Today I woke thinking about my grandmother, and I woke thinking about the familiar scents I associate with her and her home. My nonna was very particular when it came to scents in the house – candles and incense irritated her – but that didn’t mean that her home didn’t have a smell to it; it smelled like warmth, and freshly cooked meals, and it smelled welcoming. And when I was young, she also wore a bit of scent, herself. It was like talcum powder and a light musk mixed together. I remember her gifting me perfumes as a teenager that smelled just like it, and at the time it wasn’t a particular scent I wanted to wear, but now I wish I had kept them. They were Nina Ricci ‘NINA‘ perfumes, this I recall. I don’t know if she wore the same scent herself, but those ones were very frequently gifted to me at Christmas time.
Scent is a powerful thing. Scent is associated as being the strongest trigger linked to memories. I can hold this to be true for both traumatic memories in my life and joyful ones. For example: the smell of Garnier hair products bring me back to having just cut my hair in the tenth grade, and being on a cruise ship with my parents. And certain scents bring me back to Parisian dreams, this is for sure! Warm pastry smells lingering on a cool breeze, the smell of lavender as you pass flower shops, the smell of frankincense that surrounds old cathedrals and churches… these are some of my favourite Paris smells. Scent and memory are truly the most remarkable thing.
And so, it reigns true that perfumes have the same powerful link to memories. Many people find one perfume and stick with it through all their lives. My mother wears Lancome’s Tresor and this will be a scent I never associate with anyone but my mom. She was very particular about this perfume choice; she wore nothing else. Even scents that resemble Tresor lead my thoughts back to my mother. I did this for a while, changing yearly between all the Escada Limited Edition lines which all have the same sugar-sweet scent, but it’s no longer a perfume that suits who I am or what I represent.
Perfumes are powerful in that way, as well. They are truly the ultimate accessory; a specific scent can truly add or take away from an outfit. They can make people say, “chic” or “weak” when they walk by you. Rather than an extra necklace or another bangle, choose that perfume carefully and layer to perfection! You wouldn’t add a soft fruity scent to a heavily layered wool look, and yet the opposite holds true for masculine musks. You can add masculine scents to a light, silken dress and you create a gorgeous juxtaposition to your entire look that is only felt once an individual gets close enough to catch your perfume. Perfume is a powerful thing!
I no longer stick to one scent, and have started a collection of perfumes, where I let my morning decision post-shower be based upon my outfit ideas for the day, and simply what “feels right” in the moment. I really consider it to be like adding another layer to my outfit, and I know my scents well enough to know what will work and what won’t. There is a certain emotion or thought that each perfume evokes, as well, and depending on what mood I want to convey with my dress, I pick a corresponding perfume for that mood.
And so, now that you that you understand the power of scent, let me introduce you to my perfume collection. Keep in mind that most of these are my high-quality perfumes, because it truly makes a difference if your perfume has had been extracted through a good process and is a quality scent or if it’s one watered down with chemicals and poor extraction processes. These poor methods are what help celebrities create their multitude of scents for quite cheap. The smells have no depth to them (no top, middle and bottom notes) and they don’t linger for much longer than an hour or two, when quality perfumes are meant to change over each hour and release a new smell to the person wearing it. This is one of the reason why places like Sephora, or high quality perfume companies like Dior and Chanel, give out mini perfume samples. You cannot truly understand what a perfume smells like until you have worn it for a day – and keep in mind that each perfume reacts differently to each person, as we all have our own smells and oils beneath our skin.
Starting from left to right, and bottom to top…
Illume Coconut Milk Mango – This rollerball was purchased from Indigo Books in their beauty section and, if you can’t tell, there isn’t even a drop left. This scent was light and easy to use as a quick pick-me-up when other scents started to fade. It layered nicely over any other floral or fruity scent, and the milk notes really create a warm mood to this perfume.
Outremer Ocean – This masculine scent truly brings a “beach side” mood to mind when worn. It’s got a musky bottom note with hints of sea salt over top, and it’s got a really mature feel to it.
Leitmotiv Neroli Toujours and Sunday Madeline – These were an Anthropologie fragrance set which unfortunately they do not carry anymore. The base note of Sunday Madeline paired with the top note of Neroli Toujours creates a perfect balance of musk and floral scents, reminiscent of a morning in Paris. These two paired together are a favourite of Mr. J who says they smell “sophisticated”.
Royal Apothic Kensington Garden – This scent was a bit of an impulse buy from Anthropologie because at it’s tiny, adorable size and at 40% off it’s sale price it only cost me $6! With a name like Kensington Garden, it’s a floral based scent but it has a spicy base note of what seems to be coriander that only seems to hit you a few hours after wearing it. I wear this scent paired as a base with other perfumes, and this company has some really amazing products in their collection.
Pure Home Couture Italian Blood Orange – This local Hamilton company gives me a feeling of stepping into Paris each time I walk through it’s doors. The company not only sells amazing wares but also makes so many of it’s own products with essential oils, and the quality of their oils shows in their products, like this perfume. No base note, not top note, no middle note, just a simplistic and powerful smell of blood orange that is outstanding (and gets numerous compliments) all on it’s own, or paired with another scent from my collection. One of my favourites of all my perfumes because it’s simplistic and beautiful!
Le Blanc Jasmin – This perfume is simplistic like the last but unfortunately has an overpowering scent of the alcohol used to water-down this scent which reveals itself after hours of wear. It was picked up in a small shop in Paris, and is another perfume I use specifically for layering, as it doesn’t last long on it’s own and can be quite strong. The prominent scent of jasmine is no less beautiful, though.
Guerlain Champs Elysees – Guerlain perfumes are known to be outstanding products in all of France, and having visited their store and dispensary on Champs Elysees in Paris, of course I would leave with the store’s signature scent. This particular perfume cannot be purchased anywhere but that store (or third-party sellers) and that’s what makes it all the more special to me. It’s a very feminine and classy scent, reminiscent of Lacome’s Tresor, but with more of a talcum powder base-note. I wear this scent when I’m feeling extra girly.
Maison Margiela Replica Flower Market – If you haven’t read about this company in my previous posts, Maison Margiela has created a line called Replica which, rather than invoking moods, is meant to invoke moments in time. This particular one is a Parisian flower market in 1996. I think it’s obvious why I was drawn to this scent, and it’s my favourite in all my perfume collection. It’s immensely feminine, and so fresh, smelling like flowers and the fresh spritz of water on stems. I can’t praise this scent enough. Their whole line is out-of-this-world (but rather pricey).
Crabtree and Evelyn Florentine Freesia Flower Water – This is a flower water and not a perfume, which means it doesn’t have the alcohol base that often strengthens scent and keeps it lingering longer. It’s recommended that flower water be used with scented or non-scented lotion to keep the smell long-lasting, and to put the smell on lower pulse points on the body (eg. back of knees) because scent rises as the hours pass. This one smells of a light freesia flower scent, and has a light musky base-note of amber that makes it less of a floral scent and more feminine and chic.
Crabtree and Evelyn Summer Hill – This was actually the first perfume I purchased which got me out of the crappy-perfume phase of my Escada days and into more sophisticated scents. That’s precisely what this smell is; it is reminiscent of dusk in late August. It’s got spicy grass base-notes and floral top notes with fruity orchard notes in the middle. It feels warm, it feels chic, and I really love this one (it’s nearly done!), not only for how it pairs with certain outfits, but because it got me interested in the amazing world of perfume.
Do you have any of these perfumes I have in my collection? Which scent sounds more appealing to you? What’s your favourite perfume and how does it make you feel? Please let me know in the comments below!
And don’t ever forget about the power of scent!