x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

A move inspires a change of fashion

When I told my family and friends about my new job, the overall consensus was that I was too fashionably inept to fit into the sophistication of Abu Dhabi.

When I told my family and friends about my new job offer abroad, they were ecstatic.

However, the grins turned to silent panic when I informed them I was moving to Abu Dhabi.

No, this wasn't due to some ignorant assumption about the Middle East. On the contrary, it was born from their experience of living and working in Abu Dhabi.

The overall consensus was that I was too fashionably inept to fit into the glamour and sophistication of the city.

Hence, all my friends and family jockeyed with each other to take me out shopping and, once and for all, correct my long-standing fashion ills.

"You better ditch those Seinfeld sneakers and start wearing some decent leather,'' one friend warned before a dreaded shoe-store expedition.

"You have to look clean or they just won't take you seriously," my mother said before we both launched into a six-hour shopping marathon.

Now to be honest, there is some basis for their panic. I am not exactly known for setting the fashion world alight or even nodding to any current trend.

I always obeyed The Laws of Comfort, which basically favours the snug over the smug, the soft over the crisp, the fleece jumper over the leather jacket.

While this approach hasn't hindered my social abilities, it has result in some glaring fashion faux pas at weddings, funerals and job interviews.

However, I embraced the notion of Abu Dhabi being a new start and I arrived with a suitcase full of business attire that would have made Gordon Gekko proud.

For the first few weeks Saeed Version 2.0 seemed to work.

One colleague, after witnessing the variety of loafers and über-cool sneakers I wore at the office commented that I was "a real shoe hound".

A sunglasses aficionado nodded approvingly of my latest RayBans - a gift from my gracious sister - and asked if he could give them a short whirl at a nearby mirror.

Everything seemed to be going well before I slowly receded to old habits. The Laws of Comfort re-emerged and dictated I ditch the loafers and wear those ageing brown sandals I secretly packed in my suitcase.

This was naturally followed by my first public fashion misfire on Monday when an ill-chosen white polo-shirt resulted in me being mistaken for a nurse at a clinic.

Luckily, I managed to halt this short dip in form. The polo shirt has been swiftly retired and the sandals shall only be used inside the home.

This is what my Facebook photos will show friends and family, anyway.