When asked what she wore to bed, actress and model, Marilyn Monroe, answered: “What do I wear in bed? Why, Chanel No. 5, of course.”
Which begs the question, have you got a signature scent?
When I was 16, my first part-time job was in the perfume section of David Jones in the city. Surrounded by classic fragrances—that could not be bought in chemists in those days—was so romantic, or so I thought at the time. The popular and expensive perfumes were French, but there were also controversial fragrances with names like “Opium” and “Tabu”.
This was in the days when not many, if any, stars had their own perfumes – Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds being one of the early forerunners.
My first signature scent
At 16, inspired by a beautiful teenage Brooke Shields as the face for Faberge’s ‘Babe’ perfume and beauty products, I wanted to wear nothing but Babe, and thus my first signature fragrance was born.
My mother always wore Youth Dew by Estée Lauder, a sophisticated fragrance that as a child I thought was keeping her young for many years.
As I hit my twenties, I loved the White Linen ads (I know, another Estée Lauder perfume) and I adopted it as my special fragrance. It was crisp and sophisticated. That was until I found out that my mother-in-law wore it and it’s fair to say she wasn’t my favourite person, so my relationship with White Linen ended.
What does your perfume say about you?
Well we could tell you that wearing citrus means you are light and playful, or wearing the woody, earth fragrances means you are grounded, but it’s more than that.
We choose perfumes on their scent and how they smell on our skin. We choose them based on people’s reaction to our scent, and of course we are influenced by brand advertising. Many a time it is a gift and we have had no part in the choosing, or we admire someone who wears a particular fragrance and we wish to emulate them.
Tricks I learnt behind the perfume counter
I did learn a few tips and tricks when I was working as a perfume seller (and look busy was one of them). These included:
- Spray a perfume on your wrist and let it settle for a short while before inhaling its scent. Otherwise you are really just inhaling the alcohol. I don’t know if that is true, but it was passed down to me when I was selling by the great perfume ladies who went before me;
- After testing two or so perfumes, forget it, your senses are in overload;
- Take the paper samplers home and put them in your wallet, underwear draw, wherever you like. You will smell the fragrance each time you are exposed to them and can decide if it is for you;
- Do drop hints in a big way if your partner is shopping for a gift for you. Seriously, the number of men that used to come into the perfume counter and say: “She wears something really nice that smells flowery.” Well, that narrows it down!
On my perfume shelf now
These days I like to boast that I’m a Joy by Jean Patou and a Chanel No.5 girl, and yes I do have both of these gorgeous fragrances. But my favourite fragrance isn’t even French, it’s Euphoria by Calvin Klein.
Personally, I’ve given up on the signature fragrance. Now I have a dozen fragrances and I wear what I feel like and what matches my dress style for the day. As they say, seize the day!
What do you wear? What has influenced your choice?
Carmel Elliot is a part-time Brisbane events organiser, mother of two grown men and grandmother of two girls and a boy. When she’s not working or babysitting, she likes to paint in oils, but obviously that doesn’t happen very often.