I used to be the sort of woman who bought make-up, but seldom wore it. Blessed with decent skin and the round, freckled features that I cursed at sixteen, but that I am becoming increasingly grateful for as the years pass, I thought cosmetics would always be aspirational purchases for me. Mascara, foundation, lip-liner — it all seemed fine for a night out and sure, it was fun to shop for eye-catching colors, but a full face did not fit into a morning routine that involved fifteen minutes of basic hygiene, lip balm and lacing on a pair of presentable sneakers. For years, I have treated makeup the way most people treat fragrance — as a pleasant, affordable and completely optional luxury. It didn't bother me that co-workers were often surprised to find out I wasn't a suspiciously experienced and articulate nineteen-year-old or that my toddler had difficulty recognizing me in eyeliner and pantyhose. A girl — and most days I still felt like a girl — got by on brains and spirit.
Then last spring I visited a new family doctor, who pointed out that despite my delusional belief I had inherited my mother's dark, coppery coloring, I was really a prime candidate for the sort of skin cancer that had claimed the top of my father's ear the previous month. She suggested I start looking for a tinted moisturizer or sheer foundation with sunscreen to protect my pasty hide. It was surprisingly hard to find one I liked. The first few products I tried either made me break out or dried and caked as the day wore on. I started visiting department store counters, cadging samples off sales assistants, reading scores of online reviews and trying several products on my skin at once. It all felt... familiar. Sure, I still believed in brains and spirit, but before long I also believed in bronzers, cream-to-powder blushes, gel eyeliners, Armani foundation technology, Becca eye-shadows and weird concealer products that actually highlight certain areas. Dior, Chanel and Guerlain weren't just fragrance houses anymore. A wonderful line from Angela's Rochas Femme review sang through my head: "I am this kind of woman, too."
And oh, the lipsticks! I have tried to blame March and Patty at Perfume Posse for my current lippie collection. March guided me in the direction of Poppy King's Lipstick Queen line, where I found Saint Nude, an unbeatable cream lipstick that really did intensify my natural lip color. Right out of the gate, I'd found perfection. But I should have learned from my perfume addiction that the quest never stops with perfection. Soon I needed the über-red that every woman has and that the Posse girls kept mercilessly blogging about. And what about the peerless bubblegum pink, the ideal coral, the Holy Grail berry, the best beige, the not-too-boring brown?
At around this time, I found myself suddenly searching out girly perfumes to complement my painted pout. Frederic Malle's Lipstick Rose would seem to be a natural choice, but I'm afraid I've only ever been able to regard that one as a wearable form of witticism, hip and direct, but ultimately a little short on conversation. Soon, I found bombshell scents that seemed a little less calculated to me, and more intent on raw seduction, red in lip and nail. As spring springs, my unisex colognes are calling to me ever more frequently, and I still love my chypres and fougères, but now I'm a rose and violet kind of woman, too. Please comment with your feminine favorites.
Armani Privé Rose Alexandrie: Starting with a strikingly bright, spice-kissed rose, this quietens quickly to a skin scent, rosewater backed by the resinous thrum of benzoin and musk like a tall glass of milk. While throaty, this is still soft and fresh-faced enough to be worn in daylight hours.
By Kilian Liaisons Dangereuses: This is supposedly one of By Kilian's unisex offerings, but it would take a brave fellow to wear it. Poised perfectly between pink-cheeked, fresh lift and ripe, heavy-lidded sensuality, this rose fragrance woos with coconut, of all things, creamy and sweet — but also darkly tinged with plum, prune and cinnamon, like a coconut trying to attract the eye of Serge Lutens. Extra siren points if you apply your Liaisons Dangereuses with the lipstick purse spray.
Amouage Lyric for Women: I'm normally a very aural person. I memorize sentences by reading them aloud, I shut my eyes to concentrate and I associate many perfumes — yesterday's MDCI Enlèvement au Sérail is an example — with swells of sound or music. But for some reason, Lyric causes me to experience an atypical synaesthesia. I cannot forget the pomegranate colour of the bottle and so my brain refuses to process this creamy, spicy, incense-warmed scent as anything other than looking at a glass of ruby port by candlelight. If Amouage ever decides to make lipstains, I have a shade suggestion for them.
L'Artisan Drôle de Rose: I love this fragrance and it saddens me that so many perfumistas seem immune to its charms. An Olivia Giacobetti creation from 1996, it apparently has notes of rose, aniseed, orange blossom, white iris, violet, almond, honey, rose powder, and leather. Does that not sound scrumptious? Many complain that the violet and rose powder overwhelm everything else, but I smell playful, fresh aniseed, a soothing, milky almond, a smell not quite leather — more like a creamy piece of stationary paper — and an oddly flat and yet cheerful floral note that has to be mimosa. Light-hearted and smart, Drôle de Rose is like a Yves Saint Laurent Paris made over just to satisfy me.
Rochas Tocade: I admit I've always worn this, but I needed something on this list to match the low-commitment satisfaction of a sheer, glossy lipstick. The appeal of Tocade is almost crude. As a co-worker of mine pointed out, it smells like the ultimate combination of nougat candy, powder compact and snuffed candle.
Note: image is Lipstick Love by P-J-TRASH at flickr; some rights reserved.
Nice post! It is true that some days the only things that make me feel “feminine” and not a working-mom-bot are fragrance and makeup…..My most fem frags are: Caron’s Montaigne – gorgeous, sensual, complex; Badgley Mischka – rich & exuberant; Cartier’s So Pretty – classic, sensual, dark yet dewey rose; Annick Goutal’s Heure Exquise – sensual, powdery, feminine; Guerlain’s Chamade – beautiful, classic, intelligent, sophisticated; and Lancome’s Magie (La Collection) – classic, warm, floral “white shirt” aldehyde….I think I could pick a few more, but these are the ones that really do it for me, when I need to reach deep for my “Sophia Loren”. I may be in some rumpled I-can’t-remember-what-I wore-to-work-yesterday outfit, but in my mind, when I wear one of these it’s all pearls, lipstick, heels and stunning suits….
What a very lovely list! And a perceptive comment: perhaps it is because I have become a full-time working mom/cyborg that I feel a desire for feminity in my life, when I didn’t before. One of my first make-up purchases was a MAC eyeshadow quad desinged for Sophia Loren. We have somewhat similar coloring, so, of course, this makeup was going to make me look as gorgeous as her! There are photos of her as a young woman that actually pain me, make me feel as if I haven’t swallowed something properly…
I’ve always been into makeup – when I was a little kid I had this barbie-like doll head thing that you put makup on….Anyway…having the time to put my face together really helps. (The Jane Jetson automatic “face” mask would be great about now!) I got sunk pretty hard by Trish McEvoy a few years ago, and it is only b/c of competing funds for fragrance that I’ve cooled it a bit with buying all her lovely products….My recent major color lip purchase was MAC Spice it Up! which seems to go very well with my need for feminization. It is a luxury indeed to be able to put on lovely cosmetics and beautiful fragrances when all the world around you is going to hell and you feel like crap!!
Lalalalala, I can’t HEAR you. I love my Paula Begoun “Don’t Go to the Cosmetic Counter Without Me” book and she keeps hyping Trish McEvoy, which I can’t get here in the land of the loonie. I want to order one of the Glaze lipsticks online, but the colour selection at Nordie’s, Bergdorf’s etc. makes it seem they have been discontinued and my loonie is no longer at par. Sigh.
Just back away from the Trish….Erin – TM does have a great product line, but there are frustrations. She ALWAYS has lipsticks, lipglosses, and other limited edition colors that are only around for a season. If you use her products, don’t get too attached, and if you do find something you like, buy two. TM discontinues products all the time. It is actually one of the downsides of her line….I also do not recommend buying her lipsticks, eyeshadows, or blushes from viewing the color samples online if you have never used them or seen them in person or by samples. They are often *way* off or even wrong, mislabeled, etc, which is more the fault of the online storefront than TM. If you look at multiple websites that carry her line (Nordstrom, Saks, Bergdorf, Neimans, etc), you’ll see the wrong colors listed with names, etc, or even different names for the same color. Her line is very poorly represented on-line, which I’ve mentioned a number of times to my favorite Trish rep. There are also many other products in her line that are *never* on-line, or may be sold out on a website, but available still through a store. I know TM has a website now, but it is not very good, even after a few years of development. I don’t live anywhere near a Trish counter, even though I got started with her stuff while on a trip to Portland, but I have a VERY healthy relationship with one of their regional reps who helps me deal with products. If you want to get into TM, you absolutely need to get a relationship with one of their people. Call Trish counter at Nordstrom or Saks in Seattle or Portland and ask for Erin Bird, who is almost always in Portland on Fridays. She is the regional Trish rep. She’ll hook you up.
Ann, it won’t let me reply to your reply for some reason. Thanks for the great info. If I can wait that long, I will try to buy the Trish *in* Portland or Seattle, both of which I plan to visit early this fall. I have bad luck with buying makeup online.
Hey! Are you reading my mind or what? Great topic, great timing! Thanks!
I too am in a new makeup phase, one of those (dangerous) “who am I” moments that start with some major change in job and/or sentimental life and suddenly creep over your makeup case (then box, then cabinet) and suddenly your hair is curly… and you know what a primer is…
My candidates for when I feel really “uberred” are the superpowdery and supermellow Attrape-coeur, Broadway nite, Tocade, Une fleur de cassie or, by contrast, Bandit, ELdO Rien and Incense extreme (for “I’m dangerous” red lips days) or my great all-rounder, Le parfum de Thérèse.
Thanks to you, too, I’m glad it’s timely. Yes, there is undoubtably some retail therapy element to moments of change in one’s life. I always spent money, I just used to spend more of it on used books, full bottles of perfume, and when I was a teenager in the pre-iPod days, CDs. (Do teenagers even buy CDs nowadays? I’m so ancient now I don’t know!) And Broadway Nite was one I considered for this list. Wonderful dangerous red lip picks!
No, they just steal all their music off limewire. Do not ask me how I know this.
I have a cautionary tale about Limewire (says she who is currently forced to answer comments at the internet café…..)
I may not be the target for this post since I don’t wear lipstick…. very often. I’ll admit to recently developing a curiosity about Lipstick Rose, however, since Malle seems to be my obsession de l’an.
I’m feeling brave enough to tackle that By Kilian, but it’s going to be way down the list of samples. Lyric Woman has haunted me since I took a sniff at Aedes at Christmas — it actually strikes me as LESS feminine than Lyric Man, believe it or not. I think it’s drier and less sweet… and absolutely beautiful. Must get a decant someday.
Truth be told, when I feel like taking a walk on the wild side, nothing does it like Carnal Flower. Va Voom.
HA! Love it! I am one of those brave fellows who wears Laisons Dangereuses AND Carnal Flower..and I am by no means the “feminine” type. Lyric woman is in the top 10 of my “to try” list.
I always encounter “laypeople” who find out I hang out here and have travelled to meet fragrance buddies, and who assume all guys interested in fragrance must be effeminate. I explain that every sniffin’ guy I’ve ever met is a manly dude, and it blows their minds. We’re out there, battling scented sexism!
I am so glad you both posted! The nice thing about perfume as a full-blown obsession, rather than makeup or handbags, is that we get Y-based presence on here. And if wear Carnal Flower, you have more dreal iva potential than me, regardless of gender…
Ah, that was supposed to be “real diva potential”…
Lol…gotcha Erin. Nothing like a ‘Manly” Diva huh?
Wow, great writing in this post!
I’m coming into the makeup thing backwards, like I do everything else. First nails, then lips, and now I’m finally getting around to replacing the primer and MAC tinted moisturizer I bought two years ago as wedding makeup.
I find that my new red lips (MAC Dubonnet!) make me want to wear my vintage “dame” perfumes, and that they also play wonderfully with “take me to the opera” scents like vintage Joy parfum, but with the rest of me dressed down.
And now I am matching up the rest of my perfume wardrobe to my very limited lippie collection… Hoping to expand it a bit at the Poppy Queen counter this week as I’ll be in NYC.
Thanks! Yeah, that wedding make-up, I know it well. My mother looked at my cosmetic collection early last year and said: “This stuff goes bad eventually, you know!!” Now she’s panicked I’ll spend all my money on perfume and makeup and won’t save any for clothes. (She wants to put me on “What Not to Wear” and get me a new, free wardrobe…) Joy and L’Heure Bleue are wonderful lipstick lover scents, but also wonderful any time scents for me, which is maybe why I didn’t put them on this list, I guess.
P.S. – Have fun in NYC, you lucky lady! Tell me what LQ color you get…
I actually love Drole de Rose. For me, it’s like a sparkling rose, chiffon-like, and I don’t understand why people don’t like it either. It actually reminds me of rose macarons de paris…the pastry shop I frequent actually makes some, and they taste exactly how I imagine if I “eat” Drole de Rose. Extremely Parisian!
Drole de Rose reminds me of the first time I plunged into the world of L’Artisan Parfumeur. One day, I just decided to smell everything from the brand and set aside everything I loved from their line…this was one of them…and it turned out (after checking out NST), majority of what I chose was made by Olivia Giacobetti. A life-long love affair with Giacobetti creations was thus born.
Ah, macarons. I sometimes wonder how people live in Paris without becoming 300 pounds and living in shelters constructed of perfume packaging. Drole de Rose is a very Parisian scent to me, too. Here, we’re starting our own little fan club.
I so know what you mean! With all that fabulous food… I remember one of my friends going to Paris and of course, he had to go to Laduree for the macarons. He went there around lunch and there was a line of chic Parisians (he did stress every single one in line was chic) and almost every one of them bought just one macaron, as an afternoon treat. I guess that’s why they’re so slim. But I don’t know, I don’t think I will be that disciplined when I’m in line at Laduree.
One macaron? Does not compute…..
Guerlain’s Insolence is my lipstick fragrance. It’s sweet, loud, and straddles that fine line between candy and flowers.
I almost never wear makeup (though I did every single waking moment as a teenager), but Insolence almost puts me in the mood a bright pink lippy and a swingy floral dress.
Oh, Insolence is perfect, especially for the disco ball glam days. And I know that feeling of being inspired to wear a flippy little dress – if only you actually owned one, right? (I think most of mine are size 4 and I’ve, erm, expanded a little.)
I love Drole de Rose as well. To me, FM’s Lipstick Rose is a similar scent. My favorite girlie scents besides Drole de Rose are: Carnal Flower, Ormande Woman, Parfum de Therese and Prada Infusion d”Iris.
You are so right! Drole de Rose , Lipstick Rose and Prada Infusion d’Iris are my girlie fragrances too….I’d like to add Juliette Has a Gun Citizen Queen to that list.
Too bad today is 42 degrees with a wind that about pulled the hair out of my head while I was trying to walk the dog! Around here I might be wishing for a Drole de Rose day, but I’m having a Champagne de Bois day!
Too bad about the weather, but you’re a clever one to be battling it by having a Champagne de Bois day!
Oh, you are clearly the sort lovely lady who can avoid the temptation of sweet, girlish lipstick scents. I’m trying hard, here, but I think if I wore Ormonde Woman or Carnal Flower and red lipstick *simultaneously*, I might explode the brains of everyone who knows me…
Well, I’m a firm believer that sometimes people need a little brain explosion now and then…it’s good for their character.
For someone who wears almost no makeup on a regular basis, I actually own scads of it. Every eye-shadow known to man, jillions of lipsticks (yes, that quest for perfection), every possible nail color. When I want to feel womanly I often wear Organza (and am eyeballing that Gucci by Gucci for when I have to put on a suit, literally or figuratively), seriously womanly is l’Heure Bleue (with an eye toward adding in Carnal Flower once I actually skin-test it). I have many scents that cover many moods but I haven’t quite found my girly-woman, pink-lipstick and t-shirt scent yet. MaDAME? Something by Dior? Hmmm…
I don’t really understand perfume bottle collectors – until I look at my collection of unused, old make-up. I can’t bear to throw it out, ’cause the colors and packagings are so cute. Have you tried the new Ralph Lauren Notorious? Not so femme fatale as the ads make out, but maybe good for a pink lipstick and t-shirt day. I bet Thierry Mugler Miroir des Envies would be good, too…
I haven’t tried the Notorious, but shall. I have a sample of Miroir des Vanities but not Envies.
I think I collect makeup because I am a fine artist and a quilter and just get drawn in by color. I want ALL the colors of everything and then I want them to invent new ones.
I’m wearing Vanities right now, actually – its great for my more unisex days. And what you say about color – so true!
I just bought a bottle of Estee Lauder Bali Dream, which reminds me a bit of Ma Dame. It’s definitely pink, but perhaps a little more sophisticated, yet fresh enough for t-shirt wear!
Forgot to mention it’s at TJ Max for only $20!
I don’t recognize that one. Remember something about a Kenzo Bali, but must have missed the EL. Thanks for the great recessionista tip!
I’ll look for it. I was at TJ Maxx the other day but all they had was Liz Taylor, Curve, Britney and Paris Hilton.
Our TJ Maxx equivalent is sort of Winners. I checked the other day and the only interesting things they had were the old CK Contradiction and Patou Sira des Indes for $10. I did also find the on10 Schweppes lip balms Robin included in the stocking stuffer lists for $5 and bought them – they’re great.
I’m long time lurker, first time poster..and i truly enjoyed your article..i wear more lipgloss than lipstick (love the playfulness of it, the high shine and sensuous feeling of it)
some of the perfumes that remind me of the powdery yet feminine scent of lipstick and face powder are
Van Cleef & Arpels – First
Yves Saint Laurent – Paris
Chanel – Allure Sensuelle
Guerlain – Jardins de Bagatelle
Chanel – N5
and Lanvin – Arpege..
i love make up and picking the right scent to go with it, it’s a truly magical moment!
OOH! I forgot about Jardins de Bagatelle! That was my first really grown up scent in the 80s!! It is very sophisticated and womanly for sure – I don’t think you can wear it, or First for that matter, if you aren’t feeling all confident!!
Welcome, and thanks! There is nothing that perks most women up so much as shopping for lipgloss, is there? Nice list you have there, by the way. I’m not a particuarly organized person, but I love coordinating my luxuries, too. It makes all feel right with the world…
I’m also developing a late-breaking obsession with makeup. As a crew-cutted (female!) teenager I owned no makeup or perfume (my feminist mother never wears makeup and is allergic even to laundry detergent scents… though she likes Kenzo Amour, weirdly!) I never even learned how to put it on… I recall a friend giggling t my attempt to put on her mascara. But recently I’ve discovered something I never suspected, that makeup is incredibly fun! I love applying it and trying new kinds. And perfume, well, the right scent can relax my whole body from just one inhale! The world is full of unsuspected joys…
It’s true! In those crew cut days, who would have suspected you would become pinkfizzy? There are certainly still moments when I feel like going back to a boy’s haicut, boots and Azzaro Pour Homme, but it’s nice to discover at this late date that I have a feminine side to get in touch with, too!
Wonderful post, Erin! You know, some of the Guerlains make wonderful, full-bodied and feminine lipstick fragrances. I am thinking of Insolence EdP, which I love, Meteorites, which is based on their face powder, and Nahema…Ooh, how I love her!
I do love Lipstick Rose and get a hankering to wear it from time to time. Juliette Has a Gun’s Lady Vengeance is another good lipstick fragrance, too, though slightly sweet, almost like a praline.
One new fragrance that smells of makeup is Hilde Soliani’s Vecchi Rossetti. I think you would love its warm, soft caress.
Hey, love the Vecchi Rossetti recommendation – will have to seek that out. Juliette Has a Gun fragrances have that adorable packaging. They should make a matching lipstick line – I’d be more likely to buy lippies than the scents, which didn’t really catch me the first time round. (But I’ll retry Lady Vengence – maybe I was just in a mood. Certainly I’m all for pralines.)
What a fabulous idea, Erin. They should have lippies.
Please retry LV. I was just so-so about it, but now I love it, and the sillage is beautiful! My best perfume friend and I both receive compliments when we wear it.
Robin, hello from another Drole Des Rose fan, it is a shame most people put it on their “scrubbers” list because they find it overly sweet and powdery. While my favorite of the L’Artisan offerings is by far Passage D’Enfer, DDR comes in as a very close second, I may even buy some a Sniffapalooza this weekend
It’s Erin today actually, though I’m flattered you took me for our blog mistress and I believe she likes Drole de Rose, too. Wish I was Sniffa’ing with you!
I’ve always loved makeup(especially eye makeup!), but lipstick not so much. When I was younger my lips were such a dark pink no matter what colour I put on it would almost always become dark pink. Now my lips have lightened considerably and that no longer happens. I’m just so used to not wearing stuff on my lips that I’m not sure I could lol
I think the last time I wore lipstick out I was wearing Noa by Cacharel. That bottle is long gone now.
Since I don’t have a lipstick scent how about a silvery celery green eyeshadow and octopus t-shirt scent? Chanel No. 5 of course! (It makes perfect sense! I swear! )
But of course! I’ve just learned another fail-safe combination is Laura Mercier Stick Gloss in Healthy Lips, stained pants and Diorella. Passing that on as a public service message…. I have deeply pigmented lips, too, ones that seem to rose-ify ever color. That’s why I always lean towards warm shades.
I think I remember eyeshadow being Robin’s favorite makeup to shop for. We all have our vices….
I used to have this multi purpose pencil in a warm nude I’d put that on my lips and then apply some gold gloss. It seemed to tone down the pink. of course it was discontinued in about one second lol same with the gold gloss…that gloss was great, it smelled like chocolate!
Eyeshadow has a terrible hold on me I have so many and I still want more!
The only thing that bugs me almost as much as a discontinued perfume is discontinued make-up. I love M.A.C., but they’re particularly terrible for it.
LMAO. I’ll have to try the Laura Mercier, I’ve got the stained pants and Diorella.
I’m a summery sort of blonde, normally have a kind of hippie aesthetic, but on the very rare occasions when I want to look made-up, I’ll wear a bright blue-pink lipstick (what I think of as ’40s pink), and to me the obvious partner to this is Fracas. And I’m not afraid of Fracas…if anyone around me is, that’s just too darn bad.:)
HA! Yes, try the Laura Mercier. I would love to wear a cool, light pink, but alas, that is not a colour for my weird skin tone.
This was a very dangerous article for me to read. I love perfumes, so wear them always and everyday. I also love nail polish, makeup, body creams, etc. I just bought a gamut of products (MAC’s Sweet Strawberry gloss for everyday wear; Spirit lipstick for a more sophisticated look; Lavender Whip lipstick for a little loudness), not to mention a bronzer and a few Essie polishes. I’ve never heard of Lipstick Queen line…..so tempting!
NOw, as for makeup scents, what about Armando Martinez Maquillage?
Ack! Haven’t tried that one. Off to order samples. (You’re right – reading is a dangerous.)
What a fun post!!! So glad I led you astray … please, you are wearing sunscreen, right? You have extraordinary skin. Really. That’s part of why you look so young. Please take care of it. btw my dad just lost a large chunk of ear too and I’m already having precancers removed, and I was hardly a sun junkie.
There’s something almost trashy about Tocade that delights me — one of those fragrances LT describes as a delightful vacation from good taste, you know?
Also there are the revisits. I tried Fifi Chachnil again recently and it’s so wonderfully frilly, and I loved it, and that’s so not me.
Fifi! *smacks forehead* I always curse myself as soon as I read the comments to a list. “THAT’S what I forgot.”
Sorry about your Dad’s ear and your own spots. Weirdly, after many years of oiliness, my skin has started to get dry all of a sudden. I’ve been slathering on sunscreen like there’s no tomorrow, terrified I’m turning the corner and am suddenly going to wrinkle, dry and wither up over a couple of seconds like some guy in an Indiana Jones movie. At least it will match my rapidly graying hair. Hopefully, hair dye will be as fun to shop for as lipsticks…
Erin, I’ve recently discovered shea butter as an amazing thing for really dry skin….I don’t put in on my face….but it’s great for everyplace else. Sunscreen is important but you need to seal in moisture too. If you decide to try shea butter products remember to watch for parabens, and personally, I don’t really like things with emulsifying waxes…they leave your skin feeling a little sticky.
I have been battling dry hands, shins, hips and arms for some time and shea butter is my friend. The new problem is my face, where I need something light enough to not break me out, but heavy enough to keep me from flaking between my eyebrows. Any suggestions?
great list Erin! I too love Drole de Rose (really want a bottle) and Lyric (hope they will make us a travel bottle (fingers crossed!)….I hear all of this love for Tocade and have never sniffed- will have to find some soon…
A perfumista’s life is full of regrets – I didn’t buy Amouage Ubar back when it was cheaper, so now I’m hoping they make a travel spray of that one, too. And you must try Tocade – that one is actually super-affordable.
Yes! Drole de Rose IS just like someone decided to re-make Paris, but just so much better! I adore it, and its milky almond strangeness. DdR is somehow so pretty and clever and flirty…very drole! I have a weakness for Lipstick Rose though. It’s that retro, plasticky, almost brazen aspect to it that I just can’t stop thinking about. It is quite the femme fatale! I tried the Prive Rose Alexandrie once and liked it very much, but it was only very briefly in store so couldn’t forge much of an impression. Sounds like I need to try all the others on your list too, thanks! BTW my perfect bright red lipstick is NARS TransSiberian, a deep old fashioned ruby. Great post!
TransSiberian! What a great colour! Can’t wear it, though, too cool-toned. My NARS red is Manhunt. You really ought to check out Rose Alexandrie: it’s quite subtle, so easy to overlook or just check off the to-try list, but it has a very similar retro feel to LR.
I’m not tom-boyish, but I hate makeup and other girly things like heels and handbags (except I’m obsessed with crazy Balenciaga and Lanvin shoes). I don’t even own a pair of jeans though. I only wear miniskirts.
I wanted to go to school for fashion and I either wanted to do lingerie or menswear. I think that kind of sums up my taste in perfume.
But anyway…. when I want to be more feminine I usually wear Alexander McQueen Kingdom or Donna Karan Black Cashmere (I think it might be more feminine on me than others).
In one of those ridiculous birthday/astrology books, my tarot card is Temperance. The book suggested seeking balance in my life, to counteract my natural tendencies. Well, the stars are right on that one. Men’s colognes and flirty, girlish roses, gem-like short stories and epic, bilgy novels, men’s wear and lingere/miniskirts – I’m a lady of extremes. Sounds like you, too.
Erin, this sentence blew the top of my head off: “Lipstick Rose would seem to be a natural choice, but I’m afraid I’ve only ever been able to regard that one as a wearable form of witticism, hip and direct, but ultimately a little short on conversation.” Just perfect!
This time of year, I slip into the easier scents that work well in the heat. I love Sel de Vetiver and Sublime Balkiss, but I can’t decide which I like more. And in the heat, makeup makes me feel like I have a plastic bag over my head. I do sunscreen, eyebrow pencil and sunblock lip stuff. The world will have to take me as I am.
Laughing about the plastic bag – know exactly what you mean! I feel very fortunate to have fallen in love with makeup during the fall/winter. Sublime Balkiss I hated on first try for some reason – it didn’t smell anything like what I expected it to. On subsequent tries, I’m really enjoying it. Sel de Vetiver is maybe my favourite TDC, but all of those fragrances, with the notable exception of Divine Bergamot, smell oddly loud to me – in a nice way, but still not high-summer-wear for me.
First time poster here and just wanted to say thanks for this post. It’s so nice sometimes to feel that even though you’re (I am, at least!) a stressed out mum covered in baby sick with hysterical toddlers screaming at you, you can still have a bit of glamour sometimes. And this is why I love perfume so much, cause you don’t have to be dressed up to the nines and looking gorgeous. You talked about some of my favourite scents, am off to try and find a sample of Drole de rose now as it sounds lovely and to dig out my make up bag and see what I’ve got in there that’s still good!
Welcome! There are a lot of us moms here. And you are right – perfume is the ultimate pick-up for a mother, it’s so quick to apply. Also, unlike make-up, it can be entirely self-indulgent. You’re not walking around all day, looking at yourself, so you put on makeup at least partly for the rest of the world. But you can get a little hit of pleasure from sniffing your wrist at any time and that magic can be just for you.
I started wearing red lipstick (nothing else though, except sometimes chalky cover-up stick whenever my skin returns to pubescent phase) and Guerlain’s Samsara at age 17 and have only recently, at age 26, begun moving away from this uniform, which I sometimes – unforgivably – even wore during warmer weather…
So Samsara smells a little bit of lipstick to me.
When I started wearing this combo I felt it was the real Madame look, at the same time Lolita and also white girl Geisha imposter.
Make-up is allowed to be a bit weird, I feel.
Exactly! Indeed, unlike Paul Begoun, I would say it is *obligated* to be weird sometimes. Make-up is supposed to be fun. I wore absolutely outrageously ridiculous orange makeup at Halloween last year and everybody kept telling me how striking it was on me. Granted, I was working at a health clinic for transgendered people, where there is a different interpretation of “subtle” – but I think that’s great, they know how to have fun! There were lots of LGBT people there who rocked the Guerlain scents, too.
One Halloween I was a beatnik vampire and had a black pageboy/China girl wig and super-pale face makeup with dark eye and lip colors – everyone said it was a really great look for me. Sigh.
Paula Begoun has the most boring makeup colors on the planet! Only for those who want to look like they are not wearing any, which for me is easily accomplished by not wearing any.
I like her BS-detector and she’s guided me towards a lot of great products that actually work. I’m a confirmed Begoun fan. I’m also proud that she has gradually let go of her bias against shimmer. But she’s still weird about colours and glossy textures. Her books seems to be written for only people her age, which, like all of our ages, keeps increasing.
I love your article, for me best perfumes associated with lipstick and feeling superfeminine, are l’herure bleue, shalimar, farnesiana, royal bain de caron, angel… but i could cite many more. i have also; recently discovered profumum and its glorious update on shalimar with dulcis in fundum!!
L’Heure Bleue is coming up a lot! I considered it for this list, it’s so gorgeously feminine, but got stuck on roses for some reason.
L’Heure Bleu is absolutely a lipstick fragrance. I think it suits the Deneuve type of woman (in fact I remember reading that she wears it): cold, beautiful, the charm of ambiguity…
But I would love to smell it on a man, an urban boy with irony, Dorian Gray of the noughties.
I am a loyal customer of BECCA. Her skin products seem the best on the market to me, and her approach to make-up is subtle and complimentary. HOWEVER……..!!! I also love to wear orange MAC lippy, and also bright red lippy, and sometimes more of a dark wine/plum colour when the occasional is more formal. I would say that Ta’if is a good frag to accompany BECCA. it’s feminine, pretty and easy. Ormonde Woman would go well with a deep wine or plummy lipstick. And to go with a bright red lippy ……… perhaps Fracas, for fun and flirtiness?
Hmmm…..that was fun! No idea what would go with my bright orange lippy though……i’m too not keen on citrus!
Have you tried that new Shiseido Perfect Rouge in bright orange (think it’s called Day Lily)? Gorgeous! For some reason, I tend to think of BECCA as a beach beauty kind of line – maybe because it’s from Down Under – and Ta’if feels so nocturnal to me. But Fracas is red lippie all over for me, too!
God, you make Drôle de Rose sound absolutely scrumptious – and I don’t *like* rose. Well, two exceptions that I know of, one of which can definitely be a red-lipstick-kinda-scent: C&S Dark Rose. Nothing dark about it, just rich, jammy rose. The other one would be Safran Troublant – gorgeous, but not very vampy.
For me, a vampy scent is Dark Amber & Ginger Lily. I don’t know why, it just reads sexy and in control. Then again, my idea of a made up face is bare with prussian blue liner. Maybe you shouldn’t be asking me these questions.
Ooooo Dark Rose! Can’t wait until it’s back – I missed it the first time around and have always wanted to try it. Very vampy, I bet.
Great article, Angela! Just off the top of my head, my two most-worthy-of-lipstick dressed-up scents are Lyric Woman and Le Parfum de Therese. Lipstick — and heels! (Now, if I could just figure out how to add a wink!)
Hi Robin, it’s Erin. I love heels, but am the least graceful person on earth and always biff in them. I’m trying for a languid, lounging sort of bombshell-ness, the kind that doesn’t involve me moving around.
Ack!! Sorry, Erin. Great writers write alike! Kudos on the great piece
Thanks, and no trouble. This seems like the sort of thing Angela would write about, too, beautiful, feminine scents….
Wonderful post, Erin, in words and spirit–and ‘fume detail, of course.
I am one who has not crossed the makeup rubicon…have had my fancies, and have also had acquisitive periods–like another poster said, I think this might simply connect with art supplies, and also for me, with office supply gathering (a pen for each style of writing, e.g.). And I just gathered a few lipsticks last month because they were on sale at Walgreens, and because, I think, I’ve been encouraged by all the blogging about them. HOWEVER…lipstick, and generally all makeup, are still for dress up.
That said, I love/totally get the lipstick makeup concept. Lyric Woman I think is dead on. I think from my own collection I’d add: Poeme or Amarige; Amoureuse (though I can use that without lipstick, thank you very much); First; Boucheron…hey wait, I’m going big floral. I think also a Magie Noire, though that swings both ways (with and without lipstick).
Aw, this might change by the day. I’ll stick with your thinking for now…
What great suggestions. Amoureuse and Magie Noire are particularly interesting to me, and I thought about them, but got caught up on my rose theme, as I explained in a previous comment. Like Lyric, Amoureuse is another scent I associate with colour – with peachy oranges and glowing pinks – although also with (loud!) sound. Magie Noire is a perfect white skin, red lip scent, although, also, as you say, great with nothing.
It’s thought-provoking for me: what scents might go with what lip colors? A whole new avenue to explore! I’ve begun wearing my high-shine apricot lip gloss (’cause it’s spring!) and just this evening found a bottle of Tocade at my local TJ Maxx.
Thanks for this great article, Erin!
Ooooo, apricot lip gloss! You sound like my kind of girl! (Guerlain, of course, is right up my alley, too.) I was going to include lippie colour suggestions with my reviews, but it looks like everyone is doing a good job of covering that end for me.
I love make-up almost as much as I love clothes and fragrance – I have too many expensive hobbies. Angel for the over-the-top, vulgar bad girl kind of lipstick look, Mitsouko for classic red lipstick – although I also tend to think that that kind of ostentatious femininity calls for a perfume that is different, somehow. I counter some of my super-feminine lipstick looks with Bulgari Black or Messe de Minuit to mix up the signals a little.
That’s true – I sometimes have the urge to counteract my NARS Beautiful Liar with a little Nicolai Pour Homme or something. It’s like Luca Turin’s idea that super-virile, hairy-chested fragrances should only be worn by women.
That’s an idea, too. Maybe I should look into Kouros or something similar.