Considering that you’ve ended up on GrittyPretty.com, we’re going to hazard a guess that you own a perfume. Or two. Three, perhaps?
For some, choosing a signature scent is easy. These unicorns walk into a fragrance hall, try a few, settle on one and take it home. For others – present company included – choosing a single fragrance feels borderline impossible. How do you pick just one?
This is why the concept of a fragrance wardrobe exists. Rather than trying to find a perfume to see you through the entire week, month, year – instead, why not curate a wardrobe of fragrances to pick and choose depending on the event or season? Better still, what if your suite of perfumes played well together, giving you the option of layering, too?
“Fragrance can evoke an emotion or it may correspond to desires at different stages of our lives,” says Daphne Bugey, the Perfumer behind Jean Paul Gaultier Scandal A Paris. “I think a fragrance wardrobe [can help] express all of these many desires or emotions.”
Don’t worry, we’re not suggesting you go out and buy four perfumes at once; armed with the right knowledge, you can start curating your fragrance wardrobe from your next purchase.
Here, the Gritty Pretty guide to creating your own fragrance wardrobe.
You do you
Forget about trends or what your mother says you should like, when it comes to perfume – or anything in life, really – you’ve gotta do you.
“Selecting a fragrance is a daunting experience for many people,” says Nick Smart, fragrance expert and director of Agence de Parfum. “The best way to select a new fragrance is to understand what notes you like, and what fragrances you have enjoyed wearing in the past.”
To quote Marie Kondo, test out a few scent categories until you find one that sparks joy. “Choosing a fragrance, in general, is very personal, so I would advise to let your emotions flow,” Bugey tells Gritty Pretty.
Know your categories
Most perfumers and fragrance experts use Michael Edward’s Fragrance Wheel to categorise scents:
Key notes: Fresh cut flowers, rose, jasmine, orange blossom.
Key notes: Cinnamon, vanilla, musk, myrrh, anise.
Key notes: Patchouli, vetiver, sandalwood, amber, leather.
Key notes: Sage, bergamot, grapefruit, lavender, oceanic notes.
Layer it up
When it comes to layering fragrances, there’s one rule and that is – are you ready? – that there are no rules. This concept lets you create your own signature, Bugey explains: “The final result depends very much on the choice of the original fragrances and the dose involved for each.”
Generally speaking, like goes with like (so woody mixes well with woody) and floral goes well with fresh scents. Warm and spicy notes are a little trickier to layer than lighter blends. However, as we said earlier, these are guidelines, not rules.
Time to edit
Do you already have a signature scent? (Great!) You have two options in this pursuit of a fragrance wardrobe. A) If it’s floral, try a new floral (one that brings a different twist to the table) or fresh scent to ensure that they layer well, giving you a third fragrance in the process. Or b) opt for a completely different oriental or woody scent to contrast your current perfume and give your fragrance wardrobe some depth.
Our advice: take your favourite perfume to the store with you so that you know what you’re working with.
Tell us, do you layer your scents? Or do you stick to one perfume per session?