Your Perfume Staples

Black locust blossoms that smell of jasmine, Indian incense and coconut water

What fragrances do you consider the staples in your perfume wardrobe? What do you put on when you can’t quite decide what to wear? 

Over the past week, my staples have been Jo Malone Orange Blossom Cologne, Chanel No 19 Poudré, and for the evening, by Kilian Sweet Redemption. No 19 is a perfume I wear often, and if I can’t decide what to wear, I reach for it, knowing that it will be perfect no matter what the occasion. I was surprised to discover how much I fell for No 19 Poudré after all. It’s sheer and crisp at first, but the drydown is tender and soft–the layers of musk, powdery iris and sheer jasmine. Sometimes just pretty is more than enough for me.

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend!

Photo by Bois de Jasmin



  • Olfacta: I have so many decants now that I try to use different ones every day, but when I go to the gym it’s nearly always O de Lancome or Une Jardin sur le Nil — I find them both to be stimulating and unlikely to offend perfume-o-phobes. May 19, 2012 at 8:26am Reply

    • Ari: Olfacta, on behalf of gym-goers everywhere, thank you for wearing those two very restrained scents to the gym! The gym bunnies at my college insist on Pink Sugar. :O May 19, 2012 at 9:28am Reply

    • Victoria: Ditto what Ari said! At my local gym, it seems to be that the women wear Coco Mademoiselle even to the sauna. I love your choices! Mine tend to be along similar lines–JM Orange Blossom, Goutal Neroli or something else very fresh and light. May 19, 2012 at 10:33am Reply

  • rosarita: Hi and happy weekend to all! Chanel 19 edt and a few Bulgari’s are my go to scents; original Omnia and Au The Blanc. They all have presence yet are inoffensive and feel like *me*. May 19, 2012 at 9:50am Reply

    • Victoria: Do you like No 19 EDP or do you prefer the EDT version? May 19, 2012 at 10:36am Reply

  • nikki: Good Morning!

    O de Lancome is definitely one of my favorite perfumes of all times. I have recently started selling off my perfume collection to the great joy of e-bayers everywhere! The good thing is that i realized which perfumes belong to me, be it that they remind me of certain times or people I love, so here is my list:

    O de Lancome (traveling in Marocco while young)
    Shalimar (my first grown up perfume given by my mother to me for my 15th birthday)
    Spellbound (those happy Chicago days)
    Jaipur (my friend Thomas)
    Paris (always Berlin)
    Une Fleur de Cassie (living the grown up life as a real woman)
    Tosca (my grandmother’s perfume)
    La Maison de la Vanille (because I need it)
    Reminiscence Patchouli (summer in Provence)

    Life has become much easier…when perfumes are connected to worthwhile memories.

    Enjoy the weekend! May 19, 2012 at 10:32am Reply

    • Rachel: I have always associated scents with occasions or places. When I got divorced, I threw away all of my perfumes, I couldn’t wear them anymore, nuff’ said there… Sadly, Paris was among them. But then I fell in love again with a new man, to whom I’m married today. Thanks to blogs and Victoria’s reviews, I fall in love with new perfumes all the time. LOL! May 19, 2012 at 1:54pm Reply

    • Victoria: I love how you link your favorite places and perfumes. I didn’t realize it at first, but I do it too. These days I don’t wear anything all that consistently, but for some reason NYC will always smell like Iris Silver Mist to me. May 19, 2012 at 6:55pm Reply

  • Elizabeth: My perfume staples are Annick Goutal Neroli, which I’m wearing today, Annick Goutal Heure Exquise, Eau de Guerlain (herbal and citrus notes remind me of my Greek grandmother’s kitchen), Parfums de Nicolai Sacrebleu (I keep saying that I have a low tolerance for sweet, yet I love Sacrebleu for its incense and jasmine), and Chanel no. 5 EdT, which I have worn since I was 18. I have gone through whole bottles of each excepting the Sacrebleu, which I use sparingly. May 19, 2012 at 11:16am Reply

    • Kristy: I used to wear Eau de Guerlain all the time. I went through two bottles of it back in college. That was some years ago. 😀 Maybe I should track down a bottle. Do you know if it was reformulated? May 19, 2012 at 12:33pm Reply

    • Victoria: I always think that Sacrebleu is too sweet for me, but then I put it on and it feels so wonderful. May 19, 2012 at 6:56pm Reply

  • Tatiana: Winter staples are Mitsouko and Portrait of A Lady.
    For spring my staples are No.19 EdT (only because I haven’t sniffed the vintage EdP), Le Temps d’Une Fete and I’ve been wearing Bottega Venetta quite often lately. May 19, 2012 at 12:08pm Reply

    • Victoria: I could easily swap your staples for mine! 🙂 May 19, 2012 at 6:56pm Reply

  • Kristy: My spring staples are Hermes Hiris, Frederic Malle Cologne Bigarade and Guerlain Eau de Guerlain. May 19, 2012 at 12:29pm Reply

    • Victoria: Eau de Guerlain is so easy to wear, and it’s so uplifting. It’s ike a sip of lemonade on a hot day. May 19, 2012 at 6:57pm Reply

  • Gnosmic: My “defaults” in the past have included Chanel Égoïste, Knize Ten, Hermès Bel Ami, and Comme des Garçons 2 Man. I don’t really have one at the moment! May 19, 2012 at 1:02pm Reply

    • Victoria: Great choices! I also go through periods when I don’t feel like wearing anything in particular on regular basis, but those periods don’t tend to last all that long. May 19, 2012 at 6:58pm Reply

  • Kathy: I agree with the 19 Poudre, reach for it often, the other two are Carner Barcelona D-600 and Mona di Orio’s Tubereuse. May 19, 2012 at 1:03pm Reply

    • Rachel: I’m also a fan of No 19 Poudre. I think it’s lovely. I’m about to go searching for my decant to wear it today.

      Have a nice weekend! May 19, 2012 at 1:18pm Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, it isn’t a masterpiece like No 19, but it’s such an elegant and lighthearted scent. May 19, 2012 at 6:59pm Reply

  • Rina: Happy Weekend Everyone!
    My weekday go to switches between TF Jasmin Rouge and By Killian Love and Tears (till I get Water Caligraphy) but on the weekend I reach for Alfred Sung SHI (anyone remember that one? I just found it!). Seems to lend itself to running errands vs. sitting at a desk. May 19, 2012 at 1:32pm Reply

    • Rachel: I remember Shi. It was years ago before I got seriously interested in perfume. I bought it on a whim but I ended up loving it. It felt good to take a chance with a new perfume and Shi made me feel so elegant. May 19, 2012 at 1:47pm Reply

    • Victoria: Once I get a bottle of Water Calligraphy, I know that I’ll be wearing it a lot. For now, I’m using up a decant (and already finished two samples.) At my rate, that’s an indication of a true love. 🙂 May 19, 2012 at 7:01pm Reply

  • unseencenser: That’s easy: Ava Luxe #23 or Indult Tihota, any time, anywhere (often before bed); Beth Terry’s Element of Surprise (when I just “want something”); and some version of Shalimar when I’ve been deprived of perfume for a while and want something to make me feel “perfumed”!

    Jo Malones often fill that Beth Terry need (though they don’t last long and aren’t quite as “spot on” for me). I’ll have to re-visit orange blossom, as I am writing about orange blossom myself today!

    I like the vintage 19 but the Poudre does not make me happy. Powder in general isn’t my fave, but I can easily see how it would appeal. May 19, 2012 at 1:36pm Reply

    • Victoria: Orange Blossom is a simple cologne, but if you like your florals to be crisp and non-sweet, it would be a nice discovery. May 19, 2012 at 7:01pm Reply

  • Undina: Chanel No 19 is my backup scent for any occasion. I like, own and wear EdT, parfum and the flancker (Poudre). I have a small decant of vintage EdP also but I do not like it as much as the rest of them. A small spray of No 19 EdT is always with me in my purse – just in case I find myself somewhere without access to perfumes.

    Jo Malone’s colognes (Orrange Blossom, French Lime Blossom and a couple from the Tea Party collection) and Annick Goutal’s perfumes (Petite Cherie and Heure Exquise) are also among those which I can wear almost always.

    Enjoy the weekend! May 19, 2012 at 4:06pm Reply

    • Victoria: I also have a small decant of Chanel No 19 in my purse as well as one of Bois de Violette. I realize that I always have something on hand, because I usually don’t wear perfume during the day at work. I put something on when I’m ready to leave the office/lab, so No 19 hits the spot. May 19, 2012 at 7:03pm Reply

  • Elizabeth: Chanel no. 19, and Chanel no. 5 … although I find myself wearing Chanel no. 5 Eau Premiere more than the original, especially at work. May 19, 2012 at 4:21pm Reply

    • Victoria: I love no. 5 Eau Premiere, which is the best update of a classic–so luminous and rich, but it wears like a delicate silk slip. May 19, 2012 at 7:04pm Reply

  • Sassa: If it’s a workday, I default to either Chanel No 22 or Bel Respiro. If it’s the weekend, I will put on DKNY Pure Verbena or Chanel Gardenia or, again, Bel Respiro. If it’s a night out and I can’t decide, it’s probably going to be Bulgari Black or Lipstick Rose. I would wear Bottega Veneta more often, but husband dear does not like it. May 19, 2012 at 5:38pm Reply

    • Victoria: Now I want to try DKNY Pure Verbena. I’ve smelled DKNY Pure, but not the verbena variation. May 19, 2012 at 7:06pm Reply

  • Keren: Lately I’ve been wearing MFK APOM pour Femme. It’s not toooo anything (sweet, spicy, powdery, etc). Just nice on me. I like it. At one time I only wore one fragrance all the time, no matter what. Boucheron pour Femme. Can’t do that anymore. There are so many nice fragrances to suit times and moods. Besides, I’m fickle May 19, 2012 at 5:53pm Reply

    • Victoria: Join the club! 🙂 I know that I speak for many of us here who can’t stick to wearing only one perfume. Besides, it’s more fun to pick a different perfume for different occasions and moods. May 19, 2012 at 7:08pm Reply

  • Raluca: In the past month or so my perfume staple has been D&G Light Blue. It’s great for the office. May 19, 2012 at 6:04pm Reply

    • Victoria: I love Light Blue, so crisp and effervescent. Somehow it doesn’t matter that I smell it often, it doesn’t get old. May 19, 2012 at 7:08pm Reply

  • Moochebo: Bois des Iles is a staple for me. Otherwise I find that an iris is usually easy to wear, so my staples are also Mythique & Bais de Soie. Heeley Cardinal is my staple easy to wear incense & I find it layers really nicely with the Bais de Soie. May 19, 2012 at 6:41pm Reply

    • Victoria: Layering an incense and a cool iris like Bas de Soie sounds great. I really want to try that. May 19, 2012 at 7:09pm Reply

  • Vanessa: My top staple may well be Prada L’Eau Ambree, which bizarrely I don’t own…That is a scent you can dress up or down, like a classic white shirt (which I am not entirely sure I own either. : – ) ) May 19, 2012 at 6:52pm Reply

    • Victoria: 🙂 That’s a nice fantasy though. Hey, I realize that I keep calling some perfumes the perfect little black dress fragrances, but in reality I wear little black dresses very rarely. May 19, 2012 at 7:05pm Reply

    • Julie: L’eau Ambre is a warm-weather staple for me too, along with Barbara Bui, 4711, and Attar Bazaar Egyptian Sandalwood. May 20, 2012 at 1:57pm Reply

  • Cristine: My number one, never-fail staple is also the perfume that turned me into a perfum-person: Dzing! It doesn’t matter what season, what occasion or what time of day or night, it would be the one that never fails me, the one that I would reach for if I didn’t know what to expect. I love it! May 19, 2012 at 7:33pm Reply

    • Victoria: Dzing! smells so much like old books to me, and that’s one of the most beautiful smells. May 20, 2012 at 10:27pm Reply

  • Ann C.: I love reading about everyone’s staples!

    My spring & summer staples include PdN Le Temps d’une Fete, Andy Tauer’s Zeta, AG Neroli, and L’A The Pour un Ete. I just bought a bottle of Phaedon Coton Egyptien, which I hope will become another favorite. May 19, 2012 at 7:38pm Reply

    • Victoria: I would love to hear what you think of Coton Egyptien. I tried a couple of Phaedon scents, but no love so far. May 20, 2012 at 10:28pm Reply

  • Christy C: OJ Ta’if and Frangipani, FM Lys Mediterannee, SA A la Nuit, Olympic Orchids Siam Proun May 19, 2012 at 10:38pm Reply

    • Victoria: I just love the name–Olympic Orchids! May 20, 2012 at 10:28pm Reply

  • Emily: Pleased to see that Chanel No. 19 is so popular! I wear the EDT a lot. Other staples are Hermes Eau des Merveilles, CdG Avignon, Eau de Rochas, ELdO Tilda Swinton Like This, Clinique Aromatics Elixir, and L’Artisan Dzongkha. They’re all interesting enough to feel worthwhile, but well-behaved enough to wear to the office.

    Of all of those, Avignon is probably the default when I can’t decide what to wear. May 20, 2012 at 12:59am Reply

    • Victoria: “interesting enough to feel worthwhile, but well-behaved enough to wear to the office”–that’s a perfect characterization for my favorite staple perfumes. 🙂 May 20, 2012 at 10:35pm Reply

  • JC Parodi: #1Gaiac10 by Le Labo, I wear it to work as a Maitre’d in a restaurant almost every night. It has presence , just the right amount, it’s also great in jeans, and even gym shorts. subtle, but sublime.
    #2 Sycomore by Chanel, cool, clean vetiver, always feels just right. It works best with white attire. Got my Mom hooked on it too.
    #3 Tom of Finland, ELO. Delicious alternative to citrus colognes, Tiare meets Iris in an overdose of aldehydes. May 20, 2012 at 3:34am Reply

    • Victoria: You’ve convinced me to try Gaiac 10 by Le Labo. I’ve skipped it, for some reason. May 20, 2012 at 10:37pm Reply

  • Eva S: My staples at the moment are Bandit, Mitsouko, Bottega Veneta and Voyage D’Hermes.
    I’m thinking of getting a full bottle of Azemour, it feels like a perfume I could always reach for! May 20, 2012 at 6:12am Reply

    • Victoria: You seem like a fan of mossy notes based on your favorite staples, so I think that Azemour will definitely hit the spot for you. May 20, 2012 at 10:42pm Reply

  • Rhiane: I can’t imagine my perfume wardrobe without Samsara. It’s one of the only perfumes I’ve bought more than once. In summer I find myself mostly reaching for Dior Escale a portifino and guerlain fig & iris. Oh and Jo Malone lime basil mandarin. May 20, 2012 at 6:35am Reply

    • Victoria: I love that you have Samsara as your staple. I recently discovered that comfortable I feel wearing it, and I’m experiencing a honeymoon period with it–falling in love with it anew. 🙂 May 20, 2012 at 10:43pm Reply

  • Joanna: In the winter, my go-to is Frederic Malle L’Eau d’Hiver. It’s comforting and warm and I love it to bits; I don’t have to worry about spraying too much, either, since it’s so transparent. I don’t really have any spring/summer staple scents, though. I need to remedy that immediately!

    P.S. This is my first post! Love the remodel, by the way. May 20, 2012 at 3:13pm Reply

    • Victoria: Joanna, welcome!

      If you like L’Eau d’Hiver, you might enjoy perfumes like Annick Goutal Eau du Ciel and Mandragore. They have a similar ethereal quality, with Mandragore being salty and Eau du Ciel sweet. May 20, 2012 at 10:54pm Reply

  • Turbovivi: Dune by Dior. I wore it a lot back in my college days and then I completely forgot about it. I recently purchased a bottle and started to wear it again. My husband who did not know me in my college days commented about how “overwhelming” it smells when I first put it on. After few days, he mentioned that it was just the initial “shock” but he actually like it now. May 20, 2012 at 8:46pm Reply

    • Victoria: Glad that he came around! Dune is stunning. May 20, 2012 at 10:55pm Reply

  • Mj: I own a lot of perfumes that I really love. Prada Infusion d’ Iris for most every day. Paloma Picasso for winter formal affairs, Un Jardin sur la Nil for hot summer. Love the new Baiser Vole for romantic encounters. When I am in a hurry, however, I am surprised to admit that I reach for my Tresor body lotion. (I also still have some perfumed powder.) It is soft enough for work, but lovely for going out. May 20, 2012 at 8:57pm Reply

    • Victoria: I envy you. Tresor body powder was great and smelled like a softer version of the perfume, but still very complex. May 20, 2012 at 11:00pm Reply

  • Erica: My staples that get worn regularly pretty much year-round are: Eau de Merveilles, Dzing!, Aki, Shaal Nur, Bandit, Chanel 22/5/19, Aromatics Elixir, and Ambre Fetiche. May 20, 2012 at 9:14pm Reply

  • Erica: I can’t believe I forgot Shalimar and Mitsouko. Mitsouko I’ve gone one bottle of, which is rare for me, and I’m better than halfway through the second. May 20, 2012 at 9:14pm Reply

    • Victoria: Sounds like a great and diverse array of staples. Your perfume wardrobe is certainly very interesting. May 20, 2012 at 11:03pm Reply

  • Kaori: My staples for this spring;
    L’Artisan /Traversee du Bosphore

    The adorable and very pricey clothes for kids has a subtle and delicate orange flower EDT. One of my recent finds and quite nice in hot weather.

    I also like to add Sweet Redemption 🙂

    Kaori May 20, 2012 at 9:54pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’ve never tried Bonpoint, but anything orange blossom attracts my attention. Thank you for an inspiration, Kaori. May 20, 2012 at 11:02pm Reply

  • Frank Masso: Chaos by Donna Karan. I always have at least one or two people ask what I am wearing. Some times I spray some Ava luxe Madeline on top of it to give it a little more of a cinnamon/brandy layer. It drives everyone wild! Lol. May 20, 2012 at 10:09pm Reply

    • Victoria: I got compliments on Chaos too. It’s very distinctive and compelling. I love your layering idea, which must add such a delicious twist. May 20, 2012 at 11:01pm Reply

  • Natalie: I go through phases with back-up scents. At the moment (and for a while), my two primary back-ups have been Bombay Bling and Traversee du Bosphore. Until I drained the last of my samples, Chloe L’Eau was getting a lot of play too. It’s been very hot where I live, and all three of those play nicely in the heat. May 21, 2012 at 4:03am Reply

    • Victoria: I never thought that Traversee du Bosphore would work well in the summer, but I wore it a lot last summer, and it bloomed beautifully. I need to revisit BB as well, as it seems like another perfume that would be a great summer option. May 22, 2012 at 1:04am Reply

  • Kathy: It depends on the weather and right now in a rainy cold time here in the mountains I’m grabbing Atelier’s Sous le Toit de Paris frequently. Such a lovely and long lasting violet it really effects me profoundly. April 12, 2013 at 2:40pm Reply

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