A few weeks ago in the lunchroom at work, an off-duty drag queen and I swapped perfume insight. Austin — better known as Alexis Campbell Starr and Miss Gay Portland 2013 — said he favors an Adidas cologne during the day. When he transforms into Alexis, he tops the Adidas off with a few sprays of a Playboy fragrance. “I like how they blend,” he said. (I see Alexis in a glamorous Dior, maybe one of the Poisons. We'll talk later.)
Yet again, a drag queen and I see eye to eye. When night falls and I want a perfume with more presence or mystery, I often try to find something that plays off an aspect of the day’s fragrance. That way, whatever’s left of my perfume doesn’t grate with my later choice.
Here are a few of my summer day-to-evening perfume selections:
L’Artisan Parfumeur Ananas Fizz to Jean Patou Colony: Ananas Fizz is an easy choice for a warm day. It’s sheer and playful with pineapple and gentle flowers cooled by vetiver. (And hurray that L’Artisan has resurrected it!) A dab of the pineapple chypre, Colony, is the perfect way to deepen and “sultrify” it for evening. Colony is brutally difficult to get hold of these days, so another route would be to go for a touch of a richer fruity perfume like Byredo Pulp.
Chloé L’Eau de Chloé to Frédéric Malle Une Rose or Parfumerie Générale Corps et Ames: If I hadn’t stumbled on a bottle of L’Eau de Chloé at a thrift shop, chances are I would have turned up my nose at it without even giving it a whiff. What a ridiculous snob I am. L’Eau de Chloé is a buzzy-tannic green rose with an almost vintage vibe, and it wears like fresh mist in the heat. In the evening when you want something more robust, you can play up its rose with something dark but dry like Une Rose. Or, you can punch up L’Eau de Chloé’s greener aspects with Corps et Ames.
Cartier Baiser Volé Eau de Toilette to Caron Alpona or Serge Lutens Un Lys: I do love my Baiser Volé Eau de Toilette in summer. The Eau de Toilette sings of orange, and the deep woody-desiccated orange of Alpona is a good way to turn Baiser Volé serious — but not too serious — for evening. Alternatively, you could play up the fragrance’s lily with a dose of Un Lys. With Un Lys, though, you're injecting a bit of clean musk, innocence, and class that might better match a bar mitzvah than a romantic outing. Of course, if you’re lucky enough to have Baiser Volé parfum on hand you don’t need any further suggestions.
Keiko Mecheri Passiflora to Penhaligon's Amaranthine or Chanel Coco Noir: Passiflora is a cinch for smelling friendly and delicious any day between now and September. Adding a spritz of Amaranthine ups your carnality quotient tenfold. If you fear coming on too strong, choosing Coco Noir riffs off of Passiflora’s fruit and wood with a slightly classier take. I know I’ve ragged on Coco Noir in the past, but in smelling it around town I have to admit I’ve been appreciating it. Sure, Coco Noir is kind of obvious with its fruity-patchouli-oriental vibe, but like the crème caramel you can count on after dinner, it’s obvious in a comforting way.
What about you? Do you have any favorite summer day-to-evening perfume choices?
Note: top image is Greetings from Wildwood by the Sea, N. J. -- Crest Pier, at night, boardwalk at night, at auditorium, beach, at end of Ocean Pier, bathing beach and fishing pier by Boston Public Library at flickr; some rights reserved.