Saturday Question: How Do You Decide What to Wear?

Following great tradition started by two wonderful bloggers, Birgit (Olfactoria’s Travels) and Portia (Australian Perfume Junkies), once a week I or one of the guest writers will keep the lights on in this virtual leaving room, but I hope that you, my friends and readers, will engage in conversation not only with me or the other host, but also with each other.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #11:

How Do You Decide What to Wear?

With all the bottles, decants and samples that you have, how do you decide which perfume to wear on any given day? (The question was suggested by Hamamelis.)

My Answer

Many years ago, when I had just 5-7 bottles, every morning I’d look at all of them and decide what to wear. Since I wore them all quite frequently, even before applying perfume I knew how it would smell, so I rarely chose a wrong one.

Once I started down the rabbit hole and accumulated some samples, every night before going to sleep, in my head I would go through everything I owned and choose what to wear the next day. I enjoyed this small routine, but the results were mixed since some of the samples I wore were new to me.

These days, since going through all of my perfumes in my head would be like counting sheep (with a predictable effect), instead, if I have 5-10 minutes in the morning, I’d read through the SOTD thread of NST to see if one of the comments would give me an idea. Sometimes, though less often, I would participate in a community project there (like this week when for 5 days I wore iris perfumes – Olfactive Studio Iris Shot, Histoires de Parfums 1904 (Madame Butterfly), Xerjoff Irisss, Parfums Dusita Splenderis and 1907 Mon Ame). But on most days I would just stay in front of the shelves with perfumes trying to figure out which of the perfumes that I haven’t worn in a while would fit the weather, my mood and any other variables I care to introduce that day. Since I wear mostly perfumes that I own and know well, the method works, and I rarely make a wrong choice. But I constantly have a feeling that I neglect some of my favorites just because I don’t see them or make my choice quickly without considering all the options.

 

How Do You Decide What to Wear?

 

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48 thoughts on “Saturday Question: How Do You Decide What to Wear?

  1. Well, right now my choices are made easier by my May blogging assignment to myself: a Roses de Mai Marathon! So that narrows the selection. And then I find that I am affected by the seasons: I have several heavier, spicier roses that I prefer to wear in cold weather, and even more fresh or green roses that I like to wear in the spring and summer, and into the fall as long as the weather is sunny and warm. I’ve also had fun digging into the boxes where I keep many of my fragrances, looking for a particular rose scent, and rediscovering some of my other fragrances that I haven’t worn in a while. The Roses de Mai Marathon starts here: https://scentsandsensibilities.co/2020/05/02/roses-de-mai-marathon/.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I also do my personal “weeks” from time to time (a brand, a note or any other topic). And yes, “seasons” (whatever goes as such in my area) also play a part in my choice.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My choices are very much based on the season. I get a lot of joy doing it that way. Right now I’m still enjoying my spring greens.
    If I lived somewhere without all four seasons I’d be in trouble!

    Liked by 1 person

    • In the area where I live there is summer and… the rest of the year :) I enjoy our weather but I don’t get enough time to wear those perfumes that I like the most – spicy ambers and florientals (with the emphasis on “oriental”).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I choose my daily perfume depending on my mood. I never decide the night before what I will wear the following day because when I wake up next day in the morning my mind and mood are not the same. And in my case, considering that a have a large collection of full bottles, decants and samples many perfumes get neglected. It is impossible to wear every single one during the year.

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    • I think, if to count all decants that I got into my collection to wear, I also wouldn’t be able to do each perfume at least once a year. But I try to wear at least my bottles a couple of times. Wearing more than one perfume per day also helps.

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  4. I decide the evening before what I am gonna wear, and the stay excited about it until the next day. Of course I change my mind sometimes, but very rarely. I know every single thing that I own. So have never had that surprise about finding something in my cupboard thing. I have a couple of things that are seasonal. ❤️

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    • I think that the way you use perfumes – from a controlled size collection – is the best way: having too large collection makes it harder to choose the right perfume.

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  5. My choices are a bit random, but I usually have between 3 and 5 perfumes which get more wear than the rest for a month or two. Those are perfumes which fit the season or are just easy options for more or less any occasion. My citrus fragrances are worn year round. The EBPs are often samples I like, but scents I decide I don’t need. I also choose based on mood, especially if I have a difficult meeting at work or similar.

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    • What is EBPs?
      Having 3-5 “go-to” perfumes means that you repeatedly wear the same perfumes. This approach wouldn’t work for me because I don’t wear the same perfume more often than once a month.

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      • EBP is short for emergency backup perfume. It designates those decants, samples or even bottles some of us keep at work or in the handbag for the days when we forget to put on perfume before heading out the door or for when a touch up of perfume is needed around lunchtime or later.

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      • If it’s a random day, I just delve in to a box of perfume and wear the first thing I pull out. I don’t really ponder for ages about what to wear.All my Guerlains are together so it’s only a few moments to decide which to wear. My Iris based perfumes are together as well so that’s only minutes.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I usually stand in front of my shelf and look for inspiration – I tend to have my perfumes grouped seasonally (at least in my head) and gravitate to those groups depending upon the weather. There are times where I’m inspired by an instagram post, the NST community project or comment, but most often I just see a bottle that I haven’t worn recently and want to revisit. At times I set my own weekly projects. Every now and then I do a reckoning to see what I haven’t reached for in the last year to think about why (and whether it needs to go to the purgatory box for swap or giveaway.)

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  7. I know all the perfumes that I have, although sometimes I do lose track of samples and smaller bottles. I tend to get into moods where for awhile I’m craving flowers, or resinous perfumes, or greens for example. Each day I will draw from that area but usually wait until the morning to decide on which one in particular. Once in a while I’ll usually suddenly want to smell something completely different in the middle of my currant theme and I’ll find myself spritzing LDDM in the middle of a flower phase. The main thing I keep track of in my head is I try not to repeat a perfume for at least 2 or 3 weeks because I want to make sure my nose doesn’t get too used to it. Sometimes that is hard to do as I’ll get really into a fragrance sometimes and want to smelt it more regularly but overall I find that keeping that discipline is usually worth it. The pleasure of smelling my fragrances is just much more intense and long-lived if I wait.

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    • I rarely wear the same perfume more often than once a month (if that), so it’s not an issue for me – I didn’t realize I was keeping my nose “sharp” :)

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  8. Mostly random, unless there’s an occasion—each day I try to wear a style that’s different from the previous day, to keep my nose on its toes (if that makes any sense). Sometimes I’ll get an idea the night before, based on something I’ve read or something I want to do the next day that’s associated with a particular mood.
    For example, last night I was reading about tea perfumes and some of them have an osmanthus note, which reminded me that even though I don’t have any tea perfumes, I want some, and that I’d forgotten about my travel spray of Ormonde Jayne Osmanthus, so am wearing that today.

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    • I also get ideas from associations. Reading your answer, I thought that I haven’t worn Ormonde Jayne perfumes in a while and I need to remedy that (though, Osmanthus was that rare OJ perfume that didn’t work for me).

      Liked by 1 person

  9. If I have some new samples, I will usually wear each of those for at least a half day. Other days I choose by season, mostly florals and green leafy scents in spring, citruses, marine and lighter florals in summer heat and spicier, ambery scents in fall and winter. I will look at my collection usually each day and think about what I would like to wear the next day. Sometimes I layer scents and I usually wear 2 fragrances each day, one in the morning and one in the evening and a lavender on my pillow at night. Favorite sleepytime scent is Lutens Encens et Lavande.
    Lately I’ve been craving rose fragrances and orange blossom scents. California Reverie has been the favorite this week, along with Lancome’s Parfait de Roses and a new sample of Gucci Bloom.

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    • I should try to go back to choosing my perfumes the day before.
      Most of my perfumes are divided into seasons but with our vague difference between seasons I seem to move onto the “appropriate” perfumes a month or more into the season.

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  10. Good question!
    I’m very relieved you don’t have an elaborate system that you go by, which I first imagined when I read the theme of this weeks.
    The first thing I do is to feel if this is a ‘safe’ day, one where I need to choose one of my perhaps 3-5 favourites? The ones that always work. If yes, it’s kind of easy, I go through the 5 in my imagination and find the right one. ( usually it’s between 3)
    If not, it’s season, weather and looking at what I haven’t worn in a while…

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    • You weren’t that far off: I’m in the process of adding information for perfumes to my database (seasons, occasions, etc.) that, in addition to my records about wearing perfumes, should help me to decide what to wear next :) But I haven’t had enough time to finish it yet.

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  11. I used to decided just based on mood and what called to me. Now, I have trouble finding things I want to wear; so, sometimes it is just grab and go.

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    • Maybe you should do some pre-selection: choose a subset of perfumes to choose from (e.g., 21 candidates for a week), collect them on one shelf in advance and then choose from a smaller set?

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  12. I choose my sotd in a quite similar manner. I rarely wear the same perfume two days in a row, so I always look up the weather forecast for the next day, decide what clothes I’d like to wear on that day and what perfume will to along with the weather and my outfit. My mood is also important. Sometime I would wake up in the morning and decide I want to wear… leather for example. From there it’s a quick selection.

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    • If not to count my trips to Hawaii where I wear Bronze Goddess almost every day (swimming and showering a couple of times during the day allow to change perfumes more often than I do it elsewhere), in the last 10 years I rarely wore the same perfume twice in one month – let alone two days in a row – so, we’re similar in that aspect as well :)

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  13. I just go with whatever I’m in the mood for. There’s never a plan. I don’t take out a few for a rotation tray or anything like that. I don’t necessarily follow seasonal perfumes either. It’s all spur of the moment.

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      • I’m not even sure if there’s much conscious thought. I open the drawers, have a look. Then have another look. Hmm and haww for a few minutes and then decide. Maybe it’ll be something that someone had mentioned recently on a blog. Or something that I haven’t worn in a while. All I do know is that it can sometimes cost me precious minutes (in normal times anyway). I’m getting around to thinking that I’d love a dedicated perfume cabinet where I could space out the collection so that they’re more visible rather than being tightly packed into drawers.

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        • One of the issues I have is also the way my perfumes are packed on the shelves the way that it’s impossible to quickly get to some of them. Partially I solve it by making decants of some of those that couldn’t be used from the bottle directly anyway (e.g., those SL perfumes in bell jars), but in general I wouldn’t mind to have more space to spread my bottles the way to have a better access to all of them).

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  14. Good question-I arranged all my bottles in beautiful baskets, and from there, taking into account weather and whether or not I’ll be in close contact with people I choose what to wear. If I’m uncertain of anything I’ll pull out the classic Guerlain colognes, or Annick Goutal Eau d’hadrian, or Chanel eau de cologne. There’s huge pressure here in Nova Scotia to not wear fragrance (seriously) so I’m careful of how I apply. The irony is most people use super scented laundry soaps, and associated products, so they smell way more than I do. I never want to cause someone distress by over spraying but at the same time life is short, and perfume gives me so much pleasure. Sometimes i like to wear Shalimar perfume on the summer, to see which notes bloom in the heat, and sometimes I like to wear Eau de Patou in the winter, to smell the lemony goodness and nasturtiums on the cold winter air :) During the past six weeks I’ve been wearing my Mona di Orio Suede de Suede, which is gorgeous, and also Dojima. I can’t get enough of either and since customers cannot come in the office now’s the perfect time to wear different things to work.

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    • I’m very “sensitive” to laundry detergents scent, and I cannot understand how people might not mind them. I think, it must be coming from childhood when mothers imprinted those smells as something positive (clean, fresh laundry). I find it amusing that these scents are different in the US and, let’s say, the UK (that’s where I checked, I’m sure it’ll be true for other European countries compared to the US). After the last year’s trip to London where I had to was my clothes in the apartment’s washer (without the detergent, just in the machine that used it previously), it took me several washes at home with an unscented detergent To get rid of that smell! And the same people complain about perfumes?!
      I’m glad you got to wear your favorites: at least something positive in this extremely unpleasant ordeal.

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    • I felt very restrained in what I could wear when I was working. Now that I’m retired and especially during the lockdown I’m wearing the loudest perfumes I can find in my collection and I’m spraying with abandon. It’s wonderful!! My husband has lost some of his olfactory capacity in the last couple of years and he never complained about my perfume anyway. He always loved almost all the fragrances I have, so this is freedom time for me!! I have to remember now to wear any scent on Tuesday as I have to go to the dentist and they gave a ‘no fragrance’ rule in their office.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I usually stand in front of my collection and choose – my collection is small enough (roughly 30 full size bottles and about 20 samples) that I am familiar with each fragrance to make a relatively quick choice in a minute or two. My collection is heavy on Jo Malone and Bulgari (several from the Omnia fragrance line) so those brands get a lot of wear. Decision is mainly based on my mood, with a little influence from the weather. These days, with the weather being nice and warming up a little in the SF Bay Area, I am leaning more toward the floral, “springy” fragrances I own. Every so often, I have tried to do a different fragrance each day of the month given that I have enough full size bottles to make it thru a month. I usually get derailed about a week or two in, as my mood for the day makes me want to rewear something I’ve already worn. I also do have one or two fragrances that I feel are too much for daytime wear or work wear and definitely more a winter/cooler weather fragrance.

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    • Most of Jo Malone and Bvlgari perfumes may be worn year round for almost any occasion, so it should make it easier for you.

      If you were to add 10-15 more perfumes to your collection, it’ll be easier to do different perfume each day of the month. Just saying… ;)

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  16. I am often inspired by the CP on NST, otherwise i sometimes make my own challenges like Vintage week or Chypre week. Sometimes i try to wear some of my least worn perfumes to give them another testing. I tend to wear more seasonal perfumes, so my seasonal bottles stand in the first rows, so i can see them better. the 50 + decants are roughly sorted in winter and summer decants, so i don’t have so search too much.

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    • I also do my own themes from time to time. With NST I try to participate on Friday but I’m rarely inspired to follow the CP the whole week (an iris week was an exception).

      I was wondering: do your two hobbies – perfumes and sewing – intersect? Do you pair the clothes that you create with perfumes you wear that day?

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  17. I select my fragrance for each day after I am dressed, based on the season (I have set lines that do not get crossed!), what I am wearing (I tend to think in terms of scent “colors” to match my apparel and accessories), and my general mood–whether I am feeling like standing out in a crowd or blending in.

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    • I also do “color-coordinations”! :) Thought, on most occasions it’s something straightforward, e.g., a color in the name of perfume or a color of the bottle.

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  18. The Friday Community Project on NST helps me narrow down my choices or if I dream up a theme (e.g. Iris Month, Indie Week, etc.), I try to participate in both theme and CP in Friday’s. Pre-COVID, I need to decide what I’m wearing the next day so that 1) I can take a picture to post on IG and 2) I don’t waffle and waste time before I need to head out to catch my train. Nowadays, I think about what to wear the day before but I am apt to change it the day of…then I bring the bottle downstairs with me (unless the bottle is downstairs which means I have to retrieve it the night before or in the morning, and then bring it down again) to pose for a picture when I take a hooky break. It’s to the specific one I end up wearing, I just go by what I fell like wearing. And I have been wearing a minimum of 8 spritzes because no one will give me the hairy 👁🤣.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love it that you have it down to science :) Did you consider staging and taking multiple pictures in advance and later using them when you decide to wear those perfumes?

      We’re lucky: our house is situated so that it doesn’t get too much of direct light – so, it’s easier to keep it cool. But as a downside, it doesn’t get too much of direct light, which makes it harder to take pictures of perfumes. Especially, if I want to entice Rusty to participate.

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  19. I used to be very impulsive but in the months before the virus I was having increasing trouble deciding. Some days I wouldn’t wear anything until quite late, particularly on the weekend, because I could not decide! Now that I’m home all the time I’m going through my samples and that’s been excellent. I no longer have to match my perfume to my meal, the weather, the venue, the mood.. because that’s all much less relevant from the confines of my home.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m going through my samples as well, while staying at home. But now I have a harder time choosing what to wear in the evening: I don’t have as much time to choose while putting on sports clothes as I do when I dress up for work. Or after the evening walk, if I couldn’t decide before, I’m hungry, so I’m in a hurry to change and make a dinner :).

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  20. Hi Undina and crew,
    Totally random here. Loads of my frags get ignored because they’re in boxes, in bigger boxes, in cupboards. Every now and then I go through and find a bunch of stuff I miss.
    There are a few trays of regular, easy to reach faves and my desk is constantly overflowing with samples, decants and a couple of old faithfuls.
    Portia xx

    Like

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