O.K., here’s a question: How many perfumes does a woman need?
For me, the answer certainly comes to more than one. As much as I love the idea of having a signature fragrance, I could never be faithful to just one scent, no matter how fabulous. After all, I would never want to go through life listening to just one song, or drinking just one wine, or looking at just one painting.
The Fragrance Foundation recommends that women have four perfumes: a floral, an oriental, a green, and a chypre. While this recommendation probably makes their member organizations happy by touching on most fragrance categories, I have a harder time with it. A chypre, for instance, can be herbal and zingy, like Guerlain Sous le Vent or Patou Cocktail, or lush and viscous like Rochas Femme or Cartier Baiser du Dragon. (In fact, I think I could make a fragrance wardrobe of chypres alone.) I don’t see how fragrance family alone can determine how many perfumes to have.
So, how many perfumes are enough? After a great deal of thought, I’ve determined that for me the magic number is twelve. I need a perfume each for business meetings; for “ladylike” situations such as weddings and graduation ceremonies; for comfort; for bringing out my inner bombshell; and for general daily use. That’s five scents. Multiply times two for hot and cold weather, and we have ten scents. Then, add a killer white floral and Mitsouko — a category all its own — and the grand total is twelve.
Mind you, this is a bare minimum. I could easily add more for when it’s rainy (businesslike-rainy, comfort-rainy, etc.). Also, I like to wear vintage scents when I have on contemporary clothing and vice versa. If I add “special use” scents — for barbecues, cleaning house, or watching the Thin Man movies, for instance — the number goes up even more.
Starting tomorrow and continuing through the week, I’ll write about some of my favorite fragrances for each of these categories. I hope in return that you’ll tell me some of your favorites.
Note: thanks to Keeter of MakeupAlley for permission to display the picture of her fabulous perfume collection!