So you’ve done it – amassed a collection of truly wonderful fragrances. You preside over your glittering bottles like some sort of French dragon over a hoard of sprayable treasures. When people come over, you’re quick to parade them through the whole perfume nerd experience, showing them the universal favorites like Bleu de Chanel before guiding them into the realm of bizarre scents that baffle the imagination. But when it comes down to actually wearing those weird, hyper-specific fragrances, you might find yourself struggling to find an occasion that suits them. That struggle is now over. Here’s our guide to wearing strange perfumes without terrorizing the locals.
This might be obvious, but wearing perfume for yourself is a lovely experience, and you have the most freedom when you’re not in public places. It can be easy to forget that perfume even exists when you’re just hanging out by yourself. Keeping tabs on perfumes you’d like to wear more often opens the door to using up some more challenging bottles. It also gives you a chance to become more comfortable with perfumes you might initially be afraid to wear outside. What starts out as a home-only fragrance might easily turn into a social staple.
Instant Backstory for a Night Out
Let’s say you’re (safely) going out on the town, once again reaching for that old reliable bottle of La Nuit de L’Homme. Stop! Is this who you’ve become, a creature of habit knocking on the same doors again and again? No – you are a firefighter who just rescued some rare marmosets from a burning building, and you smell like it! Or maybe you’ve come straight home from the racetrack, having stepped into the pit stop to help a Formula 1 friend in need. You can finally wear that bottle of Zoologist Hyrax or Dior Fahrenheit fearlessly. Who needs to smell conventionally attractive when you can sub in creativity and charisma? In all seriousness, strange fragrances are more likely to draw positive interest than you think. There’s a reason ‘unconventionally attractive’ is such a draw to most people.
Just kidding. Stick to light, simple fragrances for this one, or face the consequences – most likely, your own discomfort as the bolder aspects of your perfume blaze out of control.
Hear me out here. Yes, bringing a comfort fragrance or a versatile fragrance can be fantastic choices for vacation – comfort for low-key vibes and a versatile fragrance to save on packing. However, using a single stranger fragrance that you don’t wear often can ‘tag’ a vacation super effectively. Every time you wear that fragrance, you’re likely to whisk your brain right back to those lovely vacation memories. That can certainly save a fragrance from collecting dust in the future, turning an experimental fragrance into a nostalgic comfort pick.
There’s no better audience for a perfume than a group of trusted friends. Not only will they likely not care too much about what you’re wearing, they’ll also give you honest opinions if you want to test the waters with a particularly strange fragrance. It’s a great low-pressure situation for experimenting with fragrances, especially if you just don’t enjoy just wearing perfume in non-social situations.
Whether it’s with friends or strangers, in public or in private, experimental fragrances have far more use than first meets the eye. Often we project our own discomfort over a perfume’s strangeness onto others. I still remember when a friend of mine fell in love with Caron’s Yatagan, a hugely animalic, coniferous fragrance that I never dreamed would draw a compliment. Building our own confidence in our fragrances and using them intentionally not only expands our taste, but also keeps perfumes from going to waste. It’s both a risk and a win-win situation – what’s not to love?
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The Fandomentals “Fragdomentals” team base our reviews off of fragrances that we have personally, independently sourced. Any reviews based off of house-provided materials will be explicitly stated.