Anyone who buys perfume tends not to buy just one bottle, but multiple ones. There’s a perfume for every season and every mood, and while that may be fine for those who love to collect, for the rest of us, restricted by budget or space or time, the edited wardrobe may become a necessity.
You can do this business of editing in various different ways, but the one that I think is most charming and ultimately most defining of an individual’s style and taste is to use variations on a single note to stake your own atmospheric territory in the world.
My way of doing this – and I have been doing this for a number of years now – is to adopt perfumes in complementary groups of three. These triads work for cold weather, hot weather and evening. Say that I love the smell of peach for instance, I might choose Guerlain’s Chant d’Aromes for everyday cold weather wear, MDCI ‘s Peche Cardinal for warm weather and Peau de Peche for formal attire. There’s a wardrobe, self defining, internally consistent, and stylish.
Or take tobacco. There’s Bel Antonio from Hilde Soliani for winter, Jasmin et Cigarette for Summer from Etat Libre d’Orange, and Fifi Chachnil for formal. You can turn the same trick to your advantage with sandalwood by using Caswell Massey’s Sandalwood for summer, Chanel’s Bois des Isles for winter, and Samsara for formal.
Say you have an outré taste for dirt. Since there’s such a wide range of choice, a fumic tendency towards pika is easily accommodated. Try Demeter’s Dirt for summer, Wild Hunt for winter and Serge Lutens’ De Profundis for formal.
Even something really difficult, like, say, ginger can be arranged. There is that oldie but goodie Gingerale by Demeter for summer. There is Five O’Clock au Gingembre from Serge Lutens for winter, and either the old perfume Shanghai from Lentheric, which can sometimes be found for a few dollars on ebay, or the reliable little oriental from Jo Malone Nutmeg and Ginger.
It’s an easy and a sophisticated way to wear perfume, even if you are not particularly sophisticated about fragrance. All you need to know is, what do you like the smell of? Then a Google search and a list of names should give you plenty of opportunities for finding who makes your favorite version of chocolate or mushrooms, or licorice. Nothing one note about this symphony.