Perfume. Everything about it sends a message; it’s name, the bottle it comes in, the scent itself, and what we feel, consciously or subconsciously, when we wear it!
As I was driving into my neighborhood after work, I turned the corner onto my street and was confronted with a skunk moseying down the center of the road. I braked. Hard. Not wanting to startle her…I idled as she continued her unhurried stroll a little further, then walked up my neighbors driveway, tail held high and gracefully waving as she went.
On a related note, I had an appointment with an oral surgeon (lucky me!) and I was waiting for the elevator to arrive to take me up to his office. It did, and after the doors had opened fully, a very well-dressed, and well-coiffed older woman stepped out, followed almost immediately by her perfume bomb! Obsession. She made a left and walked away from me, moving down the hall like a fully-laden battleship trailing a huge wake behind her. I hesitantly boarded the elevator and tried not to gag as I rode the 3 floors up.
According to National Geographic, “to employ his scent bomb, a skunk turns around and blasts his foe with a foul mist that can travel as far as ten feet.” I’d bet that woman’s mist had a broader range and will probably linger for the better part of the day. I wondered if she knew she had overdone it? I wondered why she’d wear such a heavy perfume in the middle of the day. I wondered why she’d wear a perfume that had been out of style for years. Or was it? I decided to find out. I went to TotalBeauty.com to find a list of the top ten perfumes for last year that their readers say they couldn’t live without.
- Donna Karan, Cashmere Mist Perfume
- Dior, Hypnotic Poison Eau de Parfum
- Michael Kors Eau de Parfum
- Estee Lauder, Beautiful Eau de Parfum Spray
- Mary Kay, Bella Eau de Parfum
- Escada, Moon Sparkle Eau de Toilette
- Benefit, Maybe Baby Eau de Toilette
- Sarah Jessica Parker, Lovely Eau de Parfum Spray
- Calvin Klein, Euphoria Eau de Parfum
- Avon, Far Away Eau de Parfum Spray
The thing these have in common is they are chic, modern, sexy scents. No Obsession on this list. (I must admit my extreme prejudice here…I have hated Obsession ever since I loved it, packed my new bottle carefully, then double-bagged it before putting it in my suitcase for a trip to NY. Back in the early 1990’s. Those JFK baggage handlers are something else…as I took my suitcase off of the carousel, I could smell my perfume! The woman next to me could smell my perfume, too. She looked at me, smiled and said, “Obsession?” The perfume was shattered, the baggies were punctured and my clothes nearest to the bottle were stained. Ruined. I have been unable to bear it ever since!)
I was surprised that Chanel No. 5 wasn’t on this list. According to Harpers Bazaar, the Best Perfume for Evening is Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere…a lighter, fresher version of the original. I like the sound of that!
As we age, our skin can/does react differently to perfumes – thus, an old favorite may not smell the same on us as it did years before. Add to that the fact that our sense of smell often diminishes so that we can’t tell whether we’ve overdone it, or not! Remember: Less is always more, with perfumes.
Our perfumes also age…most experts agree that perfumes generally last from 3-5 years. You can help yours last longer by storing them away from direct sunlight and heat, a dresser drawer was one suggestion. (But, but, but…my beautiful tray, my artfully arranged Asian bottle collection!) Don’t keep your perfumes in your bathroom either, because the temperature variations and extra humidity can lead to the fragrance’s deterioration. (Whew, glad I moved my tray of perfume out of the bathroom and onto my dresser where the bottles gleam and sparkle in the sunlight!) And last, keep them tightly closed to prevent evaporation which will causes changes in the fragrance’s balance. (Wait a minute, if the bottle is tightly closed and evaporation is being prevented, how is humidity going to be a problem? ?)
Back to “Battleship Woman.” Maybe her perfume was due to expire and she wanted to use it up before it went to waste? Still, too much, too heavy, and too dated a perfume only serves to make us seem old. Oh and speaking of old – you’ll thank me for being honest. Really, you will. There is nothing sexy about MOTHBALLS! Not only will they keep moths away, they will keep people away! There are healthy, non-toxic , and natural methods to keep the little bastards at bay. Always pack your clothes away clean. Moths go after body oils, and sweat on clothing. Use cedar blocks, or lavendar sachets. Buy storage boxes that seal tightly. If you did pack in mothballs last season, either dry-clean, or launder, or air out your clothes completely before wearing them in public. Please!
What were we talking about? Oh, yes…perfume. I thought I’d invented this trick, but I guess not. It’s a great way to apply perfume so you have a light overall scent, including your hair: Spray your perfume up in the air and walk through it. This is especially nice with all of the upcoming holiday parties and events where you will be in close quarters.
After all this, I think the sexiest direction to move is to wear less perfume, rather than more. Switch to a lighter version of your favorite fragrance. Or best yet…try something brand new-to-you. Youv’e changed over the years, why shouldn’t your perfume? Think of the fun you can have on this quest. Think of the compliments. Think of the samples!
So, I am excited to be going on a new perfume hunt. I will look for a daytime eau de parfum, or eau de toilette, that sends the message, “I’m young at heart, chic and capable.” And, I will find an evening parfum that announces, “I’m sexy, and I know it!” I don’t think that’s asking too much of a bottle of perfume. Do you?