Young women now flit through dozens of fragrances

The whole idea of signature scents may in fact be a relic of the 20th century. At cosmetics counters and on perfume blogs, young women now flit through dozens of fragrances, never bothering to choose and commit. Science seems to back up the wisdom of this particular promiscuity. Why shouldn’t we run through a personal reel of perfumes, whose scents can conjure at will an earlier persona, but whose bottles can also be tucked away like a journal that doesn’t bear revisiting?

— Pamela Paul writes about the demise of the signature scent, in The Perfume Diaries at the New York Times.

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  1. flannery says:

    One death knell I am happy to sound! If people only understood that a great deal of the populace are fragrance haters thanks to the ‘signature’ scents of those who can no longer smell themselves and so spray more and end up gagging those around them.

    It is just so much easier to have one scent I guess, but try a little people and you may find people no longer fear your approach :)

    • Robin says:

      That’s very true, although over-appliers still exist among the young!

    • Kelly Red says:

      Could you please travel to every American high school and give this lecture there. A little lesson on less “Axe” spraying would not only save classmates sense of smell, but the ozone layer for the next 100 yrs. They don’t have the excuse of aging noses, just using body spray to replace a shower!

    • Merlin says:

      I sometimes think that over-application (by someone) is inevitable. We all have different sensitivity levels so what one person can’t even smell, another will find satisfying and a third (who is very sensitive) may even be sickened! Well, hopefully most people are within a certain spectrum…

  2. Dilana says:

    The author seems to be a serial “signature scent” wearer. According to the article, she wears one scent everyday for a period of her life, only to abandon it altogether when she moves to a new location or makes another major life change.
    In contrast, many readers of the blog change scents at least once a week, and sometimes at different points in the day.

  3. Celestia says:

    Obviously in our mothers’ and grandmothers’ day, there were fewer fragrances to choose from, ladies wore extracts only for special occasions, and maybe some women didn’t have a fragrance wardrobe as some of us tend to have today. Dyed-in-the-wool perfumistas could not imagine having just one scent to wear for a lifetime. Now it’s all about “newness’ in the marketplace, hence the plethora of flankers spawned yearly. And, whether we like it or not, there’s still an emphasis on youth and they want the “latest”.
    Some fragrances that we may have loved in our youth, we may be sophisticated enough now to dislike, or conversely we may still adore. It’s so personal!

    • Robin says:

      That is true…when there were 25 new scents every year, switching around probably wasn’t as appealing.

  4. Merlin says:

    What I find amusing is the way certain companies advertise; – they offer something like a psychological profile, to find your perfect scent (supposedly what would be your signature scent) and also suggest, in various ways, that a whole wardrobe of fragrance, for different occasions, is desirable. I guess they are targeting different audiences and many people just respond to the one that resonates with them?

    Something else I wonder about is if anyone makes a deliberate effort not to use a particular fragrance too often, just so that it doesn’t become overly connected with a certain stage of life? Its sad when one adores a perfume but can no longer wear it because it somehow belongs to that time you were doing x, in a relationship with y, and obsessing too much about z!

    • AnnieA says:

      “Oh WHY did I go out with Y?!”

      • Merlin says:

        I don’t know! It seemed a better option than Z and X was already taken?

  5. TF says:

    I also think it is in an issue of economics. Even though my family was and still is middle class, my grandmothers and even my mother made do with a lot less than I am fortunate enough to have. That said, I am sometimes even a little embarrassed to share this perfume obsession with them since they (especially the grandmothers) find it a bit frivolous and excessive.

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