QUICK SNIFF: The adult practice of playing perfume dress-up

There can be little doubt that, for the most part, mainstream perfume consumerism succeeds mainly because of its capacity to fan the flames of our desires to be other than we are. Whether we want to be sexier, more confident, successful, or mysterious, the designer perfume houses know how to push our buttons. For me, for example, most big white florals, some Chanels, and lots of Guerlains fall into the category of perfumes that can end up feeling far more like costumes than an extension of myself.

I’m curious: Are there any perfumes you are aware of choosing because of the temporary positive shift they make in your self-image? Are there particular fragrances that you consistently rely on as part of your adult “dress-up,” say, a “power” or “date” scent? Are there fragrances that you choose for “dress-up” reasons but that leave you uneasy because you they never feel really “fit” who you really feel yourself to be? Comment below if you’re so inclined.

One thought on “QUICK SNIFF: The adult practice of playing perfume dress-up

  1. it´s maybe less perfume dress-up than smell-for-the-occasion in my case. I always choose my perfumes according to the time of day, weekday (Nombril Immense or Archive 69 by Etat libre d´orange or Colonia and Retsina by Oliver & Co) or weekend, work or leisure time etc. certain pick-me-up scents or motivating, clean fragrances are reserved for going to work (Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Mandarine or Green Herbs), especially after a not so restful night. others are clearly and exclusively date night perfumes (Black Jade by House of Lubin, or Raving by Etro). (I had a colleague who just loved Vivenne Westwood’s Boudoir. i did too until she killed it for me by using it again and again during 9am study sessions. it just made me drowsy and nauseous. Boudoir is just not an early morning getting-work-done scent, at least not for my nose.) I also used to have winter and summer scents, but I discovered that in fact that distinction isn´t important. perfumes i am not sure about, because i got them as samples or randomly bought them, are for holidays and weekends. the time to experiment, be daring and go all crazy 😉


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