Monday, December 8, 2008

Oooh, That Smell

Today as I was walking to the staff room to heat up my lunch, I caught a whiff of someone's very strong perfume. It was a scent from my youth and though I can't tell you exactly what it was, I immediately went spinning back through time. It's funny how perfumes can make you think of certain people, certain times. But I guess that's what it's supposed to do.

I associate White Shoulders with my mother and Mennan Skin Bracer with my dad because those were my go-to gifts for them when I was child. Someone told me that they liked those scents and so I kept them well supplied for years.

I can't remember exactly when I started wearing perfume, but I've worn my share over the years. The first that I remember actively choosing was Giorgio. Of course, I didn't wear the real thing, but one of those knock off body sprays that were so popular for a while.

That was followed by Liz (as in Claiborne). I think we were all wearing either Liz or Giorgio during high school. Or maybe Obsession. For the guys it was Polo all the way. The entire high school reeked of Polo. There was no sneaking around if your boyfriend was wearing Polo -- that stuff would cling to you for days!

Once during my my senior year I was staying with some family friends while my mom was out of town and their college aged daughter had a bottle of Chanel No. 5. Curious, I tried it and was hooked. Wearing it I was classic, refined, rich -- all the things the Chanel name brings to mind.

I wore Chanel for years, until in college I met a guy. And this guy sold perfume knockoffs. He had a huge case full of samples and he let me pick one. We did a blind test, so I could see what I really liked and wouldn't be swayed by the name. We sniffed and sniffed and sniffed.

He handed me one bottle in particular "Try this."

"Ooh, yuck. I don't like that one at all! What is it?"

"Chanel No. 5!!" Oops. We both collapsed into laughter because I had been so adamant about my love for Chanel.

From that scent test I selected Estee Lauder's Beautiful, which I still love, but these days I've moved on to Happy by Clinique. It's my favorite fragrance and it really makes me happy when I wear it. I've been out for a while (hint, hint - Christmas is coming!) and I've kind of gotten out of the habit of wearing a scent, or even wanting to.

But I would like to have a signature scent, something that will remind people of me.

What about you? Do you wear perfume? If so, what's your favorite? Do particular scents remind you of certain people or times in your life?

Oh, and my five moments today...

1. The warm shower after making coffee in the cold kitchen.

2. Community coffee.

3. Free food.

4. Not really worrying about the 2 pounds I gained since last week. That's the great thing about Weight Watchers.

5. Watching the kids watch the Polar Express train that we put up around the base of our Christmas tree tonight.

18 comments:

AndreAnna said...

I change it often depending oh the seaons. I love Neroli Jasmine by The Body shop for autumn, Liz Claiborne Sport for winter, and Ralph (the blue one) for spring/summer. I also have a myriad of little ones I pick up and try every now and then.

DysdHousewife said...

"Liz Claiborne" for years here. I quit wearing it when I found "Angel". My boyfriend all through highschool wore Polo, and I still recognise the scent when someone walks by wearing it. Another one I remember well is loves baby soft. Ah..the memories we imprint with scent.

for a different kind of girl said...

I've not worn perfume in years. I love it, but I never think of it, and I haven't had any in years. Perhaps I ruined my olfactory (I feel like that's wrong...) senses with those imitator knock-off body sprays from back in high school!

Lauren said...

Sunflower (maybe by estee lauder?)...all the girls wore it when I was in high school and I loved it! Now (when i can afford it) i wear clinique happy heart.

Funny story about perfumes...once my mom and I were walking through a department store and I smelled this perfume called "Lauren", and I mentioned to my mom that it had a very comforting smell...she said that might be a wierd way to describe perfume, except for the fact that that's what she wore for the first few months after I was born! I guess I remembered...

ImpostorMom said...

I used to wear perfume but not so much any more. In high school it was CK One and then later I wore Velocity by Mary Kay (my mom sells Mary Kay and free is free, not to mention I like the scent.) I haven't worn any perfume in many years though. My signature scent has become lotion. :P

calicobebop said...

Eeek! I'm a Chanel 5 girl myself. Although, I also like Coco Madmoiselle. We weren't allowed to wear perfume in my house because my Dad has such a sensitive nose. I had to figure out what I liked via my friend's perfume bottles. Mostly though, I smell like soap.

BTW, I love Community Coffee too! That stuff rocks!

Leslie said...

In high school it was Love's Baby Soft and Lauren. Most perfumes give me a sick headache, but I love the Chanel perfumes. My favorite is No. 19, but I also like No. 5 lotion (the perfume is almost too strong). For years, my mom has worn Estee Lauder Youth Dew. I can't wear it, but when I smell it, it instantly makes me feel happy, calm, and loved.

Ah yes, Polo. I think it was the scent of the 80s. All the guys I knew wore it, too. That and Drakar Noir.

Burgh Baby said...

It's been probably two years since I last remembered to actually wear perfume, but I'm all about Ralph Lauren scents. I dig Blue and Black the bestest.

Laura said...

OBSESSION!! HA HA! I am cracking up! I loved that stuff in high school.

I wear Vera Wang Princess...reminds me of my girls, who love the crown bottle top, and get so excited when I let them wear some

But I am ready to change to Harajuku G...or Baby...or any of them. TOO cute bottles...I am all about the packaging....

Fannie said...

Leslie must be the only commenter my age: the early 70's were all about Love's Baby Soft.

Debbie said...

For years my signature scent was stale breast milk and dirty diapers. Ah...great memories. It must have worked because I have four kids and wore that scent a long time. I then moved on the Playdough and scented markers. Another success. Now, it is whatever is in the shower. I am such a girly girl.

Michele said...

In thinking about this I realize that after Love's Baby Soft in the late 70's I would wear whatever the current boyfriend said he loved and bought for me. When I was 16 it was Jontue. When I was 18 it was Lauren. When I was 21 it was Sand & Sable. When I was 22it was Obsession (that one became my husband). Now in my ahem 40's I pick what I like and tell him and he and the boys buy it. I love Euphoria by Calvin Klein for the sensuous side and Be Delicious (green apple bottle) for the perky side. Great blog post!
Michele in Atlanta

Meg said...

I've always wanted a signature scent. I love Happy Heart by Clinique. I'm out of it, too. I also like Rainkissed leaves from Bath and Body Works.

Funny that Chanel No. 5 didn't work for you as a blind smell test. The label makes it smell better.

HalfAsstic.com said...

I love Happy, too. Have you tried Clinique's Happy Heart? I got it the last time I did a Happy.
The sense of smell is a very stronger trigger for memories and feelings, too. The smell of aerosol hairspray will always remind me of the hot, hot summertime when I was little and my mother getting ready to go somewhere.

anglophilefootballfanatic.com said...

I read somewhere (Vogue??) about needing the signature scent to make your sigoth associate it with your pheromones. I have worn #5 for about 10 years, and I just found out instead of getting it for me for Christmas, Puppy got me a new scent. I'm scared.

Katie in MA said...

My Almost-Ex wore Obsession when we were dating. Whenever I smell it now, it makes me so sad and homesick for what we used to have and who he used to be.

That Chick Over There said...

I wore "Liz Claiborne" and then I wore "Happy" for a while. Mostly I do body spray now...sweet pea from Bath and Body works.

My high school also REEKED of Polo and Drakkar Noir, which they called, "Drak-car".

Yes, seriously.

Trannyhead said...

I used to wear Izzy Miyaki but stopped after I had a baby. But this makes me want to wear it again!