perfume wardrobe: 16 posts

The Fragrance Wardrobe : My Article in Red Magazine

The November issue of UK’s popular women’s magazine, Red Magazine (Hearst), features my article “The Fragrance Wardrobe” (p. 206-212) on how I went from a single signature perfume to a wardrobe of scents. I also explain why I find fragrance as rewarding and stimulating as music and art, and how to create your own perfume wardrobe. It is available on newsstands now. Red Magazine’s November issue is autumn inspired and includes interesting articles on managing stress, creating healthy meals, picking the ideal skincare and more.

Here is a peak inside the magazine, as well as into my current fall perfume wardrobe.

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Perfumed Nightgown : What Do You Wear

Do you wear perfume to bed? What is your favorite scented nightgown?

When asked what she wore to bed, Marilyn Monroe answered, ” five drops of Chanel No 5.” The idea was so sultry and thrilling that the sales of Chanel No 5 skyrocketed in response. No 5 sounds interesting as a scented nightgown, but nothing beats a splash of rosewater or orange blossom water for me. Their delicate scent is soothing, and both waters are excellent for the skin.

I also love simple scents like Annick Goutal Rose Splendide or Le Muguet. Jo Malone Vintage Gardenia starts as spicy and sparkling, but the drydown of musk and vanilla is comforting.  While Penhaligon’s Violetta lacks the sensual twist of Marilyn’s favorite perfume, it helps me wind down after a long, stressful day.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

“Can’t Decide What To Wear” : Choosing Perfume

What is your most versatile perfume that suits most of your moods and occasions? 

Many of us have experienced moments when we stand in front of a closet full clothes and decide that we have nothing to wear. Well, unless you have a well-edited perfume wardrobe, you can suffer the same indecision. For work, I have to keep a big library of fragrances on hand, but for pleasure, I’ve narrowed down my choices to a more manageable level. Deciding among dozens of perfumes is even more difficult than deciding among several outfits. You can’t easily try all of them on!

Once I’ve streamlined, I realized that a few fragrances please me nomatter what: iris, orange blossom, soft musk or dry wood, such as Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist, Annick Goutal Néroli, Estée Lauder White Linen and 10 Corso Como. The dry woods like Olfactive Studio Autoportrait, Serge Lutens Santal Majuscule, Van Cleef et Arpels Cologne Noire and Chanel Coromandel, depending on what I’ve set out on my dresser on any given week, hit the spot anytime. It doesn’t mean that I wear these more than some of my other favorites, but if I ever have a moment of indecision, they are my favorite “fall back” choices.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin, Chanel display at Place Vendôme Haute Parfumerie.

Building Perfume Wardrobe Guide Part 6 : Orientals


Part 1: Florals ~ Rose
Part 2: Florals ~ Jasmine and White Florals
Part 3: Florals ~ Lily of the Valley and Violet
Part 4: Florals ~ Blends
Part 5: Essentials

My Perfume Wardrobe is back from its winter break with a new installment on oriental fragrances. This perfume genre is so called because it is the Western fantasy of the East. Oriental perfumes evoked the same mysterious and sensual world that French artists such as Eugène Delacroix and Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres captured in their paintings of lounging odalisques, tiger hunts and harem scenes. French perfumers translated such exotic, if stereotypical, visions through rich notes of vanilla, amber, patchouli, sandalwood and musk. Oriental ideas have been explored in many 19th century fragrances, but Guerlain Jicky is widely considered to be the first modern fragrance with an oriental twist. Then perfume visionary François Coty made a splash with his innovative  L’Origan (1905), Ambre Antique (1910) and Émeraude (1921). These fragrances paved the way to the dazzling array of orientals available today.

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Building Perfume Wardrobe Guide Part 5 : Essentials


Part 1: Florals ~ Rose
Part 2: Florals ~ Jasmine and White Florals
Part 3: Florals ~ Lily of the Valley and Violet
Part 4: Florals ~ Blends
Part 6: Orientals

The idea of a perfume wardrobe vis-à-vis a signature fragrance runs counter to many concepts held dear by perfume marketers as it does not engender brand loyalty. This is perhaps the main reason why magazines are full of suggestions on what perfumes to buy, but never on how to create a varied and interesting collection of scents. Some may argue that there are no steadfast rules as to what fragrances one must have and that sartorial categories do not apply to scents. If one feels like wearing Dior Poison (a ball gown equivalent) to work and Demeter Gin & Tonic (T-shirt and jeans) to a cocktail party, why on earth not? This may be true, but when one is just starting to enjoy fragrances and building a collection, it helps to keep a few guidelines in mind. One can always break them later!

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Latest Comments

  • PrincessTonk in Haft Seen and Hafez: Beautiful and evocative! March 25, 2019 at 10:07am

  • Alarmed in Haft Seen and Hafez: Hello. I apologize if this is not the appropriate place to send this in, but I as someone who admires your witing and the work you put in the blog,… March 23, 2019 at 8:51pm

  • OtherWise in Haft Seen and Hafez: Lovely, lovely poem. Thank you. I’ve got an old dog and an old cat, both well past their freshness dates. In fact, both have managed, just barely, to escape the… March 23, 2019 at 3:05pm

  • maja in Haft Seen and Hafez: نوروز مبارک, dear Victoria! I love, love Davis’ translation as well. There is always that instant even before spring is official when you are coming home late in the afternoon… March 23, 2019 at 7:05am

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