Androgyny, Prada and Taylor Swift: My relationship with perfume

Do you wear perfume? In my extensive, scientifically conducted research (wave to the five friends I consulted as my subjects) it appears women either love perfume, or avoid it like the plague. I'll admit that I haven't always been a fan. In high school I went through a phase where the only scent I was attracted to was that of Johnson and Johnson's baby powder. Which is comforting and soothing in a way similar to fluffy down pillows, Grandma's hugs, and chamomile tea.

I was first introduced to fragrance in junior high during a clandestine meeting in the girls room. A friend passed me a can of Love's Baby Soft, which she aggressively applied in a noxious cloud. Love's Baby Soft was the must-have scent among those of the junior high set in the 70's and 80's. Featuring top notes of talcum powder, babies, innocence, and light-heartedness, Love's was simple. Basic. It was a pastel angora-blend sweater, the kind that shed little bits of material all over your corduroy skirt but you didn't really care.

I left the Baby Soft behind when I entered high school, and stuck to my Johnson and Johnson's powder. After I graduated, Calvin Klein introduced a revolutionary fragrance meant for both men and women that spread like herpes - CK One. Everything about this scent screams 1994. The packaging was made from 100% recycled materials, and the bottle is sleek and austere, a nod to the 90's minimalism trend that dominated runways. CK One smelled clean and crisp. It was reminiscent of sleek, unsmiling women who flat ironed their center-parted hair, and carried Prada nylon backpacks.

My brush with CK One was short-lived, probably because I'm uncomfortable embracing androgyny. Next came Clinique's Happy, a fruity, citrusy scent. If Happy were a person, she’d be The Girl Next Door. A particularly perky one. She’s young, easygoing, carefree, friendly to everyone, and she smiles a lot. For awhile I alternated between Happy and Juicy Couture, a sickeningly sweet scent with notes of watermelon, apple, pink passion fruit and lilies. Juicy is something Barbie would wear. Or Taylor Swift. I was a fan of these scents when I was a new mom, and I craved a simpler, sweeter time, absent of four a.m feedings and shirts accessorized by spit-up.

As of this moment, my favorite perfume is A Scent by Issey Miyake (which I'm dangerously low on.) It's a warm, delicate, feminine scent with hints of jasmine, hyacinth and cedar - very sophisticated, romantic and quiet. I like to wear it with cozy materials, like soft sweaters and velvet slippers, such as the items I chose today:

Thrifted Marc by Marc Jacobs cardigan; thrifted J Jill white shirt; thrifted Seven For All Mankind button-fly jeans; Stuart Weitzman velvet flats; Nordstrom rack necklace

If you wear perfume, what's your favorite scent?

(Like this post? Check out my thrifting 101 series, my thoughts on staying true to your personal sense of style, and my internal debate over a velveteen blazer. And consider becoming a follower. I LOVE my readers!)


  1. I like Jessica Simpson's stuff. AHAHAHAHA. For reals. And "Secret Wonderland" by Bath and Body Works.

    I used to wear Body Shop's "vanilla" perfume oil. It smelled like fresh cake, and I wore it for years. Then I went in one day during university to get a refill and they had changed the formulation. I am still devastated.

  2. I totally went through the Clinique Happy phase, too! But now my signature scent is Marc Jacobs Daisy. It is the only perfume I wear. I've tried wearing other perfumes, but they just don't smell right on me.

    Kristine. Or Polly.

  3. I love your pom cardi!
    I never know what to do about perfume. I think it's lovely and would really like to have a signature scent but so many places are now scent-free. Seeing as how I have the asthma too I never want to be the one to cause others to have a fit. I usually wear Warm Amber shimmer lotion from the body shop. It's soft and warm and stays scented all day.

  4. This post was deeply amusing, and I am taking it as an invitation to post a self-indulgent comment.

    I started off with Victoria's Secret body sprays (I KNOW), then I moved to Clinique Happy (and realized it made me smell like sweating oranges), then finally moved to Burberry London and haven't found anything that compares since. (Which means I've tried to smell like a broke 20-something with a day job, who spends her nights furtively creating art or writing, with a closet full of little black dresses, since I was fifteen.)

  5. OMG- I remember Baby Soft! And I remember CK One phase too.

    I do love perfume, although sometimes when money get tight, it ends of being one of the treats that I cut back on first. One of my favorites is Armani Code

  6. Love your thrifted finds. I am a perfume hoarder/collector (whatever!). My current fave is Fracas. For drugstore finds, I love love love Halle Berry's Purple Orchid. Yum!


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