Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ode to the Eau.....

I recently heard that fragrance is a woman's most important accessory; and I'm in full agreement!  Ever since I was a little girl, I've been captivated by fragrance.  I remember in elementary school feeling quite grown up wearing Love's Baby Soft!  Remember their tag line?  "Don't try hard.  Try SOFT!  Love's Baby Soft!"

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That little pink bottle just made me feel sooooo girly!  And they also had it in a roll on that you could carry in your purse!  How I LOVED carrying a purse (or a "pocketbook" as I called it back then)!











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As I started getting a bit older, I moved on to the more sophisticated fragrance, Babe!  That's right.  Nothing says you've reached womanhood more than a fragrance named "Babe".  Years later it would evoke memories of a lovable friendly swine, but in those training bra wearing years, I was feeling like quite the young (but oh so mature) woman!    Babe perfume and Candie's heels!  Now that's a lethal vixen combination!








And then.....cue music...."There's a fragrance that's here to stay and they call it....CHARLIE!"  How cool!  It was here to stay!  That means I can still get it!  Oh wait,  I guess it wasn't actually here to stay.  Oops!  But that jingle sure was!  I'm still playing that in my head!   Charlie was truly a little more sophisticated fragrance, with more spicy notes in it and less musky or floral tones.  If I were to catch a whiff of it today, I'd be transported back to High School dances, slow dancing to "You are the magnet, and I am the steeeeeeeel".    Remember those days?  Sitting on the bleachers  with your girlfriends because you went stag?  The lights dim and the DJ puts on a slow song and couples head to the floor.  Then you sat on those bleachers and waited for some nervous hormonally sweaty teenage boy to come over and ask you to dance all the while staring at his shoes!  Most likely Adidas!  I still recall that nonchalant "PICK ME!" face that we all perfected!

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As I moved on up through High School, I was never without a fragrance.  My grandmother worked at the Coty factory, so at the very least, there was always Coty Musk.  However, there was one scent that got stuck on a nose hair and to this day, it still evokes a distinct feeling.  There was a girl in my school that was a grade ahead of me, named  Jennifer Kite-Powell.  She was popular because of all the activities that she was in and she was consistently immaculately groomed, in the prettiest clothes and carrying the most current purses!    In my young mind, Jennifer was one of the "rich girls".  She wasn't the prettiest, slimmest or even the most popular; but she just seemed to carry herself the way I wanted to be.  It was as if she had "arrived" and I so wanted to "arrive" too!   I'll never forget, she wore Tea Rose perfume.   It smells almost EXACTLY like roses!  To me, that fragrance was the olfactory encapsulation of wealth and breeding.  To be able to wear Tea Rose would certainly mean that I had finally become a lady, just like Jennifer!  A few years after I graduated from High School and was working and had my own money,  I was at TJ Maxx and came across this cologne.  I purchased it for no more than $20 and then realized that it really wasn't the high dollar perfume I thought it was.  But that knowledge didn't steal any of the joy evoked by that fragrance!  I had finally ARRIVED!

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Our sense of smell is most closely related to memory.  To this day, whenever I smell Halston (I have some, by the way), I'm reminded of my mother circa 1984, the year I graduated high school and visited her in New Mexico.   Halston was her signature scent and she let me borrow it while I was there.  The nicest compliment that I got was from a young man whom I met that summer.  When he came close to me, he said, "You smell like your mother!  She always smells so good!"  There was no higher praise in my mind than to be compared to her!  





Through the years, I've had a number of  signature scents.  I've worn.....
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I've enjoyed wearing every one of these perfumes!  Having the scent left on my clothes.  Layering them with their body lotion counterparts.  Topping off my most perfect outfit with my most perfect scent.  

For the past couple of years, I've been wearing  Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel.  I guess you could call that my "signature scent".  

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It's kind of crazy expensive (over $100 for a decent sized bottle), so it has become my yearly birthday gift from my husband.  One bottle will last about a year and that's with pretty liberal use.  I was mentioning to my husband recently, that I just don't smell perfume on women that much any more.  It used to be such a common thing, and now?  Not so much.  I don't know if it goes back to the practice of dressing down so much more nowadays or the demise of really grooming ourselves every day.    

For me, fragrance is part of my "getting ready" ritual.  I shower, put together what I'm going to wear, do my hair and my make up and that final step is giving myself two shots at the neck and chest and one at the forearms of this perfectly wonderfully feminine perfume.  I even carry a small bottle of Ralph Lauren's Safari in my purse JUST IN CASE I somehow forget to finish off with a scent before I leave.  Going fragrance free is just. NOT. an option!  

What's your signature scent? 



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20 comments:

  1. My signature scents were always lemony e.g. Jean Nate. A head trauma put a stop to my scent wearing as I now get (chemical) odour induced migraines. I now have to be as fragrance free as possible. I miss those lemony scents.

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  2. Thanks for the olfactory trip down memory lane! I loved Love's Baby Soft, Jean Nate, and Skin Musk. Now I like "Spanish Amber" by Pacifica (which I buy at Whole Foods, actually). I'm a little shy about wearing too much fragrance because I know people with allergies who are really bothered by it. But I love to wear a little bit. It's really difficult to find one I like, though.

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  3. I use Anais Anais in winter and J´adore Dior au the cologne: jasmine and magnolia for summer.
    How lovely that Anais is amongst your favourite too.
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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  4. I use Miracle and so agree with you that perfume is (for me at least) and important part of getting ready for the day...I wear it every day, even when I'm sick. :) But I notice and am very affected by different scents, both good and bad...is there a good word for that?:) I have no idea if I make sense but so be it.:) Have a great day!

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  5. What an interesting personal history, told in scents. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. Thanks for introducing me to these lovely Perfumes I am a dummy when it comes to these things, mainly because I'm allergic to them, I can sneeze all day ..haha..

    mongs
    mythriftycloset.blogspot.com

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  7. This post was so wonderful - a history in fragrances! I remember Heaven Sent, Chantilly, Jean Nate and Chanel No. 5 (when I became a woman!). Now I don't have just one that I love, and sadly, a lot of scents give me headaches : < But I still enjoy a woodsy, earthy perfume in small doses when I can find one.

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  8. I love your blog Serene!! I love fragrance too! My fondest high school memories bring "Lauren" to mind. And, I too, loved Tea Rose!!

    Happy Holidays! Pam

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  9. I remember Charlie!!! I do not go out with a perfume and neither does my 86 year old mother...I think she still wears Estee Lauder Youth Dew! Currently I love a COACH fragrance my husband purchased at ULTA last year. Great Post, Serene!!

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  10. I love Angel on my daughter. It smells quite different on me, and I often wear it to bed. I don't usually wear perfume during the day, due to other people's allergies, but during mosquito season, I wear L'Occitane Verbena. I like it. Mosquitoes hate it!

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  11. Anonymous #1! Hi there! Thanks for stopping by...so sorry about your accident; I know that if I couldn't wear my perfume, I'd miss it too! I, also, love the clean aroma of lemon!

    Anne, you might try something from L'occitaine, they make some great great fragrances! Personally, I adore an amber scent; it's a bit spicy and I think I tend to lean more to that.

    Sacramento and Colleen, so glad to see I'm not alone is my enjoyment of fragrances!

    Shy, Mongs & Patty! Thanks so much! Patty, it seems that perfumes can have that affect on people quite often (the headaches)

    Anonymous Pam, Thanks so much for visiting and I'm glad you like my blog! YES! Lauren was a big one for me in high school!

    Pam, I've not smelled Coach, but I bet it smells wonderful on you!

    Beryl, funny how different fragrances translate differently depending on the wearer! I really like L'Occitaine, so I'll have to try the Verbena....I used to use their Vanilla and then their amber and then they discontinued BOTH! AARGH!!!!

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  12. What a great history of some of our classic scents! When I was in high school, I did not want to smell (!) like everyone else, so I chose to wear White Shoulders. I received compliments on it all the time. Wonder if it would still smell as nice on me. ( I have a feeling that as we age, fragrances smell differently than they did when we were young)
    Then I had a boyfriend who bought me Wind Song...and I wore that for him.
    Today, I find that a scented moisturizer is just fine. It is difficult to wear a strong perfume living in the heat of the south. A scented moisturizer gives the benefit of nourishing your skin and adding a light scent. If I do wear perfume, it is a bit of Chanel 5 Body Lotion and a bit of cologne.

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  13. What a sweet walk down memory lane!

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  14. What a memory you have for fragrance! I don't have a signature scent right now, but after reading your post, I'm tempted.

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  15. I like to switch around. One year I got an Estee Lauder sampler for Christmas and I enjoyed most of those. Sampler bottles are about the right size for me.

    I don't like to get perfume as a gift because that person will then proceed to gift me with the same perfume over and over, usually well past the time I'm wearing the fragrance.

    One of my favorites is "Beyond Paradise."

    My husband has an Aunt that is a huge "Tea Rose" wearer. She's a lovely woman and I associate the fragrance with her, but when your scent proceeds you into the room it's time to lighten up!

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  16. Oh my gosh, I love that you mentioned Tea Rose--I *still* wear that. I don't have a signature scent, I like too many different ones, I'd hate to have to choose.

    Jessica

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  17. This may sound odd but - don't pass up perfume at the thrift stores! "Perfumistas" (collectors, of which I am one) often case thrift stores for vintage versions of still-produced scents, since the vintage versions are 'pre-reformulation' and often contain a now-discontinued forumlation! If you see vintage bottles of anything interesting, snap them up. The idea that fragrances go bad in a few years is a myth - what causes fragrances to go bad is exposure to air (if cap is left ajar) or light (as in, if a bottle is left on a windowsill - NEVER do that!). Sometimes the 'top notes' will be a bit off - this is actually pretty rare - but even when that is the case, usually on drydown (about 20 minutes in) the scent evens out and is amazing.

    Look for: light to medium color (unless, like the Halston above, the frag starts out dark), spray bottles (unlikely to be turned, as tend to be more airtight), smaller sample bottles - some of these are not actually samples but are the small (.25 to .5 oz) 'extrait' or pure perfume bottles and I've gotten these for <$10 when the thrift did not know what they had!. Chanel is not one you find cheaply at thrifts too often, but watch for vintage Guerlain (Shalmar is lovely, as is Samsara, but if you hit Mitsouko? Or Sous Le Vent or Vol de Nuit? JACKPOT!). Avoid most Avon frags, they don't hold as well, and Coty is dodgy in my experience for the same reason.

    Good luck!

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    1. Norma! Thanks so much for these tips! I have more luck finding fragrances at yard sales. I think many thrift stores now throw out fragrance bottles unless they are new. These are great tips and now you have me wanting to go hunting!! :) Thanks for stopping by! Serene

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  18. Well. one must comment when they are referenced in this blog ... I am formerly Jennifer Kite-Powell and you know my great Aunt was the one who wore Tea Rose and used to buy it for me when I went to see her in the summers in Dallas, Texas. It is indeed a lovely tribute to perfumes of our youth. I am also very thankful for the kind memory you have of me in high school. Thank you.
    Jennifer Kite-Powell Hicks

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    1. Jennifer, I never even considered that you would stumble across my blog! LOL I'm so tickled that you are complimented by my memory of you! I was just in awe of your carriage, style and definitely that tea rose perfume!

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Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! ~Serene