Beauty: How to Build a Fragrance Wardrobe

I’m often asked the question: ‘how to I go about building a collection of fragrances?’ In short, there is no simple answer because fragrance is so deeply personal (and what is right for me will certainly not be right for everyone).

I have a great admiration for those women who are able to pull off the single signature fragrance and make it completely their own, but I’m somewhat more schizophrenic in my olfactory tastes. If, like me, you like the idea of having a wardrobe of fragrances, then this is how I go about it:

1. Embark on a fragrance treasure hunt. Whenever you pass by a department store beauty hall, beauty boutique, duty free counter or while on your travels, have a sniff of the bottles which you like the look of (this isn’t as shallow as it sounds; fragrance developers invest a huge amount in ensuring the bottle symbolises the mood of the scent inside). Try a few on a card and spray your favourite on your wrist (it will smell different as it reacts with your own ph levels).Light/summery scents, L-R: Annick Goutal Petite Cherie, Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau so Fresh, Chanel Les Exclusifs Gardenia, Margiela Untitled L’Eau, Annick Goutal Petite Cherie, Stella McCartney Lily, Marc Jacobs Daisy.

2. Follow your instincts. Try and ignore the hype of million dollar marketing campaigns when choosing one to buy. The only thing that really matters is: do you smell gorgeous when you wear this fragrance? Does it complement your tastes? Also ensure you try everything a few times before you buy it. Try those you love on your skin and check it again a few days later (we react differently to scents depending on our moods and hormones, so you want one you’ll always enjoy).

3. Make it special. We attach more memories to scent than any other sense. Make fragrance-buying a special occasion; do it in a place you love, when you’re in a good mood, or when you’re on a particularly wonderful holiday so that you always associate their smell with good feelings. It may sound silly, but it really works!Warm/wintery scents, L-R: Diptyqye L’Ombre dans L’eau, Stella McCartney Stella (limited edition print bottle), Jean Paul Gaultier Classique (limited edition bottle), Marc Jacobs Marc Jacobs, Chanel Les Exclusifs Gardenia, Stella McCartney Stella (limited edition print bottle).

4. Match your moods. I prefer to have several different scents to call upon, depending on the season, my mood, the time of day, and the occasion. By way of example: for the first days of Spring, I want something light, pretty and floral which echoes the optimism that rings in the air at this time of year (Margiela’s Untitled or Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau so Fresh have been on rotation the past few weeks); warm summer days to be spent lazing on the grassy banks of the River Cam call for something sweet and fresh (Annick Goutal Petite Cherie, Marc Jacobs Daisy); and for winter or evenings, only something warm and comforting will do (Stella McCartney Stella or Diptyque L’Ombre dans L’Eau). When I’m in the office, I call on clean, sophisticated scents (Marc Jacobs original or Stella McCartney Lily fit this bill), and when I’m feeling nostalgic or sad, I’ll seek solace in a precious spritz from the bottle of my Mother’s Jean Peal Gaultier (which was her fragrance signature and which to me always smells chic and pretty and like her warm hugs).

5. Find your signature. Even once you’ve built a collection you adore, there is something to be said for finding your failsafe favourite; your ‘signature scent’ if you will. This will be the one you reach for time and time again (in any number of situations), and which triggers an immediate sensory response whenever you spray it on. In case you’re wondering, mine is Marc Jacobs’ original scent; I distinctly remember the first time I sprayed it on, for I instantly (even irrationally) felt like a better, more appealing version of myself. The first day I tried it was a wonderful day filled with happy moments, and it’s accompanied me on so many glorious holidays, travels and special occasions ever since that it is now bound up with feelings of happiness and loveliness and fills me with a flicker of joy whenever I wear it.

I don’t know about you, but I think every woman should find a scent that makes them feel like a knockout version of themselves!Do you have a wardrobe of perfumes? I’d love to know what your favourites are!

Love, Miss B xx

35 thoughts on “Beauty: How to Build a Fragrance Wardrobe

  1. I was just searching for an enchanting scent this afternoon!!
    A classic one from my teen years was Theirry Mugler Angel…but I need to dazzle up a new mirrored tray. Thank you so much for the suggestions!! xo

  2. I have worn Escentric Molecules Molecule 01 for the past two years. It has no discernible fragrance but I love the reaction I get from other people about how good it/I smell. Over the years I have always stuck to wearing one perfume but I can see this being my favourite for a long tome to come.

  3. I was just searching for an enchanting fragrance this afternoon!! Thank you!! I need to brighten up a lovely mirrored tray. I have a few, but the current favorite is Coach Poppy. It inspires a smile!! xo

  4. Nice post :) I guess my signature scent has been Lorenzo Villoresi – Teint De Neige for some time now. I love such powdery fragrances. Earlier, it was Comptoir Sud Pacifique – Vanille Amande. I’m into vanilla, too, but not as much now as I used to be…

  5. love this post and never thought of calling my perfumes a wardrobe love it xx

    my collection is Marc Jacobs Daisy which my daughter pinches alot, D&G The One – a present from mum which I thought I would not like and really love, Chanel Coco Mademoselle (sorry spell mistake I know) and Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb – my signature scent seems to be the Chanel but i love all of them xx

  6. I love this post :) I like the idea of having a choice of when it comes to perfumes. Daisy by Marc Jacobs is the perfect scent for spring, I am saving up for it! Some of my faves are light blue by D&G, mircacle by lancome and romance by ralph lauren. I also find that if you squirt some testers on cards and keep them on you and smell them later in the day, you have a different take on the scent. Perfume counters are a difficult place to get an idea of what the scent is like because of all the perfume squirting thats going on! XX

  7. I’ve worn Coco by Chanel since 2008, before that it was Agent Provocateur’s “Maitresse” – but that brings back terrible memories of an ex-boyfriend! I can’t find anything I love quite as much as Coco – although I do occasionally stray to Philosophy “Falling in Love” and lust after “Miss Dior”. I long to make a fragrance wardrobe, but my budget just won’t stretch to it right now :(

  8. My absolute favourite and signature fragrance is Black XS by Paco Rabanne. It just smells so..I can’t even describe the smell. Like roses, but very very sweet. Immediately makes me smile. Another one I really like is Prada Candy, because the name says it all, and it smells like caramel and sugar. Makes me want to eat myself sometimes, lol! xx

  9. I just wear the one perfume. My teenage perfume was Anais Anais, my early adult perfume was Lancome Miracle and my mid 30s perfume has been Narcisco Rodriguez for Her. People always tell me that I have an elegant scent – which is lovely but I actually can never smell my perfume.

    India

  10. I definately have key perfumes. I just posted about Jo Malone and their pomegranate noir fragrance chronicles. Definately the perfum I want to wear forever. Apart from that I try to pick up scents on holidays. Lolita lempika from 3 months across the USA, jasmine oil from Morrocco, lemon verbena from cyprus and lavender from Croatia… They can send me back there in a moment
    xxx

  11. I love this post, it’s so true that a scent takes you back to a special time/place. I always try and buy a new scent in duty free before I go on holiday, and when I’m back it reminds me of being there – it sounds silly but it’s so true! x

  12. I absolutely love this post, great advice teamed with some really beautiful photos!

    I have a fragrance wardrobe built around my signature scent, Miss Dior Cherie. At the moment in addition to this I have the classic Miss Dior, as it reminds me of Miss Dior Cherie but with a more sophisticated edge where Miss Dior Cherie is more sweet and playful. I also have Black XS by Paco Rabanne as a headier, evening scent but I think I am still going to keep playing around with this one as I am not totally happy with it. For a more everyday scent when I’m just running errands or I’m going to class I don’t like to waste my Miss Dior, I wear Divine by Philosophy because I like how it has a nice clean smell. Currently missing from my collection are Chloe by Chloe which I like as a date scent, and Rose by Paul Smith which is my usual summer scent and I want to replace, but I am currently considering getting Rosa Mundi by Diptyque instead of!

  13. I always buy Chanel perfumes. I currently own No. 5, which I use to think made me sick and Chance. I would love to buy two or three others from Prada and Burberry. Also I would splurge for a bottle of Bond No. 9.

  14. I used to wear Lolita Lempicka (the original version) a LOT when I was a teenager, then I moved to Flowerbomb by Viktor&Rolf, and now I’m particularly partial to Coco Mademoiselle, N°19 poudré and a perfume by L’occitane (a mix of rose and violet). Your perfume collection is quite impressive and gives me lots of ideas for new perfumes to try out !

  15. Great post! I have a fragrance wardrobe but I couldn’t really put my finger on how it came together, I guess by instinctively doing what you have mentioned in your post. My faves are Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker, Flowerbomb by Viktor and Rolf, Coco Madamoiselle by Chanel, and Miss Dior by Dior

  16. The one I have been wearing for years (and STILL get compliments on) is Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle. For some bolder choices I like Burberry London and Narciso Rodriguez for Her.

    Any suggestions on where to go perfume shopping in Paris?! I feel like I should pick up something on my trip there next month! :)

  17. My sense of smell is probably my biggest asset but it makes it difficult for me NOT to buy a perfume I enjoy.
    I have a fragrance wardrobe that’s going to go to waste – but I must say the bottles sure do look pretty all lined up like that!
    Love your blog, just discovered it and HAD to follow!

  18. This is a really sweet post! I could spend all my money for perfumes, really. Diptyque makes the best in my opinion, but Annick Goutal is also amazing. I cannot stand the designer/celebrity scents anymore though. I think they smell horribly, compared to Diptyque etc, so fake. My favorite perfumes are Philosykos, Oyedo and L’Ombre dans l’eau. I think the latter is a very summer scent, not a wintery one like you say… To me it smells like a bouquet of flowers and sun dresses :D What would you say, is Philosykos better in the winter or summer? What about Oyedo?

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  20. Flowerbomb by Victor & Rolf is a good all year round perfume. A lot of people have started wearing it although so I’ve stopped using mine for some time. Smell it on nearly everyone now :)! As mentioned by a lot of people here, Marc Jacobs Daisy is a very good spring/summer perfume.

    Can’t believe noone has mentioned Dior Addict. By far the best perfume out there. Also, whenever I wear it I get a lot of complements and questions about it from men, which rarely happens with any other perfume. Quite a strong scent although so probably wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Also, I’ve recently started pinching my boyfriends Gucci Pour Homme :). Try it when your next in a perfume shop or get one for your boyfriend as a present he will love it, every guy I know who has tried it never gets any other perfume after that.

  21. I love having a gorgeous perfume collection. Both my wife and myself are addicted! We have a lovely built-in shelf area near our front door and that is where we display all of our bottles. The nice things is that we also encourage our friends to spritz on whatever they like when we are all heading out.

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