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AofA People: Debra Sofia Magdalene, Spiritual Entrepreneur

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Debra Sofia Magdalene, considers herself timeless but came into this body in 1961, she’s a spiritual entrepreneur and a digital nomad. She’s been home-free since 2011.

What’s your name?

At birth, I was given the name Mary Deborah Philomena plus my family surname on my birth certificate but always known as Deborah. I took on my husband’s surname when we married and after a numerology reading in the nineties, I changed the spelling of my name to Debra and took on two initials of N G to bring in different energies. When we divorced, I didn’t want to return to my maiden name as it didn’t resonate. In 2011, I was moving into a new chapter of my life and needed a new passport. I set the intention for my new name to come to me. Debra Magdalene came in whilst I was visiting a dear friend who’s a numerologist, followed two weeks later with my middle name of Sofia. When my friend checked out the numbers, she confirmed that it brought in energies that would support me – so I am now known as Debra Sofia Magdalene and changed my name by deed poll.

My son asked why I had taken the name of a prostitute. It was then I received an insight that I’d been given the name ‘Magdalene’ to raise awareness that Mary Magdalene was a spiritual teacher in her own right. Your name carries a sound frequency to the Universe that holds codes for the experiences you have. When you change your name, you change the game you’re playing here on earth. My life is very different since I changed my name. I was able to let go of addictions to food, sugar and alcohol which I’d struggled letting go of previously.

[It’s interesting that at birth my first name was ‘Mary’ and now my last name is ‘Magdalene’. I call my blue Honda Jazz ‘Mary’ and the first two initials of the registration plate are ‘MM’. I knew she was mine as soon as I saw her!]

What is your age?

I consider myself to be timeless – I came into this current body in 1961. I no longer define my age in terms of numbers. I actually feel younger now than three decades ago. Age is a state of mind and a state of being. Time is an illusion so why limit ourselves?

Where do you live?

I’ve been home-free since the summer of 2011 when I sold my house and gave away most of my furniture and possessions so that I was free to travel and follow my soul’s calling.   I’m now a digital nomad and can work from anywhere in the world as long as I have a good internet connection. I live in other people’s houses looking after their homes, pets, plants, businesses. I choose which assignments I take on and check in with my intuition as to where to go. It’s rare I have gaps between gigs. I had a cancellation earlier this year when a client had an injury so was unable to travel so I took the opportunity to work on an organic farm (WOOFING) in exchange for food and accommodation. I was in heaven and loved every minute. I also gained valuable experience of planting and harvesting crops and looking after livestock (donkey, pony, sheep, pigs).

What do you do?

As a spiritual entrepreneur, I have a portfolio of services which create multiple streams of income. I love to collaborate on joint ventures and make new connections.

  • Essential Oil Queen at Magdalene Wellness: I teach you how to use essential oils as safe, natural alternatives for health, replacing chemicals in the home, detoxifying and cleansing the body, using for emotional release, using for spiritual purposes, using to replace chemicals in the home, using to make healthy raw chocolate and in the kitchen etc. I have a team which is growing internationally and I mentor you for free if you want to create an additional income through teaching people about essential oils. and
  • An awakener of souls: I help you to see your own light and to move out of lower vibration emotions to the liberation of unconditional love for self and others. I do this through 1:1 coaching, events and retreats.
  • Therapies and Healing: I have trained in several healing modalities, from spiritual healing, shamanic healing and energy healing and have developed my own intuitive healing combining knowledge and wisdom gained from my life’s journey. I offer AromaTouch sessions using therapeutic essential oil plant essences and Sacred Anointings which clear trapped energy from this and previous lifetimes to free the soul.
  • HUGS House and Pet-sitting Service: I started this business on 1 January 2017 when my last relationship ended and love the flexibility that it offers me to travel and take on gigs in parts of the world which I want to visit. Last year I spent five wonderful weeks in Turkey with a fellow house-sitter and dear friend looking after 5 dogs, 6 cats and 20 chickens in a mountain home in Turkey.
  • HUGS House & Pet-Sitting Service Agency: My business has been such a success that I now have a team of people I trust who I can match to sits in different parts of the country that I’m unable to do personally. This enables us to provide a service not just in the UK but overseas too. I love how it’s growing organically and how delighted clients are when they see how lovingly their furry friends are cared for. I love animals and enjoy a deep connection with every one of them. We can learn so much from the animal kingdom.
  • Bed & Breakfast Business Relief Manager: This year I’ve been running B&B businesses in Glastonbury when owners go on holiday. I have made beautiful connections with people from many different countries who have become dear friends.
  • I’m an event manager and promote spiritual teachers whose work I have personally experienced and happy to recommend. In alignment with my purpose of raising consciousness, I ran spiritual events in Manchester, UK for 10 years. I’m also invited to speak at events and organise retreats for other teachers.

Now that I’m traveling, I do interviews with people online or in person and upload them to my Mastery Path youtube channel.

  • Silver Tent Radio Host: I’m a Silver Grove member of The Silver Tent – an online community of wise, wonderful women 50+. I interview people who have positive messages to share to help raise consciousness. After the interviews have gone out in audio format through the mixcloud platform, I upload the video to my Mastery Path youtube channel and share across social media platforms.
  • I’m Director of Hugs and have a Facebook group for Global Hugs Ambassadors – the mission is about helping the excluded to feel included and to share unconditional love through offering hugs. Hugs are healing and beneficial in so many ways. Do join us.

The things I’ve mentioned are some of the things I do. I do so much more than that.

I’m an Alchemist!

What it’s like to be your age?

Age is irrelevant to me. I feel that I’m in the prime of my life and feel very grateful to be in this physical body at this exciting time on planet earth when we’re going through a mass awakening. I have a lot of energy and stamina, I take my doTERRA high quality supplements every day (this is my health insurance), I do regular cleanses and detoxes (this is an act of self-love to care for my physical body), I eat healthily, I love to be out in nature and connecting with the land. I feel so blessed.

What do you have now that you didn’t have at 25?

When I was 25 I was married, in a high-powered job with big house, company car, good income, no children, had a small network of friends.

I’m now happily and amicably divorced, I have a son and daughter who have children of their own and I love being a grandma.

I have a global network, more skills, more knowledge and more wisdom.

I don’t need anything external to be happy – I have everything I need within me.

What about sex?

I love sex and have a high libido. However I don’t sleep around and I am extremely careful about whom I let into my energy field. My rule is: ‘Don’t have sex with anyone who you don’t want to be like’ – their energy stays with you. To me, sex is a sacred experience. Ancient cultures and mystery schools recognised the power of sex magick for creation and manifestation and this knowledge was suppressed by religions for the purpose of power and control. It took a lot of work on myself to undo this deep-seated conditioning and to find my own truth.

And relationships? 

When my husband left me for another woman, I went on a healing journey to dissolve feelings of unworthiness and rejection. I knew I needed to be in a higher vibrational state before entering into another relationship, otherwise I would attract a partner who was in the same low vibrational state that I was in (processing grief, sadness etc). When I felt ready, I made out a list of what I wanted in a partner and after dating several men, realised that I was being judgemental as they didn’t match up to my list. So I asked the Universe to send me the man I would have the most growth with. He showed up soon after and I had to smile at the cosmic joke because he was the opposite to everything I had on my list! From day one, I suggested that our relationship be one where we chose to be together rather than stay out of any sense of obligation. We agreed to follow our hearts and to make every day a choice. During our relationship, there were several times when it didn’t feel right for me. So we’d change our status to friends and take a period out for reflection. When it felt right, we’d come back together and our relationship would be elevated to a new level. He brought balance to my life and I did to his. On our ninth anniversary of getting together, we evaluated where we were and agreed that the relationship had run its course in its present format. We changed our status from partners to best friends and remain so to this day. We still have a deep love for each other, enjoy each other’s company and he’s still a part of my extended family.

In terms of other relationships, I have a huge network of friends and a close inner circle. Most importantly, I have the best relationship with myself that I’ve ever had – I’ve learned to love myself unconditionally.

How free do you feel?

I’m a free spirit and always will be. The nomadic lifestyle that I’ve consciously created for myself allows me to follow my heart and go wherever I feel drawn. I’ve reclaimed my sovereignty and can easily disengage from the matrix. I am whole, I am sovereign, I am free!

What are you proud of? 

I’m proud of who I have become – the journey back to wholeness, the journey back to my heart and to unconditional love. Work on myself is a constant process – I use others as a reflection to gain insights and do not get caught up in drama playing out around me. I am able to take a higher perspective and keep centred in the midst of chaos.

I am proud of getting to the root cause of my unworthiness belief which had come from indoctrination from the Catholic religion. After repeating “Lord I am not worthy to receive you but only say the word and I shall be healed” at every mass I was forced to attend, it took a lot of unravelling. I had this insight whilst in Peru and made a point of attending Catholic mass and affirming “Lord I am worthy to receive you and I invite you to share consciousness so that we may have a beautiful union”. It was liberating.

I’m proud that I was able to access hidden parts of myself when travelling.

I was attacked by a pack of wild dogs whilst walking alone in the mountains in Bolivia. I accessed my inner warrior, became Alpha dog and they backed off after seeing my fierceness.

I connected with wild dogs when living in the mountains of the Sacred Valley and they walked by my side. When some locals got out of a passing Tuk Tuk – the dogs went to attack them and the locals fled. The dogs then returned to me and we continued walking up the mountain. Experiences like this have given me confirmation that I am truly standing in my personal power and able to master my energy.

I have had so many incredible experiences in my life and I am grateful for every one of them.

What keeps you inspired?

I am inspired by so many things. Observing the fractals in nature; watching a drop of rain on a leaf; being with my grandchildren and other children; having beautiful exchanges with animals; working on the land; being still and meditating; watching inspiring movies; listening to music which touches my soul; poetry, reading, learning and expanding my knowledge and skills … so many things.

When are you happiest?

Happiness is a choice in every moment. Many years ago, I developed a talk called ‘7 Steps to Happiness’ and love to teach others how to be happy.

These are a few of my favourite things: When I’m out in nature; when I’m with my children and grandchildren; when we have extended family gatherings; when I’m meditating; when I’m travelling; when I’m connecting with people; when I’m being of service and see how others are benefitting; when I’m eating raw chocolate; when I’m swimming in the ocean; when I feel the sun upon my body; making footsteps in virgin snow; playing and connecting with animals …

Even when I’m experiencing a dark night of the soul, at a deeper level I’m happy that I’m learning such valuable lessons and receiving insights which will elevate me even higher. You can’t experience the highs without experiencing the lows. For example, when my marriage broke up, I wasn’t expecting it and although I was experiencing deep grief, I also knew that my husband was doing me a big favour and that he was setting me free. We had a soul contract for this to happen and it was a catalyst to my awakening. I reframed him leaving me for a younger woman and gave it the meaning: “He’s set me free and I can now become the person I’m destined to be”.

This was enormously empowering and helped me through that deeply emotional time.

And where does your creativity go?

Business: I’m an entrepreneur and see opportunities everywhere. I love to create opportunities for myself and others which are mutually beneficial and to connect people within my huge network.

Painting: When I was in the Amazon Rainforest living with the Shipibo Tribe in 2013, I started to paint with acrylics for the first time ever. I’ve since enjoyed experimenting with different medium and allowing my intuition to lead me artistically.

Writing: When I was living in Cusco, I started to write a book called ‘Life Lessons from Mosquitos’ inspired by a big healing I had with a mosquito I the Amazon when I merged consciousness with it. It’s still work in progress and I’ll complete it when I feel the impetus to pick it up again.

Poetry: After merging my consciousness with a huge rock in the mountains above Cusco, I have developed an ability to tap into the consciousness of standing stones and trees, in particular Yew Trees. I receive poems from these wise beings and will publish them when I get around to it.

Photography: I love taking photos and capturing magic moments, nature, insects, flowers, animals, family etc.

Music: I’m from a musical family and in addition to singing in a choir, I played piano, violin, guitar and oboe as a teenager – none of them very well. I love music and have a wide taste, from mantras to rock music.

Dance: I love to express myself freely through dancing and find that it transports me to other dimensions. Unlike my earlier years when I needed a few drinks to lose my inhibitions on the dance floor, I have dropped ego which kept me from doing spontaneous things and feel free to express myself in any moment no matter where I am or who I’m with. It’s a liberating feeling.

What’s your philosophy of living?

When we are born, we forget who we are and our journey is simply to remember our Divinity. We are here to experience and grow the collective consciousness.

There is no right or wrong at a Higher level. That comes from duality thinking which comes from the illusion of separation. When we remember that we are not separate but part of all that is, we move from ‘I’ to ‘We’ – all part of the One.

Live in the moment of now – it’s all we have and it’s where we create from.

I always trust my intuition and follow my heart – it’s my inner guidance system.

Be loving, be compassionate, be accepting of others, be grateful.

Don’t take like seriously – lighten up, have fun and do what brings you the most joy.

Ultimately, love is all there is.

And dying?

Being in the physical vessel of the body is a temporary experience in which the soul can experience and expand. When I was in the Amazon Rainforest, I experienced a shamanic death and a life review which gave me deep insights. We never die – our consciousness lives on eternally. We create our own heaven and hell on earth. We are not our physical bodies.

I have had the privilege of being present at the passing of three people. First time was when I was living in the mountains of Quillabamba in Peru on a coffee plantation where I was nursing Rosa who was coming to end of life. Her passing was very peaceful and her daughter Gladys (a doctor) was present too. Initially, the Gladys attempted resuscitation which failed and I gently reminded her that it was Rosa’s time to go. After a cup of tea, we cleaned Rosa’s body and dressed her in her wedding dress which she would be buried in. This was a rite of passage for me and prepared me for my own mother’s passing last year.

I’ve given sacred anointings using a special oil blend to people who have been dying and they have found great comfort and deep peace. One lady told me that whilst I was doing the anointing, all her past memories came flooding back to her and that she now felt ready to go. The essential oils are working emotionally, physically, spiritually and multi-dimensionally. It was an honour for me to be of service in this way.

Are you still dreaming?

Always. We create through our thoughts and our imagination. Life is exciting!

What was a recent outrageous action of yours? 

I received a parking ticket which I felt was unjust and after having a rant on Facebook, a You tube video posted on my timeline from a friend sent me down the rabbit hole as I researched the legal system. I discovered that there’s two systems operating – the Legal system which is based on maritime law, and the Lawful system based on the law of the land dating back to the Magna Carta (some of which still applies today). I went through a process of reclaiming my sovereignty in respect of not being bullied by an unlawful system which uses fear to control the population. I refuse to be bullied by organisations and corrupt systems which rely on ignorance and fear of the masses to line their pockets. You could say that I’m a peaceful non-conformist.

Find out more about Debra:

AofA Interview: Tricia Cusden – Creator of ‘Look Fabulous Forever’

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Tricia Cusden is a beauty ‘vlogger’ and creator of ‘Look Fabulous Forever’, a global cosmetics brand for the over 50s:

‘At LFF we are not just a beauty brand we are a movement. A movement to celebrate mature beauty, to challenge perceptions and to embrace the benefits of ageing.’ – Tricia Cusden
Advantages of Age interviewed her about her decision to provide makeup for older women based on her own ‘dire experience of finding it very hard to source makeup which suited my older face’.

Can we really look fabulous forever?

Yes, we can! Looking fabulous is about caring for your appearance and staying engaged with beauty and fashion but on your own terms. It’s also about creating a confident style so that you feel good about yourself.

How does it feel to be a successful beauty vlogger in your 70s?

It feels absolutely wonderful. The best bit of my weekly blog posts is reading the comments underneath and the ‘conversation’ element that this stimulates. I also enjoy making the videos because I know how much our ‘viewers’ love them and learn from them about latest makeup techniques.

Does your makeup philosophy help mature women feel better about themselves?

Absolutely! That is the whole point of LFF. We are upbeat, positive and we celebrate the beauty in older faces. Everything we do and say and all our images are intended to say ‘you matter too!’

Do you feel you’ve transformed your life with the ‘correct’ use of makeup and is it your mission to transform the lives of other olders?

The daily transformation that makeup effects to my face, especially now I am 70, greatly enhances my confidence and ability to ‘face the day.’ We get a lot of feedback from our customers that their LFF makeup is helping them to feel much better about their ageing face. My mission is to confront (and hopefully change) the profound ageism of our society.

Do you feel there is a place for just wearing no makeup at all?

Of course, there is! If an older woman has no desire to wear makeup who am I to say otherwise? It’s not my personal choice, but it’s a free country!

Could we even consider that women wearing makeup is sexist – ie we are conforming to how men want us to look. Or are we wearing makeup to please ourselves?

This is the old feminist argument that makeup is a construct of a patriarchal system! Sorry, but I wear makeup because I like to look good to please myself. There is absolutely no way that my choice to wear makeup is influenced by the desire to please or attract a man – nor has it at any time in my life. I also feel that the pressure on older women to ‘tone it down’ (i.e. wear less or no makeup) is deeply ageist as self-adornment is only for the young and beautiful.

What do you think about the beauty industries current efforts to find a substitute for the words anti-ageing?

I consider it lip-service without any real evidence that the beauty industry is actually becoming less ageist. Dior has just announced that Cara Delevigne (24) as their ‘face of anti-ageing.’ What a joke!

What inspired you to address the way older women were using makeup and the products available?

My own dire experience of finding it very hard to source makeup which suited my older face. I also disliked the ‘anti-ageing’ rhetoric of the beauty industry. I just kept thinking ‘I could do better than this!’ and LFF was born.

Does ‘mature’ makeup have to promote dignity and ageing gracefully? What about individuality, originality and wanting to stand out?

There is nothing about ‘mature makeup’ which precludes individuality, originality or wanting to stand out! Making up a face (of whatever age) is a creative process – so if you want to have more dramatic eye makeup or a really vibrant lippie we’d say ‘go for it!’

Is there such a thing as ‘age-appropriate’ lipstick shades?

No – the main thing is to choose whether you are warm or cool toned colour. If you are warm toned you will suit colours like nude, caramel, coral and brownish pinks. If you are cool toned the best choice is for pinks, plums and cool blue reds.

Are false eyelashes out of bounds for older women?

Not necessarily as long as they are the lighter weight ones. Mary Berry sears false eyelashes on Bake-Off and looks great but they are quite natural looking.

How can we avoid the ‘Bette Davis/Baby Jane’ look – and do we even need to?

By applying the makeup carefully, blending well and using brushes to perfect the finished effect. No garish eye makeup, spiky eyelashes or lipstick applied over the natural lipline!

What is unique about your age-related products?

Every single one of them has been formulated to suit an older face. For instance, older skin is quite absorbent and less smooth than a younger face. This means that makeup tends to disappear fast and look less smooth. Our Face Prime, foundation, concealer, blusher and highlighter all work together and once applied will stay looking that way until bedtime.

What is the difference between younger and older makeup styles?

Most older women prefer to look naturally enhanced rather than heavily made up. For instance, there is a current fashion for heavy brow treatments on younger faces. This would look quite scary on an older face – so we suggest a more natural effect

Choose just one product you feel is ideal for older faces and explain why.

A Face Prime. Most older women don’t know how brilliant face primers are. they are applied on top of moisturiser and under foundation and are wonderful at create a lovely smooth surface and ‘holding’ the makeup in place for hours. Our Smooth Like Silk Face Prime is a top seller for us for good reason.

What do you think about plastic surgery or botox?

Personally, I’d never let anyone near my face with a needle or a scalpel. I also think that women who have work tend to look ‘weird’ rather than younger. But I’d also never condemn anyone for making that choice – again it’s a free country!

Are you involved in the composition of your products?

Not really. That is not my area of expertise. I leave formulations to the experts and then we test the results. Once we are happy that they work in the way that we want them to work, we add the products to our range.

Do you use animal testing on your products?

No animal testing on any products or ingredients. We have Leaping Bunny accreditation.

How much time do you spend a week on this and how did you finance it?

I used £40,000 of my own savings to launch LFF and have since managed to attract investment (initially from family) as needed. Our business has never borrowed money nor does it have any debt. I work full time. Our business is open 24/7 and 365 days a year, and although I now have a great team I am still needed for various things every day and often spend time at the weekend responding to FB comments and the hundreds of comments we get on the blog which goes out at 8.00 am every Sunday. But I love it all so it doesn’t feel like work.

Emma Freud: “I’m Not Interested in Spending My 50s Pretending I’m in My 40s” |

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My amazing mum was 90 last month. She’s been an actress for 70 years—and on her big day she performed two theater shows before hosting dinner for 30 people. She swims every morning, goes tap dancing every week, and has nearly mastered the names, if not the sexes, of her 18 grandchildren.

When someone recently asked her how she is still sparkling at her mighty age, she suggested it might be connected to her lunchtime diet, always the same: a packet of potato crisps and a glass of red wine. She’s sharp, funny, and beautifully eccentric.But each time we talked this year about her 90th birthday, she asked me not to mention her actual age. “I don’t want people knowing how old I am—they’ll write me off,” she said, in a 90-year-old way.

So, in that incredibly patronizing tone that only a 55-year-old can use when addressing her nonagenarian mother, I had a massive talk to her (to her, not with her—she’s my mum, remember).It went something like this: “Mum, if you’ve arrived at 90 with your health and your faculties intact—not to mention your insistence on sunbathing in a bikini and your refusal to wear clothes to bed—surely that is something to celebrate rather than hide. You fought for female liberation in the ’60s—you can’t now be part of the conspiracy that women are valid only when they are young. We’ve moved on from that. If people are standing up and openly saying ‘I’m LGBTQI’ or ‘I have mental-health issues,’ then surely we should say ‘I’m old’ with pride?”

Read the full story here: Emma Freud: “I’m Not Interested in Spending My 50s Pretending I’m in My 40s” |

Wake Up Older Dating Men – how to get stylish!

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So, she’s agreed to go out with you on a date and you’re well-groomed, dashingly well-dressed and generally ready to sweep her off her feet. Or are you? Internet dating is now big. But, despite its growth, I’ve been hearing a lot from woman friends of their disappointment at the poor efforts made by older men when dating.

I write a blog about my search for style as an older man so have more a passing interest in how we present ourselves to the world – and the picture, by some accounts, isn’t always good. What is the woman’s experience? Where are men going wrong? What are they doing right? What advice can be given to the older man looking to date successfully?

This e-mail is typical of the comments I’ve had from older women in the dating game:

David EvansDavid Evans Photo: Daniel Pryce

“At the ripe old age of 44 – and with three small children – I recently decided to dip my toe into the murky waters of internet dating. I was anxious and excited at the same time but there seemed to be a rather depressing recurring theme online. Most of the men I fancied were a good ten years younger than me. They were the ones who stood out from the crowd – presenting themselves with a decent haircut, a smart shirt or cool t-shirt, some kind of “style” that said they still cared about their appearance. I wasn’t specifically looking for someone who worked in fashion, or who was even particularly fashionable, but the men in my age bracket seemed to be stuck in some kind of sartorial rut.

So I chatted to my other single older woman friends about it and it seemed to be a common problem. Where are all the stylish single older men? How difficult can it be to purchase a decent pair of straight-leg jeans, decent trousers a grey or navy t-shirt or sweatshirt and a smart pair of shoes, jacket, tie or suit? This is not cutting edge fashion; it’s just a smart, simple, casual and classic look that should be easy to achieve by shopping on our high streets.

Do men reach a certain age and give up on looking after themselves? I would have thought most single men would be trying to make the most their looks especially as let’s face it, with internet dating, you have one chance to make a good first impression and whether you agree with it or not, it’s going to be based on your profile photos first and foremost.”

I discussed these matters with a well-known personal stylist, Sarah Gilfillan. Sarah occasionally helps me out on the blog and there is little she doesn’t know about dressing a man well. As a stylist, she works mainly with men, helping them select styles and buy clothes. To my delight she agreed to carry out an informal survey of women over 40 (contacted through Twitter, Facebook or social contacts) who’d tried internet dating.

We wanted to see what view they took of the men they met – were they trying hard enough? What could they do better? Is there any advice we can give to men who are finding it difficult to achieve a stylish look for a date?

This is Sarah’s report on the information she gathered:

“I sent out a short survey to find out how women liked to see guys over 40 dressed for dates. In general terms, when asked how they liked their man to dress, women want to see a man looking smart, groomed, and wearing good quality, well-fitting clothing. There seemed to be a slight leaning towards soft tactile fabrics – like cashmere sweaters, velvet jackets and soft brushed cotton shirts – all the better to cuddle up to!

It was pretty clear what they didn’t like on their guys over 40: baggy jeans, bright logo tees, trainers, and poorly fitting clothes. Men tend to wear over-large garments, which look sloppy. There were a few comments about mismatched items – either in terms of colour/pattern/fabric or the styles ie: walking trousers and a smart shirt.

No one thought guys over 40 should stop wearing jeans, as long as they’re dark, smart, fit well and are not too faded, ripped, skinny, or showing pants! Worn with a smart, plain t-shirt, polo shirt or casual shirt and perhaps a v-neck or half zip sweater, most felt that jeans are good weekend staples.

Many favoured boots for casual wear as an alternative to trainers – desert boots, Chelsea boots, Redwing boots all came up as ones they liked. The other favourite was the ever- popular pair of brogues.

For a smarter look – going out for dinner – nearly all said smart jeans again, or trousers/cords and a shirt, possibly with a smart jacket and worn again with brogues or smart shoes. Interestingly, only one person said a suit.

Nearly all of the women asked said that grooming was very important, but not overly groomed TOWIE style (which they found a complete turn off)! Most preferred clean-shaven, but some were happy with a beard as long as it was not too long or scruffy. All said regular haircuts were a must – even if there’s not much left, it needs to be neat round the edges.

Other aspects mentioned were tidying up nose and ear hair, and clean short nails – fingers and toes! There were mixed views on aftershave – one said “lots so it wafts” and some said it wasn’t important. It generally seemed that the ladies did like some sort of scent (I guess to denote that you’re fresh and clean) but not to go overboard.

One of the other things that cropped up was the importance of accessories, helping to make an outfit look groomed and smart and also contributing to a more modern, youthful look when chosen carefully. Colourful socks, good quality belts, bags and wallets plus hats – either flat caps/baker boy style/trilby (maybe as a distraction from thinning hair?) were items mentioned.

Every woman, bar one, said that it made their man more attractive to them when they were better dressed. Good advice! But if you are feeling intimidated by this or think it’s shallow, you might be cheered by the couple of girls who said; ‘he’s a bit of a scruff, but I love him’ and ‘I knew I was marrying a scruffy muppet so no problem!’ I would still argue though that you should get ahead in the dating game by not being a “scruffy muppet” but dressing well and giving yourself an edge over all the other men.

So, gentlemen, whatever you may think, the women’s perception is that older men entering the dating game aren’t trying their best. As one woman remarked, ‘We make all the effort only to find that the man hasn’t even tried to look presentable.’

The overall conclusion was that simple, smart, classy and well-fitted clothes work. You don’t need to try to be too young or fun, just find your own style and make sure it fits well. Update your look with interesting, quality accessories to keep it fresh and modern.

So, with Sarah’s report ringing in our ears, what advice can I give to you for dressing and preparing for a date? Here are a few fundamental points:

  1. Show that you care by demonstrating that you’ve tried hard with your appearance. You may not always get it right – the woman won’t be expecting David Gandy – it’s the effort and the thought that counts.
  2. The same goes for the photo that you use online. Don’t use an image of you in your budgie smugglers on the beach last year, from your employers’ website, or picking up your degree certificate 20 years ago – select a photo that shows you as you are now in smart but casual clothes in a neutral situation and certainly not trying to look sexy.
  3. Wear smart, good quality, clean and, above all, well-fitting clothing – jackets, good quality knitwear. Go for smart casual with style. Proper fit is everything when it comes to selecting clothes.
  4. Avoid busy, mismatching clothes. If in doubt, select plain, well-cut styles.
  5. Accessories can add to a stylish look, showing that you’ve thought about your appearance.
  6. Soft tactile fabrics go down well.
  7. Wear good shoes. Poor or dirty/worn footwear will spoil any look.
  8. If you go for jeans, wear dark raw denim that fits well and isn’t artificially distressed.
  9. Good grooming is essential. Clean, scrubbed, smelling nice, minimal excess hair.
  10. Are your teeth well looked-after and clean? If your breath smells, visit a dentist, get advice, use a breath-freshening mouthwash such as the excellent Ultra Dex.
  11. If in doubt, get style advice from a knowledgeable friend, a stylist like our own Sarah Gilfillan of Sartoria Lab or read a good men’s style blog like Grey Fox Blog.
  12. Make an effort; you can be sure that your date will have done. Show self-respect, and respect for her, by trying your best. It’s not my place to tell you how to behave during the date, but show interest, ask questions, don’t just talk about yourself.
  13. Enjoy yourself!

David Evans is the founder and writer of Grey Fox Blog

Sarah Gilfillan runs a personal styling, shopping and wardrobe management service for men

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