You have to love those special days when you wake up with a splitting headache and your stomach is in war mode with last night's dodgy restaurant meal . You drag your body early in the morning to the local bus/subway and are lucky to find an empty double seat.
No sooner do you settle in than a sickly hurricane of fragrance fumes and it's accompanying body invade the next seat. They shift around in the air, wafting piquant waves up the nose to the heart of nausea.
As your vehicle progresses, so does the intensity of the fragrance. You decide to stand rather than suffer. Seeking fresh air before work, you arrive in the foyer; a group of people wait with you at the elevator. Piling in like sardines, there is now another foghorn of an obnoxious scent emanating from someone's neck as the doors slowly close.
Sound familiar? Parents drum into our juvenile heads the fundamentals of etiquette. Always say "please" or "thank you" darling! In fact, they shortened it to that familiar phrase…"Now what do you say?" but there is also another unenforced fragrance decorum that still dumbfounds popular society. If one is fortunate enough to be raised in a fragrance family - literally, you might also have received some fragrance politesse during your formative years. Unfortunately, the majority of us just grab any fragrance that comes to hand at the last minute, slap it on with gusto and go out into the world without a thought to "what am I wearing? is it appropriate? and how much did I spray on again?
Perfume Places and Points to ponder...
Leaving a sprayed blotter behind on the counter for someone else to pick up and spray a completely different scent on for adjudication can also be annoying. Take it home or throw it away.
Double and triple spraying over an existing fragrance before returning to work on your lunch hour can't be any fun for co-workers either.
Spraying the fingertips..not sure exactly why people do this? I do know it looks very odd and a bit icky; spraying the counter as if it were one giant paper blotter; gunning the atomizer head like some James Bond spraying bullets with the baddies and spraying directly onto clothes, especially silk ties is not cool, not even in daydreams.
Never test a fragrance right before trying on clothes, jewellery, scarves and coats. It's a little thing but a big thing too.
Consider that we actually "read" each other's fragrances and subconsciously attribute certain personality traits based on one's scent. Sometimes we are right and sometimes not, but the amount and blend can say volumes about who we are and how we wish to be perceived.
The bottom line is a bit of a quandary. We seek fantastic fragrances that will hopefully last and we each have our own personal tastes in fragrances. We should also have the freedom to pick, choose and wear what we love but the trickle-down effect is also daunting. The anti-fragrance lobby are trying to stamp out all fragrances in all public places. So far, most have succeeded in Hospitals and Government buildings.
The elegance displayed in taste and application with fragrance lovers in a given environment should soften this mutiny with the thoughtful use of fragrance etiquette at the fore. We wouldn't wear a ball gown to the amusement park, why would we smell like we do. Sexy can come back thank you Mr. Timberlake but not during your Powerpoint presentation. Just ask yourself, would you want to be seated next to you and smell that fragrance for that duration of time? Up close? In a tight space? For that long?
Fragrance wardrobing allows us to express the many sides of who we are in any given environment and mood. There is certainly no shortage of great choices in fragrances but it is when and how we wear it, that will give the biggest impact of all.
About the Author
Marian Bendeth is a Global Fragrance Expert based out of Toronto, Canada. Marian has won five fragrance industry editorial awards for her writing. You can find out more on her website marianbendeth.com