Daytime vs Evening Fragrance

Dress

Do you classify fragrances as daytime vs evening? Do you save some perfumes to wear in the evening, while preferring others for the morning?

I love the scenes in old movies when the heroine, dressed in a floor sweeping gown, reaches for a perfume bottle to apply a couple of drops of perfume before stepping out with her dashing cavalier to conquer the world. In my fantasies, I am that bejeweled woman, wrapped in satin and silks, who nonchalantly reaches for a crystal flacon of her Shalimar parfum. Needless to say, the reality often differs from fantasy, and regretfully, silks and jewels rarely make an appearance in the usual course of my day, with jeans and lab coats taking precedence. However, while I may be lacking in diamond tiaras, I always make a point of saving time for applying parfum. I do not necessarily reserve Shalimar or other rich orientals solely for the evening, but there is something deliciously decadent about applying the parfum after a long day is over but while the night is still young.

Photograph from vintage.glam-2

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25 Comments

  • xenia: Interesting topic to think about. Not only because it asks how you separate your perfume bottles, but also because it asks to comment on a life style, or rather how far away, at least mine, is from that concept of dancing and flirting, and sparkling in the night. I do not complain, but when after a long working day I reach for perfume, which I almost always do, it is not to celebrate the night, but to forget about the day. Not to dance and be alert, but to calm down and accompany my reading. I never grew to love Shalimar, but I would wear Jicky. I would also wear anything sweet reminding me of a desert like L’heure Bleue or Sarrasins , because I like smelling them next to my cup of tea.
    But no silk or satin, just a working woman wrapped up in a blanket sitting in the armchair instead… October 26, 2011 at 4:59am Reply

  • rosarita: I work hard, and I’m middle aged, in the middle west. There is no night in my day. I adore old movies and am Jane Russell in my head, dripping diamonds and furs and cracking wise over cocktails. In reality, there is nowhere in my rural community that jeans aren’t appropriate and sweatpants are what I want at the end of my long work day. However, I also want a cloud of Shalimar surrounding me. My fantasy life is lived through perfume and that includes a night life that involves more than a neighborhood watch meeting. October 26, 2011 at 8:00am Reply

  • Suzanna: The concept of dressing up for evening (at least in America) is a fascinating one and is not just reserved for silks and sables. World War Two put an end to that and ushered in an era of new practicality; when was the last time we saw tea dresses in a department store?

    Remember when Must de Cartier was originally issued and there was the green and grassy “pour le jour” version and then the thickly ambered Oriental “pour le soir” counterpart? This flopped and I think the idea that one fragrance serves all hours from day to night became the norm, with perhaps the standard promoted by Estee Lauder for application lingering on in our mothers’ generation. Today, what do we have? Eight-seven ways to wear Angel.

    I save the heavy Orientals for evening. Not for going out, but for enjoying in private. Funny that Guerlain seems the standard bearer of the luxury evening scent–I will wear Samsara, Mitsouko, and Vol de Nuit parfum at night. En Avion is another, as is Tabac Blond.

    All hope would be lost if one could not occasionally step out in silks and satins, even if this means wearing one’s pajama top to the market for a bottle of Merlot. Fantasy is what one makes of it. October 26, 2011 at 8:09am Reply

  • pam: While I don’t believe that some scents are necessarily for day or evening, I do reserve certain ones for nighttime because they are comforting and calming. (I love Shalimar, but it wakes me up too much for evening use, unless I am going out that evening, which is rare these days.) October 26, 2011 at 9:02am Reply

  • nstephens@beachcroft.com: I love the concept of daytime versus evening time scents with the implication of a change of clothing in the evening for the more dramatic. My reality draws the line at office friendly scents versus non office friendly scents (and even then I cheat when I’m feeling rebellious). I like Francis Kurkdjian’s line as a riff on the theme. However my interpretation of the theme in that instance is to wear the Cologne pour le Soir during the day and amp it up in the evening with the Absolue! Nicola October 26, 2011 at 9:20am Reply

  • Tracy: good topic. I wear scents during the day that will not distract my students who are exercising. I try to wear something that says ‘light and friendly’, not too sweet or baby powder or soap-ish.

    A major decider is a scent that will not make my food and wine taste funny! A wonderful perfume can ruin the nose of lots of wines, and nuanced seasoning in foods can also missed. The time I feel I can wear anything I want at all, is right before bed 🙂

    There should be a line of scents that match wines! Know of any? October 26, 2011 at 9:40am Reply

  • kjanicki: I don’t really have evening vs day perfumes, but I definitely have big sillage monsters that I won’t wear to work but I like to spray on when I get home. I also have some “sweet dreams” perfumes that I like to wear to bed.

    Some of my perfumes seem more perfect for silk and pearls and high heels though, like The Party in Manhattan and Roja Dove Diaghilev. October 26, 2011 at 9:42am Reply

  • isabeau: Great topic! When I go out I love to wear Tabac Blond by Caron..it makes me feel really feminine! For daytime I do wear different fragrances then night time..yesterdag I did make a mistake though, I was wearing Acqua e Zucchero by Profumum to the office..my boss was wondering what that sweet smell was ;-] so from now on this will be an evening fragrance as well 🙂 October 26, 2011 at 10:23am Reply

  • maggiecat: In this economy, we don’t go out much, but we do scrimp and save to get money for season tickets to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Incredible music, but here’s the conundrum: yes, it’s a dressy evening event and I enjoy getting dressed up far more than my days as a college prof usually require. However, since I’ll be sitting in close quarters with people whom I don’t know, I’m hesitant to wear heavier scents that might cause issues. Therefore, on the few occasions where I do dress up, I tend to rely on either the remnants of whatever I applied during the day, or a light scent that I would normally consider “daytime.” Still, the chance to hear lovely music is worth giving up a cloud of Shalimar for (as long as I can still wear it during the day!) October 26, 2011 at 10:44am Reply

  • Xiaoxiongmao: I don’t associate perfumes so much with night and day as with moods: I usually choose what perfume to wear according to mood and to the clothes I have on. And I like all my perfumes so much that I cannot bear to relegate any of them to the ‘evening’ category. I don’t have much of a night or evening life, so this means they wouldn’t be worn as often as I feel they deserve. I don’t have any really feminine perfumes (they’re so ‘not me’), though I’ve been planning to buy some scent that would allow me to create a ‘vamp’ image (pearls, high heels, little black dress and all that; Une fleur de cassie by Frederic Malle could be such a scent). But the fact that I haven’t bought any so far probably means I don’t really want to create that image so much. And on my skin, no perfume would be a sillage monster. I don’t work in an office, so I can wear whatever perfume I fancy whenever I fancy. October 26, 2011 at 11:29am Reply

  • dleep: Interesting. I have never associated perfumes with day or night. I work in an office by myself and usually wear whatever suits my mood. I don’t own anything that I would not wear to work and I do own some sillage monsters. October 26, 2011 at 12:49pm Reply

  • sunsetsong: I don’t really separate daytime and evening perfumes. I mostly like sheer and day to night scents but have come to love some with a larger personality. A tiny drop can see me through most occasions without causing offence! However sometimes it is just the best to have a big spritz or several and I like to do this on Christmas Day , New Year and on my birthday, also when I am working outside in the garden, or going for a long walk outdoors! So that’s when I get out one of my big girls like Nahema, and go for it! October 26, 2011 at 1:09pm Reply

  • Musette: You know I am ROFL WITH you, right? You know my life mirrors yours. I moved here with 10 ballgowns. Seriously. Not one of them has seen the light of day in 5 years. Like you I am living the bulk of my nightlife in fleece and books. And like you, I smell goooooooood! Perfume is pretty. I wear my sexiest sex-bombs for bedtime – and mostly Just For Me, since El O is just as bone-tired as the rest of us!

    xo October 26, 2011 at 3:41pm Reply

  • Debbie: I don’t like to be constrained by convention of daytime and evening perfumes but there are some lighter perfumes that I instinctively go for in the morning but never would in the evening. My heavier perfumes – ambers, balsamics, orientals – all see the light of day but with a similarly light touch. I’m definitley more heavy-handed in the evening application! For a calm evening of solitude, I love scents with cedar…Feminite du Bois or Santal Blanc. October 26, 2011 at 4:02pm Reply

  • rosarita: Nahema, what a stunner. I just have a decant, and it’s reserved for times that I need a really big lift of gorgeous. October 26, 2011 at 4:29pm Reply

  • Nikki: Great topic that makes me quite nostalgic…Since moving to the desert from Chicago, my high heels and ballgowns have been exiled. However, I got so fed up with all the froufrou perfumes and oceanic perfumes and so on and, especially, with people dressing so badly in ripped shorts and unkept everything, that I decided to wear Vol de Nuit when going to the supermarket and wearing the Shalimar extrait going to the bank and so on. It gives me a lift and makes me feel good, and yes, sometimes I even wear pencil skirts and high heels only to remember how to walk in them. It is important to me to remember those beautiful customs and also to show respect for myself and others by being well kept and that includes the best perfume. So, I just make the occasion special, even if it is only going to the Farmer’s Market wearing Mitsouko…so what, I deserve it and others, too, who have the privilege to smell something so divine. October 26, 2011 at 4:50pm Reply

  • paeonia9: I am more concerned about etiquette than time of day. For instance, if I’m going to the symphony or ballet I choose fragrances with very minimal sillage or I only spritz the backs of my knees. This rule also stands for plane trips (if the ride is longer than 3 hours I don’t wear any). For wine tasting and fine dining I forgo fragrance altogether. Especially for wine tasting as the retro nasal passages really need to be free of distractions! I’m mostly off by myself at work, so I can wear what I want. However, if anyone notices my scent I make a note to tone it down a bit, even if it’s a compliment! October 26, 2011 at 6:13pm Reply

  • Lynn Morgan: What a wondrous post! Thanks, Victoria.

    I like to switch it up with something deeper and darker at night; just as I wear heavier scents in the autumn and winter than I do in spring and summer. I try not to wear anything too sexy for work, although being writer nobody really cares how I smell; they are just astonished that I’m not actively malodorous! I’ve got to admit, though, if I have a “big” in person interview or get to visit a TV or movie set, then I sprinkle on something pretty special- if you’re going to the “CSI: Miami” set to chat with Adam Rodrieguez, you want to smell pretty tasty, so I whipped out my treasured A la Nuit.

    For just an ordinary day at my desk, I still love my all-time favorite scent, Ombre Rose- soft, powdery and kind of dreamlike. I am loving Prada Infusion d’Iris especially this summer. A friend just gave me a sample of Andy Tauer’s Miriam” a scent he designed to accompany a film of the same name starring Anna Magnuson. Miriam is very nostalgic: it reminds me of an old-school scent like Arpege or My Sin or L’Interdit. It makes me feel like Holly Golightly, even when I am in sweats. I haven’t had a big night out in a depressingly long time, but I have a black velvet gown and black velvet pumps, just waiting for the right occasion and a touch of Loree Rodkin’s Gothic II in my cleavage. Until then, I like to wear Black Orchid, 24 Faubourg or Narcisco Rodrieguez for Her to bed to assure sweet dreams. October 26, 2011 at 7:18pm Reply

  • Kym: Off the top of my head, the only fragrance I own that I feel doesn’t work during the day is JOY. October 26, 2011 at 8:41pm Reply

  • Martyn: I’m a man, and find that ball gowns aren’t always appropriate evening wear 🙂 , but I do select a different fragrance for evening rather than daytime. In fact, daytime is a problem, because whatever I put on will have to compete with the morning’s shower gel and shampoo – and there’s nothing worse than being assaulted by a huge blast of fragrance whose sole purpose is to obliterate all competition. Lately I’ve taken to showering and shampooing with a fragrance-free baby shampoo and then using a splash of Bay Rum from Trumper’s (Curzon St, Mayfair). (I used to love Floris Bay Rum, but they stopped making it – why do all the best fragrances seem to fall prey to the marketeer’s axe?)

    If I’m out at night with my wife (who cannot abide Bay Rum), I try to give precedence to whatever fragrance she’s chosen – which is often a lily-of-the-valley by one or other house. But given free rein it’s either Terre (Hermès) or Linda Pilkington’s Zizan (Ormonde Jayne). October 27, 2011 at 6:30am Reply

  • Nikki: Martyn, there is a Bay Rum made in the Caribbean island of Dominica, Bello’s Bay Rum which is absolutely great…J.Peterman used to sell it. October 27, 2011 at 10:02am Reply

  • Emma: The daytime vs evening classification doesn’t occur to me. It’s all the same for me. I usually reapply the same perfume I wore during the day at night if I wear a perfume like Lutens Encens et Lavande. If I wear a perfume like Jean Patou 1000, I’ll wear vintage EDT during the day and will dab the Parfum, vintage as well, at night for a more profound experience. October 27, 2011 at 1:46pm Reply

  • Martyn: Thanks, Nikki. I’ll look for it! October 27, 2011 at 2:01pm Reply

  • Yulya: Nikki says: “So, I just make the occasion special, even if it is only going to the Farmer’s Market wearing Mitsouko…so what, I deserve it and others, too, who have the privilege to smell something so divine.”

    Nikki, well said! I am with you on this. I would even wair my favourite Narcisse Noir whenever and wherever I like! November 1, 2011 at 3:27pm Reply

  • Nati: I dont divide in day and night or winter and summer but solely by mood and emotional needs… October 27, 2014 at 8:20pm Reply

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