Having spent countless, pre-teen hours flipping through pages of Seventeen and Tiger Beat, Love's Baby Soft was the first fragrance I ever bought. I didn't consider how it smelled; I didn't think about what it cost. I wanted to be like the girls in the ads so Love's became my signature scent.
Though my decision-making process has improved, I admit that I love the idea of being recognized by a scent, something that lingers in the room – post Love's Baby Soft, my scent is now Givenchy's Ysatis. Sex symbol Marilyn Monroe confessed that she only wore Chanel No. 5 in bed and forever identified herself with that fragrance.
For Marilyn and me, it might have been easy, but many people vacillate on the concept – same fragrance every day or multiple scents for different moods and occasions? Let's consider the two schools of thought.
Why go with a signature scent:
- It's your favorite and you love it. It defines you and your personality.
- You never have to think about what scent to wear.
- It tends to have that powerful, room-lingering ability. People know and remember you by it.
On the flip side, why have multiple fragrances:
- You have options for different occasions. Some people prefer a lighter, fresher scent when running errands or cleaning house or don't want to use their best, most expensive perfume when doing laundry.
- You vary your fragrances just like your wardrobe. After all, do you wear the same outfit every day?
- Fragrances fit different moods -- how do you feel today?
In the debate between signature scents and using multiple fragrances, there is no one right answer. Here are some guidelines and advice for whichever camp you choose.
If you want an array of fragrances, here are some types to own:
- A favorite fragrance for good days or in fact, every day
- A casual, light scent for errands, housework, exercise
- A clean, fresh fragrance for work that complements a professional appearance and "finishes" your look
- Something special for that romantic or social occasion, bolder with that room-lingering ability
If you want a signature, you can be a traditionalist and go with one of the classics -- the revolutionary CK One for men and women, the timeless Chanel No. 5, Liz Taylor's White Diamonds, a quintessential floral, or Shalimar, a deep musky scent that fragrance expert Michael Edwards called "the perfect oriental." For newer scents, check out design houses like Marc Jacobs, Dolce & Gabbana or celebrity scents from Sarah Jessica Parker, Taylor Swift, J. Lo or Beyoncé.
When in doubt, remember that bored-looking salesperson behind the perfume counter at your favorite department store can actually be a help. Rather than asking where the restrooms are, get her professional opinion on what to buy, be it a signature scent or one to add to your fragrance wardrobe.
- Bourne, Leah. "Should You Wear Perfume to Work?" Forbes.com. February 7, 2012. (August 14, 2012). http://www.forbes.com/sites/leahbourne/2012/02/07/should-you-wear-perfume-to-work/
- Cohen, Lauren. "Find Your Best Fragrance." HarpersBazaar.com. October 18, 2009. (August 20, 2012). http://www.harpersbazaar.com/beauty/makeup-articles/how-to-pick-perfume-1109
- Fragrances of the World. "Top 100 questions." (August 13, 2012). http://www.fragrancesoftheworld.com/Top100Questions.aspx
- Harper's Bazaar.com. "The Best Perfumes for Work and Play." (August 21, 2012). http://www.harpersbazaar.com/beauty/fabulous-beauty/best-scents-lookbook#slide-1
- Matthews, Melissa. "Find the Right Fragrance for You." WomansDay.com. (August 14, 2012). http://www.womansday.com/style-beauty/beauty-tips-products/find-the-right-fragrance-for-you-101815
- Ministry of Fragrance. "Signature Fragrance versus a Fragrance Wardrobe." (August 13, 2012). http://www.ministryoffragrance.com/column.html
- Perfume.org. "How to find a perfume that is right fo you." (August 15, 2012). http://www.perfume.org/all-about-perfume/how-to-find-a-perfume-that-is-right-for-you