When’s the Last Time You Chose a New Perfume?

best summer perfumes

It’s a simple thing, but it totally improved my morning routine: I’m wearing a new scent! 

Probably you already have a dozen perfumes to choose from. My teenagers do and I know it’s not uncommon. But until very recently, I’ve been wearing the same scent for about 7 years. When I lived in New York, I became fascinated with the idea of a “signature scent” — of wearing one particular scent so consistently that my kids and my husband and my close friends would come to associate the scent with me. So I searched out a scent that I knew I could love for a long, long time, and have worn it ever since. The scent I chose is by Bond No. 9, and it’s called Eau de New York.

To be clear, I still really love the idea of a signature scent and I still love Eau de New York. But. A couple of weeks ago, I ran out of perfume. My current bottle was empty and I hadn’t made plans to replace it yet. But I wanted to wear a scent, and I remembered that I had a bottle of perfume randomly purchased on a ferry from France to England several years ago. So I pulled it out, and put it on.

And it was so refreshing! I felt like I had just updated my whole wardrobe. I swear, I had a new spring in my step just from putting on a new perfume. I really had no idea a new scent would feel so transformative.

The new scent I’ve been wearing is Lacoste Pour Femme. It’s a light scent and I think I got lucky that I started wearing it at the same time the weather warmed up, because it’s perfect for spring and summer. I’m really loving it. (Speaking of Lacoste, Ben Blair has worn the Lacoste white bottle for ages, and I find it irresistible. So I don’t know why I’m surprised I’m enjoying the women’s version.)

best summer perfumes

Wearing a new scent has been so delightful, that I’ve been wanting to add more options to my collection. The next two on my wishlist are both recommended by my stylish friend Sara Stratford — she says this one smells like lemon drops (yes, please), and she mentioned Beach, by Bobbi Brown, is (obviously) perfect for summer. 

Now I’m curious: How often do you change your perfume? Seasonally? When your current bottle runs out? And do you have a signature scent? Or do you like to switch things up? Or perhaps you don’t wear perfume at all and have an aversion to colognes and scented lotions or candles (during my pregnancies, I couldn’t stand perfumes!). Oh. And if you have a favorite scent at the moment, please share. I’d love to hear/smell what everyone is wearing these days.

P.S. — How to pick out a new perfume.

71 thoughts on “When’s the Last Time You Chose a New Perfume?”

  1. I tend to use a scent for a long time, almost until I am nose-blind to it before changing. Through college and early 20’s it was CK1. Then I wore Elizabeth Arden’s Green Tea until two years ago when my best friend sent me Pure Grace by Philosophy. I love it. It is so clean and refreshing. A bit like soap. I’ve read that it is popular among nurses and flight attendants because it is so light. I can’t believe how many compliments I receive when I’m wearing it.

    1. CK11!! I remember it well. Too funny. I haven’t come across it in ages. I should go track it down at a perfume counter and see what memories it triggers.

      And I totally want to try Pure Grace. It sounds wonderful.

  2. Favorite topic! I have a signature scent but also a vacation perfume and a special occasion perfume (and on occasion those change, but never the signature). My kids (boys and girls) also have scents they wear, but I don’t think anyone has stumbled on anything they consider a signature yet. I also find my husband’s scent totally irresistible and it makes me sooooo happy to smell him come through the door.

      1. Christiana Hudson

        That’s what I do, too. Scent evokes powerful emotions and memories, so I love to be intentional about making that association. My “everyday” signature scent is the Coach Signature perfume, which I love, but I wore Estee Lauder Pleasures Intense for years. My husband picked out a great scent for me that he really likes (it’s really fun to have your spouse pick out a scent that appeals to them) – and I wear it for date night and special occasions – and then I like to pick up a perfume when I’m on a memorable travel adventure – in Italy I bought lemon verbena from L’Occitane and I’ll occasionally splash some on and it brings back a rush of memories of Florence.

  3. Traci Barr Segal

    I have a signature sent that I’ve been wearing for at least 25 years ( I’m now 53). It’s called Rain and it’s a roll on oil. I can only find it at a small boutique called Sonoma County Bath Works. During the years, as I have lived in different states and cities, I have had it sent to me. I’ve tried to change scents on occasion, but they never feel as comfortable. Family and friends know me by my scent and strangers often ask me what I’m wearing. Recently, while visiting friends in Germany, my friend exclaimed, “mmmmm, Traci, you smell just like our trip to San Francisco!”.

    1. 25 years? That is a legit signature scent! I love that you’ve tracked it down and had it shipped to you over the years. It must feel like an old friend when a new bottle arrives.

      1. Traci Barr Segal

        Yes, that’s it! I’ve tried other rain oils but they just don’t smell the same as this one.😊

  4. I once had multiple scents that I would change up all the time according to season or event. Then I discovered Escentric Molecules and only ever wear that. It has no discernible smell but works with your pheromones so it smells different on anyone who uses it.

      1. It is the best smell in whole universe, I love love love it! However, it does not stay on me at all! I would put it and go out and ask my friends if they could smell it on me and they couldn’t. As if I hadn’t put a perfume. So strange! On the other hand, I once entered the store and the girl in line smelled absolutely divine and I knew it was Escentric Molecules (I asked her and she confirmed). So, definitely should be tried out couple of times first to see if it stays. I envy you, Julie! :-)

  5. I normally have between 3 and 5 different scents to choose from based on mood and preference for the day. But at the moment I am more or less out of all my scents, I have 4 bottles with very few drops left in. I find perfumes expensive, so I only buy them at the airport or when I can get them with a discount. I’m actually going to the airport tomorrow, but I can’t decide if I should try something new, or just buy one of the ones I have had before. I have never really has a signatur scent, but there are few, that I have bought more then once.

  6. I haven’t worn perfume in I don’t know how long, at least 5 – 7yrs. more and more places in Canada have scent free policies like work or schools or our church as so many people have difficulty with them and the timing of me not wearing it aligns with me wearing not more makeup and with using less chemicals in cleaning. So now I’m WAY more sensitive to scents because we hardly have them and I don’t miss it really at all. I can’t handle the strong tide smell of my nieces clothing when they visit. (We have unscented detergent)
    Having said all that, my university boyfriend smelled unique and amazing (he blended 3 scents) and if I smelt that tomorrow I’d probably be flooded with all kinds of emotional responses :)

      1. Yes, I love the idea of perfume but I swear no one wears it around where I live in Canada. Almost every public place or work place has a sign that says its a scent-free environment due to allergies. I actually find it overwhelming to be near anyone that has a scent!! Probably because its not common here.

      2. Our local church ward (Utah) has been requested to be scent-free due to allergies of some congregants, so now I always feel uneasy about my shampoo or lotion on Sundays….

      3. That would be another great post, G. Once you read up on all the chemicals in perfumes and scented products as well as the very real illness scents cause many folk, you may change your stance on personal use! FYI to all you perfumed ladies out there…if someone doesn’t want to embrace you in greeting, don’t take it personally. It’s not that we don’t like your hug, it’s that we smell you for hours or at least until we can get home and change our clothes.

  7. I JUST started using a perfume subscription called Scentbird. Its a $15 a month and I can try a perfume to see if I want to invest in a larger size. I freaking love it. I put some I want to try in my que for each month and they do recommendations, etc. I’m trying to branch out and I think this will do it for me. NOT an advertisement fyi:)

  8. Another scent-free addict here…I can handle a hint of lemon in my dish soap but that is it. I will occasionally have house guests who will use so many scented products in their stay it will take me days to fumigate the house. My pet peeve are folks who have worn their “signature scent” so long that they no longer fully smell it and use WAY too much. I’ve asked to be moved in a restaurant when someone arrives in a cloud of scent and is seated next to me. You can’t even taste the food when that happens! (There’s a reason hospitals and high-end restaurants forbid employees from wearing scents.)

    1. My biggest nightmare is when I’ve spent an arm and a leg on theater tickets (or airline tickets) and someone sits down next to me doused in a strong scent.

  9. Scent free too. Is is a Canadian thing? I’ve gotten so used to scent free that I find it overwhelming when interacting with someone with noticeable perfume.

    1. Ha! I’m Canadian as well and was surprised by the idea of a signature scent. Even though I have a favourite perfume, I almost never wear it due to scent-free policies at work and other public spaces.

    2. Agreed Louise! Interacting with perfumed people can be easily overwhelming now! It’s almost gone the way of smoking (without all the cancerous health reasons). I never where perfume, but I do still use scented products (like anti-perspirant and shampoo).

  10. My signature scent is Grass from The Gap, but sadly they don’t make it regularly anymore.
    At the laundromat a couple of months ago, though, I smelled a scent that I had liked before (in more crowded spaces) and asked one of the workers if she could tell me what perfume she was wearing. It was Reflections by Jafra (which is kind of like Avon, I guess) AND it’s more affordable than the Hermès le jardin options I had been leaning toward, although also similar (bright floral/citrus situation). I am really loving it, and feeling happy about my new signature scent.

  11. Flora Anderson

    I care so much about perfume because I believe this is how my kids will remember me. Just like I remember my grandma that recently passed away and as I remember my mom. I love the way her clothes smell like her signature perfume when I borrow them :) it makes me happy. I recently switched my signature one to “Maison Louis Marie no 4” and it’s out of this world good! You must try it.

  12. I’ve been wearing the same scent since the 90s! Many perfumes make me sneeze and I love my light scent (Cabotine de Gres – it was all the rage back in 1992!). However recently while looking it up online, I discovered reviews of it that were horrible! I’m pretty sure that no one hates my scent – I still get compliments on it, but it did make me think maybe it was time to find an alternative signature scent?

  13. For many years my signature scent was Quelques Fleurs, the scent Princess Diana wore on her wedding day. Then one day, I may have been pregnant, something changed and the smell of it on myself made me nauseous. For awhile there I didn’t wear any perfume and then I tried 3 L’IMPERATRICE – D&G and wore that scent exclusively for awhile. Then one day while stranded at the airport I decided to smell every scent at an airport kiosk. My favorite was Gucci Guilty and I have been wearing that ever since.

  14. I also tend to stick with one signature scent for a long time. I have worn Fresh Sugar Lemon for about 5 years now and I adore it. I use other fragrances occasionally to mix things up (I like some of the Jo Malone scents in the winter), but I keep coming back to Sugar Lemon. I wore Aqua di Gio for years before making the switch, and I still love it. I wish I was more experimental with scents, but I think I’m picky because it is hard for me to find something that I fall in love with enough to want to wear every day!

    1. We are scent twins! I’ve loved Fresh Sugar Lemon and still wear it during the summer. I wore Aqua di Gio for years before switching, and I occasionally mix things up with Jo Malone. Lately I’ve been wearing Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Aqua Universalis, which I adore.

  15. Barbara Thornton

    I, too, am sensitive or allergic to most perfumes. I use essential oils for cleaning and health reasons and now in place of perfumes. Most people won’t react to them if you choose an ultra pure, high quality brand (aka not an essential oil you could buy at a grocery store). I like the earthy, tree based oils like sandalwood or frankincense, mixed with a bright citrus note like orange or lemon.

  16. Have you been to Body Time in Berkeley? It’s adorable and you can customize scents. Or they do seasonal scents. I love it.

      1. I was just going to recommend that! I love their Rockridge location. I asked for the most masculine of their scents (and then freshened that up with a citrus and floral note). They are also very reasonably priced– from what I remember, my rollerball was $18 or so. My recommendation is to be scrupulous with writing down the portions. It’s the worst if you want to purchase another rollerball and can’t make it match.

  17. Oh my goodness, this is such a wonderful topic. My love of scent was born in 1974 — at the age of 14 — when I fell in love with Muguet des Bois by Coty; the perfect sweet, light scent for a teenage girl. After that I became a LOVE’s girl. LOVE’s Baby Soft and LOVE’s Fresh Lemon. I also enjoyed Jovan’s Musk. In college I became more “sophisticated” and, like all of my friends, wore Lauren (in the square red bottle) and another scent whose name escapes me. I loved Revlon’s Charlie on everyone else, but it never smelled the same on me. In my 20s I became a devoted fan of Estee Lauder’s White Linen; it was my signature scent. After years of attempting to fall in love with a new signature scent, I came back to my love of citrus. For the past ten years I have been wearing some version of a Lemon or Grapefruit scent with some Green Tea thrown in for good measure. Jo Malone Verbena (or Nectarine Blossom) was my favorite for quite a few years, but now I am in love with L’Occitane’s Citrus Verbena. It is light and lovely, and I don’t feel dressed until I have sprayed it on my skin and hair. (I only wish it had more staying power.)

    1. Charlie was my mom’s signature perfume, and it smelled like HEAVEN on her. She was a nurse, and everyone talks about how good she was at her job, and how good she smelled. xox

  18. Tammy Mckissick

    I used to wear perfume for date nights or church… but when we moved overseas everyone wore the same perfume- mosquito repellant! Since then I have gotten out of the habit and wonder if I should invest… I love some of the joaone scents but I need to look into your lemon drop scent- sounds delightful!

  19. Though I have a particular scent I’ve worn for 10 years, I realized just now that I use other scents for remembering. When I want a very light scent, I put Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse on my hands and rub them in my hair, on my neck, arms—it never fails to remind me of France, a place I love. And I keep a tiny bottle of L’Air du Temps in a drawer. It’s at least 30 years old and belonged to my mother, who died too young. The tiniest sniff of it is haunting and comforting at once.

  20. When’s the last time I chose a new perfume? This afternoon, and it’s Atelier Cologne Bois Blonds. I wear one or more scents almost every day. Hermes Eau des Merveilles is a dear favorite I wear often.

    A few years ago I went through a brief period of anosmia due to medication. When my sense of smell returned I sniffed everything I could – food, plants, flowers, earth, people, the air, the objects around me, and of course, perfume. I found wonderful perfume friends in real life and then on-line at sites like Now Smell This, Basenotes, Fragrantica, and CaFleureBon. There’s an entire scented culture and way of life waiting for you once you “fall down the rabbit hole” of fragrance.

  21. I wear perfume every single day without fail. I’ve been wearing Ralph Lauren Blue for years now and I love it (I think it’s officially discontinued but you can still find it online) but my family recently traveled to your neck of the woods for our spring break trip and I fell in love with McEvoy Ranch’s “Verde” which I discovered at their outpost in the Ferry Building in SF. It’s light and very “green” scent and every morning when I spray it I have fond memories of our great vacation.

  22. I’m also wondering if there are good perfumes that don’t bother people with allergies. I don’t think I’m allergic but like others have mentioned, I’m bothered by others’ strong perfumes or cologne. I also don’t like cleaning with scents. But I know i would enjoy wearing a scent I liked! I’d love to try the lemon drop one!

  23. Oh dear, I have so many perfumes… but I probably only wear about 10 of them regularly, I pick them depending on my mood.
    My Top 5 are (today): Lubin Gin Fizz – delicious, lemony and astounding, made for Grace Kelly; Givenchy Eaudemoiselle, which is how I imagine Lauren Hutton smelling in Paris in the 70s; Lanvin Eclat D’Arpége, a cold, light floral once described as forest-fairy-juice; my last bottle of vintage Nina Ricci Deci Dela, a peachy-flowery-chypre I adore; and my tiny sample of Xerjoff Casa Morati Bouquet Ideale – a very sweet but soft oriental.
    And I agree: definitely don’t clear out your perfumes while pregnant! I can’t believe the things I threw away – all 3 times! *eyeroll*

  24. Scents are evocative. I understand the no-scent movement and sometimes I just wear a little French lavender body oil from The Body Shop which is comforting and relaxing. But other days perfume is the finishing touch on an outfit. I just tried on Coach – The Fragrance at the airport and it has the most delicious after-scent that makes you keep sniffing your scarf… (Ok maybe that’s just me) :)

  25. This conversation is so foreign to me! I’m 33 and live in the US, but have never worn perfume or know anyone who wears it regularly. Is it an age thing – do millennials wear less perfume than previous generations? (I’m not even sure I qualify as a millennial!) Have I just been totally clueless all these years? Or maybe it’s because I work in environmental nonprofits where people are low on the formality scale? So interesting!

  26. I no longer us perfumes or store bought scents. I use doTERRA essential oils. So many to pick from and they serve so many other purposes, too.

  27. Perfume is one my favorite treats. I’ve been loving anything by Byredo lately, and often wear Debaser by D.S. & Durga once a week.

  28. Colleen Harker

    I recently discovered the LUSH solid perfumes and have been wearing the “Lust” variety for months. It’s a sweet jasmine scent, light and not full of chemicals.

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