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Monday, 19 June 2017

Scent of a Woman

I'm reading Roxanne Gay's Untamed State (it's very harsh and I'm not sure I'd recommend it - not because it's bad, I just find it disturbing, so read some reviews and decide for yourself - I'm quite the delicate flower in some respects) and in it the mean mother in law says 'That perfume is too young for you. You smell like a high school tart.'. It's an inconsequential line but it got me thinking. Does perfume have an age?

I understand lilac and rose may be 'too old' for a young person, but does the reverse work? I'd never thought about it until now. I posed this question in a group and so many people agreed with her. As someone who just wears smells that I like, I was surprised how many people thought about perfumes and scent.

I discovered that the vanilla, which I sometimes wear, is considered young, whereas to me, it's a bit old lady - comfort in baking smell. My favourite perfume is the Dali original. I have a small stockpile that I wear on special occasions, as it stopped being made a decade ago. (So if anyone sees some on sale, do let me know!!). I like Frangipani and Jasmine, because they remind me of holidays. I like green tea because of fancy Bvlgari smell, from luxury hotels in holidays gone by. Clearly I get comfort from my perfumes, with the 'feelings' of happiness and well being that they connect to.

It was pointed out to me that at the recent Writers Festival, there was a focus on fragrance, writers using smell as means to draw the reader in. One can't forget the first volume of Proust's work, the surprisingly hilarious Swann's Way, has the smell of a tiny cake leading to a book worth of memories. The last book I read, The Nest, talked a lot about a character wearing Nina Ricci's L'air du temps, signifying a very New York thing at a certain time and for a certain age. It is definitely in fashion in literature.

It's funny how such a faint ephemeral thing can govern so much.

Do you get too old for a perfume?
What are you currently wearing?
Do you have a signature perfume?
Have you actually thought about it?

Linking with #StayClassyMama

5 comments:

  1. Interesting question and yes I agree some scents can be overwhelming on a younger person or an older person. That said that is only my opinion and personally I don't really wear perfume.

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  2. I've never actually thought about it, I just wear what I like which is usually something light and floral. My current favourite is Marc Jacobs Daisy. My mum on the other hand wears Estee Lauder's Youth Dew and has done for years. It is quite old lady and very strong so maybe she has aged gracefully into her scent! You can totally sniff her out when she goes into a room and my dear old auntie always used to have to waft herself after she'd greeted my mum, and say "urgh, that smell!" (Tact was never one of her strong points!)

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  3. I did an aromatherapy course years ago and learned that scent has a strong connection to memory and can evoke strong emotion. Interesting. So we used it in an aged care setting and the residents really liked it. I don't agree that some perfumes are for young people. People should wear what they like. What a silly rule!

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  4. I'm a bit of a perfume whore and have quite a few different fragrances. Some I use often, some I don't. I do find some are not good for day time as I feel they are too heavy and so tend to only use them in the evening. I've never felt that a perfume is too young for me but I do think so are too old for me (not sure what that says about me - LOL).
    I do have my favourites. I used to keep some perfumes 'for good' but a few years ago when I stopped having 'good clothes' and 'good crockery' and 'good linen', I stopped keeping some perfumes 'for good' and I will just as easily use them to go to Coles as I will to go out to a show or a special dinner.
    I love perfume - I am not very good at remembering names - but I know the shape of the bottle and when I pick it out the cupboard, it makes me smile when I spray it on. I get very sad when I can no longer buy it.

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  5. There are smells that take me to my teen years (perfumes and after shaves) and some that take me to other countries (foods) and then there is the washing powder that takes me to my US family. Smells are amazing for recall. As for perfume, I'm sensitive but for years I wore 5th Avenue. I feel I have moved on from that now. Not because I'm too old, but because I'm just ready for a change. Right now it is Clinique's HAPPY (purely for the name). xo

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