Keep It Simple and Scents-able

64 Arts

Wearing perfume is a balancing act between making a statement and making a stench.

One girls ideal scent may make another sneeze, and the scent that smells fabulous spritzed in the air or on a test strip may smell like–well, let’s just say very unpleasant when it’s actually on.

So here’s a few guidelines for smelling like roses instead of road-kill:

  • Never wear a new scent out before a test-run at home. Scents react with our skin and body chemistry and change slightly from what’s in the bottle. Put it on and give it about an hour and then see what it smells like before committing it to your personal arsenal.
  • Scale up the scent based on the sort of occasion you’re wearing it for. Wearing only a spritz or a dab for work compared to all the pulse-points for a date, that sort of thing. And even then, figure that others will be wearing their own scents so the more people you’ll be around, the less scent you would want to wear to cut down on the olfactory cacophony.
  • Using multiple products (body wash, lotion and perfume) amplifies the amount of perfume you’ve put on and can get overpowering, fast.
  • We become accustomed to our own immediate area when it comes to scent. With that in mind, just because you can’t smell the perfume as strongly as you used to, doesn’t mean others are in the same predicament. If the bottle’s fairly new and hasn’t been stored in a sunny window or other heat-prone place, trust that it smells just fine and err on the side of caution.
  • Smoking and other factors can also dampen your sense of smell, making you prone to put on too much scent and overpower those around you.
  • There’s something to be said for having a signature scent, but don’t be afraid to change it when it becomes tired or your tastes change.

Now, two stories about perfume gone wrong and why it’s so important to be sensible about scents, both from the office.

We had a client come in, one day, who preferred natural products and essential oils. This day in particular she was sporting quite a lot of patchouli and, as the scent wafted it’s way back to my office (about, oh, 15 feet from the front counter and through my open doorway), I was overcome with a fit of coughing so bad I had to go back out to the alley for a breath of fresh air.

It’s quite unfortunate to have to excuse yourself from client interactions but sometimes the best thing is to just be upfront and try to stand upwind.

And it’s not only women that face these issues!

We used to rent space to another company in the our building and one of their salesmen was notorious for piling on the cologne in the morning. You could smell him coming 2 minutes before he walked in the door and 10 minutes after he left!

I once read that Jackie Kennedy spoke in a soft voice so that others would have to lean in to hear her, creating a feel of intimacy in their interactions. Perfume should be like that, too, I think. You lean in for an embrace and leave a subtle scent behind rather than shouting your presence to everyone in the room.


Do you have any tips or personal rules for wearing perfume?

10 thoughts on “Keep It Simple and Scents-able

  1. I LOVE this post and I can think of several people in my life that need to read it right now.
    I wear oils. (Not patchouli, but I do enjoy smelling like baked goods!) So far I’ve had good luck with them, but there was one that I purchased that was SO strong. I didn’t do the trial run as you suggested and I was completely overwhelmed with myself all day so I can only imagine how other people must have felt about it. Never again!

    1. Mmmm, baked goods! The only downside to smelling delicious (at least, for me) would be the cravings it would inspire. I tend towards citrusy scents–they help keep me motivated.

  2. Yes, I try not to rub the perfume in – just spritz it on. When you rub your wrists together or wipe it, it changes the scent.

    1. I suppose that makes sense when you think about it: fragrance molecules are pretty volatile/delicate–the less we abuse them the better!

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