A bad breakup motivated me to learn how to dress better

Najem Al-Hasan is a 48-year-old building engineer living in Edinburgh, Scotland. Never too much to think about fashion, a bad breakup prompted him to seek a new beginning. With the help of a stylist, he succeeded in his style game. Here is, in his own words, how he did it.

I once heard workers call me “the American Eagle hoodie guy”. They were right, I didn’t have a lot of style. I walked around in ready-made clothes that just didn’t fit me, although I admired guys like David Beckham and Ryan Reynolds for their clean, crisp looks.

A messy breakup made me look for a reboot. I had gained a little weight during the pandemic and wanted to regain my appearance and feel better. I started kickboxing and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, working with a trainer and also doing HIIT. Being slimmer was a big goal, and around the same time I decided to revamp my personal style. Or, in my case, establish one.

Najem Al-Hasan

I started working with Patrick Kenger of Pivot Image Consulting after seeing his name in articles and being very impressed with the testimonials on his website. I signed up for an introductory consultation, which blew me away with the level of detail and explanation. I give him all the credit for my transformation.

I really started with the basics like using a color palette to match my look to my wardrobe. (I’m a dark fall.) Knowing which colors worked for me really helped, as did Patrick’s advice on skin care and styling. Just reducing my height was a step in the right direction. And I learned how sewing can make a huge difference; it is so important to have mass-produced clothing modified to fit you as an individual.

My wardrobe has been completely revamped. I discovered Nudie Jeans, Riess, Spoke and a whole world of new brands. So many things I hadn’t thought of before – polo shirts, denim shirts, slim fit jeans – are now part of my repertoire, and I feel confident to pick a look that suits me. We experimented with accessories, like hats and bracelets. It’s a work in progress, and I like to find my way around it. Right now I’m really enjoying my All Saints Leather Biker Jacket.

najem al hasan before and after transformation

Najem Al-Hasan

Everyone I know said I looked younger; I think it’s about tidying things up. People on the streets commented that I looked like a catwalk model, and women approached me to compliment my style. Granted, it’s usually older women who call me ‘son’, but a flattering comment is a flattering comment!

I really learned that style is something anyone can acquire. Don’t think that you have to look stereotypically good to look your best. Each person can have their own style, so find and adopt your own. Staying in good physical shape gives you the confidence and energy to really make the most of your style potential; from there it’s just a matter of working with a stylist, or even just learning on your own.

Above all, keep an open mind. Be positive, it may take a while to find what works for you. It’s like any project, though: the more you learn, the more confident you’ll be. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends and family for feedback; keep an eye out for trends and think about what you like and why. It’s a different journey for everyone, but with the right mindset you’re sure to find your own path.

-As said to Jesse Hicks

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