"I have left the house wearing two different shoes. More than once."
It's an admission any busy, working mother can relate to, and one particular style challenge that sales and marketing recruiter Eliza Kennedy will happily share due to her delightful ability to laugh at herself.
After spending 10 years living abroad in the UK, Argentina and Hong Kong, Kennedy is happily ensconced back in Queensland's sunny climes. Whilst she loved the fast paced life of corporate recruitment, she has recently decided to start her own business in an effort to achieve a better work/life balance, and to spend more time with her husband Justin and their two young children, Eva, 4 and Hugo, 2.
Having seen many friends struggle with returning to work, Kennedy decided to combine her many years of specialist recruitment knowledge to establish her own recruitment and coaching consultancy. Her business, Candid8, aims to help women take the next step in the their careers, particularly after taking a career break to have children.
"My goal is help give people an edge when looking for a job, in particular women returning to the workforce. I work with people on optimising their CV and LinkedIn profiles, and conduct coaching sessions to help develop their job search strategy and improve interview techniques."
Her departure from the corporate world along with her new flexible role working from home has meant quite a dramatic wardrobe change for Kennedy. Out are the suits and heels. and in are easy dresses that can take her from the desk to kindy pick up to client meetings.
We had a chat to her about her style evolution.
How would you sum up your style in 5 words?
Almost always casual and classic.
How has your style changed since you became a mother?
The other day I was at my daughter’s swimming lesson and realised I was wearing two different shoes. Both were ballet flats, but had nothing else in common. It wasn’t the first time either. Months earlier in the company of highly polished executive recruitment colleagues, one of them asked me if I was aware I was wearing two different shoes. So that’s been a change for me. Matching shoes was far more manageable before children.
Do you have a go-to outfit?
Dresses. I love them. One easy, versatile piece that can make me feel feminine, comfortable and stylish.
Do you gravitate more towards clothes or accessories?
I tend to gravitate towards clothes that look good with minimal effort. And by effort, I mean accessories. I’m sure my outfits could benefit from better accessorising, but I have just never been that good at it.
What do you love most about your ‘new’ wardrobe?
Sadly, there isn't as much time for shopping these days. Happily, the result is a wardrobe with fewer impulse purchases, and more classic investment pieces.
What do you miss wearing the most?
After years of working in recruitment, I still associate suits and heels with confidence and success. I left the corporate environment earlier this year to better balance work and family life and I have started my own business helping other women take the next step in their careers. Now I work from home and most days I just throw on my jeans or a maxi. Even for face-face coaching sessions, I keep my style to business casual to reflect the accessibility of my brand. Sometimes I miss the excuse to wear something a little more sophisticated and to get that buzz of being a well-dressed business woman.
Any real sartorial low points that stand out?
There have been many. Here’s a few:
Wearing… Wheetbix. Milk. Vomit. Vegemite. Peanut-butter. Toothpaste. Snot. Baked Beans. Scrambled Eggs. Unknown.
Wearing… a onesie (my daughter made me do it!).
Wearing… my breast outside of my dress (it took a few raised eyebrows to realise I had been unclad by my toddler).
What is your non-stylish guilty pleasure?
The onesie is surprisingly comfy!
Photography: Orion Zuyderhoff-Gray. Words and Styling: Sally Dwyer.