Perfume is my most important accessory, and I think it should be yours, too. As outfits, moods and seasons change, so does my scent. During this period when we’re transitioning from fall to winter, there’s something in the air (besides my perfume) that makes me yearn for a boyfriend. The thing about perfume is it won’t make anyone fall in love with you, but it’ll definitely help you catch a few glances. After that initial look, it’s all up to you to do the rest of the work.
My main issue with perfume descriptions is that they list olfactive notes with the expectation that the average person knows the difference between the smells of black and pink pepper. And I’m guessing unless you’re well-versed in perfumery, you won’t understand how moss, vetiver, pepper and vanilla actually blend together. Because I understand exactly how hard it is to find a perfume you love and even harder to find the love of your life, I’ve gone ahead and created the most specific descriptions to describe the top perfumes I promise will turn heads this season:
- Gris Charnel – BDK Parfums ($45 for 0.33 oz/ $190 for 3.3 oz)
Imagine this: You and your partner are vacationing at a cabin for the holidays. You’ve just slipped on your favorite knit sweater and the cabin smells like freshly cut trees. Your drink of choice is a hot cup of black tea while your partner is having a glass of bourbon whiskey. As you look out the window, your partner hugs you from behind, leaving the faint scent of whiskey and cologne on your clothes.
This perfume screams “I’m in a committed relationship.” A sensual and spicy combination of black tea, cardamom, bourbon vetiver and sandalwood, it’s perfectly unisex. It smells like you’ve spent hours cuddling with your partner and now you smell like the best combination of their cologne, your perfume and the brewing tea in the background. I’m currently wearing this scent non-top because it helps me come up with hypothetical romantic situations in lectures!
- Le Monde Gourmand’s Collection ($25 for 1 oz):
Although I love perfume, my bank account certainly doesn’t. It’s a difficult balance of wanting to smell delightful and making sure Bank of America doesn’t alert me that I have less than $50 in my account. For my girls who want options at a much more affordable price, head over to your nearest Urban Outfitters to smell Le Monde Gourmand’s amazing collection. Luckily, there’s an Urban Outfitters right next to UCLA, which makes it so easy (maybe too easy) for me to walk over whenever I feel bored.
With 18 scents available, one is bound to fit whatever scent profile you’re going for. “Pistachio Brûlée” for vanilla lovers, “Pumpkin Crème” if pumpkin spice lattes run through your veins and “Noir Distillé” for the perfect boozy, sugary scent trail.
- Rosie – Rosie Jane ($28 for travel-sized/ $70 for 1.7 oz)
When you look at the notes, “Rosie” isn’t anything mind-blowing: musk, vanilla and rose. But sometimes, simplicity is exactly what I look for in an everyday scent. If you’ve ever wanted to smell like a whiff of shampoo and vanilla, “Rosie” will get the job done.
If “Rosie” was a person, she would be the friend who’s never late, always has her hair and nails done and wraps Christmas gifts perfectly. She bakes the best sugar cookies, and her house is the obvious choice for holiday gatherings and watching movies. If Rosie doesn’t sound like you, don’t worry. I bear very little resemblance to Rosie, but I still douse myself in this decadent subtle scent. It’s called faking it until you make it.
- Thé Noir 29 – Le Labo ($215 for 1.7 oz)
To be honest, I’ve yet to own a full-sized bottle from Le Labo even though I absolutely love most of their scents (not loving the price tag). Whenever I go to the mall, I head straight to the Le Labo counter to inhale this scent. The combination of fig, bergamot, vetiver, musk and tobacco has people weak in the knees. Users of Fragrantica mention that “Thé Noir 29” is “for intellectuals with a dark and edgy side,” with its “serene” and “contemplative” aroma. One writer even describes the scent as “cerebral and addictive,” which I’d like to be described as one day.
Because of how unique the notes are, people won’t be able to pin down what you smell like; they’ll just know you smell good and want more. I imagine this scent for someone whose presence is subtle but unforgettable, attention-grabbing but never boisterous, and just a smidge intimidating. This perfume really is what sexy and sophisticated smells like: subtle, unisex and moody. Simply put, if I smelled this on someone, I’d assume that they definitely understand a partner should be an addition to your life, not what makes you complete.
- You – Glossier ($64 for 1.7 oz)
Would this really be a perfume list without including the most popular one? As much as I want to introduce new scents, I couldn’t help but include “You.” I distinctly remember purchasing this perfume in 10th grade and absolutely hating it the first time I sprayed it into the air. It smelled of lined paper, pencil shavings and black pepper. But when I smelled my shirt the next day, I got a whiff of the warmest and coziest floral scent. “You” feels like a flood of positive memories; it reminds me of running into my mom’s open arms as a kid and the sweet comforting scent moms just seem to naturally have. Everyone I know goes absolutely feral for this perfume. If nothing convinces you, just let it be known my roommate got her own bottle after she smelled “You” on the couch cushions I was lying on. And in the likely case you can’t get enough of this scent, “You” comes in a solid compact form so you can take it anywhere.
Perfume is an accessory that people may not give much thought to, but when I think about memories, scent is one of the things I remember most. We know and love the scent of a borrowed sweater, home decoration stores during the holidays and our loved ones, so it only makes sense to me to make sure I have a scent to represent myself throughout the year. I hope some of these scents spoke to you!