Saturday Question: What Perfume Would You Wear Back to School Today?

Several years ago, when NST had a community project for the “back to school”perfume associations, I did a post about it. And those of you who were reading my blog then commented about perfumes they wore to school and other school-related topics. But today I suggest a slightly different twist: not a trip down memory lane but rather a fantasy.

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #79:

What Perfume Would You Wear Back to School Today?

Think of yourself from the time of your last year at school. Imagine that you could send yourself to the past a magical gift – a bottle of any perfume that you have in your collection today or can buy now – to wear on your first day back to school. What would you choose and why?

My Answer

Have you ever thought of a great question to ask someone… and then figured out that you would have hard time coming up with the answer? This is what happened to me. As usually it happens at that time of the year, the “back to school” notion was on my mind, and I thought it would be great to do this question. But what would I want to wear on that day? That is the question.

As I mentioned more than once before, since they weren’t that affordable or easily available, perfumes weren’t widely used in the daily life when I was growing up even by adults, let alone teenagers. I’m not sure if there even were any official rules as to wearing scented products to school. The rules were strict about makeup: colorless chopstick-like balms were the closest one could get to wearing makeup to school. But I would think that any perfume one would be able to get and wear to school would be a vast improvement over odors that were “naturally” present in the day-to-day life. So, maybe it wouldn’t have been frowned upon? I don’t know.

But as rebellious as I was back then, I still wouldn’t want to be completely out of order, so probably I shouldn’t send myself to the past any sillage bombs.

Also, back then I was still mostly a signature scent person (on those rare special occasions when I wore perfume, it was my beloved Climat by Lancome – surprise!), so I wouldn’t want to send myself something I think I wouldn’t have liked at 17.

And of course I’d want to wear something that my friends would think smells great, especially that particular boy… (though, if I remember it correctly, there wasn’t a one when I was returning to school for my last year, but you got the idea).

Having taken all that into consideration, I chose Iris Poudre from Frederic Malle. My reasoning is: I like it and consider pretty any easy going. Besides, even though I tried and liked it when I was much older, since I think that Iris Poudre smells a lot like another perfume that became my favorite in just about 10 years after school, it’s very likely that I would have liked any/both of them a decade earlier as well.

Frederic Malle Iris Poudre

What Perfume Would You Wear Back to School Today?


37 thoughts on “Saturday Question: What Perfume Would You Wear Back to School Today?

  1. Such a fun topic. And spookily I had been thinking along the same lines – probably the little whispers of autumn in the air now brought back memories of school. I always wore perfume as I was lucky to be living in the UK where cheap fragrances were decent. In those days I mostly chose “innocent” and fresh types, normally soliflores, and while today I toyed with the idea of going back wearing something shocking and adult, I don’t think I could do it! So what I would plump for would be more interesting than Helena Rubinstein’s Apple Blossom, but it wouldn’t be heavy with spices and musk. I would still like the others to notice me, and not be repelled. I think I would choose Calyx …. always well received whenever I wear it, and having a youthful, fresh vibe that would appeal to the other pupils. Hopefully.


    • Thank you, Jillie.
      I think that we all spent many forming years measured by the beginning of a school year (and those of us who have kids had it double), so this time of year should be engraved somewhere in our psyche.
      I like your choice and agree that it would be appealing to younger crowd.


  2. OOOH! Undina! Cool question.
    I wore Aramis to school and it was perfect. Later years I had Polo.
    Most of the boys wore Norsca body spray.
    Nowadays I imagine it would be something like the Bulgari Man In Black series or even still Aramis. Mum wore Shalimar so maybe the L’Homme Ideal range would have jumped out at her while shopping for herself.
    I’ve enjoyed thinking about this.
    Portia xx


  3. Well that’s uncanny, my first thought was Iris Poudre just as I was reading the question, before I read your answer. I think its soft wearability and ladylike character would have stood me in good stead and would have made a change from my usual Panache and Tramp.


  4. Last time I was in school I wore Estee Lauder’s Aliage and YSL Rive Gauche. I’m not so into galbanum anymore, but I’d still wear something fresh smelling like Prada Purple Rain. If I were on a student budget I’d wear Prada Infusion de Iris, Purple Rain’s little sister.


  5. Can I tell you-I really look forward to the Saturday question-you always make me think, and I have no idea how you come up with these thought provoking questions-I’m just grateful that you do :)

    Your choice is so elegant-I find Iris Poudre is pretty much perfect (I also really like the Ferre scent that was also made by Pierre Bourdain, after Iris Poudre-interesting to smell how similar they are ). I remember wearing Arpege, when I was ten. By the time I was 18 I was wearing Fidgi, and Fendi. So I think I would give my past self Le Lion-it’s deep and spicy and potent and long lasting.

    Have an excellent weekend!


  6. I started wearing perfume before I even started kindergarten!! I had a six bottle collection back then, which began with Avon’s Field Flowers. So that’s what I will choose as my answer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Can you still buy it? I’m asking because I’m sure that you don’t have it in your collection: you would have finished it multiple times by now, and the condition was to send yourself into the past something that you either have or can get now.


  7. Very interesting question! Back then I wasn’t picky about fragrances, and liked The Body Shop stuff. I loved the gifted bottle of Gucci Nobile I had in my last year and sprayed it with abandon, not knowing that I would be seeing it again only on ebay at extortionate prices right about now. So, I would probably send my past self Diptyque L’Ombre dans L’Eau, or maybe Le Labo Santal 33 just to see if it would be as well-loved as it became.


  8. This is a wonderful fantasy question, but yet a trip down memory lane, too. Like you, I am sure I thought in terms of one signature scent, and would have wanted to know my friends thought I smelled great. I would send my self Chanel No. 19 edp. I am sure I thought of Chanel as a brand I would not be ready for until I was older (I used to plan to buy a Chanel suit for my 30th birthday, but alas my “career” had not taken off when that arrived!). Also, I thought I would only like scents profiled as all-natural, which had some sort of pop-culture meaning at the time. A runner up choice would be Amouage Myths, because I think my young self would have like a non-French style of perfumery. It is fun to read everyone’s answers.


    • I like both of your choices – No 19 is my strong favorite, and I plan to buy Myths once I’m done with the decant – but it is today. I’m not sure about No 19 (well… maybe… not sure), but I’m sure that I wouldn’t have liked Myths even 10 years ago.


  9. I didn’t wear perfume in high school – I don’t even remember my mom wearing it much when I was that age. School started here this week with 90F temps so I think I would choose something refreshing…. Maybe Eau D’Hadrien. How fun it would have been to have a bottle of French perfume back then. Living in a small town – we didn’t even get to department stores more than a couple of times a year; I remember seeing perfumes and colognes on the drug store shelves – probably similar to what I can find at my local Rite Aid today…


    • That’s interesting! It looks like our childhoods weren’t that different when it comes to perfumes. It would have been soooo cool to have a bottle of French perfume to wear “just because.” Eau D’Hadrien would be a good choice for my school days as well.


  10. I only found out about Dioressimo in college, and could barely afford it then, but I’d like to think high school would have been just a little bit better if I’d had been wearing the Prettiest Floral Ever.


    • I didn’t remember that I read the post, so I re-read it again. And the one it referenced :). I wonder if you’ve ever had a chance to compare your vintage purchase with a more modern one. I’ve never smelled this perfume and didn’t even remember the name, even though I saw you mentioning it in your other post.


  11. Great question, Undina, as always. Saw this on your IG a while ago and, as you mention, I still can’t come up with an easy answer. Great questions clearly don’t always have great answers, although I do love your choice. So sophisticated.

    Liked by 1 person

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