Like it or not, looks are important in our society. How we present ourselves is something we are judged on regularly, often without being aware that it’s happening. Whilst I don’t consider myself to be an expert on looking good, I am fascinated by the beauty industry – not just the products it creates, but how it operates and sells to both women and men.
My own day to day routine is erratic at best: like many women, I’m sure, I tend to trowel on a greater degree of makeup on a special occasion, or if I’m feeling insecure or tired, to cover a multitude of sins (or attempt to). In terms of skincare, I’m even worse: I’m very much blessed with naturally clear skin, which I am eternally grateful for, but I still neglect it – I always take any makeup I have chosen to wear off at night, but I don’t have an official cleansing routine. I use moisturiser when I feel I need to, but apart from that, I’m pretty laissez faire.
I can confidently face the world – whether it’s in pursuit of a pint of milk or meeting friends for lunch – without a trace of makeup, but I feel naked if I’ve left the house without applying any fragrance. I adore perfume – the ritual of choosing it, the psychology of memories it creates, and the joy of wearing it.
I’m a self-confessed fragrance snob, and it can take a lot to win me over. I wear a handful of fragrances on a day to day basis, with even fewer in my armoury for special occasions. These are the scents which rule my life:
- Songes, by Annick Goutal – this fragrance holds a special place in my heart due to the experience of coming across it. I read about Les Senteurs years ago in a magazine, and set my heart on a trip there someday. I visited the shop on my birthday two years ago, and spent a memorable couple of hours trying on lots of fragrances; my arms were covered in different scents and I was in heaven. We went for lunch so that I could allow the perfumes to settle, and when I returned to the shop, I left with a bottle of Songes as a birthday gift. It’s a stunning scent, one I choose when I want to feel as if any ordinary day is my birthday, and I always receive compliments on it
- Vera Wang for Women – a fragrance which has endured. Wang’s first fragrance for women has been followed by many but, in my opinion, she got it spot on first time. I was 15 when this perfume launched, and that possibly played a part in why I fell for it so hard. It’s dreamy and romantic, just like Wang’s gowns. I wear it sparingly, because for a long time there were so many Wang follow-up fragrances around that I could not find this one. It still retails, which makes me think that I can’t be the only one to think that the original is the best
- Miss Charming, by Juliette Has A Gun – I love telling people that I’m wearing this when I’m asked. This is a truly artisan brand, and again the first in a collection (I’m definitely a love-at-first-fragrance girl!). In some ways, I feel like this brand was created for me: I adore the packaging, it’s easy to wear and it suits my personality. I’m currently in serious danger of over-wearing this fragrance, so have eased off my use of it lately. It no longer strikes me as it once did when I apply it, so Miss Charming and I are taking a break from each other, to ensure that our beautiful relationship endures
- Chance, by Chanel – another fragrance which now has a few little siblings, Chance grabbed me and didn’t let go. I was slightly put off this fragrance for a little while when my Mum also decided she liked it, but she has relinquished her grip on it. I find Chance easy to wear, and can enjoy it day after day
- Eternity Moment, by Calvin Klein – this perfume is also a stalwart of my collection. It has endured when others have fallen by the wayside, a failsafe. As with the others, it is easy to wear; where Miss Charming and Songes are distinctive, quite loud fragrances, I find Eternity Moment to be far more subtle
Those which have been relegated to the fragrance graveyard, but which once ruled my life:
- Addict, by Dior – one of my first forays into designer fragrance was Addict, and the only reason I no longer wear it is that I ran out, it was the wrong time of year to replace it directly and I fell for something else. Addict is one of the few fragrances which I have restricted to seasonal use. To me, it’s very wintry; heavy, smoky, woody and spicy, the epitome of a Christmas perfume. I’d love to smell it again, because I’m sure it’d take me back to a certain place
- Light Blue, by Dolce and Gabbana – I was surprised to fall out with this fragrance. Part of the Addict-era, I wore Light Blue frequently and adored it. I found a bottle last year (which is part of the problem) which had clearly gone off, and I waved the fragrance goodbye. Maybe one day I’ll love it again, but for now I’ve moved on
- Lovely, by Sarah Jessica Parker – celebrity fragrances are much-maligned, but SJP’s first effort was popular in the press. I enjoyed it too, and wore it regularly in my mid to late teens. As with Light Blue, something else stole my nose’s heart and I left Lovely behind
The interesting thing for me here is that each and every one of these perfumes is a floral variant! I was surprised by Addict, as I remember it being very musky and heady, but I am not shocked at the others being from one category – it’s clear I have a type! If you’re into floral fragrances, give at least one of these a try.
My perfumes lift my mood, make me feel better about myself and walk differently. I love how they change and develop as they cling to my clothes, bloom on my skin and give me a different waft throughout the day. It’s a brilliant feeling when the answer to the question, “What’s that lovely smell?” is, “Oh, it’s my perfume”. But one of the best moments is extracting a scarf from a long-forgotten hidey hole, draping it around my neck and having the aroma of one of my favourite scents transport me back to a happy memory.