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Dear Ava

Hurrah! I have been invited on a dinner date by a wonderful colleague who I’ve had a mad crush on for ages. But we are both in the police force, and I don’t have a thing to wear. I haven’t updated my going-out wardrobe since before I was married 15 years ago and haven’t felt like dating since my husband died five years ago. Ava, are flared jeans still OK?

Fiona, Cronulla

Dear Fashion Fearing Fiona

If you’re serious about dating, you should invest in at least two new outfits. And if you have a few basics like a black skirt and a decent pair of jeans (flares were never a good idea, Fiona), a few seasonal investments will update the rest of your wardrobe. Department stores have fantastic personal shopping services that you can easily access and should. Clothes will be within your budget if you shop during the sales. The expert style guides offer free and much better advice than you will ever get from a friend, who may not see your potential hot-ness when they are used to seeing you with a Taser. Looking your feminine best is a great way of keeping someone you are excited to be dating equally interested, though stay away from too much blue, or he’ll think you’re still on the beat.

And for any woman looking to woo, too tight is not right. It is much better to dress elegantly than have your wares on show like a pile ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap fruit shop. And if you are over 40, never, ever wear leopard print (unless you are Joan Collins, who, at 85 has a fifth husband, Percy who is handsome, 29 years younger and worships her. She can do whatever she pleases).

Clothes and grooming well maketh the woman and man, Fiona. Research shows that we feel better about ourselves when we put our best self forward, projecting confidence and attracting the right kind of attention. So, invest for success. Dress in something you love, spray on some perfume (and don’t grab the Mace by mistake) and one day soon you’ll be undercover again with a man who is delighted to see you and deliciously, also has a gun in his pocket.

Love Ava

x

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