DINO BONAĈIĆ EXPLORES WHY HE’S FEELING HOT (AND UNBOTHERED)

Can fashion help you embrace your body? The answer is yes. 

Like many others, I remember feeling embarrassed of my body from the moment I became conscious of having it. Never on the slender side of things, I was a pretty regular-sized kid, yet would always be aware of the rolls on my belly when I sat hunched on the beach. I was chewing my fingernails at age six, and as a result, found my stumpy little chubs completely disgusting. Then, in my late teens, a fuzzy carpet started to grow on my back. SHOCK. HORROR. I first ignored it, then waxed it, before letting it grow out, while simultaneously shielding it with a towel or a t-shirt, always pulling the collar forward just in case a few hairs poked out. Though I’m aware these traits aren’t unique to me, they made me feel isolated and self-conscious, as I built an image of myself that was based on permanently sucking my stomach in – both literally and metaphorically.

And then something changed. No, it wasn’t a therapist or the ongoing stream of love coming from my nearest and dearest, though both helped. It took reaching my late twenties and an obsession with social media to turn things around. I know how sad that sounds, especially considering all the money we collectively spend on various forms of therapy. But there’s nothing more liberating than publicly posting an image of your insecurities for the world – or just your close circle of friends – to see.

Call it seeking attention or exposure therapy, but openly embracing the things you hate about yourself feels just as powerful as a self-deprecating joke that allows you to point something out before others can. Taking photos of yourself – fine, let’s call them selfies – in clothes that highlight exactly the parts you hate about yourself can be quite healing, especially when you add some fun fashion into the mix.

A big part of this process of self-acceptance was reflected in the way my wardrobe evolved. The change of mindset also meant a change of silhouette. So, instead of just wearing things that would mask what was underneath, I began finding comfort in clothes I previously put on the discard pile because I felt like they were too small for me. It was time to ditch the archaic idea of “dressing for your body you have” and focus on dressing for the feeling you want. Instead of avoiding the lines of my stomach showing through the fabric, I felt confident by showing skin through cut-outs and cropped hems. Maybe, just maybe, this whole sexy thing wasn’t only for hot people with impeccably carved bodies? And look, I don’t think that showing skin has to equate to being sexy. But it does indeed feel good to wear less after all this time of making myself feel like I have to wear more to look good.

A big part of this process of self-acceptance was reflected in the way my wardrobe evolved. The change of mindset also meant a change of silhouette. So, instead of just wearing things that would mask what was underneath, I began finding comfort in clothes I previously put on the discard pile because I felt like they were too small for me. It was time to ditch the archaic idea of “dressing for your body you have” and focus on dressing for the feeling you want. Instead of avoiding the lines of my stomach showing through the fabric, I felt confident by showing skin through cut-outs and cropped hems. Maybe, just maybe, this whole sexy thing wasn’t only for hot people with impeccably carved bodies? And look, I don’t think that showing skin has to equate to being sexy. But it does indeed feel good to wear less after all this time of making myself feel like I have to wear more to look good.

Thanks to trailblazing designers like Taller Marmo and AREA, as well as supermodels like Paloma Elsesser, Alva Claire and Precious Lee, the industry is beginning to normalise the idea of various body types being allowed to feel sensual in front of an audience. Sadly, the menswear department is far behind, with only a few brands showing true inclusivity. Namely Steven Stokey Daley and Ed Mendoza, both London-based designers who are shifting the conversation forward by dressing a range of male bodies. Even if representation on catwalks or campaigns has its limitations, it really does matter for people who use fashion as an emblem of escapism or belonging.

On the other hand, there’s also the inherently inclusive nature of accessories. Jewellery, bags and hats present a playground of style we shouldn’t run away from. If the bag is the only thing that fits and I absolutely love it, I’ll wear it! It’s my opportunity to show that a brand’s exclusive vision might not be that exclusive after all. With a sense of irony or perhaps just complete delusion, carrying around an IT bag that was famously worn by skinny starlets back in the noughties creates exactly the kind of contradiction I find my confidence in. The same goes for pearls and rhinestones, these traditionally delicate pieces that somehow feel right at place when entangled in my body hair.

So, that’s my recipe for becoming body confident before turning 30: cut-outs and purses, beads and diamanté. Though hardly provocative in today’s landscape, these elements allow me to regularly push the limits of my self-acceptance further. They’re a reminder that I can do it too, whatever it is. They allow me to face all those insecurities and accept my body in how it looks today, back hair, body rolls and all. And as a queer man who’s neither buff, lanky or hairless, I find my beauty in the things I get to wear – however small or large they fit.

So, that’s my recipe for becoming body confident before turning 30: cut-outs and purses, beads and diamanté. Though hardly provocative in today’s landscape, these elements allow me to regularly push the limits of my self-acceptance further. They’re a reminder that I can do it too, whatever it is. They allow me to face all those insecurities and accept my body in how it looks today, back hair, body rolls and all. And as a queer man who’s neither buff, lanky or hairless, I find my beauty in the things I get to wear – however small or large they fit.

GEDEBE
My Love Crystal Bag

COPERNI
Crystal-Embellished Mini Swipe Bag

BENEDETTA BRUZZICHES
Ursula Bag

COPERNI
Micro Baguette Swipe Bag

ROWEN ROSE
Round Pearl Drop Earrings

ROWEN ROSE
Oversize Pearl Necklace

RUSLAN BAGINSKIY
Faux Fur Bucket Hat

AREA
Crystal Flower T-Shirt

Shopping Bag

We ship worldwide. Free express delivery on all UK orders over ${currency_symbol_input}${cart_note_currency_value}.

close Created with Sketch.
Group 10 Created with Sketch.

YOUR CART IS CURRENTLY EMPTY.
BAD TIMES.

Subtotal
£0

Shipping calculated at checkout.