What Are You Wearing?

What is your first association when you hear the phrase I used as the title? I don’t remember if I ever considered it sexy or flirty rather than cheesy, but even if I did, “What are you wearing, ‘Jake’ from the State Farm?” killed it for me forever (for those who isn’t familiar with the reference: 25 seconds you’ll spend watching the ad below will most likely make you smile).

 

 

So no, I didn’t mean it like that.

No matter how busy I get and how little time I have for both my blog, and the selected friends’ blogs, from time to time I still feel drawn to strange public places – such as SOTD posts on the NST blog or even one of the Perfume Groups on Facebook – to where most people come to declare what perfume they are wearing or plan to wear that day and then go away without engaging in the conversation with others. Of course, there are some exceptions, and the most active group of each of the venues interacts with each other, but in general those threads seem a little insane. Recently though I came across references to the studies that say that soliloquies might be rather useful and helpful (if you’re curious, read here and here). I don’t know what positive effect it has on those who posts comments but for me it proved helpful as a pseudo-random selector of perfume to wear the next day.

But SOTD selecting as well as the content of the comments in the above-mentioned outlets weren’t the main focus of this post as well.

What is the topic then, you might be wondering by that point? Reading comments on those threads made me wondering how exactly people in different stages of their perfume addic hobby are using perfumes in our possession.

For years in my youth I wore just one perfume – Climat by Lancôme. Since it was rare and special, I didn’t wear it every day but saved it for special occasions while going scentless most days (I can’t even imagine doing that now!).

Rusty and Lancome Climat

Later I had in my wardrobe 1-2 day-to-day perfumes, so I wore something almost every day still keeping my beloved Climat as a dress-up accessory (and I still do).

Miss Dior, Isa, Black Lace and Paris-Paris

Then my collection increased, and I wore mostly perfumes I owned: about 10 full bottles and some minis. I also wore rare samples that I managed to get from department stores for perfumes that I liked and considered buying (it wasn’t easy: SAs guarded those with their lives back then).

Next I got better at procuring samples: Nordstrom events and a friendly SA came in handy; and I started supplementing my perfume wardrobe wearing perfumes from samples just to have a variety. But on most days I would still be using perfumes from the bottles in my collection.

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And then the proverbial rabbit hole happened. I was in the constant search for new experiences buying lots of samples and testing as much as I could anywhere I could. I would be bringing 2-3 samples with me to the office and apply something to my wrists to test. And in the evening I would do more testing. There were so many brands to explore, so many perfumes to try!

My bottles collection started to grow, but so was the “backlog” of samples to test. And at some point I noticed that I kept neglecting those wonderful perfumes that I already had chasing the hope of even more beautiful scent from the next vial. Once I realized that, I made a resolution to wear perfumes that I already loved at least three times a week.

Several years later – and I wear only perfumes that I consciously added to my collection. Not all of them come in full bottles, I have travel bottles, minis and decants, but I got all of them for the purpose of wearing, not testing. I still do testing of both new perfumes and samples I’ve previously tested but haven’t made up my mind about, but the only time I wear perfumes from samples is if I consider buying that perfume and want to make sure that I like how it wears fully, not just as a speck on the wrist.

What are you wearing right this moment when you’re reading this post? (And please, do not say “Khakis”)

Lace

Jokes aside, what do you usually wear? Is there a difference in how you treat samples and full bottles in your possession?

M.Micallef Le Parfum Couture

Images: all but the last two – my own; M.Micallef Le Parfum Couture from brand’s press release for the perfume

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32 thoughts on “What Are You Wearing?

  1. Morning! I’m wearing the limited Chanel N°5 spray body oil (absoutely stunning, longevity of 10 hours) with a few drops of the N°5 current extrait. I really only wear bottles that I own, includes 15 mls though. I have to have a real interest to bother trying anything new. I did buy Galop, the testing consisted of going into Hermès and covering myself in the stuff on three different occasions. My version of a try out!! Loads of love and strength for whatever 2017 chucks at us! Bussis. xxx

    • Testing multiple times at a store before pouncing (or waiting for the perfume to appear at discounters sites) was how I used to do it before. But it’s almost impossible to do it nowadays if you’re interested in niche perfumes: there are not that many places where you can easily test all those amouages, veros and other super-rare brands.

  2. Hahahahaha! I’m still in my pyjamas as I’m reading this while drinking my Sunday coffee. :-) It’s funny, whenever someone asks this question my only response would be to answer with a perfume I’m wearing. Although on those rare days I’m not wearing any, ‘nothing’ might seem a strange reply. ;-)
    These days though, I wear my amber and vanilla bottles and look for neglected decants hiding in drawers and boxes. I recently found my decants of Chinatown and New Harleem and remembered why I used to love them so much.
    Oh, and I also found MdO Vanilla in one of those searches. :-) Really good vanilla perfume that makes me think you would probably enjoy Insulo too.

    • Well, it depends on who’s asking but in some cases it might be just the anticipated response ;)

      I’m glad you found the decant of MdO’s perfume as you were the second one in the queue and the winner has just claimed the prize.

  3. My first thought about the title of your post was red carpet.

    When journalists try to chit-chat all the stars walking on the red carpet and they always ask about what they’re wearing and who designed a dress/suit.

    My very first perfume I used was from Puma, can’t even remember the name now, wonder if it’s still produced (I was teenager back then), I also used a few perfumes from Avon and Oriflame.

    My first “real” perfume was Prada Amber Pour Homme which I was mad about since it launched. I didn’t buy a FB of it until 2009 to celebrate massing my Matura exams.

    Since then many things have changed, I discovered niche etc but Prada is still very dear to my heart.

    I have tons of sample at family home and at my appartment in Poznań, I often tend to neglect them, I really prefer using my full bottle perfumes. Nowadays I was unable to take my full collection with me to Poznań, some perfumes had to stay at my parents. So I either rotate FB that I have in Poznań or make decants from the bottles that stayed home

    And I’m in Atelier Cologne Encens Jinhae today

    • At Oscars they always ask “Who are you wearing?” but I got the idea :)

      I make decants of most of my FBs – to take with me if I feel like refreshing the scent during the day or when I travel.

  4. OK…so I just got up, had one sip of coffee so my “fussy old goat” self (someone called me that at work the other day) is coming out. SOTD and “look at my new purchase that came in the mail” posts drive me crazy. I don’t care. I do hoard samples thinking that I will wear them for variety and when I do I feel guilty that I’m not using my full bottles. So primarily I go through my collection and just wear those to cull down the collection. On a good note, I find that I am not buying as much these days because I do feel like a hoarder. I just got up, so all I can smell is a lingering Roja Dove Enslaved (Christmas party last night, I typically only wear on special occasions). OK… I need more coffee. Rusty looks absolutely statuesque in that picture! xoxoxox

    • I’m all out of coffee (don’t ask!) so I completely understand how you feel (and don’t even want to know what others think of my non-caffeinated self – though I would dare anyone to use any animal comparison on me, unless it starts with “c” and ends with “at” ;) )

      I keep some of the samples thinking that I would wear them at some point… but that point just never comes: I have so many great perfumes that I just never find an inspiration to wear something that is just “nice.” And if it’s great, I just need to get more of it – and then I’ll wear it.

    • I have to say I love to read what others are wearing, testing and buying/considering to buy. NST scent of the day threads are my one indulgence when it comes to hanging out on the Internet and it doesn’t seem show-off-y or meaningless to me (and in any case, the posts are very easy to avoid). When I first became interested in (niche) perfume, there was nothing available in Estonia and no-one to talk to about those things. NST (and a few other places) was where I learned and could express my newfound enthiusiasm. Now I’m older and in a different place in my perfume appreciation, I have an extremely demanding job, a family and many other commitments, but reading that someone in Brazil or New Zealand is wearing the same perfume as me always brings a smile to my face. I feel warm inside when people like something I like and intrigued when their taste is completely different. And I can relate to it when a special package arrives in the mail and you want to tell people who understand.

    • My problem with oil-based perfumes is that I still can smell the oil – and it bothers me because I associate that with eating, not wearing :)
      I’ve never tried any if Czech and Speake’s perfumes but I will if I ever come across them in a store: that bottle looks beautiful.

  5. I love this post, Undina! Even though I am so deep into the rabbit hole, if asked “What are you wearing?”, I consider who is asking and around what context… so maybe there is still hope that I’m, ummm, normal? As to what perfume I wear, anything goes. I plan around the NST SOTD Friday Community Projects and try to wear something during the weekday that meets that theme. I also tend to wear perfumes for which I have a full bottle (or two or three…I’m looking at you Bvlgari Black) but I do sometimes wear samples as SOTD.

    Still commando and will wear something appropriate for church and braving the mall later on. I tend not to wear two perfumes in a day except when I am deliberately layering.

    • Thank you, hajusuuri!

      The only time I wear a couple of perfumes per day are those weekend/holiday days when I wear something light during the day (like Jo Malone), and then put on something more dramatic for the dinner time, especially if it’s a dress-up occasion.

      I try to participate in Friday community projects – but it’s maximum of what I can do: a whole week would be too much to follow somebody else’s theme :)

  6. OK, what is the expression on kitties face here? Too funny!

    Your post inspires me to pick a couple days of the week and reserve them to wear a tried and true fragrance I love. Like you, this has gone by the wayside for me as try new scents and experiment on myself with my own creations.

    My all time fragrance is Shalimar. I am a Guerlain Girl and love many Guerlains. But since I was about 17 I always come back to Shalimar. Even with its more recent reformulations. For naturals, I adore Laurie Stern’s Honey. That I come back to time and again. I love those old fashioned perfumes and there is something antique about Honey. Recently my friend gave me a bottle of Bal A Versailles (am I spelling that right?) Wow. Love that too. It’s an old bottle too. Prolly bottled in the 1070’s. I’m a nomad lately so it’s also nice cause this is a mini. I find myself gravitating to that. I also adore holding that little bottle in my hands. That round shape…

    Right now I’m getting ready to meditate (as soon as I finish my coffee) so I’m wearing straight up New Caledonian Sandalwood.

    Have a lovely scented day!

    • Thank you, Doreen! I was wondering why nobody has noticed Rusty’s face expression! I also thought that it was funny.

      I think it makes perfect sense to enjoy perfumes that you already love – before they go off, your tastes change or you find even more perfumes you want to own… and never wear :)

      Yesterday I tested in parallel straight up New Caledonian and Indian sandalwood. I didn’t like both! :) Next I’ll try them in 10% dilution.

  7. Oh god, you had me at “Jake he State Farm guy”!
    I’m sitting here in my sweats with my first cup of coffee watching the snow falling, which here on the west side of Washington State is rare enough that sitting and staring out the window is entertainment enough!
    As a mod of one of the large FB fragrance forums (8000 members and growing daily), I must say that I like seeing the SOTD’s because it means that people are engaged at some level.

    For many, the forums are about community, finding your tribe; like-minded people who share your passion, a passion that often leaves other friends and family members scratching their heads.
    For many the forums are also their safe-space, where the troubles and conflict of the world around them cannot touch their momentary joy at being supported in their obsession. I also like discovering new scents from peoples SOTD and purchase postings.
    (What I DON’T like are the occasional “scent me please” posts. Seriously?? Now how the hell should I know??😂)

    On a personal level, I wear what I own these days, and like Val (😘😘😘) my full bottle purchases have been whittled down to things I absolutely crave, and decants/samples suffice for all the rest. Today I’m wearing Mandy Aftel’s Amber Tapestry, a perfect scent for watching snow fall. Cheers, Robert H.

    • Hi Robert!

      Coming from the chats/forums/LiveJournal background (I wore my share of moderator’s hats), I appreciate the place of the online community in people’s lives. In my opinion, forums are the best suited for SOTD discussions. Conversations in forums are usually initiated as such – conversations. In my post I was referring more to strange phenomenon of people not engaging in conversations they’ve started.
      The combination:
      A: It’s my vacation day, and I’m wearing XYZ perfume.
      B: Love XYZ perfume. You smell great!
      This seems fine – with or without person A. coming back and thanking person B.

      But:
      A: I’m wearing XYZ perfume today.
      B: Is it an EdP or EdT? I’m curious about the difference between the two.
      where A never comes back and answers the question, seems really strange. Why would you volunteer any information in the first place if you are not interested in talking to people?

      Anyway, reading these threads was useful: how else would I know that many people wear perfumes from samples and got to ask questions from readers of my blog? :)

      • Sometimes just post my SOTD because I have no time to be more engaged, but I want to signal that I’m still there, still reading and still appreciate the community. At the hight of the Greek crisis, the 5 minutes I took to scroll throught the SOTD posts on NST and to post my scent were the only free minutes I had in my 18-hour work day. As it’s an accepted practice, I never felt bad about it, although I always prefer to have time to interact. I know there are people who never comment, but still go through the posts for inspiration and sense of kinship (I used to be on of them myself and I have friends who do it now). Sometimes I actually prefer when there isn’t too much talk, as I just want to quickly check what my favourite people are wearing. That’s of course not a critisism, it’s simply to show how – for some people – even simple SOTD announcements have value.

        • I read NST’s SOTD thread and comment there when I have time, and I do appreciate the community and exchange of thoughts. It’s just that I’m a much more conversation-oriented person. I actually started this blog many years ago mostly to communicate with people – rather than to express my opinion on perfumes.

          When I see on NST that somebody who usually maintains the dialog didn’t reply, I assume that he/she were just too busy – that happens. But if I do not see a response/reaction from somebody time after time, I assume that either that person doesn’t want to talk to me, or doesn’t care about interactions in general – so I stop. But it leaves me confused about the purpose of their own “outburst” into the space: I’m not sure about others, but, other than as a general curiosity, I rarely care about what some random people like/dislike in anything – be that perfumes, wines or movies: we shouldn’t forget which perfumes are the best sellers in the world; and there are millions of people who buys and wears them. I do care about choices of the people I know (be that in real life or over the Internet). But for me to know people – I need to communicate with them beyond just reading their SOTD.

          • I do the same – if someone doesn’t respond several times, I also stop trying. But it’s not an issue for me if people are one-way like that (I’m not saying it’s an issue for you, just trying to explain), as I’m not there for dialogue only. Sometimes I encounter a perfume that sounds intriguing and I’ll check it out. Or a person is wearing a scent that I had forgottent I wanted to wear. And so on. Of course, it always adds to the experience if I know who that person is, what she likes or doesn’t, but I can enjoy the posts also without that aspect. I gues people have different things they are looking for in those places online and NST hapoens to be one where many diffrent expectations converge.

  8. This is a fun topic. I never really “got” those SOTD posts, but they seem popular so I assume they’re fun for lots of people for whatever reasons.

    Haha, Rusty looks SHOCKED that you used to go (*gasp*) scentless on the regular.

    “Next I got better at procuring samples […] and I started supplementing my perfume wardrobe wearing perfumes from samples just to have a variety. But on most days I would still be using perfumes from the bottles in my collection.”

    I’m at this stage of fragrance-fandom right now. I *love* trying new scents, but don’t often *love* the new scents I’m trying (even if I like something, I don’t have enough $ to commit to buying full size for anything but twoo wuv). I stick to something out of my permanent collection 4-5 days of the week, and go through samples as the mood strikes.

    Today I’m wearing a lavender cologne from Thymes, which isn’t particularly exciting but is perfect for a quiet day at the office. (Also, khakis.)

    • I’m glad you liked the topic – thank you for commenting!

      I thought that Rusty’s expression reminded shock expression :) – that was partially the reason for using that picture.

      As to the testing new scents, my attitude has changed once I realized that I end up liking – I’m not even talking of loving – less than 10% of everything I tested. So while testing perfumes for free in the stores or at least exchanging samples with friends still attracts me a lot, I try not to buy any samples since 90% will be a waste of money (though those parking fees in the city and postages can add up quickly as well).
      So using existing bottles and buying small(er) decants for some of the perfumes that either not a FB-worthy, or are just too expensive to commit – is the way to go, in my opinion.

  9. I was the same. It seemed crazy when I realised I was frantically trying new samples all the time and adding full bottles to my collection which I never wore. That did change naturally over time though as the frenzy died down. This month, occasionally when I want to test something new, I’ll wear Tea for Two around my neck and leave my hands and wrists free for spritzing the sample.
    It’s great that you’ve managed to keep Climat special.

    • I still do my testing almost every night when I’m at home but during the day to the office or when going out I use only my favorites. And recently every time I put on (or just look at the bottle of) Tea for Two, I think of you because you mentioned it recently, and it prompted me to wear it again.

  10. I noticed the expression on Rusty’s face – priceless! His mouth is slightly open – that is a first in a photo? I am wearing EL AYY (there’s an acronym to reckon with), which takes me right back to the beginning of my hobby, when I was much more frenzied as Tara puts it, and buying bottles, minis, samples, everything at once. Wearing a fraction of what I owned. I have started to notice bottles going off and that is also taking the edge of my love of perfume – knowing I will fail miserably to use my collection before its natural demise.

    Re the SOTD posts, I could never be bothered to contribute to them, I must say, as it didn’t seem to matter. I think I may be withdrawing from the whole scene in small increments, which saddens me but which is a natural process I may just have to go with.

    • I think you might be right: I do not catch him with his mouth open that often. I might have one or two more pictures like that.
      It took me a while to figure out what you were wearing (thanks to Fragrantica that has a list of all EL’s perfumes): I’m not sure if I’ve ever tried this one before though I think I did…

      I always remember that perfumes spoil, so I’m trying my best to enjoy them today hoping they’ll survive for a while.

      As I said on more than one occasion before, our blogs aren’t our job – it’s a hobby, it’s supposed to bring positive emotions. When it stops being that and becomes a chore, there’s no good reason to keep doing that (though I hope you’ll stick around for a little longer – let’s say, another 6 years? ;) ).

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