How do you share your love of perfume with others? Patricia draws upon her experience as a parent and looks for the appropriate perfumes for teenagers.
One of my first initiations into the adult world was having several bottles of my very own perfume lined up on my dresser top. The bottles containing Miss Dior, Estée Lauder Youth Dew, Chantilly, and Ambush were external representations of the changes in me that were gradually taking me from a game of tag in the playground to lipstick and prom dresses. Some of my perfumes were chosen by my mother (Miss Dior and Youth Dew) and some were chosen based on what my friends were currently wearing (Chantilly and Ambush).
For those of us who love perfume, a natural offshoot of our interest is the desire to share it with others: friends, family, and those younger than us, whether they are our siblings, children, nieces and nephews, or family friends. If you have a young person in your life that you would like to initiate into the world of perfume, here are a few suggestions.
- Consider his or her age. A preteen is often more amenable to your making the selection, or at least having an input in the decision-making process. An older teen would be more likely to have specific ideas about fragrance, often based on what his or her peer group is currently wearing.
- Make the shopping trip a fun and special occasion, perhaps with a shared lunch as part of the deal. Teens (and adults!) are in better humor and more open minded to new things when well fed.
- Do a lot of listening and limit your input to encouraging the teen to try a number of different scents. Fragrance likes and dislikes are determined over a very long time and only by sampling many different types of perfume.
- Never, ever make fun of or disapprove of the teen’s choice. Just think back on your own first fragrances and consider how far you’ve come in your taste level over the years.
- Set a price limit. There is no need for a teen to wear Chanel or niche fragrances unless he or she wants to save up to purchase them with their own money. Many very nice fragrances are available in smaller bottles, making them more affordable.
- Ultimately, put a smile on your face and buy what the teen wants, not what you think would be appropriate. Perfume is expensive, and it would be a waste of your hard-earned money to have a bottle of perfume sprayed once or twice and then sit unused. Better to go along with the choice of a fruity-floral celebrity scent that the teen will actually use and enjoy.
Now let’s go shopping! Since my children are no longer teens, I depended on the advice of the sales associates in the various stores I visited. However, unless you have a trusted sales associate with whom you have worked in the past, always take their advice with a bit of caution as training and experience vary widely from person to person.
My first visit was to a local discount perfumery, where the sales staff recommended two perfumes by Philosophy: Amazing Grace and Pure Grace. Both are pleasant well-made florals, with the green notes in Pure Grace making it somewhat more complex and interesting, to my nose at least. Two ounces of Pure Grace were available for $40, and Amazing Grace was discounted to $35.20. Pure Grace and Amazing Grace are also both available at Sephora in one-half ounce spray bottles, quite reasonably priced at $15 and $16 respectively.
SJP NYC by Sarah Jessica Parker ($43.19 for 1.7 oz.) was also suggested as one that was popular with teens, although I found the fruity sweet vanilla to be especially cloying. Better would be SJP’s Lovely (tested from my own collection), which really is a well-made modern floral in an appealing egg-shaped pink bottle. Lovely is available in quantities of 1.7 oz. at online discounters for under $25.
Next stop was Sephora, where we bypassed the products by Justin Bieber and his ilk and went straight to Marc Jacobs who, the sales associate assured me, was a designer line coveted by those in middle school. Unfortunately, the opening fruit punch notes of Honey smelled medicinal and headache inducing. Better was a sample of Daisy, which while fairly uninteresting was at least a pleasant green fruity-floral. The smallest “cute” bottles (decorated with bees or flowers on top) are 1 oz for Honey at $52 and 1.7 oz for Daisy at $75. The .33 oz Honey rollerball and the .24 oz Daisy rollerball are both priced at $22.
Most successful, in my opinion, was the trip to the Jo Malone counter at Bloomingdale’s. There, the sales associate recommended two fragrances as being the most popular with teens: Nectarine Blossom & Honey and English Pear and Freesia, in that order. As I’m not very fond of pear notes in fragrances, the English Pear and Freesia didn’t appeal at all and seemed like a run-of-the-mill fruity floral, although like all Jo Malone fragrances, it is well made.
Nectarine Blossom & Honey, however, surprised me with its realistic nectarine note, its sillage, and its tenacity. I happily wore it to the office the following day and could still smell it on my skin at day’s end. Though I won’t likely purchase a full bottle, it was pleasing and well crafted enough that I’m likely to use up the entire sample. Both fragrances are available in 1 oz spray bottles for $60.
Have fun shopping with your teen, and remember that your perfume purchase is really just the medium for cementing your relationship and creating memories that will last a lifetime.
If you have other suggestions of fragrances appropriate for teenagers, boys or girls, please share.
Painting: The Fable by Berthe Morisot, 1883. via Wiki-images, some rights reserved.
1 oz = 30ml; 1.7 oz = 50ml; .33 oz = 9.7ml; .24 oz = 7ml.