My spring perfume came yesterday!
FYI: I’m a perfume hound.
I’ve wanted Yves Saint Laurent’s Paris Jardins Romantiques for years, but this is the first time I’ve gotten around to ordering it. (Though I was heartbroken when what was left of my La Petite Robe Noire by Guerlain leaked out during my flight from England about a month ago, I also knew I’d have to replace it, and that maybe now would be my chance!)
For the last 5 years or so, I’ve worn different perfumes for the different seasons of the year. Some women choose to wear a different perfume for day and night, but I wanted a small way to celebrate and mark each seasonal change.
But perfume shopping can be an assault to the senses, and honestly? That girl behind the counter doesn’t always know which perfumes smell like violet, versus verbena, versus vanilla. I’ve had terrible suggestions from sales associates who were probably being told to promote the new scent, when it was far from what I was looking for.
Here’s how I choose my seasonal scents, and my current favourites for spring, summer, autumn, and winter.
A great way to find your perfume matches (and even fashion inspiration) for each season is to create seasonal inspiration boards on Pinterest. Load these boards up with anything that you associate with each season. For example, my board for spring would look like this:
But my board for autumn would be more like:
Brainstorm what you associate with each season. It’s common to group the seasons with stages of life. What images, foods, scents, styles, and colours do you associate with being a girl? A fully-mature woman? A lady aging gracefully? This might help you find the images for your boards.
It’s easy to begin picking out scents from the spreads of photos in my collages. My springtime smells likes roses, grass; powdery and fresh, innocent and clean. My autumn smells like the vanilla of old books, cinnamon, whiskey, tobacco, wood; decidedly musky and rich.
Once you have chosen a few scents, start exploring! Basenotes (their advanced search feature is perfection) and Fragrantica allow you to search for perfumes by notes. You can use both sites to read reviews and see what other perfume lovers say are the strongest and weakest notes of the scent. Since I knew the most important parts of my springtime scent were roses and grass, I was able to narrow my selections down and chose Paris Jardins Romantiques by YSL. Under “Main Notes According to Your Votes” (which I find more reliable than what the perfume designer provides), rose, violet, and grass are the notes that are voted the most noticeable. Users have even voted on best season for this perfume (yes, it’s spring) and how strong & long-lasting the scent is.
With these tools at your disposal, you can find your perfect scent for each season.
That being said, here are a few of my favourites!
Paris Jardins Romantiques by Yves Saint Laurent, of course! It’s perfectly fresh & full of roses. I believe this one is out of production now, so it’s a bit harder to come by – but it’s worth it. It’s a subtle, barely-there scent – like the aftereffects of spending the day in a freshly cut & pruned rose garden. (I’ve heard the entire Paris line by YSL is amazing.)
Being a born-and-raised beach girl, I have certain specific needs for summer. Coconut. Pineapple. Jasmine. Bonus points for exotic, lush elements, like fig or honey. Summer, to me, is dripping in sensuality, heat, and equatorial travel.
Magical Moon by Hanae Mori is a dream. It is sensual, elegant, forbidden, and luxurious. With rich, exotic notes like patchouli, vanilla, sugarcane, guava, sandalwood, coconut milk, and pineapple, it’s incredibly grown up & smells good enough to eat.
Bronze Goddess by Estee Lauder. I don’t think of Estee Lauder when I think of fine fragrances, but this one is really amazing. It’s a bit more on the citrus side, but the main note is coconut. Delicious, tropical coconut. Add in the richness of vanilla, amber, and myrrh, and a twist of the essential jasmine – and you’re golden. Er, bronze.
I like unisex & men’s cologne for autumn. Autumn is complex and dark; elevated and sophisticated. For me, the best way to nail down that feeling is spraying on a men’s cologne. It’s mysterious, intense, and intriguing.
Ambré by Baldessarini is perfect for capturing what I need in the autumn. When I first was fortunate enough inhale this one, I was instantly transported to a exquisite library of ancient books. If you have a bookworm’s soul, you’ll love this one. I think it’s the amber and vanilla mix that give it that old-book-smell, but it also has notes of leather and oak.
London for Men by Burberry smells like a mountain lodge: tobacco, cinnamon, leather, wood and moss. The bottle is elegant and perfect for autumn, and the scent is universally loved. I’ve always gotten compliments on this one.
Rochas Man by Rochas is a bit more light and unisex, if the first two sound too heady for you. It has a distinct coffee scent, offset with vanilla, raspberry, amber, sandalwood, cedar and patchouli. But mainly: you’re going to smell the coffee and vanilla. More subtle, like my spring choice, you’ll smell like you’ve been hanging in the espresso bar all day.
Winter, to me, is grown-up. It’s fur coats, and diamonds. It’s holiday cocktail parties, chenille robes, and marble floors. It’s champagne and Paris and the past and the future. That’s why there’s simply no substitution: it must be Chanel No. 5. There’s nothing I can say about the iconic fragrance that hasn’t been said: It’s arguable the world’s most successful and famous scent. Fresh and powdery, but with the richness of old money. It’s a mysterious and complex combination of common scents such as ylang-ylang and iris with the synthetic aldehydes that have made it so inimitable. Plus – Marilyn wore it.
Good enough for me.
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