Clothes As Armour: My Return-to-Work Outfit

With my anxiety about a return to work after a 15 month absence I was delighted when my favourite shop, White Stuff, offered to send me an outfit to help manage the nerves.

This was important to me because many years of low body confidence means I treat outfits as a form of armour. Feeling I look good helps me feel good. It buoys my confidence.

My wardrobe is full of White Stuff items – the cut of the dresses in particular suits my figure, and the bright colours and fun prints suit my personality.

I was delighted with the outfit I selected: the Beautiful Island Jersey Dress in Paradise Coral made me feel good the moment I put it on. The shape is very flattering; accentuating the right parts, and skimming over the bits I don’t feel so confident about.


With its high neckline and a hem that reaches the knee, it is a perfect work wear dress because I don’t have to worry about indecency!


The colour: a deep indigo background with blue and coral spirals is so pretty, and goes with so much.

I paired it with the Waterfall Cardi in Deep Sky Blue – the shape of the cardigan is again very flattering. The way it is cut makes the cardigan look smart, almost like a jacket – perfect for looking the part at work. That said, I can see myself wearing the dress socially, too – it’s such a versatile frock – with a purple or coral cardigan perhaps to bring out those colours.


I was so pleased the dress has pockets – more dresses should feature pockets because they are so useful!

All dresses should have pockets.

All dresses should have pockets.

Being a fan of a statement necklace, I was very pleased with the Short Flowery Necklace in teal. It sets off the dress beautifully, and has lovely detailing without being too ‘showy’, making it the perfect addition to this work outfit.

As you can also see in this picture, the dress has tabbed sleeves – it seemed to me to be a good compromise between sleeves and sleeveless – and therefore suitable for work in warm weather.


On my feet I have the Melrose Mid Wedge Demi Sandals. Not being a fan of heels I find platforms like these to be a perfect compromise for when I want to add a bit of height to an outfit. These sandals are the perfect complement to an outfit and, crucially, comfy on my feet. Admittedly I didn’t wear them on my first day, preferring instead the familiarity of my sensible brogues (first days and new shoes are not a happy combination!).


The finishing flourish is this stunning Cockatiel Scarf. Not only is it double sided: a multi-coloured graphic print on one side and plain green on the other mean it can be worn with pretty much anything, it is also double-layered and huge! This means it would be invaluable as a wrap during chillier summer evenings.

It is difficult to do the scarf justice in photographs…

Trying to show how big the scarf is!

Trying to show how big the scarf is!

20150605_10145520150605_102007Arriving at work in this ensemble did not completely remove all my nerves (it’s a beautiful outfit, but sadly not a magic one!), but I felt I looked good which helped immeasurably. I received some kind compliments too, which is always lovely!

The outfit is timeless and classic, and I look forward to wearing it on many work days and to many social occasions.

About to leave for work on my first day (I opted for my sensible brogues for the first day).

About to leave for work on my first day (I opted for my sensible brogues for the first day).

Disclosure: White Stuff kindly gifted me this outfit. All words and opinions are mine.

0 comment on Clothes As Armour: My Return-to-Work Outfit

  1. Honest Mum
    June 8, 2015 at 9:42 pm (5 years ago)

    You look beautiful darling, that scarf is stunning and the dress and cardigan are so pretty, I love the print. I hope the day went well, much love x

    • Leigh Kendall
      June 11, 2015 at 10:44 am (5 years ago)

      It wasn’t too bad after all thank you lovely. I felt fab in my amazing outfit, which helped! xxx

  2. babylossmama
    June 8, 2015 at 6:36 pm (5 years ago)

    I LOVE cardigans that are cut like that. I wear them basically every day!

    • Leigh Kendall
      June 11, 2015 at 10:44 am (5 years ago)

      I think I might start doing the same – they’re so flattering! xx

  3. Emma
    June 8, 2015 at 3:27 pm (5 years ago)

    Dresses with pockets YES YES YES. (When I run the world…!) Fab outfit, I thought a few posts back what a lovely dress. Lovely lovely x

    • Leigh Kendall
      June 8, 2015 at 6:07 pm (5 years ago)

      Thanks Emma! If pockets in all dresses is part of your manifesto, I’m DEFINITELY backing you to run the world xxx

  4. mummyshambles
    June 8, 2015 at 6:03 am (5 years ago)

    Leigh, you look absolutely gorgeous!
    The dress looks fab on you and I LOVE the pockets! I’m a pockety person…I like pockets! I love the sandals as well but I’ll have to stop admiring them as I’ve just bought a pair of those others of yours I was admiring lol Xx

    • Leigh Kendall
      June 8, 2015 at 6:09 pm (5 years ago)

      Thank you! Pockets are definitely the way to go. Haha re sandals! Glad you found and bought the other pair, fab aren’t they? xxx

      • mummyshambles
        June 9, 2015 at 7:34 am (5 years ago)

        They’re great! I got them in black! 🙂 Xxx

  5. Goldie
    June 7, 2015 at 6:29 pm (5 years ago)

    Oh my god. I love that dress AND you’re so right. ALL DRESSES SHOULD HAVE POCKETS!!x

    • Leigh Kendall
      June 8, 2015 at 6:10 pm (5 years ago)

      Thanks Goldie! I’m glad we’re all in agreement about the pockets. People power! xxx

  6. Tara
    June 7, 2015 at 6:28 pm (5 years ago)

    What a great outfit, you look lovely!

  7. blopmamma2014
    June 7, 2015 at 5:49 pm (5 years ago)

    What a beautiful outfit and you look so lovely in it 🙂 I really hope getting back to work goes well for you and I think you’re very brave.
    I’m trying to decide whether I feel ready to go back to work but the panic attacks at the very thought are indicating that maybe I’m not ready.
    I’d love a pretty, confidence inspiring outfit but unfortunately I have to wear a rather drab (grey) uniform so no bright colors for me 🙁

    • Leigh Kendall
      June 8, 2015 at 6:11 pm (5 years ago)

      Thank you! You will know when you feel ready to return to work. It’s not easy, but only try when you feel as ready as you ever can be. Some things can’t be rushed.

      I think uniforms have their advantages – it saves a lot of hassle wondering what to wear every morning! xxx


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