January 29, 2014

Quick Tip: Choosing Your Fragrance

It seems like everyone is trying to get in on the money to be found in men’s fragrance. Not only are there the dozens of offerings from fashion labels who license out their name, now celebrities are getting in on the action. Luckily Justin Bieber has stuck with women’s perfume for the time being, but Adam Levine and Jay-Z, among others, now have fragrance offerings to titillate your senses.

Some of the men's fragrance counters at Macy's Herald Square

Most men’s colognes highlight woodsy, musky, and other traditionally ‘masculine’ scents. There is nothing wrong with them, they just aren’t my cup of tea – but it took me a little bit of experimentation to figure out what I preferred in their place. Personally, I have always favored lighter scents. I wore Gucci Pour Homme II and Versace Man Eau Fraiche for years while I was finding my style and developing my image.  

Before that, when I was much younger, I wore whatever colognes I was given as gifts, assuming that other people knew what would smell nice. As I became more comfortable, I began to branch out, looking for scents that I enjoyed, which is how I came upon Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue.  At the time it was only a woman’s scent, but it was light and crisp and almost every time I wore it I received compliments. So I continued looking into scents that may not be marketed specifically to me, but which I could wear and enjoy without feeling like a 1980’s Brut ad.

Then, a few years ago, I discovered Jo Malone. As a fragrance company, their focus is entirely on scents and how they pair with one another. For me, this just made sense. When buying specialty clothes (running, snowboarding, etc) and skin care I look to companies that specialize in those things, so why not do the same with fragrance?

The Jo Malone counter at Macy's Herald Square

Since all fragrances smell differently on each individual because of body chemistry, it allowed me to customize a scent that was exactly what I wanted. Even better, I can change what I wear easily every single day based on my mood, or the season, or whimsy. The scents themselves are neither specifically ‘feminine’ nor ‘masculine’, but together make complex layers that I am constantly complimented on and asked about. There are about two dozen different scents, plus seasonal and limited edition options, so there is never a shortage of choices. 

Now, the point of this is not to write an advertisement for Jo Malone, but to demonstrate that, like your style, your scent should be something personal and carefully chosen. That’s not to say that you can’t buy a bottle off the shelf if you enjoy it, but that advertising shouldn’t limit your choices.

If you like a scent, wear it, whether it is marketed towards men or women, or even unisex. If you aren’t satisfied with the scents someone else is making, try creating your own (in the aforementioned Jo Malone sense, not the create your own chem lab sense). Like the outfit you wear, the way you smell is an impression you make on the world. Let that impression be a good one.

Stay stylish,

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