This time of year, perfume lovers talk a lot about what fragrances they like to wear for the holidays. Other times of the year, people ponder fragrances for weddings, major birthdays, new jobs, or other milestones. This post won't suggest perfumes for any of these occasions. Instead, it offers a warning. If you wear a beautiful fragrance on a beautiful day, you'll have beautiful memories. But if you wear a beautiful fragrance and things go sour — well, you may as well pour that bottle of Amouage Lyric that was supposed to brighten your spring down the toilet. It will only bring you heartache.
Scent and memory are tightly entwined. Maybe you wouldn't otherwise give it a second sniff, but you might own a bottle of Estée Lauder Youth Dew because you associate it with your grandmother, the one who called you "pumpkin" and hugged you with a grip that would earn her favorable odds in big time wrestling. You might have entertained the possibility of wearing Calvin Klein Euphoria if it didn't remind you so much of the pushy office manager in your last job who made a note of pointing out every time you returned from lunch two minutes late. Maybe you had to give away your bottle of Thierry Mugler Angel because your ex-husband loved it on you — until he left you for some Paris Hilton Siren-wearing homewrecker.
Sometimes you can't help it when a perfume you love becomes tainted with painful memories. For instance, who knew the day you first wore Chanel Bois des Iles they'd call a staff meeting to shut down the office and lay everyone off? But sometimes you do have more control. If you know you're facing something difficult, it's not a good day to try something new. Instead, wear an old favorite already infused with happy associations. For me, Guerlain Vol de Nuit and Caron Tabac Blond are armor against painful times as well as favorites for good times.
If, on the other hand, you are sure of a time you'll want to remember, by all means wear a new fragrance, something that excites you. Buying a new scent for a vacation, for instance, and wearing it every day you're away will bring those memories back each time you wear it at home. Choose a new scent for your wedding you'll want to wear often to call up your happiness (and hopefully not memories of the bridesmaids overindulging in wine coolers in the parking lot, or of the fist fight between your new sister-in-law and the guest who danced a little too friendly with her husband. Or maybe you go to classier weddings than I do.)
It's exciting to take a new bottle of perfume you love from its box. Maybe you've been lucky this holiday season and received a bottle. (Dear Santa, that would be the large L'Artisan Parfumeur Havana Vanille, please.) Just remember to wear it with joy. It will pay you back with happy memories for years to come.
Are there any fragrances you've had to stop wearing because of the memories they bring up? Any you love to wear for the same reason?