My resolution for the New Year was to finally nail down my signature cocktail. Don’t worry—you read the headline right. This is not that story. But when I shared my 2017 quest with my best friend, she said, “What I really want to do is find my signature perfume—you know, like you have yours.”
I spend a lot of time obsessing over what beauty products I DON’T have (ahem, $300 moisturizer), but being reminded (and maybe even a little envied) about my signature fragrance felt like a real win that day.
Why have a signature fragrance? In a way, it’s like a sensory calling card. Dove soap, for example, is like a hug from my grandma. Every time I open a bar, I’m instantly five years old in feety pajamas, sitting on the floor of her blue-tiled bathroom in Brooklyn while she demonstrated the facial exercises I should do every day to prevent wrinkles (she was and still is, at 91, a total beauty maven … with a creaseless face). It’s weirdly comforting to know that someday a scent might trigger those same warm-fuzzies in my own kids or grandkids.
The simplest reason to have a yours, truly fragrance is admittedly the reason I fell in love with mine in the first place: you just really, really like smelling it. My storybook fragrance romance began when I was 21. Bath & Body Works had recently discontinued my go-to scent at the time (Peach). I was freshly out of college, working in midtown, and on the lookout for something a little less… Staten Island Mall-like. I found myself consistently drawn to the scent of a co-worker, which turned out to be Burberry Classic.
I didn’t care about its lush top notes or musky base notes; I just knew it made me super-duper happy every time I smelled it. Because I was too poor to buy it right away, I’d pop into Sephora intermittently and just SPRAY IT ON MY COAT SLEEVE. Not even because I wanted people to associate me with Burberry Classic, but because I was desperate for the chance to just breathe it in whenever I wanted. Ah, the simple (and free) pleasures of youth.
Turns out, I was onto something, because experts will tell you fragrance shopping shouldn’t immediately culminate in a purchase. I’ve read you should even limit yourself to sniffing only 3-5 new fragrances per shopping excursion to avoid fatiguing and possibly confusing your sense of smell. Like my early dalliances with the Burberry tester, you should spritz on your favorite scent, go about your business, and pay attention to how it evolves on you over the course of the day before deciding if it’s a good fit.
And while I wouldn’t recommend blindly choosing a fragrance off the Internet, I will tell you that aside from that first bottle of Burberry, I never again purchased a fragrance in a department store. Once I knew what I liked, the prices online are just way better. So do your on-site sniffing around with the above tips in mind—and then check out the fragrance discounts online for yourself.