Perfume, Cologne and You, Part One: Choosing a Signature Scent

November 7, 2021
Photo by Laura Chouette on Unsplash

Scent, in all its complexity, is intrinsically tied to memory. We smell apple pie baking and think of our Gram on the day before Thanksgiving or we get a whiff of an uncapped Sharpie and we return to high school for a moment. Perfume and cologne are no different. For me, Chanel Number 5 is my Mom. It’s her signature scent, and it always reminds me of her. If I smell Old Spice aftershave, I wax nostalgic for my dearly departed Dad. These pleasant smells bring memories of people both present and past. Having a signature scent of one’s own – is like having a sensory calling card that you share with people you chose to get close to.

Why Bother With A Signature Scent

This is on topic, I swear… just stick with me for a second… Have you ever been surprised by a book? One that sticks with you for reasons that you didn’t expect or can’t explain? I’m not talking about Jane Eyre or A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, two of my favorites, but the odd book that just hits you at just the right time. For me, one of those books is Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris by Jennifer L. Scott. I first read this book at a time in my life when my self-esteem was rather low and I was feeling quite fat and frumpy. While the book is no great work of literature, it is enjoyable and has some interesting concepts worth considering. The book simply recounts Ms. Scott’s season abroad and the things that she learned about personal style and lifestyle whilst living with a French family in Paris. It was because of this book that I first started to consider the idea of developing a signature scent for myself. In the book, Ms. Scott is taken by the idea that most French men and women seemed to have a signature scent and what a wonderful little nicety she finds this to be. I happen to agree. Now I know there are many, bigger and more important issues in the world than scent, but what surprised me about this book is how a few small changes in personal style and lifestyle, including a signature perfume or cologne, can truly make your life a bit richer and more enjoyable. So I say, yes, let’s work on global climate change, basic human rights for everyone and all the significant matters of the day, but why not also consider a few things that just make life more beautiful? Viva La France!

Take Your Time and Discover What Notes You Like

I have two signature scents: one for day and one for evening. I fell casually into the one I wear for day, as it was given to me as a gift in my teen years. It’s an inexpensive drugstore brand, but I have loved it since receiving it for the first time all those years ago. Even though I have tried other, more expensive perfumes, I have always come back to it. My evening signature, on the other hand, took awhile to develop and really came about after reading Scott’s book. I tried a lot of different scents before deciding on Fragonard, Belle de Nuit. My day scent has notes of jasmine, neroli, and bergamot blended with musk , and my evening perfume has notes of Gardenia, Ylang-Ylang and Mirabilis but with a base of musk, as well. What can I say, I apparently like musk. This, I think, is the key to finding your own signature scent: discovering the notes of scent that you find appealing. I suggest that you take some time to discover what you like and that you try to enjoy the process. Here’s what I suggest:

Go to a large department store in your area. Instead of avoiding those guys and gals trying to spritz you with everything under the sun, approach them instead. Ask them about the perfume or cologne they are offering and request samples of the ones you find intriguing. Question them about what notes are present in the ones that smell good to you (any perfume salesperson who’s worth their salt will know this information). By doing this, you will begin to see a pattern of the notes you enjoy (like musk for me) and the ones you don’t (vanilla and I just don’t get along). Also, make sure to ask for actual samples of the scents, in addition to the sprayed-on-cardboard sample they give you at first. These salespeople almost always have small, glass vials behind the counter for interested customers. After you’ve gathered some samples, it’s very important that you do this: Go Home! Do not buy anything on your first pass! This part is key. If you are deciding on a scent that will be yours, that people will remember you by, and that you will enjoy wearing, you want to get it right. Perfume and cologne are expensive – so you don’t want to waste your money. Also, scent changes over the course of the day. You will want to live with it for awhile before committing.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

When you have used these samples for awhile, gotten a few reactions from your partner, your friends, the dog, then, by all means go for it. Choose the one that makes you feel wonderful, beautiful, sexy or whatever you want it to make you feel when wearing it. Then go out into the world and leave your calling card wherever you go!

A Final Thought…

Keep in mind that this may be your scent signature now, but over time your tastes and lifestyle may change and you may want a change. Luckily, the process can be repeated as often as your little heart desires… and your life will be just a bit more lovely for having done it. Once you realize how wonderful smelling good can be, you might want to consider a signature scent for your home, as well. You can check out my blog: Simple Secrets To Creating a Signature Scent For Your Home.

As always… be safe out there, my friends… and have fun!

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