From Toronto to Milan to Cloth Diapers – Why should I dress if I stay at home?

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So here’s my dilemma, I’m a work at home mom, 18 months into it and I love it.  Except for one fact… I no longer have a reason to dress.

When I was working my office job in Toronto a few years ago, I undervalued one interesting part of leaving the house everyday – being seen by people.

I realize only now, that dressing is an enormous satisfaction for me.  Sometimes it was even stressful!  But at the core of it, I like preparing for the day.


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In Toronto it is hard not to shop.

For a few years I worked right downtown in the financial district in one of those super-tall , mega office buildings.  For those of you who haven’t heard CANADA IS COLD.  And Toronto is no exception.  In the winter we are talking 30 below considering the wind chill.  That’s right people, not a type-o MINUS THIRTY!  So it’s not a surprise that Toronto is home to one of the world’s largest underground shopping malls.


That is a bit of a glorifying statement “underground shopping mall”, it is basically just a huge hallway that connects the greater part of the downtown core with the subway stops and office buildings. This huge labyrinth of a hallway is filled with  mini grocery boutiques (expensive), pharmacies, repair shops, coffee shops, food courts, technology kiosks and dry cleaners.  Along with a ton of clothing and shoe stores, including some of the big names.  This “mall” exists under almost every visible office building in the downtown.


As I was saying,  for a few years I was working in one of these skyscrapers and on my lunch, instead of venturing out into the cold, where I’d have to put on many layers of clothing, walk through sleet and snow and not actually find much on the ground level, I would, go down into the “Path” (as it is called) eat, drink coffee and shop!


I shopped.  ALL.  THE.  TIME.

I’m not saying that was a very positive habit. I save more money in Italy than I ever saved while working in downtown Toronto.  Not to mention that grocery shopping alone at any one of those convenient, but oh so pricey grocery “boutiques”, was enough to drain my wallet.


Just to give you an idea of how expensive those grocery boutiques were, I could easily spend 50 bucks on  1 avocado, some dried cranberries, some baby spinach leaves, ¼ chicken breast diced, some cashews and some exotic mango juice.  I could cook all of a poor quality salad.

So back to the point, yes I was spending money, but I was also enjoying shopping.


Since I was going into the office everyday I would justify what I was spending as “work necessities”!  I was being seen everyday; I had meetings to go to, subways to ride, clients to call and colleagues to impress!

My closet was an ever-expanding array of clothes.  Some I loved some I didn’t. Some I wore, some I didn’t.  And since I could use my credit card to pay for everything and anything I didn’t really reflect on what I was buying.  Now is a different story.


And Then I Moved To Italy….


Here’s another post about what it is I do in Italy, AKA “Working in the Fashion Industry”.  Let’s just say that my job in Italy meant I REALLY HAD TO DRESS to impress.


5 years after working with the most prestigious international boutiques, biggest designers of the fashion world and going to all the big fashion fairs (like Pitti in Florence, Tranoi in Paris and WHITE in Milano) I got pregnant.


Thank God


I really wanted to get pregnant subconsciously, even though my little Man was a bit of an unexpected surprise.  It was the most perfect thing that could happen to my life.


But that doesn’t mean things didn’t change and that I didn’t need to adjust.


After The Baby


During my pregnancy I kept on working and doing the fashion industry thing.  This meant I was also traveling all the time and meeting with clients all the time.  I was 4 months pregnant and I went to Paris for the Fashion Shows, at 6 months pregnant I was in Munich, Germany for client meetings at 7 months pregnant  I was in Florence for the Men’s Fashion Week and almost every month I was in Milan at our showroom.

But alas, during my pregnancy I got put on complete, 100% bed rest for the last two months or so.  At work, I was offered a new position online that would allow me to work from my computer at home even after the baby was born.  I happily accepted.



But that meant going from a 50 hour work week, where no two days were the same, travelling all over Europe and Italy for client meetings and conferences and fashion shows to being, well… home.


Now I can technically “go to work” in my pijamas.  And since my hours are completely flexible I can watch my Toddler during the day.  So there you have it. I’m now a work at home mom.  Does that mean I no longer have a reason to dress?

The Dilemma

Can I realistically justify the cost of staying in style and shopping when no one really sees me?  Should I care about how I look now that I no longer have clients to impress or a reason to leave the house?


YES and YES.


I read an interesting article last night about how important dressing well is if you want to move up in your career.

I don’t actually think all moms, or anyone for that matter, should dress-up, or put on makeup or buy clothes or care really.  I think people should do what makes them feel good.


I feel good when I am put together, and I like seeing other people that are put together, without of course exaggerating or blowing the budget.


I think the right balance between life, family, dress, food, money and travel is what makes life worth living.


Thank God I live in Italy,  where people “dress-up” all the time according to  North Americans.  I can type in my pjs, but I shouldn’t go grocery shopping in them.


reasonstodress125x125And so here I am in Modena, working with Italian designer leather goods, driving standard cards, speaking Italian, making risottos and washing the poo poo from my son’s cloth diapers.  Gluing leaves to paper because it is Fall and singing twinkle twinkle little star enough times that my 18 month old now sings it back to me:)


I have found my reason to dress.

  • Anne h

    I am at home due to illness and I also have the dilemma about the need to buy clothes and dress up if I am not working and I have to say I just feel better if I look better. If I stay in my robe I feel like I am ill so dress up for coffee my volunteer work and each day for myself and my family and I think it does make me feel better 🙂

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    • Anne, that is such a positive attitude, and I think attitude makes a huge difference in terms of quality of life. Besides volunteer work is REAL work. I’ve worked for a few years in the not for profit sector, and let me tell you, without volunteers those organizations would not survive. Good for you for giving back to your community.

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  • I’m just having a peek around! Didn’t realize you are Canadian! I am from Toronto also. And still jealous that you are not in -30 and living in Modena! My husband is italian.

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    • Just checked out your blog you are one beautiful lady! And funny. my husband takes all of my pictures, and I have vowed to get myself a nice shiny slr with remote in 2014 because I too am tired of only having 3 pictures to choose from (he REFUSES to ever take more than 3!) and they are mostly of me with my mouth half opened. And I really am sorry about the snow the weather this year in TO! Actually I brought my little guy there for his first birthday at the end of March since the year before it was “so warm”, and it was the first March / April of my life where it snowed almost everyday. Needless to say I ì’ll be returning in summer time only! And yet the dream of every Italian I meet is to move to Canada!

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  • I am excited to have found your blog! I feel kind of un-American sometimes in how I dress. Pjs to the grocery store, certainly not! Looking forward to perusing more 🙂

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