Andrea Byrne: New season's scents
Autumn's arrival should mean changing your fragrance as well as your clothes. Just follow our guide to picking the perfect perfume…
To quote Christian Dior, a stalwart of the fashion industry, "Long after one has forgotten what a woman wore, the memory of her perfume lingers".
He's right. Every woman should have a scent they love. 'The One', that lifts their mood when they smell it, 'The One' that people associate with them.
However, finding your 'signature scent' in an industry so saturated and so fraught with fluffy jargon and clever marketing can be difficult. But, according to Fiona Cooke, author of perfumenotes.ie, it need not be such a task. You just have to take the time to educate yourself and establish what type of notes you like. Fiona, who has been working in the perfume industry for 15 years, recommends not rushing into a fragrance purchase. If you still love it hours after you first spritz, then maybe you've found your winner.
Fiona also believes we should have more than one go-to scent. "Changing scent according to season can be really fun. Just like clothes, perfume can reflect the season. A darker heavier scent (leathers, spicy orientals and foody 'gourmands') can work well when it's cold and dark outside, just as citrus or light florals can work well in spring and summer. But of course, it's up to you - you can wear your fave mini skirt or shorts with thick opaques in winter and it's the same for your perfume. Try wearing a masculine, warm woody scent and layer it with a soft floral on top".
Dos and Don'ts
● Don't choose a perfume based on smelling it on your friends and liking it. Perfume will smell differently on you than on someone else based on your own chemistry (dry or oily skin, foods you eat, if you smoke, what medication you are on, etc).
● Don't spray a scent on jewellery - it will tarnish the metal and also the metals can interfere with the true scent.
● Don't be a scent snob - a higher price does not always mean better ingredients, just better marketing. The same perfumer that makes some of the most expensive scents is often involved in making celebrity scents.
● Scent will change as it develops, so don't buy a perfume until you wear it all day.
● Choose what you like. Forget rules. If you like the smell of something, go for it. Perfume should bring you joy.
● Store your perfumes in the dark - the cardinal sin is storing perfume on the windowsill or on the bathroom shelf, where the fluctuations in temperature, from showers and bath or from the light of the sun, can literally cook your scent and change the chemical makeup.
● Apply scent to areas of your body that are naturally warm - crooks of arms and legs and pulse points of wrists and neck. The nape of your neck is also good as it warms up pretty well and if you have medium-to-long hair, it acts as a diffuser.
If you want scent to last longer, layer matching body cream under the perfume, that way when your skin warms up, you will be enveloped in scent.
Travel Atomiser, €15, Penhaligon, available from Brown Thomas and brownthomas.com
Carrying a big bottle of fragrance around in your handbag can be cumbersome and downright inconvenient. This nifty little device allows you to refill from your favourite perfume bottle, meaning your signature scent can travel with you wherever you go. Don't worry, instructions are included.
Discovery Kits, from €30 to €40, available from Parfumarija, Westbury Mall, Dublin 2
Discovery kits are boxed sets of the main fragrances from luxury collections in sample sizes. Perfect for trying out different scents, without splashing out on a full bottle. If you're unfamiliar with Parfumarija, it's a niche perfume boutique stocking rare and exotic fragrances.
Cologne Collection, €86, Jo Malone, available at Brown Thomas and brownthomas.com
Containing five 9ml bottles of Jo Malone's best-selling colognes, this is the ultimate gift for a woman who you know loves fragrance but you don't know what it is exactly she likes.