My first bottle of perfume was a small, tiny deluxe sample of Chanel No. 5. I think my grandmother gave it to me, though I’m not sure where she got it. The first bottle of perfume I bought myself was Debbie Gibson’s Electric Youth. I followed that up with the classic Exclamation! and after that, some classic 90s hits, ck One and Tommy Girl.
I love perfume. In undergrad I had every fragrance the Gap sold, including Grass, which I had a love-hate relationship with. I also had a schedule for how I would wear them: So Pink on Mondays and Tuesdays, Dream on Wednesdays, Om on Thursdays and Fridays, Heaven on Saturdays, Grass on Sundays, and Blue for sorority functions. I also had Day and Earth but I used them as air fresheners.
I moved on to Victoria’s Secret fragrances, and then to a couple of bottles of Marc Jacobs scents. A friend gave me a full bottle of Thierry Mugler’s Angel. When I started working in cosmetics, though, my love for fragrance and my collection of them exploded. My employee discount made buying things easier and having access to things was just fun. In short order I accumulated dozens of bottles. I found a vintage tidbit tray and turned it into a display for my bottles. Every morning I look at my collection and decide if today is going to be a Dior’s Hypnotic Poison kind of day or a random Katy Perry scent. I love my perfume.
Having so many options and putting on my fragrance every day is as much a part of my style ritual as selecting the right earrings or shoes. Fragrance is the clothing I outfit my mood in. The day I started an important new job? I selected Coach Love because it smelled both light and strong, steady and fresh at the same time which is what I wanted to feel. It was as important as the pencil skirt and fun shoes I wore.
But I’ve also discovered some other important things about my fragrance choices. Style is an evolution and as I’ve started really inspecting my personal tastes and style choices I’ve noticed that my fragrance style has evolved. What I’ve noticed is that as I age and my life changes, while I am still the girl with the perfume schedule (I’m a little less rigid these days, to be fair) I am also a woman who gravitates towards richer scents. I’ve discovered that I love things that smell “classic”. Like, Chanel No. 5 classic. What that means is a lineup of fragrances that are a combination of the truly vintage as well as the old-souled. My present fragrance lineup? Chanel No. 5, Guerlain Shalimar, Cartier La Panthere, Tom Ford Grey Vetiver, Chloe Love Story. Every time I put one of these on I feel myself wrapped in beauty, confidence, and a bit of retro class. No matter what I’m wearing, I feel gorgeous.
Isn’t that what style is all about?
I’m not sure I’ll ever narrow down to one fragrance and if Gap ever brought back Grass I’d probably buy enough to fill a pool and swim in it (not classy, not at all). What I do know is that for me fragrance is a style essential, another way to make your impression and own your mark.
What do you wear? What scents are must-haves for you? I’d love to hear in comments!