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.