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Friday, September 14, 2012

The Not-So-Sweet Smell of Failure


"Fidelity - a virtue peculiar to those who are about to be betrayed." Ambrose Bierce

Earlier this week a friend and I were chatting and I got the idea that this week's blog should be about choosing personal fragrance. I have to admit defeat.  My efforts here have been what I can only describe as a 'fail.' 

As this is a subject I know little about I decided to do some research; I googled 'choosing your scent' and 'fragrance.' I came across article after article explaining the various types of fragrance families. Floral, citrus, woodsy, oriental, fruity, spicy, green…..all pretty much the same info.

Only one that I came across gave any help as to how to choose. There was a little test- this was an attempt to categorize your personality so as to determine the best family of fragrances for you. The only problem was that the multiple choice answers provided to the questions asked were not applicable to me.  Not surprisingly the end result was disappointing.

I have problems with choosing scent; I fall in love entirely too easily. I meet a lovely, deep, heady fragrance with vanilla, musk and white flowers . I have a monogamous, long term relationship with it. That fragrance becomes the ONLY fragrance I love. I swear lifetime allegiance. I am happy and complete with my 'signature scent.' I get downright smug about it. THIS IS THE ONLY FRAGRANCE I WILL EVER WEAR, FOR THE REST OF MY ENTIRE LIFE.  

Then I meet another fragrance- maybe a light, clean, citrus-y, woods-y one. And it starts.  Suddenly the old fragrance feels too 'heavy.' Too 'old lady.' I shrug uncomfortably after putting it on. I start picking fights. Forget to put it on every day. Finally I give in and buy the new fragrance, and the old one sits, unloved and forgotten in the back of the bathroom cabinet. And that bothers me.

I feel conflicted. The two fragrances are worlds apart- nothing in common. What does this mean, I wonder? What does this say about me? About who I am? Do I lack conviction? Am I shallow? Fickle? Perhaps I have multiple personalities??  AM I JUST PLAIN CRAZY??? Oh, the trials and tribulations I suffer over things like this. (Part of being such a deep and artistic person, you see.)

I wish I was one of these people who could just wear a fragrance in a totally unemotional way- they put on a fragrance according to whim- 'oh, today I feel like wearing a grassy scent.' How do they decide this? And what happens if they are going out in the evening, and changing to evening wear? Do they have to shower to get the other fragrance off, and then put on a more 'sophisticated' one??  And what does their closet smell like? A mishmash of all the fragrances they have???  You aren't going to dry clean a jacket or sweater after every time you wear it, right??  Sigh. Some mysteries are just beyond me. 

Or I'd love to be one of those people known for wearing one fragrance all their life- everyone knows that this person always wears it, and they're respected as having clear understanding of who they are, a veritable paragon of profound style....THEY don't break their commitment. Are they never tempted?? Do they ever sneak off for a day and just try every scent at the department store counter?? 

So, in the end I have no real advice on choosing a scent. I guess it's entirely too personal a thing in my book to put any sort of structure around it beyond a description of the various families I repeatedly came across in those articles.  WIth clothes it's different- if you know what design lines flatter your shape and proportions, and what colors flatter your skin tone, then beyond those guidelines it's all about your personal aesthetics- you pretty much can't go wrong. 

As far as fragrance goes, I guess I'll just continue my angst-ridden journey…

Happy Dressing!