Ryan Dziadul, a 35-year-old New York City-based publicist, is the face behind the popular menâ€™s body-positive Instagram accountÂ extraextrastyle. WithÂ the female plus-size market abundant with models and influencers advocating for body diversity, Dziadul stands out for trying to loop men into the conversation.
The Instagrammer created the account about a year and a half ago after noticing significantly fewerÂ men promoting body positivity.
â€œI spent the first 10 years of my career working in fashion, and I was trading stories with my friend Katie SturinoÂ about navigating the fashion world as a big person,â€ Dziadul tells Yahoo Style. â€œI realized that there were resources for women dealing with body-image issues, but there didnâ€™t seem to be a place for men to talk about body positivity or to celebrate their style. So I decided to create that resource.â€
After dealing with body-image insecurities, he wanted to make himself a resource for other plus-size men struggling to embrace their own skin. â€œI spent years being embarrassed to even say my size out loud,â€ he says. â€œIf I was shopping in a store â€” that is, if they even carried my size in store instead of just online â€” I would always refuse help from sales associates because Iâ€™d rather dig through a pile of clothes myself.â€
However, Dziadul reached a point at which he decided it was time to shift his perspective.
â€œI just got sick of it,â€ he says. â€œI decided to make peace. Iâ€™ve never been a small person, and I likely never will be. But itâ€™s a process â€” I mean, I started my Instagram to help other people but itâ€™s really helped me â€” cheesy, I know.â€
He adds: â€œEvery like, every comment, every DM from people saying that Iâ€™ve helped them with their own body image or shopping problem or self-esteem helps me. It took me a year and a half, but I just posted my first shirtless picture on my account. So itâ€™s definitely still evolving.â€
Reaching this place of comfort in his own skin has helped him to help others, especially when it comes to fashion.
â€œShopping as a plus-size person is hard â€” not every brand carries plus in store, and sizes vary so much item to item or brand to brand,â€ he says. â€œI always tag the brands Iâ€™m wearing. Iâ€™ll let you know what size Iâ€™m wearing if youâ€™re curious about picking up something for yourself. If I can save someone the trouble of buying twoÂ things knowing theyâ€™ll have to return one,Â then itâ€™s worth it. I have tops ranging from XL to XXXXL â€” yes, 4XL â€” in my closet and they all fit. It took me 35 years to realize that size is just a number.â€
Dziadul says heâ€™s also inspired by other interesting trend-related content on the social media platform.Â â€œItâ€™s been so interesting to see how other dudes express their personal style,â€ he notes. â€œOver the last year and a half Iâ€™ve tried more trends that I never thought I would participate in, and itâ€™s been fun â€” white jeans, Hawaiian shirts, and hats, so many hats.â€
He continues: â€œItâ€™s fun to feel like youâ€™re getting in on something on the ground level â€” itâ€™s a movement where I feel like I can have a voice â€” and where my voice is needed. I donâ€™t think anyone needs another Instagram feed of, like, cappuccino foam and hydrangeas, but this is a new conversation.â€
On promoting this conversation, Dziadul believes the menâ€™s fashion market in general needs a revamp. â€œPeople think that men donâ€™t care about fashion in general,â€ he says. â€œThere are so many tired stereotypes of the clueless guy in a store who needs his wife or girlfriend to â€˜save himâ€™ and dress him. And plus-size men are an even smaller subset of the general population, so retailers and the media think that itâ€™s a niche audience thatâ€™s not worth servicing.â€
But he thinks this is far from the truth. â€œMen â€” and big men â€” have money and they want to spend it,â€ he says. â€œEveryone wants to look good, no matter what size they are. Retailers shouldnâ€™t make it so hard for me to spend my money!â€
Dziadul believes this is connected to the lack of media attention given to menâ€™s plus-size figures and influencers. â€œWeâ€™re all people, and these issues donâ€™t discriminate on gender,â€ he says, pointing out misconceptions thatÂ body-image issues affectÂ women only.
â€œThe media just isnâ€™t talking about it,â€ he says. â€œWe are beginning to see mainstream womenâ€™s media outlets feature plus-size women on covers and in their pages â€” I mean, Ashley Graham has a great page in InStyle every month. But that just isnâ€™t happening for men. The only non-model bodies in GQ are professional athletes. I never see anyone who looks like me in the media.â€
â€œItâ€™s not just in the way I live my life,â€ he says. â€œWhen I shop, I ask stores why they donâ€™t carry my size. I describe myself, proudly, as a menâ€™s plus-size fashion Instagrammer. Itâ€™s not just about me â€”Â I try hard to use any opportunity Iâ€™m given to talk about the movement. The more itâ€™s talked about, the less itâ€™s stigmatized.â€
For the most part, social media has been extremely receptive to the message heâ€™s promoting. â€œLuckily, people have been super-positive and super-supportive so far,â€ he shares. â€œI can count on one hand the number of nasty comments Iâ€™ve gotten over the last year and a half. Interestingly, the messages from people with foot fetishes far outnumber the criticisms â€” who knew?â€
He might have launched his body-positive fashion account just a year and a half ago, but his reach has already been immeasurable. â€œI got a message from someone in Japan who told me he shares all of my posts with his friend who is plus-size,â€ says Dziadul. â€œI got another message from a mother who told me she shares my posts with her young son, who is beginning to deal with body-image concerns. Knowing that Iâ€™ve helped even one person is so fulfilling.â€
Dziadul adds: â€œI hope that by sharing my journey and my style Iâ€™m helping people with their own confidence and helping to take some of the shame away from being plus-size. This is a conversation that people are ready to have, and Iâ€™m proud to be a part of it.â€