To Wear or Not to Wear?

It all started with me thinking on Joshua’s (The Smelly Vagabond) question: What perfumes would you bring along with you if you had to live abroad for a year? He limited himself with decants of 10 perfumes and articulated well his criteria for making that type of selection. Then in one of the perfume-related Facebook’s groups I read another question: Is there a fragrance that you couldn’t live without, in your younger day but will never wear today? These questions together shaped the direction of my thinking.

Rusty and Vials

This summer was emotionally difficult for me and for a while I didn’t pay too much attention to my perfumes choices: I would go with my usual ritual of looking through the cabinet to decide which perfume I haven’t worn in a while, think of how appropriate it would be for the occasion, weather and sometimes my outfit – and then put it on. But since I’m recording each of the applications in my perfume database, over time I realized that I seemed to enjoy my choices less than I used to in the past. For a while this realization kept me from using my most favorite perfumes out of fear to be disappointed. But life went on and I stopped limiting my choices by the “expendable” perfumes only.

What I noticed looking at the records later, I had no change of heart about perfumes that I loved but I changed my mind mostly about perfumes with which I had more intellectual relationships. I didn’t dislike any of them but I didn’t enjoy them the way I did before.

Choosing perfumes for a remote location I would have to follow my heart because any well-balanced and smartly put together list might go right out of the window with the first challenge – and then I would end up spending time with perfumes I respect but do not love. Would I still want to wear them? Would you?

Think of a perfume in your collection that you bought because you persuaded yourself that you should have it or the one that you used to like but somehow never come around wearing any more. Now imagine that you’re packing for a three-month trip where you will not have access to any perfumes. You have a choice: to go completely scent-free for the duration of the trip or to take that perfume you do not love any more but then you’ll have to use it following your regular pattern.

Wilted Rose

Would you go commando perfume-wise rather than wearing perfume you do not like any longer for three months straight?


Image: my own


48 thoughts on “To Wear or Not to Wear?

  1. Assuming the perfume has just fallen out of favor with me, and not turned in to a scrubber (does that ever happen?), I would not go commando. I would have to absolutely loathe any perfume available before I would go without.


  2. To live abroad for a year? It’s even hard for me to imagine such thing at the moment but on the other hand deep in the back of my head I know that the same thing is probably going to happen to me. If I want to fulfill my dreams I will have to migrate at some point as what I want to do is impossible to achieve in Poland.

    Limiting to 10 decants of perfumes sounds reasonable but I bet it’s hard to decide what to take with you and what to leave at home for a year! But maybe Joshua will be able to get some new perfumes during his 1-year-long stay abroad.

    If I wear to chose between being unscented for a while (those 3 months you mentioned) or wearing a perfume I don’t like anymore (even though I liked or loved it in the past) I would rather go commando perfume-wise. Just the thought of wearing the perfume I don’t like for around 90 days in a row makes me very sad. I’d rather not wear anything and then be ultra happy after coming back home to my beloved collection.


    • It’s hard to move to another country but a dream is worth it.

      I’m not concerned about Joshua – I’m sure he’ll be able to get almost any perfumes where he lives now.

      So, your vote is “No to Wear.”


  3. Sorry to hear your summer has been a difficult time for you. I hope that’s ended or nearing the end. Ines and I were talking about how it’s been an emotionally rough ride for a fair few of us in perfumeland.

    To answer your interesting question, I would go without. It would bring me no pleasure to wear a perfume I did not like any more – quite the opposite – so definitely not. The fact that I’d be on a trip for 3 months also makes a huge difference. I rely on perfume a lot during my working week. It’s not such an issue otherwise, as enjoyable as it is.


  4. Hey Undina,
    You’re saying you do not LOVE the fragrance but I am assuming you are not repelled. In my head it was bought because it had a good trick, was incredibly different or matched a mood. For a 3 month adventure I would take it. Some days I’d wear it and others go commando.
    I would prefer a world where such things were not to happen though.
    Portia xx


    • The situation was completely theoretical, created mostly to give a frame of reference to the thinking process. I also hope never to have to make that choice.

      I count you as “To Wear” but want to mention that, unless you go completely unscented in your day-to-day life now, you wouldn’t have an option to go commando if you were to bring a perfume with you on my imaginary trip ; -)


  5. I read Joshua’s post with interest, and thought his reasons were bang on. With his selection he should also have covered all bases in terms of the temperature variations in that part of the US.

    As to your question, I would take the perfume, on the basis that sometimes you have to ‘fake it to make it’. Also because I have had so many volte-faces, U-turns and 180s lately that who knows what might happen? ;)

    Sorry you are going through this difficult time – hang on in there and be kind to yourself in every way you can…


    • I also agreed with Joshua’s reasons and thought those were good ones. But it was an interesting exercise – so I kept changing the starting conditions and answering “what if” questions.

      So, you are noted as “To Wear” (I’m not surprised : -) ).


  6. I’d go commando and probably not really find it a sacrifice to do so, as there is so much out there in the real world to smell (in nature, particularly) that it wouldn’t bother me to be without perfume. I really only want to wear perfumes that I love, so I could wait the three months out.

    Could you go commando, Undina? I guess what I’m wondering is, what your answer is to the question you posed?

    Interesting question, and now I’m off to read Joshua’s post, but not before remarking on Rusty cuteness (he is the cutest little devil!) and wishing you sweeter days ahead.


    • So, you’re joining a “Not to Wear” club. Interesting. As to my choice, as you understand, “that is the question” ;-) I didn’t want to influence others with my answer. I’ll reveal it in a couple of days in the upcoming My Stats post.

      Rusty will get a treat: he was a good sport at that particular photo shoot and I used many of the pictures from it in different posts.


  7. I have that one perfume in my collection that I absolutely loved and couldn’t possibly live without but it now has fallen out of favor. It seemed at least once a year I would ask for a new bottle of it for either my birthday or for Christmas. Now, I’ve had the same bottle for the last few years and can’t seem to bring myself to wear it much anymore. It’s not that I totally dislike it but just don’t love it like I used to. Perhaps it’s a sign my collection has expanded and I ust have more options now. To answer your question, I think I’d have to go commando rather than bring my former love to wear for 3 months straight. Of course, my mind is thinking that I am going somewhere for 3 months that has a lot of places to buy some new perfumes and going commando would allow me to be scent free to test new perfumes and buy one or two on this 3 month journey.


    • I will count you as “Not to Wear” but I want to bring it to your attention that on “my” trip there will be absolutely no perfumes – to try or to buy – so you’ll be completely scentless for the duration ;-)


  8. I can speak from experience in saying that I would definitely go without perfume rather than wear something I didn’t like. As for packing following the heart – I don’t do it. A blend of head and heart works better for me. :)


    • From the experience: my one before the last carefully planned list was completely wrong since all perfumes felt different in an unexpected heat during my last year’s trip to Ukraine. On the other hand, all perfumes that came with me to Hawaii were just perfect – despite of the (expected) heat. Maybe it’s the destination that matters? ; -)

      “Not to Wear” vote for you.


  9. Rusty is looking good, as always!

    The perfume that fits this is Burberry Brit Sheer (white frosted bottle with pink Burberry plaid). This was my scent one summer and I had in fact, drained my first bottle. I bought a back-up with a Lord & Taylor coupon right around the time I fell into the rabbit hole. I turned my nose from this in favor of less mainstream type scents. Up ’til now, that back-up bottle has not been touched.

    To answer your question as to the choice between going commando or being allowed to bring only the lost-love perfume, I would choose to bring it because I don’t hate it…I just have more and other interesting choices now.


  10. I am not sure I could bring myself to say that I liked some of my bottles only ‘intellectually’- you know on any day, that perfume could potentially be ‘love’. However, if I didn’t actually feel for any of the fragrances I had brought along, I’d go without, definitely, it’s a terrible feeling wearing the *wrong* fragrance/ wrong clothes…
    I hope the hard times are soon over for you, in the meantime cuddle Rusty even more.


    • Rusty definitely cannot complain about lack of cuddling: as I type this answer, I have to do it with one hand because I use the other one to hold him laying on my lap with his tummy up.

      So, no bottles of “everybody says it’s great, I like it and it’s inexpensive” type in your collection? ;-)

      Counting you as a “Not to Wear” proponent.


      • He’s one lucky cat.
        Hm, you are without mercy on a spineless perfumista friend ;-) I suppose you *know* there are that kind of bottles in every perfumistas collection, but I delude myself by deciding that given the right day I love all my frags :-D
        Yes count me in “not to wear”.


  11. Dear Undina,

    I’m sorry to hear that your summer hasn’t been going too well. Sending hugs from where I am. To answer your question, I’m a “To Wear” proponent so long as the scent isn’t one I abhor. I find that things tend to grow on me the more I wear them, and many of the ones I currently love took some time to get there. So, I’d see it as an opportunity to get to know a fragrance I own better!


  12. Going commando with perfume? I don’t think I could do that.
    I actually feel like I’m missing a part of my clothes if I forget to apply some before going out (that rarely happens though).
    And it depends on the perfume why I don’t like it anymore but if I bought it at some point, it couldn’t be that bad that I wouldn’t wear it against not wearing anything. :)


  13. Hmmmm, I don’t know if I could fathom wearing something I really didn’t care for for 3 months straight…I think I might go commando as it’s always good to walk away from something you love so much…in other words, absence makes the heart grow fonder. I hope I’m never in this situation though!

    Sorry to hear your summer is not going well.



  14. Hi Dearest Undina!
    As I mentioned on FB, I would go without. What does concern me right now is my next post was entitled “To Wear or Not To Wear” albeit a different topic!! Great minds! I hope things might me smoothing out for you. Nothing lasts forever ….. Hugs xxxx


    • Oh no! Sorry I beat you to it! But I’m sure neither of us was completely original with this title ;-) so I don’t see much harm in you still going ahead with it.

      Val – “Not to Wear.” (I won’t double-count here and on FB)


  15. This is an interesting question, and I’ve actually had experience with this. I moved to Scotland to do a year-long master’s program. I didn’t have a perfume sample collection back then, so I brought two Jo Malone bottles with me: Nutmeg & Ginger and Vanilla & Anise. The 30 ml bottles were easiest to pack and they were my favorites at the time. I didn’t grow tired of them, but I do remember splurging on a bottle of Prada’s l’Eau Ambrée at Harvey Nichols when I wanted something fun and different. It’s been several years now, and I’ve outgrown Vanilla & Anise, but I do still have a soft spot for Nutmeg & Ginger.

    And I hope this Autumn will be a better time for you than this Summer has been! :)


    • Thank you for the kind wishes, Caitlin.

      Jo Malone’s bottles are not only nice for packing but also allow you to create an additional perfume by mixing them – great choice. But does it mean that you’d choose to wear a perfume that isn’t totally you any more rather than go scentless?


      • That’s so tough to answer! But, unless I started to outright hate a scent for some reason, I think I would continue wearing it. At this point, I’ve been wearing perfume so consistently that it would feel strange not to be wearing something. Sometimes I forget to apply perfume before going out and I feel vulnerable without it, it’s like a kind of nakedness. Wow, it sounds like I’ve become too dependent on perfume, haha.


        • I thought so (and counted you into “To Wear” group). I am the same as you: I can’t go without perfume. Just in case I forget to apply perfume before leaving house, I have a couple of samples with me all the time.


  16. Hmmm… If I were to look at my own collection realistically, looking at fragrances I don’t *like* much anymore, there are very few: Tocade, 2006 Diorissimo, Balmain Ivoire, Victoria’s Secret Pink, and Prince Matchabelli Cachet (which my mother bought me when I was a teenager; I didn’t love it then, and only bought it via ebay recently thinking that my nose might have matured since then. Nope. Still don’t love it.). I’m allowing myself to not be hypothetical about some vague perfume I don’t like anymore – I’m considering each of those particular perfumes and deciding on that basis.

    Realistically speaking, even though I no longer enjoy these, I’d still take any one of them, to be worn every single day for three months, rather than go scentless. They’re not awful. If the question were to state that I could either wear a fragrance that I have always hated, or go scentless, I’d go commando for sure.


    • Actually, this is what I’m doing right now while working on the next Statistics post – I’m going through my collection examining each of those “less loved” perfumes. So far I’m with you: there are not that many perfumes that I wouldn’t want to wear at all.

      I counted your “To Wear” vote.


  17. Pingback: Entertaining Statistics: August 2014 | Undina's Looking Glass

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