Find Your Perfect Scent

Find Your Perfect Scent

Perfume experts, designers, and fashion-savvy women reveal the secrets to discovering the fragrances that suit your style. Read more

Excerpts from a fragrance editorial, Find Your Perfect Scent, in Harper's Bazaar Magazine, Nov. 2012 issue.


Ladylike and Polished Perfumes

Women who prefer an ankle-strap heel and feminine silhouettes from houses like Dior and Valentino belong in the ladylike and polished category. The fragrance equivalent has ingredients like lush rose and fresh mandarin. Maria Grazia Chiuri, one of Valentino's creative directors, looks for refined floral scents with jasmine and peonies. "I love light, airy, delicate fragrances," she says. Not surprisingly, Valentino Valentina fits the bill. Also try Miss Dior Le Parfum.

Lancome La Vie Est Belle perfume
Lancome
La Vie Est Belle

iris gourmand
1.7oz EDP $75
Valentino Valentina perfume
Valentino
Valentina

floral oriental
1.7oz EDP / $80
Balmain Ivoire perfume
Balmain
Ivoire

floral chypre
3.4oz EDP / $130
Miss Dior Le Parfum perfume
Miss Dior Le Parfum

oriental chypre
1.3oz Parfum / $82
Givenchy Dahlia Noir perfume
Givenchy
Dahlia Noir

fruity floral
1.7oz EDT / $67

Classic and Elegant Perfumes

For those who appreciate a well-tailored suit or dress, your taste is likely classic and elegant. The always impeccable model Carmen Dell'Orefice, who has been wearing the discreet Bandit by Robert Piguet for decades, is a good reference. Pair fall's cashmere sweaters with a scent containing soft florals blended with the warmth of patchouli, such as Chloe L'Eau de Chloé and Bottega Veneta.

Cartier Baiser Vole perfume
Cartier
Baiser Vole

floral
1.6oz EDT $85
Bottega Veneta perfume
Bottega Veneta
Eau de Parfum

leather floral chypre
0.67oz EDP / $64
Guerlain La Petite Robe Noir perfume
Guerlain
La Petite Robe Noir

fruity floral
2.5oz EDP / $64
Chloe L'Eau de Chloe perfume
Chloe
L'Eau de Chloe

floral chypre
1.7oz EDT / $85
Hermes L'Ambre des Merveilles perfume
Hermes L'Ambre
des Merveilles

oriental
3.3oz EDP / $149

A woman shouldn't have just one scent," explains perfumer Francis Kurkdjian of Maison Francis Kurkdjian Paris, "but rather a few scents for different occassions."


Flirty and Feminine Perfumes

If you're the flirty and feminine type who favors sheer, playful dresses, there's a good chance that you'll be attracted to fresh, fruity florals with notes of apple, grapefruit, and raspberry. Model Anais Pouliot's favorite spritz is the sparkling Yves Saint Laurent In Love Again, which she wears with Dolce & Gabbana dresses, "when I need to look really chic." For a new fall option, try DKNY Be Delicious Eau So Intense, with apple, cucumber, and grapefruit, or Jo Malone's sweet-smelling Blackberry & Bay.

Jo Malone Blackberry and Bay perfume
Jo Malone
Blackberry & Bay

fougere
1oz EDC $60
Elizabeth Arden Red Door Aura perfume
Elizabeth Arden
Red Door Aura

woody floral
1oz EDT / $32
Chanel Coco Noir perfume
Chanel
Coco Noir

oriental
3.4oz EDP / $130
Dolce and Gabbana Pour Femme perfume
Dolce & Gabbana
Pour Femme

floral
1oz EDP / $66
DKNY Be Delicious Eau So Intense perfume
DKNY Be Delicious
Eau So Intense

fruity
1.7oz EDP / $69

Bold Trendsetter Perfumes

Take a peek in that closet again, and ask yourself some questions. "A woman's fashion style sets the stage for how she will select her scents," says Vasnier. Perhaps, like many women, you have a few styles you rotate -- sexy one day, buttoned-up the next. If you've invested in bold Prada and Balenciaga, we recommend a rich, notice-me floral highlighted with an unconventional ingredient like turmeric, amber, or leather. Good picks are Tom Ford Lys Fume, Lady Gaga Fame, and Balenciaga Florabotanica. But be warned, these scents are not for wallflowers. Vbeauté founder Julie Macklowe, a notoriously edgy dresser with a weakness for Rodarte, found her perfect fit: Hermès 24 Faubourg, a luxurious and complex floral. (Note: When wearing "big" fragrances, apply gingerly so you're not overpowered. As you would with clothing, you want to wear the scent, not the other way around.) For a less intense application, Gottlieb suggests spritzing the "juice" in the air and walking through it.

Lady Gaga Fame perfume
Lady Gaga
Fame

floral oriental
1oz EDP $42
Balenciaga Florabotanica perfume
Balenciaga
Florabotanica

floral green
1oz EDP / $65
Tom Ford Lys Fume perfume
Tom Ford
Lys Fume

floral
1.7oz EDP / $205
Prada Infusion d'Iris Absolue perfume
Prada Infusion d'Iris Absolue

floral oriental
3.4oz EDP / $117
Thierry Mugler Angel Fragrance of Leather perfume
Thierry Mugler Angel Fragrance of Leather

leather gourmand
1oz EDP / $88

Just as you pick out the right accessory, fragrance is the key to bringing your look together," says Yann Vasnier, a perfumer as Givaudan and the man responsible for such scents as Marc Jacobs Lola and Tom Ford Santal Blush.


Modern and Sleek Perfumes

If you begin each season with a shopping spree at Calvin Klein and choose a clean line over a flouncy hem every time, then it's probably safe to say that you've got a streak of modern and sleek like stylist Tiina Laakkonen, who often goes for pieces from Comme des Garçons and Céline. For your fragrance counterpart, lighter, more subtle scents will complement your minimalist taste. Florals and citruses will do the trick, as will new, clean-smelling blends topped with lily. Try Stella McCartney L.I.L.Y, and apply it like the designer herself: "I dab a bit behind my ears," McCartney says.

Stella McCartney LILY perfume
Stella McCartney
L.I.L.Y.

floral chypre
1.7oz EDP $60
Calvin Klein Eternity Aqua perfume
Calvin Klein
Eternity Aqua

floral aquatic
1.7oz EDP / $57
Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gioia Essenza perfume
Giorgio Armani Acqua
di Gioia Essenza

woody floral
1.7oz EDP / $85

Flirty and Feminine Perfumes

And last but not least, if your style is sexy and glamorous, you're in luck, as this fall's range of seductive scents is spectacular. For that backless gown, you need an aura that is mysterious and sensuous, so consider orientals. Byrdie Bell's style may run the gamut, but when she goes Versace-sexy she says she reaches for a "voluptuous" scent like Dior Addict Eau Fraîche, with its unforgettable musks. Estée Lauder Sensuous Nude and Gucci Première are new picks -- glamour in a bottle, with notes of bergamot, wood, and musk. If you have long hair, spritz the nape of your neck and you'll get a bit of scent as you move your head, suggests Gottlieb.

Gucci Premiere perfume
Gucci
Premiere

floral musk
1.7oz EDP $63
Blumarine Innamorata perfume
Blumarine
Innamorata

oriental floral
1oz EDP / $50
Estee Lauder Sensuous Nude perfume
Estee Lauder
Sensuous Nude

woody musk
1.7oz EDP / $65
Jimmy Choo perfume
Jimmy Choo
Perfume

oriental
1.3oz Parfum / $150
Bulgari Mon Jasmin Noir L'Elixir perfume
Bulgari Mon Jasmin
Noir L'Elixir

floral amber
1.7oz EDP / $102

Find Your Perfect Scent, Harper's Bazaar Nov. 2012

There comes a morning at the start of every new season when you reach for one of your go-to fragrances and think, No, that's not right anymore. The scent you wanted to bathe in during the hot summer months feels wrong with your new fall fashions. A spritz that works perfectly with your sundresses is not going to be the right accessory for your cashmere coat or python pumps. So here we are: By now your closet is properly refreshed, but there's one more thing in need of an update -- your fragrance repertoire. For the same reason you vary your clothing depending on the day, season, or event, it's important to have an array of scents in your beauty arsenal (think Friday's skinny jeans and blazer versus the Gucci gown you slip into for black tie). "A woman shouldn't have just one scent," explains perfumer Francis Kurkdjian of Maison Francis Kurkdjian Paris, "but rather a few scents for different occasions." The fragrances in your wardrobe don't have be drastically different, but it's a smart idea to have "one signature and around five others to switch off," adds perfumer Frederick Bouchardy, founder of Joya Studio in New York City and the nose behind acclaimed collaborations with major names like Barneys New York. By all means, mix up old favorites with new finds. Read on to learn how to create a fragrance collection that works for you.

Building a Wardrobe

You wouldn't wear the same pair of black stilettos with every dress you own, and the same idea applies to fragrance. Approach perfume as you would a belt or a statement necklace that completes a specific outfit. "Just as you pick out the right accessory, fragrance is the key to bringing your look together," says Yann Vasnier, a perfumer at Givaudan and the man responsible for such scents as Marc Jacobs Lola and Tom Ford Santal Blush. "I don't wear much jewelry," says model and actress Byrdie Bell, "but I feel 100 percent that my fragrances are an accessory that I wear every day." Similarly, Gucci's creative director Frida Giannini doesn't limit herself to just one fragrance. "I choose my scent based on what I am wearing and where I am going," she notes. If you're not sure where to begin, your closet can offer some clues. "If you have a particular designer whose clothes you love, then a good start would be trying their signature scent, since these fragrances often embody the same values as the clothing," says Ann Gottlieb, a perfumer credited with countless blockbuster scents including Dior J'Adore. And once you discover a scent you like, "find out what type it is -- floral, oriental, chypre -- then ask a fragrance consultant at a department store for testers of other fragrances in the same family," Vasnier advises.

Try Before You Buy

It's crucial to give any new fragrance a test run on your skin before you purchase it. "You can choose an outfit based on how it looks on the hanger, but at some point you have to put it on to see how you feel in it," says Kurkdjian. The same concept applies here. "Take home samples and live with them," Bouchardy advises. "See what they smell like over the course of the day, and even later on your clothing and pillowcase. Scents change dramatically as they dry, so you have to be sure it's really something that suits you." Pouliot says she never buys a scent after just one spritz: "The same perfume can smell different on everyone, so I try out fragrances on my wrist in the store, and then I ask for opinions throughout the day." Ultimately, "the most important thing when wearing fragrance is to find what makes you feel beautiful,"says Gottlieb. "Bandit brings me happiness," adds Dell'Orefice. "Scent is a pal I live with and feel naked without. After all, I would rather buy my scent than new shoes." Take that, wardrobe.

Read more: Find Your Perfect Scent - The Best Fragrances for Your Style - Harper's BAZAAR


Fall Fragrances

Additional fall fragrances recommended by Harper's Bazaar magazine.

Gucci Premiere perfume
Bond No.9
Manhattan

oriental gourmand
3.4oz EDP $270
Chanel No.5 perfume
Chanel
No. 5

floral chypre
1oz EDP / $98
Coach Poppy Blossom perfume
Coach
Poppy Blossom

fruity floral
1.7oz EDP / $65
Diesel Loverdose perfume
Diesel
Loverdose

woody oriental
1.7oz EDP / $65
Diane von Furstenberg Love Diane perfume
DVF
Love, Diane

fruity gourmand
1.7oz EDT $65
Diptyque Volutes perfume
Diptyque
Volutes

spicy
1.7oz EDT / $88
Elie Saab Le Parfume perfume
Elie Saab
Le Parfum

floral
1.6oz EDT / $75
Escada Especially Escada perfume
Escada
Especially Escada

floral
1.7oz EDP / $84
Estee Lauder Wood Mystique perfume
Estee Lauder
Wood Mystique

oriental woody
3.4oz EDP / $175
Estee Lauder Pleasures Eau Fraiche perfume
Estee Lauder
Pleasures

sheer floral
1.7oz / $55
Fendi Fan di Fendi Extreme perfume
Fan di Fendi Extreme

floriental
2.5oz EDP / $98
Tom Ford Jonquille de Nuit perfume
Tom Ford
Jonquille de Nuit

floral
1.7oz EDP / $205
Tom Ford Ombre de Hyacinth perfume
Tom Ford
Ombre de Hyacinth
floral
1.7oz EDP / $205
Tom Ford Cafe Rose perfume
Tom Ford
Cafe Rose

floral
1.7oz EDP / $205
Givenchy Eaudemoiselle perfume
Givenchy
Eaudemoiselle

floral
1.6oz EDT / $65
Houbigant Orangers en Fleurs perfume
Houbigant
Orangers en Fleurs
floral
3.4oz EDP / $180
Boucheron Jaipur Bracelet perfume
Boucheron
Jaipur Bracelet

woody floral
1.7oz EDP / $106
Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy La Fleur perfume
Juicy Couture
Viva La Fleur

fruity floral
2.5oz EDT / $70
Vera Wang Lovestruck Floral Rush perfume
Vera Wang Lovestruck Floral Rush
fruity floral
1.7oz EDP $68
Michael Kors Gold Rose Edition perfume
Michael Kors
Rose Gold

floral
1.7oz EDP / $78
Maison Francis Kurkdjian 754 perfume
Francis Kurkdjian
754

floral
2.4oz EDP / $300
Marc Jacobs Dot perfume
Marc Jacobs
Dot

fruity floral
1.7oz EDT / $69
Marchesa Parfum d'Extase perfume
Marchesa
Parfum d'Extase

floral
1.7oz EDP / $85
Isaac Mizrahi Fabulous perfume
Isaac Mizrahi
Fabulous

fruity floral
1.7oz EDP $69
Oscar de la Renta Essential Luxuries perfume
Oscar de la Renta
Essential Luxuries

aromatic
3.4oz EDP / $150
Philosophy Living Grace perfume
Philosophy
Living Grace

fresh floral
2oz EDT / $42
Shiseido Zen Secret Bloom perfume
Shiseido
Zen Secret Bloom

floral chypre
1.6oz EDP / $68
Annick Goutal Mon Parfum Cheri Par Camille Edition perfume
Annick Goutal Mon Parfum Cheri Par Camille

spicy floral chypre
3.4oz EDT / $115

(Prince, Jessica. "Bazaar Beauty: Find Your Perfect Scent." Harper's Bazaar Nov. 2012: 206-211)





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