Perfume That Demands Glamour

What fragrances, if any, feel so glamorous to you that you feel like you have to dress up for them?

At one point I would approach venerable classics–Chanel No 5, Christian Dior Miss Dior, or Guerlain Mitsouko–with some trepidation. I often felt that their legendary status and impressive history necessitated at least some lipstick on my part. I saved my Mitsouko for special occasions. The only problem was that the glamorous occasions were–and still are–few and far between, and my Mitsouko languished, ignored and unworn. That’s why I decided that I will wear all of my grand parfums whenever the mood strikes. These days I even don Mitsouko or Amouage Gold to clean my apartment, and they make this unexciting task seem more interesting.

dressing up

On many days, the most glamorous part about me is my perfume, and as much as I respect them, I have a more relaxed attitude to classics. But there are some perfumes that feel too glamorous and imposing. Jean Patou 1000 is one example. It’s a gorgeous, lush composition that would be perfect to wear to a ball at the Winter Palace, but I don’t enjoy its grand and elaborate character. Or perhaps, I need to wait till I get that Winter Palace invitation.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin



  • Sandra: 31 rue cambon by Chanel makes me want to be glamorous , and also, not sure if this makes sense, but brings out confidence and allure April 12, 2013 at 8:01am Reply

    • Victoria: It definitely makes sense! Many of my favorite perfumes give me that feeling. April 12, 2013 at 10:31am Reply

  • Martha: Like you, I have VERY few opportunities for stepping out in high style. I just wear my most glamorous fragrance when I feel like it. I suppose that my little bottle of vintage Vol De Nuit extrait is the most precious perfume I own. April 12, 2013 at 8:04am Reply

    • Victoria: That’s very precious and rare! The good news is that if you keep it away from light and heat, it will last for a long time. Vintage Guerlains are like few other fragrances in this respect. April 12, 2013 at 10:33am Reply

  • Barbara: Chanel No 22 is too glamorous for me. I try and like it but it wears me, not the other way around. I swapped it away and kept a sample, like you’ve suggested to me. April 12, 2013 at 8:09am Reply

    • Samantha: Yeah, Chanel is too fancy for me, but maybe I’m too influenced by the marketing. April 12, 2013 at 9:07am Reply

    • Victoria: Not worth keeping a whole bottle then, I agree. But it’s good that you’ve saved a sample. Our tastes change with time, so you might still end up loving No 22. April 12, 2013 at 10:34am Reply

  • Beth: I’d have to say Lyric makes me feel this way. It’s just so darn pretty. But I’m wearing my Nahema today with jeans while working in the warehouse. I think the difference for me is that Lyric has this crystalline structure holding up it’s prettiness, like a rose in a cut crystal vase while Nahema feels more like a rose growing in the dirt to me. Logically I know that’s not what the notes say, but it’s how I feel about each scent. Odd. April 12, 2013 at 8:29am Reply

    • Victoria: Lyric seems prim and polished to me for some reason. I completely see what you mean vis a vis this rose and Nahema! April 12, 2013 at 10:34am Reply

  • Jillie: That photograph is just so beautiful. It almost looks like the pretty adornments that an Edwardian lady is about to dress herself with before going to a ball – and that fits your words exactly!

    Like you, I’ve decided not to save anything for “best” or special occasions any more, as I have lost some precious perfumes that have turned because I did just that. So now I go shopping wafting gorgeous discontinued scents, and do the housework in Chamade or Fleurissimo. Maybe a waste, but I am enjoying them, and better that than find them ruined. And they make me feel good. April 12, 2013 at 8:46am Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, that’s not at all a waste! The main (and probably, the only) point of perfume is pleasure, and if those fragrances make you feel good, then they’ve served their purpose.

      Thank you! I bought that feathered headband on a whim, and I haven’t yet worn it outside the house. I do love the color though, and once it warms up, I might take out for a stroll. April 12, 2013 at 10:35am Reply

  • Austenfan: What a timely post. I am wearing Gold today, on a very unglamorous rainy day. Taking the dog for a walk, doing some shopping and doing some washing are not perhaps the activities that Gold was intended to accompany, but I just love it’s soothing presence.
    I find my classic Guerlains quite glamorous, and my Divine, and maybe Thérèse. April 12, 2013 at 8:51am Reply

    • Victoria: Gold is often described as fit for meeting the Queen, but it feels surprisingly comforting to me. The mellow but rich drydown is especially beautiful.

      Our cherry trees are starting to burst into bloom, so I plan to have my own cherry blossom viewing ceremony when I have some time this weekend. 🙂 Enjoy this rainy day! April 12, 2013 at 10:42am Reply

      • Austenfan: Well my daffodils are certainly enjoying the rain and the lack of this polar storm.
        I’m just enjoying the fact that I can actually smell something when I walk outdoors. The air had become so dry and cold that it was difficult to detect any smell in nature.

        Dogs actually have the same problem. They track best in slightly humid circumstances with a little, but not a very strong wind. April 12, 2013 at 10:58am Reply

        • Victoria: I do too. It’s a pleasant change. I also enjoy that I can finally open the windows and let some fresh air in.

          We used a small humidifier in the bedroom, because it was uncomfortably dry. This way it’s much more bearable. April 12, 2013 at 2:19pm Reply

      • Joan: Another vote for Amouage Gold and Mitsouko. They’re just so….perfect.

        Divine is another glamorous perfume, I think, but maybe a different kind of glamour. Same goes with Poison. April 14, 2013 at 12:04am Reply

        • Victoria: Divine is also in that glamorous category for me. But it’s not too much, so it actually makes me feel dressed up. April 14, 2013 at 9:03am Reply

  • Nicola: Oh I relate to this topic, probably like a good few other readers will! For me I think it boils down to the fragrance families I feel most comfortable in. Chypres, especially fruity or leathery, suit me and my skin and so I wear them with whatever outfit I happen to put on that day be it office wear or casual jeans at the weekend wear. Woody orientals and some greens and citruses also work well. However I am more aware of myself when wearing florals, Carnal Flower being a case in point (it is so beautiful yet I’m not sure it’s really “me”). So I suppose the answer to your question is I dress up for florals! April 12, 2013 at 8:52am Reply

    • Victoria: White florals do have an imposing, bold presence, and with some sillage bombs it’s hard not to feel as if they announce your presence before you enter the room. April 12, 2013 at 10:43am Reply

  • Samantha: Great topic! I still struggle with florals like jasmine or tuberose. I love the smell of real tuberose, but in perfume its too much for me. Wonder why. April 12, 2013 at 9:06am Reply

    • Victoria: Of course, it may mean that you simply don’t like creamy white florals. Or maybe, you’ve tried fragrances that were too rich for your tastes. Have you tried Diptyque Do Son? It’s a tuberose, but it’s made very sheer and pastel. April 12, 2013 at 10:44am Reply

  • Zazie: I often use grand, classic perfumes the other way around: to upgrade a low key attire and a tired face and make me feel chic and elegant: I don’t dress up for them, they dress me up!

    On the other hand, there are perfumes I never wear in certain low-key sitations: but the reason lies more in the perfume’s annoying sillage that in its preciousness. Some fragrances that I otherwise wear and enjoy feel overpowering to me if I’m at home, in the car or in bed. Like if my nose has a different acceptance level depending on the situation/environment: carnal flower is a pleasure to wear outside (or even at the office, just one small spray), but I’ve never reached for it at home: instant asphyxiation. Fracas, on the other hand, gets a lot of home-wear, go figure! April 12, 2013 at 9:07am Reply

    • Geneviève: I think like Zazie. I don’t dress up for my perfumes nowaday, they dress up for me!!! I could wear Mitsouko or L’Heure Bleue everywhere : in a class at university, at work, cleaning, babysitting etc. I feel elegant wearing them even if I don’t wear anything elegant. It’s just a matter of perception.

      There is only one perfume that I honestly never feel it’s right to wear it under these conditions, it’s : Fleur de Rocaille of Caron. That’s why I’ll never buy a full bottle. Maybe it’s just because it’s not meant for me. April 12, 2013 at 9:45am Reply

      • behemot: I am with Zazie and Genevieve. There are perfumes I can wear everywhere, all the time, and with everything. They include some Guerlains and Chanels.
        Great topic, by the way. Most of us have multiple bottles of fragrance and just a few dresses, not all of them ball gowns 🙂
        To me, perfume is the modern way to dress up or feel good. April 12, 2013 at 1:03pm Reply

        • Victoria: I very much like how you put it! A modern way to dress or feel good is exactly it. 🙂 April 12, 2013 at 2:24pm Reply

      • Victoria: If you’re not drawn to it for whatever reason, it’s not a worthwhile acquisition. My theory is that if I can’t find an occasion for a perfume (or even a piece of clothing), then it’s just not right for me. April 12, 2013 at 2:23pm Reply

        • behemot: Yes, it is absolutely true, but hard to admit sometimes.. April 12, 2013 at 2:25pm Reply

          • Victoria: I know! Especially when I look at those mid-length skirts that look so good on the 6″ tall models, but not at all on me. 🙂 April 12, 2013 at 2:28pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m also careful not to put too much, especially if I know that I’m going to be around people (and obviously, if it’s not work related–in my life of work, it’s hard to overapply perfume!)

      I’m with you on using perfume to up my glamour level. 🙂 April 12, 2013 at 2:22pm Reply

  • Leah: I was just having this conversation with a friend of mine, but it was in the context of our mutual love of silk scarves – and our mutual fear of wearing the ones we own. I read a quote last year along the lines of “what is the point of having nice things if you don’t use them” and this has helped tremendously, though getting dressed for work is the closest I come to glamourous. Like you, perfume gives me a special feeling, no matter what the situation. I love the thought of you cleaning the house wearing Mitsouko 🙂 Guerlain and Chanel oddly pose no problem for me, but Fracas and Narcisse Noir were the ones I had trouble wearing in more casual settings – but thankfully I have gotten over that now 🙂 April 12, 2013 at 9:46am Reply

    • Victoria: I still remember how my great grandmother would save chocolates till they went stale, and instead of enjoying them while they were delicious and fresh, we ate them for “special occasions” scraping off the while bloom. 🙂 Perfume doesn’t last forever either. April 12, 2013 at 2:26pm Reply

  • Allison: For me, Baghari demands to be worn only at evening soirées! April 12, 2013 at 9:52am Reply

    • Victoria: Baghari is a bombshell for sure! April 12, 2013 at 2:27pm Reply

  • johanob: I’ve got a couple of perfumes that are my GO-TO-FOR-EXTRA-SPECIAL-OCCASIONS wardrobe.Chanel Sycomore and Coromandel are top of the list,Sycomore for daytime and Coromandel for evenings out(I makes sense to me…haha)Shalimar asks me to at least wear a dress shirt with jeans,or shine my shoes and wear a bow-tie with shorts….AND THEN:my fail-safe Party till the sun comes up Dress-up perfume,and probably my favorite perfume of ALL times:Etat libre D’Orange Bendelirious.I can party alone,at home,in my underwear when I wear this,also!!Haha!But it’s a keeper.Dressed up;or dressed down.:-) April 12, 2013 at 9:54am Reply

    • ac: Second the Coromandel for evenings out! I too wonder if I’m being influenced by marketing, but I find a lot of the Chanels feel too polished and sophisticated for me to wear around the house in my PJs. The strange exception, for me, is Chanel No.5 Elixir Sensual. April 12, 2013 at 11:01am Reply

      • Figuier: It’s so funny how perceptions vary; for me Coromandel and Sycomore, while undeniably polished, read as ‘easy, luxurious elegance’ – not ‘grande soiree’ fare. I wear both at home, out in the countryside or about town, with family etc. Since I have the massive 200ml vat of Coromandel I also tend to spray it on sheets & knitwear when I’m in need of some scented cosiness. For me, perfumes that ask you to dress up are those with aldehydes – so No 22, No 5, and No 5 Eau Premiere seem extremely dressy to me. And Enlevement au Serail and Promesse a L’Aube are opera-style perfumes. Unsurprisingly, I own none of these! April 12, 2013 at 11:10am Reply

    • Victoria: I just realized that I haven’t tried Bendelirious, which I must do as soon as I get to the store that carries the line. Thanks for a tip! April 12, 2013 at 2:29pm Reply

  • Elena: Like Austenfan, I am wearing Gold today. It is freezing, windy, and rainy today in the northeast and I needed something extra! I am sure I was the best smelling person buying Ziplocs at Target. 🙂 I do not dress up in the slightest for my perfumes, though I am 9 mos. pregnant right now and don’t really have the choice. I once wore 1000 before going to play tennis, and it was confusing; I kept catching whiffs and wondering who it was that smelled so good, but couldn’t associate it with myself in that situation. April 12, 2013 at 9:58am Reply

    • Austenfan: Well I was the best smelling shopper in the Albert Heijn!
      Isn’t Gold glorious? April 12, 2013 at 11:28am Reply

      • Elena: It really is. Just what I needed in this rotten weather. I think I need to start saving up for a full bottle. April 12, 2013 at 3:17pm Reply

      • Annie: Have you tried Gold solid?
        So mellow and elegant April 12, 2013 at 8:45pm Reply

    • Victoria: I was mentioning this to solanace when she was expecting her baby, but I read an article that hypothesized that babies acquire preferences for foods their mothers ate during the pregnancies and conjectured that the same might hold true for scents. Imagine what a rich olfactory landscape you’re preparing for your little one. 🙂 April 12, 2013 at 2:31pm Reply

      • Elena: A child with a taste for Amouage is dangerous, I think! My 3.5 year old daughter loves playing with my perfumes, and as I’m cooking I have her smell the fresh ginger or nutmeg or whatever it is I’m using. I agree with you and Austenfan that Gold is glorious but at the same time soothing and comforting. About as good as it gets, for me. April 12, 2013 at 3:14pm Reply

        • Victoria: 🙂 That’s some expensive taste! April 13, 2013 at 9:25am Reply

  • Lynne Marie: For me the perfume that demands glamour is Heure Exquise – so heady, so romantic. I collect ballgowns so even if I am at home, if I’m wearing Heure Exquise I’m dressed to the nines! My husband just shakes his head in bewilderment… April 12, 2013 at 10:00am Reply

    • Victoria: I have a friend who collects tiaras (costume jewelry), and she likes to wears hers at home. I admire the two of you for dressing up when you’re alone. I admit that I get very lazy and don’t bother to do more than apply my sunscreen. April 12, 2013 at 2:33pm Reply

  • Heather: I’m still new at this and easily fall into the trap of thinking that my best bottles have to be saved for special occasions. I’ll try not to do that, lest they turn in the bottle without being worn much. But I do enjoy “dressing to” a particular perfume. Today, for instance, it’s a pretty spring day and I’ll wear either Number 19 or one of my jasmines, and those scents seem to cry out for florals and pastels. Vanillas seem to want soft fabrics and body-conscious but comfortable and smooth contours, etc. how do the rest of you coordinate clothes with fragrances? April 12, 2013 at 10:02am Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, please don’t save them for special occasions and enjoy them freely. A little of the perfume goes a long way, and it takes a long time to go through the bottle. If you have more than a couple of bottles, then even more so. There is nothing worse than perfume that has started to turn.

      A couple of weeks ago Suzanna wrote this article on how she matches perfume and clothes. You might enjoy it: April 12, 2013 at 2:35pm Reply

  • ralu: I’m the same way Victoria, some days perfume is the most glamorous part of my outfit. Today I’m wearing Carnal Flower to fight the dreary weather but also because I’m going out later. Carnal Flower and Coromandel are my most glamorous perfumes. Rush is also kind of glamorous.I think perfume should be glamorous. April 12, 2013 at 10:03am Reply

    • Victoria: Carnal Flower is also one of my favorite rainy day perfumes. It makes me feel more festive somehow. April 12, 2013 at 2:36pm Reply

  • Natalia: No, I do not have any “special occasions perfumes” in my fragrance wardrobe. For one, I, too, don’t have enough “special occasions” in my life. Nor do I care for any kind of formal/evening attire. I would probably wear my beloved jeans and a hoody to an oscar ceremony or a winter palace ball if you will (if they’d actually let me in in this :)).

    So the only way for me is to choose according to my current mood which I always do.

    They are just scents with no rules as to how, when, with what to use them. The rest is in my mind and in my mind only.

    As for the perception of others, I’ve noticed that usually other people are so olfactory blind that they hardly ever notice, let alone recognize any perfume. The only reaction I get from others would be “oh, you smell good”. Never ever have I experienced something like: “Wow! You are weraing jeans and L’Heure Bleue, how dare you?!?!”

    They just don’t care. April 12, 2013 at 10:16am Reply

    • Victoria: You made me laugh out loud, Natalia! I agree, most people wouldn’t find any incongruities. April 12, 2013 at 2:37pm Reply

  • Susan: Although I usually choose my perfume each day depending on my mood, and the weather, it is one of my pleasures to select a fragrance for special events. I recently attended a ballet evening where Nijinksky was performed, and I choose L`Heure Bleue, as it is a moody and mysterious composition – I thought it fit the playbill perfectly. These days, many opera houses or concert halls ban fragrances, which I find ridiculous. Part of the intrigue of those elegant evenings is getting a whiff of something beautiful in the air. One does have to be prudent in the application. Eau de garlic is a no no:)

    Femme is also one of my go-to fragrances for evenings out, as well as Lyric and Nahema. April 12, 2013 at 10:22am Reply

    • Cornelia Blimber: Partly I agree with you: that whiff can be an extra peasure. But on the other side I can imagine why they ban perfumes. A crowded operahouse (concerthall, etc.) is warm; perfumes develop extremely. It is not so easy to find the right dosage. i remember a night at the opera when the whiff of Mitsouko from my neighbour was an extra bonus. But another time I got a terrible headache from an overdosis of Aromatics Elixir.
      Not everybody can handle perfume so well as you do! I take no risk: only quiet perfumes to the opera, who don’t distract from the performance. April 12, 2013 at 1:27pm Reply

    • Victoria: Femme has a beautiful sillage, as do the other fragrances you mention.

      Yes, I agree, as long as you apply lightly, you can enjoy your own scent and not impose it on others. April 12, 2013 at 2:39pm Reply

  • Marsi: For me, the point has always been to smell good … so I wear whatever it takes to accomplish that. April 12, 2013 at 10:23am Reply

    • Victoria: Definitely! I like some strange scents, but those are the ones I prefer to sniff on blotters rather than wear on my skin. April 12, 2013 at 2:40pm Reply

  • Lynley: I always feel that I should have a ‘polished’ and refined air about me to wear Puredistance Opardu. I only have a sample and I think it’s divine, but even at my best I don’t consider myself elegant as such, and this perfume is. I feel a bit too quirky for it :-/ So I just haven’t found the right spot for it yet.. April 12, 2013 at 10:27am Reply

    • Victoria: I also can’t really figure out Opardu. It feels a tad too prim and proper to me, but maybe I haven’t given it enough time. In general, I wasn’t too thrilled with the whole Puredistance line, especially at its high price point. April 12, 2013 at 2:43pm Reply

  • Gerda: If I have to wait till a winterpalace event comes my way, my collection will never be worn. I wear what I feel like wearing, whether I go to work, bring the kids to sports, go shopping etc. Carnal Flower, L’Heure Bleue, Mitsouko, I wear it all. I totally agree, my glamour is my perfume. Love it when my coworkers say: I already smelled you in the parking garage. 🙂 Glamour all over in the parking garage! April 12, 2013 at 10:27am Reply

    • Victoria: Wonderful! That’s what I mean about starting the day on a right note. 🙂 April 12, 2013 at 2:43pm Reply

  • Lia: In my case it’s got to be Lanvin Arpege. Although sometimes I wear it to sleep, it always evokes that air of glamorous around me. and I also think that most of the classic Chanels & Guerlains demand that confidence level of yours to wear it & to be glamorous. April 12, 2013 at 10:42am Reply

    • Victoria: I love No 5 and Arpege in my evening bath. It makes me feel like a Hollywood starlet (the Hollywood of the black and white movies era, I mean). April 12, 2013 at 2:45pm Reply

  • solanace: I never go anywhere fancy, having two small kids. So I wear my good stuff at home, to go to work, to the supermarket, etc. Amouage Gold with flip flops, that’s me. But Brazil is the land of the fresh. You gotta smell fresh and you basically have two options: either Kenzo l’Eau or DG Light Blue. Not for me, I need my Chergui! So my co-workes surely think I’m a bit crazy (not to mention extremely old ladish) because of my l’Heure Bleue & Co. habits, but that’s part of the fun for old punk me… At least they don’t feel offended or contaminated with chemical waste, they just think my taste could be improved! 🙂 April 12, 2013 at 10:48am Reply

    • Victoria: Good for you! It takes confidence to go against the current, even with something as simple as perfume. April 12, 2013 at 2:46pm Reply

      • solanace: My friends at work actually mentioned, after a long meeting, that I smelled like their grammas. I was wearing Lipstick Rose – because I knew it would be long and boring. Of course, I always take that as a compliment. After all, these ladies were young when the world was a glamorous place. (I only wish they would give me their gramas old perfumes!) April 12, 2013 at 5:24pm Reply

  • Meghan: Sometimes perfumes feel like books…you have to wear/read them at the right time, the right age. April 12, 2013 at 10:54am Reply

    • Cornelia Blimber: Wise words! April 12, 2013 at 10:59am Reply

    • AndreaR: That is so true! April 12, 2013 at 12:34pm Reply

    • Victoria: I agree! It’s so well-put. Reminds me that whenever I re-read classics I’ve read as a teenager, I find something completely different in them. April 12, 2013 at 2:47pm Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: I like to dress up for No,5 or Joy, but not always. I wear my elegant perfumes whenever I want, but never cleaning: I don’t like the mixture of detergents and perfume. But I can imagine perfume can cheer you up doing these boring things! Going out is for me going to the opera; operahouses are too warm for big perfumes, so I wear someting light: Après l’Ondée, or Piver Rêve d’Or, both to my nose a lighter version of L’Heure Bleue. In the operahouse, earrings do the glamorous trick.
    Playing with perfume is great fun, whether for contrast or congruence! April 12, 2013 at 10:58am Reply

    • Victoria: That’s true, it’s fun to mix and match!

      I’m a big fan of earrings myself, and although I don’t wear them on daily basis, whenever I go out, long dangling earrings are a must. April 12, 2013 at 2:48pm Reply

  • Cristina: I like to use all my perfumes all the time. I do not save them because the whole point of buying them is to indulge in this obsession of mine…So, I wear sometimes Angel after my evening shower and then just go straight to sleep. When my daughters were little they were always making fun of me for wearing perfume before going to sleep…I always told them it is for the angels I am planning to meet in my sleep. I still think I am meeting angels in my sleep although I am pushing 50…:) April 12, 2013 at 11:00am Reply

    • Victoria: How lovely! I absolutely love this story, Cristina. 🙂 April 12, 2013 at 2:49pm Reply

  • HB: I generally wear what feels right for that moment, be it Gold or Eau Sauvage or something in between. Lately I have been wearing Histoires de Parfums 1969 – including on Easter. 🙂 Frequently a rose or richer amber scent seems like a good choice for a dressier occasion, but perfume – along with a nice silk scarf – is one of those things I don’t feel completely dressed without. Some mornings it’s fun just to mix it up a bit. April 12, 2013 at 11:08am Reply

    • Victoria: I love scarves, and I notice that in Europe in general, they are a much more important accessory than in the US, both for men and for women. Plus, perfume sprayed on the scarf (but not on fine silk, of course) creates a beautiful sillage. April 12, 2013 at 2:51pm Reply

  • Gretchen: What a wonderful discussion-I love that virtually everyone chooses to wear such fabulous scents whenever the mood strikes! I don’t reserve any of my fragrances for certain occasions, and I don’t go to events anyway, but it would seem most of my FBs fall into the glamorous category, so perhaps this is my secret way to feel chic, even when wearing my everyday uniform of pretty common clothing and virtually no makeup. The fragrances I really like, but tend to wear only rarely, are Fracas and Carnal Flower. I wear other big hitters without question, but these two, I never seem to be in the mood for, or wish I’d chosen something else. April 12, 2013 at 11:10am Reply

    • Victoria: I love that too! The other day I was leaving a house in the morning when my neighbor stepped out wearing something that smelled like Femme. It was an instant boost to me, and I wasn’t even wearing perfume myself. April 12, 2013 at 2:52pm Reply

  • Sarah: When I have a bottle of Coco Chanel I use it for glamorous occasions (evening drinks out/parties) as it’s hardly ever right for the day time – in my book. I once had Guerlain’s Samsara (about 2003 I think) and it never felt right for mucking about in, only for the nights that you dress up in and wear lots of eye makeup AND lipstick. April 12, 2013 at 12:04pm Reply

    • Victoria: Samsara does seem like a demanding perfume. I’ve grown to enjoy it for more casual occasions too, but I also recall being a little intimidated by it. April 12, 2013 at 2:53pm Reply

  • ChristyTB: What a topic! Thanks, Victoria, now I have some more names on my wish / try – list)
    I adore White Diamonds perfume Elizabeth Taylor. April 12, 2013 at 1:49pm Reply

    • Victoria: I love White Diamonds too! They don’t make them like this–big and bold–anymore. (Some might add, “thank goodness.”) 🙂 April 12, 2013 at 2:53pm Reply

  • Max: I’m a nurse and I tend to wear whatever fragrance takes my fancy . I went walking with the family and wore chanel sycomore . Fragrances lift my mood , as some of you have said if you wait for the right occasion , you’ll never wear them , fragrances that I’ve raved about 6 months ago are not my first port of call. April 12, 2013 at 2:12pm Reply

    • Victoria: You don’t have restrictions on wearing perfume at work? April 12, 2013 at 2:54pm Reply

      • Nefret: I’m a nurse in a hospital, and there is no official restriction on perfume. It may have been weakly suggested that we don’t overdo it once or twice during orientation, but no official pronouncements from on high. Working a 12-hour shift in the company of, well, non-rosy odors from time to time, I usually put on something light and fresh to start my day with something cheerful. (I’m a 1-2 spray sort of person anyway.) Don’t think anyone who doesn’t hug me notices, most of the time. April 15, 2013 at 12:30pm Reply

        • Victoria: Thank you for explaining! I was just curious, since I know that some hospitals are extra vigilant on these rules and others are less so. April 15, 2013 at 1:40pm Reply

  • Gila: In the daytime I definitely prefer lighter fragrance, citrus, green, aquatic, or lower wattage florals. And those scents feel casual/ work friendly. If it’s cold out, incense/a blend w/ soft musk/ some spice often feels right – Tann Roka, Costes or some of the lighter CdG incense. W/ knits and leather. Cold nights are for amber, heady florals, velvet, charmuese, capes – or a thick sweater and jeans. Warm nights feel right for tropical, or white flowers – jasmine, neroli, even a bit of fruit. To me they go with a flowing, femme look. April 12, 2013 at 2:14pm Reply

    • Victoria: There is something just right about wearing a gauzy orange blossom or jasmine scent with a delicate white dress. 🙂 April 12, 2013 at 2:55pm Reply

      • Heather: You are so right! That’s a beautiful image. Back when I got married I wasn’t interested in perfume, but in retrospect Houbigant Orangers et Fleurs would have perfected the dress. Or A la Nuit, for that matter. April 12, 2013 at 5:42pm Reply

  • rosiegreen: I wear perfume according to my mood and the weather. Most of my clothes are casual and so are the places I go. The boost of perfume always makes me feel centered and calm. April 12, 2013 at 2:35pm Reply

    • Victoria: It really does! I usually keep a tiny vial of some favorite perfume in my purse. Even if I can’t wear perfume for some reason, at least I can get a whiff of something I love. April 12, 2013 at 2:55pm Reply

  • Cybele: I love Chanel5, Manoumalia, but find they demand an occasion or particular mood. Rue Cambon has a a too formal vibe for my taste. In contrast, I find Coromandel, No22, Cuir de Russie easy to wear, almost like skin scents when applied lightly. April 12, 2013 at 2:45pm Reply

    • Victoria: It’s fun to see what fragrances we find demanding and which are easy to approach. It’s so subjective, which makes this thread particularly enjoyable to read. April 12, 2013 at 2:56pm Reply

  • maggiecat: Perfume is how I dress up my usually casual wardrobe. Chanel No. 5 and jeans totally works – and why save a beloved scent for special occasions when every day can be special? April 12, 2013 at 3:01pm Reply

    • Victoria: My mom always says, if you want a holiday, just create one yourself. I agree with both of you–it’s important to surround oneself with things that you love and that give you pleasure, not to save them for some special day in the future. April 13, 2013 at 9:37am Reply

  • Soraya: Mom’s Samsara and Ysatis (tho I can’t take the latter). For me it would have to be recent find Kurkdjian’s Lumierre Noir Homme and Goutal’s Ambre Fetiche April 12, 2013 at 3:02pm Reply

    • Victoria: Samsara keeps coming up as an uber-glamorous scent, and I can understand that too. Not that I wouldn’t wear it with jeans and t-shirt, but it really feels in its proper element with some dressy outfit. April 13, 2013 at 9:38am Reply

  • Eva S.: Interesting topic!
    I wear Chanel no 5 elixir sensuel and no 22 on a daily basis. My way of dressing up and feel good!
    A perfume that demands glamour for me is Amouage Honour Woman. It´s so large, beautiful and solitary standing. Not for everyday use. April 12, 2013 at 3:13pm Reply

    • Victoria: Is Honour Woman an incense rich tuberose? April 13, 2013 at 9:38am Reply

      • Eva S.: Victoria, I can not find incense in Honour Woman, it is a sort of fruity, sophisticated tuberose, hard to describe!
        At the same time it has something chilly in it, oh this is so hard to put words on!
        A perfume like the sky, untouchable, beautiful over our heads, a queen. April 14, 2013 at 10:21am Reply

        • Victoria: I haven’t tried it yet, but in reviews it’s often been described as such. Anyway, I will definitely look for my sample. Your description is far more tempting than anything I’ve read about Honour Woman. April 15, 2013 at 8:25am Reply

  • Bettye: Oh, I love this topic. I do have a few scents I think of for “big evenings.” One is Divine L’Inspiratrice, a soigné dark rose that makes me imagine an ultra-chic, immaculately elegant woman off for a night in the finest haunts of New York or Paris or London. Another is Cafe Rose from Tom Ford’s Jardin Noir collection — dark, smoky, super-sophisticated and somewhat louche. Very adult, both of these, and I would definitely have to dress up to pull them off! To attempt to pull them off, I should say. Actually I’d have to go shopping and get a complete makeover! 🙂 April 12, 2013 at 4:14pm Reply

    • Victoria: The first time I smelled Cafe Rose was on a beautiful Iranian girl at the Tom Ford counter. She was wearing a dark purple dress, had a deep plum lipstick on and lots of makeup. It suited her perfectly. April 13, 2013 at 9:39am Reply

  • Jennifer: I can wear some things like Mitsouko or Femme pretty much whenever I feel like, but I do have some thing that I feel like I have to spiff myself up for. I have a 7ml mini of Samsara, and I rarely wear it because it never feels right on a casual day. I wore it for my brother’s wedding, and it felt right then. I have a sample of Enlevement au Serail, and that one was kind of the same, though it had just enough dirtiness in the jasmine that it felt more “me” on a normal day than Samsara. I don’t own that one, though, because it’s awfully spendy. April 12, 2013 at 4:32pm Reply

    • Victoria: I like Enlevement au Serail very much, but I also struggle finding a right occasion for it. Maybe, that’s for the best given its price. April 13, 2013 at 9:40am Reply

  • Laura: Madame Rochas.

    The Original Poison.

    Midnight Poison. Ok this one demands to be worn at night only, with an elegant vampire Gothic gown. Does it count? 🙂

    Eau du Soir / Soir de Lune


    Magie Noire

    Paloma Picasso

    AP Maitresse

    Anything by Amouage. April 12, 2013 at 4:49pm Reply

    • Victoria: It counts! 🙂 Your description also makes me want to smell Midnight Poison right away. April 13, 2013 at 9:41am Reply

  • Jan Last: Ineke Evening Edged in Gold does it for me. I can picture a structured Duponi silk outfit, stiletto heels, a cocktail glass in my hand and a single 3 carat diamond at my throat. Sigh… April 12, 2013 at 5:38pm Reply

    • Victoria: A gorgeous vision! 🙂 April 13, 2013 at 9:41am Reply

  • Cyndi: I definitely wear Mitsouko when the mood strikes, and the same goes for Chanel No. 5. I also agree that wearing them can make a mundane chore seem glamorous, or at the very least, make it a little more pleasant. As for the big special occasions….haven’t gone to any since…well, I don’t even remember. April 12, 2013 at 6:47pm Reply

    • Victoria: They really do! Today was our big cleaning day, and I selected Eau des Merveilles to keep me company. April 13, 2013 at 9:42am Reply

  • Stephanie S.: I enjoy wearing what I love when the mood strikes me. I’ll wear Mitsouko in particular any time, which is good because I rarely feel terribly glamourous. I’m more concerned about associating it with a certain melancholy mood I’ve been in lately: I’d hate for something I love so much to be too associated with that. April 12, 2013 at 7:12pm Reply

    • Victoria: I hope that our melancholy mood vanishes soon! Meanwhile, maybe it could be fun to smell something different, just to take your mind off your worries. Smelling is actually an activity that requires much concentration, so whenever I feel worries, anxious or depressed, I take out my various samples and smell them one by one on blotters. It does make me feel a little bit better. April 13, 2013 at 9:44am Reply

      • Stephanie S.: What a lovely idea! April 13, 2013 at 1:00pm Reply

  • johanob: What made me sad reading this thread,is that we don’t DO the big,glamorous events anymore!!No time,or life gets in the way!It is time to change that,no?
    Also:let’s make our own special occasions…a wonderful long,hot fragrant bath with candles and scents can be a good start!!And wear those fascinators and silk scarves…even if you just do the fresh-bread-and-milk run!!:-) April 12, 2013 at 8:00pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m a homebody when I’m at home. 🙂 Since I have to travel a lot for work, whenever I do spend time with my family, I tend to go for simple, laidback activities. But I agree with you, it’s important to create our own holidays. April 13, 2013 at 9:46am Reply

  • Karina: I often wear Shalimar before bed. Once the famous top notes begin to subside, I find it to have a soothing quality. I love lying in bed and getting the occasional dreamy whiff of vanilla, and I always hope it might cause me to dream of India! April 12, 2013 at 8:42pm Reply

    • Victoria: I love that! I find that I fall asleep to Shalimar’s citrus and vanilla, and I wake up to its rich musk and amber drydown. Definitely a great perfume for sweet dreams. 🙂 April 13, 2013 at 9:47am Reply

  • Rowanhill: I save none of my perfumes for special occasions but choose a big perfume for a special occasion. For work I stick to the no nonsense chypres. Else than that Ubar, Diaghilev, Shalimar and Tolu go perfectly with jeans and converse. When in doubt, add cashmere and an Hermès scarf. The secret to wearing the good scarves is finding a quality cleaner from whom the seams come back as plump as new. April 13, 2013 at 5:58am Reply

    • Victoria: I need to remember this. So far, I found one dry cleaner here I like. She’s a bit too far away, but she is Armenian (so, I have a luxury of speaking Russian) and is very sweet. April 13, 2013 at 9:49am Reply

  • The Blue Squid: I will always wear the pants out of almost anything, with anything, with anyone at anytime.  Except, perhaps, on a plane, or at the theatre.  Reading upthread, it seems I’m not the only one to do so!   However, the big exceptions for me are elegant greens like Metal, Vent Vert, No. 19..  I love these, but to me they feel tailored and glamourous, for wear with a neat white shirt and and tailored skirt.  I fear I am something of a scruff ball, so I rarely get them out.  Boo.    April 13, 2013 at 8:03am Reply

    • Victoria: If you love them and they smell good on you, maybe it would be fun to do a challenge “One Glamorous Perfume A Day.” Then you can see whether Metal, Vent Vert, or No. 19 still feel incongruous or not. April 13, 2013 at 9:51am Reply

      • The Blue Squid: Ha! I shall take the challenge!  Cue inspiring music like “Eye of the Tiger” or similar… April 13, 2013 at 7:26pm Reply

        • Victoria: 🙂 Please us know how it goes! April 14, 2013 at 9:02am Reply

  • maja: Big florals, most definitely. Chanel 22, 24 Faubourg. I remember exactly a moment when I thought, while riding back from work one evening, on a rather stinky bus, how my Chanel 22 seemed totally surreal 🙂 and demanding at least a limo 🙂 April 13, 2013 at 2:29pm Reply

    • maja: ps. I love these posts and read each and every comment. 🙂 April 13, 2013 at 2:31pm Reply

    • Victoria: 🙂 At such moments, fantasizing a bit is essential.

      I also love reading all of these comments. Everyone’s idea of perfume glamour is different, and it’s fun to chat about it. April 14, 2013 at 9:02am Reply

  • Claire: Very interesting topic, Victoria! I’ve certainly enjoyed the comments and nodding in agreement along the way. Like many, I do also wear perfume on a whim, whatever I fancy that day. It’s funny you should mention Mitsuko; it is the perfume that my grandma would wear in the evening. Evenings for her was always a formal, glamorous affair, even if it meant she stayed at home, serving her homemade dinner. She would always took her bath around 4 PM (after the siesta — or my siesta to be more precise), dressed herself up, put on some makeup and a bit of Mitsuko. To this day, I remember it as such — glamour is what you make of it.
    On me personally, I can see wearing No. 5 with a mariniere top and a chic pair of jeans. No. 19, however, I imagine for an evening out, an intimate one, which in my world is quite glamorous. April 13, 2013 at 11:12pm Reply

    • Victoria: I just love the stories about our grandmothers, glamorous or otherwise! Even one of my grandmothers who was not at all a glamorous type–somewhat austere, in fact, would take a great pleasure in putting on a washed and starched scarf.

      Thank you very much for sharing your story. It’s such a lovely, tender image. April 14, 2013 at 9:07am Reply

      • Lydia: I love the grandmother stories, too.
        Thank you for sharing!

        My grandma used to wear Je Reviens for special occasions, which usually meant church. I have a vivid childhood memory of her all dressed up on Easter Sunday, upright and starchy-fresh and filled with energy, moving in a Je Reviens cloud while she dressed me up for church in black patent leather Mary Janes and a white straw hat with a yellow ribbon.
        (This would have been the late 60s, and I think Je Reviens was a very different perfume then, although my more recent bottle still evokes her a little bit.) April 14, 2013 at 12:52pm Reply

        • Victoria: Je Reviens is still lovely, and at that price, it’s a great bargain too. I love the vision of your grandmother, and her outfit sounds so elegant and spring-like! April 15, 2013 at 8:33am Reply

  • Emma M: I definitely use my glamorous perfumes to inject a bit of refinement into un-glamorous activities. We are currently half way through renovating our house, so all of the sanding, painting, dust and upheaval have been accompanied by the likes of Fracas and Arpege. I think they make a nice counterpoint to my paint-splattered outfit! April 14, 2013 at 10:13am Reply

    • Victoria: I love these kind of contrasts! Good luck with your house renovation. I know what a big project that is, so I hope that yours moves along smoothly. April 15, 2013 at 8:26am Reply

  • Lydia: Your post really got me thinking. I realized I don’t use the same criteria to decide the appropriateness of perfume that I do when dressing. I wear perfume primarily to please myself. And like one of the other commenters above, I think most people out there aren’t familiar enough with perfume types to judge whether one is too formal or fancy – they just know if they like the scent. (They might judge that some occasions are more appropriate for perfume at all, though – or that perfume should be applied with a much lighter hand in some places, like theaters or dance classes, which I tend to agree with.)

    I also realized that when I wear perfume from a sample vial, rather than from a bottle, I almost feel like it doesn’t “count” – like “oh, I’m not really *wearing* this perfume, I’m just *trying* it, so it doesn’t matter if it’s appropriate.
    That’s kind of a silly perspective, but it does have the advantage of letting me experiment freely and unselfconsciously. April 14, 2013 at 12:42pm Reply

    • Victoria: Other than worrying about perfume when in certain tight quarters (airplane, theater, etc.), I also never think about how someone else perceives my perfume. My question was more about our own individual perceptions, and it’s fun to see how differently we approach fragrances. I also agree with you that as far as the parallels of perfume and clothes go, you can play much more with scents. April 15, 2013 at 8:31am Reply

  • Hannah: I feel that wearing a perfume that you find special makes that day special, not the other way around. With that in mind, I wear my “special” perfumes on days that I want to be special- and as a result of my thinking they’re going to be special, they usually are! It feels a bit silly since it’s sort of a placebo effect, but it seems to work. Does that make sense? April 14, 2013 at 7:18pm Reply

    • Victoria: It definitely makes sense, Hannah! You’ve touched up on the main reason why perfume is such a never-ending joy for me. Just one drop of liquid can make me feel happier, give me a boost or a reminder of beauty. One can’t ask for more! 🙂 April 15, 2013 at 8:34am Reply

  • Camilla: I wear whatever is pleasing me at the moment regardless of activity (‘though I don’t wear any to the gym) but I have to say that if I were really dressing for the evening I would wear Shalimar.
    My recent foray into the world of perfume has inspired me to use makeup; I guess I do dress up to honor the perfume; and so my days have become more glamorous! April 14, 2013 at 9:40pm Reply

    • Victoria: Suzanna, my contributing writer, is quite a makeup maven, and thanks to her influence, my stash of lipsticks has grown exponentially! But it’s a pleasure to experiment, and yes, sometimes I find myself thinking about perfume and lipstick color coordination. 🙂 April 15, 2013 at 8:41am Reply

  • fleurdelys: No contest – YSL Paris is my glam perfume. It’s great for wearing to the opera, or another going-out occasion. Hard to wear for more mundane events, like going to work – I feel like I have to live up to it. It’s a costume for a character that I am normally not! But when I wear it I can pretend, and have fun. April 15, 2013 at 11:12am Reply

    • Victoria: Paris is a diva of a perfume! 🙂 April 15, 2013 at 1:40pm Reply

  • Karen: Hello everyone, I so enjoy reading these posts and even though I’m on holiday, I am thoroughly enjoying the conversation from my sun lounger! But of a curve ball but any suggestions for a glamourous summer evening scent? (One that last, am finding my usuals just disappear-goutals, Molecule 01, the new Bottega Venetta and bronze goddess) Am rather enjoying rive opulent though (Terry de Gunzberg) and sadly Apom and Ellie Saab (orange blossoms) are overwhelming and furnish polish like on me in the heat! What to do ladies?? Xx April 16, 2013 at 6:36am Reply

  • Sherri: 1. Amouage Gold
    2. Guerlain Shalimar
    3. Guerlain L’Heure Bleue

    All beautiful but so formal they do not fit in with my everyday life.

    Everything else I can find a way to make work. In a way I think it is better to “dress down” some of these beauties. For example, if I’m going to wear an Amouage–Beloved or Jubilation 25–I keep the makeup simple and the outfit simple and elegant–otherwise it is just too much and edges into “overdone” old lady territory (I’m 50). April 16, 2013 at 10:18am Reply

  • Ellie: I’m still new to perfume, and I still feel intimidated by the classics. I have a bottle of No5 I and a bottle of Coco I had gotten as a gift, but I’m very intimidated by them. I only wear them on special occasions, and I actually stay away from Coco because I find it too heavy on me. The only perfume I wear is Miss Dior Cherie (I think it’s simply called Miss Dior now) for “nicer” daily occasions. I remember reading your review of the Miss Dior Cherie after the reformulation, and I thought I wouldn’t like the scent, but surprisingly, it was one perfume I tried over the course of the year that I loved enough to buy. Everything else would give me a massive headache, even if they were extremely similar to Miss Dior. I think the vanilla scent is what I can’t stand. April 17, 2013 at 4:22pm Reply

    • Victoria: Don’t be intimidated by the classics, Ellie! You can always start out by wearing a small amount to get used to them, if they seem too rich or too heavy (which may be the case, since they are done in a different style from many contemporary fragrances). It’s fun to explore them though! April 18, 2013 at 9:56am Reply

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