Monday, March 09, 2009

The ages of woman

Over on her blog, Sarah Lulu has a post about perfume, and it set me thinking about perfumes in my life.

When I was young, a teenager, I loved Elizabeth Arden's Blue Grass and Nina Ricci's L'Air du Temps. I still do love them: they're light and flowery and make me think of summer, but they don't have any staying power. Not on me anyway.

When in my older teens and early twenties I babysat for a woman who was beautiful, slim, glamorous, and who wore Estee Lauder's Youth Dew. Hoping some of her glamour would rub off on me I began using it too. Was there ever such a perfume/wearer mismatch?! Once smelled, never forgotten.

Then came children and for a while I smelled of baby sick and playdough. As they grew and left that stage behind I moved on to White Musk, a warming fragrance from the Body Shop.

A few years ago, Daughter heard the inventor of a new perfume talk about it on the radio, describing it as a cereal and milk sort of smell. She straightaway thought of me and bought me some, and I wore Simply, by Clinique, until they stopped making it. I guess women preferred the smell of Poison to corn flakes.

At airports, once I've done the bookstalls and been banned from buying any more books as I 'have a caseload already!' I head for the perfume. I board the plane smelling like a tart's boudoir. Not that I know what a tart's boudoir smells like. But none of them ever grabs me. Not enough to make me say, 'yes, I must spend £30 on this.'

So now I'm a Chanel No. 5 woman, and I splash it on every day wherever I'm going, even though I can't smell it on me except when I do the dishes. Sometimes of an evening I'll use Chanel's Allure, which is stronger but not asphyxiating. I don't want my perfume to be overpowering but I do want it to be present.

One last memory: when I was in my teens, my mother bought me a bar of Chanel No. 5 soap. She died soon after that Christmas. I still have the soap in my underwear drawer.

Now, what's your signature scent?

P.S. I've edited this post to include White Musk, after Amanda reminded me of it.

20 comments:

Amanda said...

body shop - vanilla. Pretty much been buying/wearing that one from about 14.. thats so boring is'nt it!!

Erm clinique - happy, after baby 3 was born a present from my best friend but when she died I did'nt wear it again!!

thankfully past the baby sick and baby poo stage..

Liz said...

Oh yes, I wore Body Shop White Musk for a long time. Another wram scent.

happy is a sad reminder then, amanda. I can see why you wouldn't wear it.

Annie Forrester Barker said...

Funny, when i was a teenager i loved Youth Dew as well. When I was in the Army it was Giorgio but now i vascillate between Boucheron and Chanel Number 5. Everytime i wear it i think of Marylin Monroe's line about wearing only that to bed.
In my bed it competes with bloodhound and corgi breath.
Sorry to hear about your friend Amanda. Did you ever think that she might enjoy your wearing it in honor of her? Although I can see your point.

Leslie: said...

Oh gosh, Liz! I remember Blue Grass - my boyfriend bought me a lovely big basket of all the products for a Christmas gift - that was in 1968!

Seems around here it's supposed to be "fragrance-free" because of people's allergies, etc. But I did just buy myself a treat as it was on sale...Oscar de la Renta but I use it very sparingly.

Jay said...

I must be one of the few women on this earth who don't like Chanel No. 5! LOL!

My two favourite perfumes right now are Valentino (Valentino), and Pomegranate Noir (Jo Malone).

I was lucky enough to find a sample box of Jo Malone's perfumes in a duty free last year, and they are ALL lovely. One smells a bit like chocolate.

I like the light flowery ones, too. Eau D'Orange Vert is one of my favourites but it hardly lasts five minutes, and apparently it's a common complaint about that one. Orange Ribbon by L'Occitane is quite a good substitute, but I don't use it so much, now I've found Valentino and Pomegranate Noir!

Liz said...

Not to mention bed-socks, Annie!

Hi, Leslie, hope you're making good progress in your recovery.

Jay, I'll have to look out for Jo Malone.

Suburbia said...

That's an amazing memory (to still have the soap I mean)

No. 5 for me, but only a small drop left. It lasts on your skin for ages doesn't it? I'm going to try Issy Myaki (not sure how to spell it!) next I think, if someone asks what I want for my birthday that is!

Katney said...

None.

I'm not exactly allergic to perfumes. It's just that all I can smell is whatever the chemical base is that the scent is processed in.

Puss-in-Boots said...

I still wear White Musk as it's one of the very few perfumes that don't affect my asthma. Some people wearing perfume absolutely reek of it, as if they've just poured it over themselves and sitting by them in public transport was absolute hell for me. Several times I've had to get off that bus/train and wait for another.

Eunoia said...

I prefer the missus wear Chanel 19.

Anonymous said...

I'm posting something to you.

Amanda- who can't be bothered to sign in...

jams o donnell said...

The not-wife doesn't have a favourite scent, she has several bottles and chooses whichever best suits her mood.

She does love Penhaligon scents though. THe gent's scents are great too

Furtheron said...

Mine? Sweat or guitar polish depends on time of day... :-)

The Mrs likes Anais/Anais (Spl?) and Rive Gauche and something by a singer that I rememebr get her for Christmas - Christine Agrilaria?...

nick said...

I have a very poor sense of smell, sometimes I can smell Jenny's perfumes, sometimes not. She loves Jo Malone too, she has several of them. Personally I've never used scents of any kind, and all the male ones seem horribly artificial anyway.

Liz said...

I have a friend who always wears that ... Japanese perfume, suburbia. She always smells lovely.

That's not nice, katney - and some are very chemical.

I can just see you,Puss, hopping on and off, sniffing the air before deciding whether to stay on!

I hope you buy her big bottles of it then, stu.

Oh how exciting, amanda!

Penhaligon's, jams, they're quite flowery and romantic, aren't they?

As long as it wasn't Ozzy Osbourne, furtheron!

Lots of them do seem to smell the same, nick, but I used to - and still do - like Brut. 'Splash it on!'

nick said...

Brut? You must be joking! But maybe they've reformulated it while I wasn't looking....

Liz said...

It's not that bad, nick!

Amanda said...

exciting? you have'nt got it yet..

old spice.....

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