Decades ago, everyone had a signature scent. Mum wore Shalimar. A best friend in high school religiously sported Chloe Narcisse. Our friends and families associate that smell with us. It became part of our identity, like an invisible signature that stamped the air in every space we moved through.
Signature scents also offered a feeling of safety and security, knowing that we had a reliable perfume that worked for us. After all, if you like what you like, why bother changing it?
Well, you’re in luck because we’re going to tell you precisely just that.
There is an undoubted romanticism to the idea of a signature scent. The cringe-inducing wistful sigh of sniffing an ex’s fragrance on a discarded jumper found at the back of the wardrobe months after the break up that features in many made-for-tv movies. We prefer the Angela Bassett method from Waiting to Exhale, but that’s probably a story for another time.
The point is, playing with perfume can be fun - fancy dress without the bother of needing to find a costume. Channelling Poison Ivy for the day? A few spritzes of the green, tangled mazes of Chronotope’s Spite EdP are just right. Looking to indulge your inner goth, but it’s just a bit too humid today for that latex catsuit? Jorum Studio’s Carduus is exactly what you need.
Relationships with perfume don’t need to become lifelong commitments. Sometimes twelve hours is all you need before you’re ready for something else.
Just as you add to your wardrobe with jewellery, bags, and other accessories, your fragrance of choice should also be high on the priority list. With so many scents to choose from these days, it makes sense to match a smell to what you’re wearing, your personality, and how you’re feeling. You should be matching to whatever style you’ve chosen for the day.
A fragrance wardrobe allows for different fragrances to suit your mood, activity or special occasion. You wouldn’t wear the same outfit every day, so why the same fragrance? A more floral scent might not work in the depths of winter, just as a suit wouldn’t work at a yoga class.
Having a fragrance wardrobe adds another dimension to your collection of clothes, allowing you to refresh and switch up your scent and style as and when you need to. It also allows you to change with the seasons, just as you would dig out your winter coat come autumn.
Keep Your Nose on its Toes
That brings us nicely to our next point - swapping your scents around keeps your nose sharp. Olfactory habituation is something that happens when your brain becomes used to a smell. Our sense of smell is, at its most basic level, a survival tool that catalogues what’s safe and what isn’t. Once it works out your regular perfume is perfectly safe, it files it away as something it doesn’t need to devote attention to processing and you stop becoming aware of it.
Furthermore, switching up your scents on the regular, can change your perception of perfumes you thought you knew. Think of it like stepping into a room you visit a lot but through a different door. The point at which you begin to move through it changes.
It’s true that there is safety in knowing what works, and it’s comforting to know that loved ones can remember you based on a scent – perhaps even triggering endorphins or serotonin upon smelling the fragrance. And with so much choice out there, is it not better to stick to the tried and trusted?
The issue comes when your senses become used to the fragrance, meaning you have to spray more on to overcome your desensitisation. This is a problem when you should be using one or two pumps maximum.
Tips for Building a Fragrance Wardrobe
You don’t need to rip up your clothing collection and start again just to match your fragrance wardrobe; you simply need to reevaluate. Your senses change over time, just as your fashion taste does, so it’s essential to take stock and work out what you still like and where you can start investing. Here are a few tips for making the fragrance wardrobe work.
Try something new
As we’ve established, there are so many new fragrances released every year that it would be rude not to try and sample some of them. HOOHAA’s subscription model allows you to do just that while supporting indie perfumers.
And the clothing comparisons keep on coming: with a new season comes a new item of clothing, so why not do the same with your perfumes? Be daring, be bold. Try something new and freshen up your wardrobe.
Pick a few; not a lot
Three to five scents for the year is a good general rule of thumb to live by, but that shouldn’t constrain you either. The idea is not to accumulate too many bottles that go past their sell-by date and to have a small number that you can rotate as you go to different types of events or switch between styles.
Have a staple
There will always be one scent that you go back to time after time, and that’s not a bad thing. Just make sure that you have enough others to rotate and keep things fresh. You’ll undoubtedly have a favourite, so pick a good one and stick with it.
Handle with care
Once you’ve picked your favourites and staples, you need to learn to look after them, so they don’t gather dust and go out of date. Store away from heat and light, and if something is going away for a long time, consider putting it in the fridge. Sometimes we just need a break from something we love; just make sure you store it correctly.
Get in Your Feelings
You know how you listen to certain songs when you’re feeling a certain way? You can do that with perfume too. When we’re feeling the need for tranquillity, we love the snow-dusted stillness of 4160Tuesdays Doe in the Snow.
Fragrance can accentuate your moods and let you sink deeply into them. They can also help in alleviating them. Maison Matine’s Esprit de Contradiction with its empowering blast of peppery citrus is sometimes just the kick in the backside we need to get us going.
Try Something New
In developing our subscription experiences on HOOHAA we really wanted to create opportunities for everyone to discover unique perfumes and give them time to fully explore them in order to make informed decisions on which perfumes they’d like in their lives on a long term basis.
And supporting truly independent brands along the way is the extra added bonus.