How my Dad has helped me embrace and shape my true sense of style

At the beginning of February I left my condo in Downtown Toronto to celebrate my Dad’s fifty-fourth birthday in Windsor, where my family lives. I moved to Toronto in the summer of 2015, shortly after being accepted into Ryerson University’s journalism program. Though I pride myself on being an independent, paying the bills and living all on my own from a very young age, I’d be lying if I said it’s been easy.

Being away from my family has
presented its challenges. Sometimes, all I need is my Mum’s shoulder to cry on and
my Dad’s arms wrapped around me in a big, burly, bear hug when the going gets
tough. I’m especially close to my Dad, so spending even a few days by his side makes
it hard for me to leave him and go back to the relaxed-chaos of my everyday life
in Parkdale.

My Dad has truly been one of my closest
friends and confidants, as well as one of the realest hypemen I know. So, you
can imagine the amount of support I brought to the table at his birthday party
in reciprocation for the undying encouragement he gives me. I wasn’t the only
family member shouting “Yezzzzzzzz queen!” from across the room as he blew out
his candles. Dad, I stan.

When I got to Toronto after my visit,
I cleaned some unsuspecting items out of my closet to honour the fact that spring
is (finally) upon us here in Canada. And as I got dressed that morning in my
coziest pair of crushed blue velvet overalls, I came to a realization that I think
most people wouldn’t know if they should be proud or afraid of: I’ve been
dressing like my Dad. More importantly, I’ve been consciously/unconsciously
taking style cues from him my entire life.

My father immigrated to Canada from
Italy at the age of three. Growing up in Windsor wasn’t difficult for my Dad,
but there were things about him that Canadian school-kids couldn’t accept or
understand (ex. having an antipasto spread for lunch that filled an entire desk
space and a microwave, wearing clothing that had European flair, etc.)

My grandmother, (I call her Nona), is a seamstress by trade. When
one of my Dad’s precious Italian-made duds ripped open, you can bet she got to
work on her sewing machine and stitched it up quicker than she could shove a
second jar of baby food down my throat. Us Barbuzzis were healthy babies, to
say the least. Point is: Nothing went to waste. Being that they came from
working class families, my grandparents stressed the importance of valuing and
caring for items bought with hard earned money.

Fast forward to 2019 and my Dad is
still one of the most stylish, put together men I know. He’s not rocking
crushed velvet 24/7, but I certainly am. Why? My Dad always wore his clothes
with pride, no matter how unpopular his styling choices were. My father’s
ability to be himself and be different without caring about what anyone else
thinks has always inspired me. He’s given me the confidence to be authentic to
my true self and my sense of style. In fact, he’s helped shape it. I love him
even more for that to this day, and his new shtick: matching track suits.

Here’s some photos comparing the similarities between my Dad and I’s wardrobes over the decades for your viewing pleasure. In my opinion, he won this race. He was always ahead of his time anyway.

A summer’s day out “lewk”:
My friends always tease that I’m never dressed appropriately for the weather. Example A: What’s better to wear on a stifling summer day than a cute pair of red joggers? Socks and sneakers of course. (That’s my older sister in my Dad’s arms, by the way.)
A nautical inspiration:
Fun fact: one of my Dad’s favourite accessories is a fanny pack. In my opinion, he’s the only middle-aged man I know that can rock one. My Dad also never fails to show up for an occasion. If you somehow guessed that he’s on a tropical vacation in this photo, you’re correct. I was headed to the lake. Nonetheless, we’re cute.
Jean-on-jean machine:
My friends also joke that a Canadian tuxedo is one of my “signature looks”, but as far as I’m concerned, my Dad invented it. I’m just picking up his slack.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Cindy Klassen

    March 29, 2019 at 6:14 PM

    That was awesome loved it ❤️

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

You May Also Like