Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Perfume That's Just Not You


Some time ago we talked about perfumes that make you and me feel like our true selves. These are the fragrances that fit so well they are home in a bottle. Lately (thanks to several discussions with fragrance friends) I've been thinking about the opposite. Not perfumes that I dislike or don't appreciate- on the contrary, really- but perfumes that I think are good, enjoy smelling them and appreciate their quality, notes or composition; but even though they always smell nice, they just aren't me in the sense that they feel like I've put on a outfit that doesn't go with my personal style and sensibilities.

Interestingly, several such perfumes can be found in Chanel Les Exclusifs line. I often joke that Chanel Beige doesn't go with my hair. It's pretty, nicely done and always smells good. I'm just not that person, just as I don't wear little pink twin-sets. Another one just like that is 31 Rue Cambon. I'm sure there are many brunettes who wear and love Cambon, but to me it's a cool blonde fragrance.

Next we have Chloe (the original 1970s one). Long time readers know that it's my mother's signature perfume .  I keep a small amount of the extrait de parfum but I send her every good vintage Chloe bottle I come across. I can't wear it any more than I would try on her shoes that are half a size larger than mine.

L'Artisan Parfumeur had these gorgeous limited editions of Fleur d'Oranger, Iris Pallida  and Fleur de Narcissus. I adored all of them, sampled often but the end result was too delicate and too precious. They made me feel like I was trying on a Holly Hobbie costume.

Hermes Ambre Narguilè might be the most puzzling of all. I love ambers in all shapes and forms. I love good gourmands and Ambre Narguilè, a spicy honeyed amber with tobacco accents is supposed to be everything I love. It's delicious, but wearing it makes me think of frilly aprons and checkered tablecloths. Why none of the amber and vanilla perfumes lining my shelves gets this kind of reaction from me? Go figure. All I know is that I feel more like myself wearing anything from my husband's side of the perfume cabinet than this cozy Hermes perfume.

Do you have perfumes that are just not you, despite loving how they smell? Have you found a common thread to such fragrances?

Photo of a Holly Hobbie perfume bottle from an online auction.

25 comments:

  1. My mother wore Shalimar, Tabu and an Avon Fragrance that is lovely (I can't think of the name just now) and SHOULD suit me to a T, but I can't wear any of her perfumes. I just can't.
    Likewise with my daughter and her Anais Anais although I like smelling it.
    My husband likes 24 Fauborg and I have two huge bottles, but it's just not me. It smells okay to me, but it just feels like I am spending the day shouting.

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  2. Chanel Beige is one for me too. I like it fine and appreciate it, but it is so not me..

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  3. I have yet to like any Chanel perfume on me, from Les Exclusifs or otherwise. I always feel like they are "ok", but nothing more. I used to wear Cristalle as a teen, but that was the last time I liked any Chanel perfume.

    I have tried others that were sort of "ok", but I tend to forget about them since they failed to make an impact. It's usually the ones I absolutely fall in love with or the ones that turn so bad on me I have to run and scrub them off (stay back Creed perfumes!) that I remember most vividly.

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  4. So true, there are many that others get excited about that don't move meat all, that may be another thing entirely, or not. In the meantime I will say Tresor tho many love it gets on my last nerve, as well as Pleasures, White Linen, and other for some reason Lauder perfumes. Yes, some of those Chanels you have mentioned are more for the Deneuve type than for the likes of me. Most of the Carons - tho I love Poivre - the rest I like the concepts a lot but they do nothing for me. There are more of course but I'll spare you.

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  5. ITA with Odyssey; none of the Chanels resonate with me. Soliflores too - they may smell lovely, but I don't smell like "me".

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  6. I can't wear white florals. They smell wonderful, they don't go bad on my skin or anything, but they are just not me.

    I have to be careful with rose fragrances, too. The rose needs to be hidden in spice if I'm going to be able to wear it.

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  7. I second the Chanel exclusives, though 31RC is the only one that I CAN do. Also, in principle I should love Amouage Lyric, but it's just not me. All beautiful fragrances, but on someone else. When I got my head around it, it's fine really since there are so many fragrances I adore:-)

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  8. Pretty much anything Chanel or Guerlain. They don't go 'off' but they're not me. White florals and dry chypres generally aren't 'me' either although there are some happy exceptions. I get that they're beautiful, but it feels like wearing the wrong shoes or putting a song on repeat that might be well-crafted but does not resonate with me at all.

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  9. Oh, so many! There are so many perfumes that I like, appreciate and really should love but just don't get emotional about. One recent example is the newest Annick Goutal called Mon Parfum Cherie par Camille. I ought to be bathing and drinking that stuff, but it just doesn't work once I put it on.

    Also Diorissimo. I love LotV in real life, and I do love sniffing Diorissimo but once I put it on I feel silly.

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  10. Agree with everyone who feels that Chanel tends to be too blond - the first Chanel (other than vintage No. 5) that seemed like "me" was 28 La Pausa (it must be the vetiver).

    And I have to admit that at my age, a lot of perfumes seem too young or too sexy. If they're great, I often wear them at home or sleep in them anyway. There are many ways to enjoy perfume, from finding the ones that fit and flatter (as with clothing), to art appreciation, aromatherapy, time travel, and more. ~~knoznoz

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  11. I have a tough time with florals. I am trying to build a perfume wardrobe that consists of more than orientals and woody fragrances. I have picked up some beautiful floral fragrances but somehow I feel like I am not being true to myself. Fracas, Nuit de Tuberose, Datura Noir, and A la Nuit make me want to jump out of my own skin by hour four. The one exception has been EDLO Jasmin et Cigarette which I love. However, my Dad just told me that I smell like my Aunt Betty when I wear it (she is 102, drinks multiple martinis at lunch, and smokes a pack of cigarettes a day). I am not sure if I want to channel her or keep searching for the perfect floral.

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  12. I'd have to say nothing by Chanel or Shalimar. Chanel just doesn't work for me, I always felt stinky when putting on No 5 (and maybe I'm the only one though). Shalimar reminds me strongly of my mom so I leave it to her. :) And Anais Anais as well.

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  13. MitzyG, you're not the first person I've heard say the same thing about 24 Fauborg. I'm not entirely sure what it is about this fragrance that make so many uncomfortable. Personally, I love it but have to be in the mood and wear the proper shoes.

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  14. Tom, well, you and I were cut from the same fabric. I do remember you having issues with Musc Ravageur, despite appreciating the way it smells. I get it, though. I wear it because it's so feminine and powder puffy, which is not exactly the look you're going for.

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  15. Odyssey, I draw a line between the classic Les Exclusifs BdI and CdR and the rest of them. I have yet to meet a leather perfume that wasn't me...

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  16. Lucy, I love several Caron perfumes but you're right, they're meant for another type of woman. As are the Lauder ones (though opposite personas, I think).

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  17. Patty, soliflores puzzle me. What kind of woman wants to look and feel exactly like a flower?

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  18. Ms. M, I feel the same about most roses. They need to be darkened, spiced up, mixed with some sugar and preferably civet before I feel comfortable with them.

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  19. Asali, I adore Lyric but I always wonder if my wrap dresses, tall boots and vintage scarves are doing it justice.

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  20. Mim, it's interesting that you feel the same way about both Chanel Guerlain. For many it's either one or the other. Personally, I'm a Guerlain girl through and through. How do you feel about Caron and Patou?

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  21. Abigail, I can't wear Diorissimo. Just can't. I'm devoted to all the other Dior classic (in vintage form), but this one is just wrong.

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  22. Knoznoz, isn't it funny how so many find Chanel too blond, considering the old dame was not exactly an Upper East Side type?

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  23. Brookesfca, smoking aside, your Aunt Betty sounds like a great character. I love this kind of ladies.

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  24. Evelyn, I think many of us would rather not wear our mothers' perfumes. Growing up I often borrowed my dad's colognes (he's not the signature scent type), but would never ever touch my mom's Chloe. I never tested it on my skin until years after I left home.

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  25. I totally agree! I'm a Guerlain girl through and through. But cannot stomach most of the Chanel range, it just feels too "generic" and carbon copy for me. I do associate Chanel with blondes also. I am yet to smell a Caron fragrance. I am 33, professional with an old-fashioned bent. I wonder if the line would be my cup of tea or not.

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