitting for the best part of the day, that is all well and good but you still need to look after your feet. You might want to invest in at least one decent, comfortable pair of shoes that you can wear over and over. Having said that, a heel can help to feel more formal, more powerful or simply more glam. For this reason a simple pair of court shoes are a most.

Keep your footwear on trend with some loafers or mules like those below:

RI Sliders

Shop here: RI Suede Loafers €65.00

Clarks mules

Shop here: Clarks Black Suede Mules

8. Don’t show too much skin:

When shopping for work wear, it’s important that clothes fit well and are comfortable. Not sure about the length of your skirt / dress? Sit down in it to see if it rides up a lot. If you feel that its borderline, maybe pair it with tights. If you feel uncomfortable, it probably is too short. When it comes to tops, check if your lower back is on show if you are leaning over. Save yourself any awkwardness by putting a little camisole underneath. Invest in a few nude, white and black cami’s. You won’t regret it.

9.  Bring your wardrobe through the seasons:

A lot of your basics will work all year round. In winter, opaque tights can be added, swap shoes for boots, accessorize with beautiful scarves, leather gloves, etc. and invest in a good quality, formal coat. In Ireland, it will be worth every last penny.

10. Bring your wardrobe from day to night:

Lots of work wear tops and jackets can easily be paired with some denim to dress them down on days off. Or if you are heading out after work, why not just throw on a bit of lippy and a pair of drop earrings. They are small enough to bring into work with you, but will make all the difference.


Lots of Love,

The Shee Side Xx


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