Monday, June 14, 2010

How do you think about perfume when you wear it?

carol lombard

I have been thinking about this question a lot lately, since I find that I ‘see’ fragrance in different ways depending on what scent I’m wearing and how much I have on.

For example, if you only wear a little light perfume on your pulse points, do you imagine those spots radiating with scent? Or imagine the fragrance sitting on them as a different color or as a mist?


If you perfume your body more heavily, do you imagine yourself wrapped in an invisible garment, which can be glittery, fuzzy, warm, etc. depending on the perfume?


And on a similar line, how do you understand/mythologize/visualize your sillage? Do you imagine the scent you leave in your wake in literal terms, like the wake left behind by a boat? Or do you think again about clothing, about having a train flowing behind you? Or do you think of it in terms of music, of leaving behind the memory of a song?


Scentshelf’s wonderful post over at Notes from the Ledge has gotten me thinking about all the unusual ways we think about and categorize this protean art form.

Anyone want to say how you think about scent when you wear it? I’d appreciate comments!



Image of Carole Lombard courtesy of The Flapper Girl

Hughes’ Valkyrie’s vigil, Pierre Carrier-Belleuse’s Femme en déshabillé vert, and the illustration of a chemise dress with a short train, worn by a woman whose hair is styled into a "Coiffure à la hollandaise", from Journal des Dames, 1799, all courtesy of Wikimedia Commons!


  1. Hmm - to some extent I think it depends on the perfume. Good ones tend to 'shimmer' around you in a 'haze'. Sweet ones (that I don't like) leap down by throat like the black smoke in 'Lost' and stick there. My favourite of favourites - Aromatics Elixir envelops me like trees in a forest.

    Sometimes the so called 'sparkling' fragrances do add a certain shine.

    There's a particularly strong amber note that I sort of taste - it reminds me of a figurative (and impossible) mercury ball-bearing that I'm sucking on. Dune falls into this category, and I think Alien might if I wore it on myself. Too weird? Think I'll stop now.

  2. Ah! Another lens to peer into perfume with.

    The last time I thought in visual terms, it was whether you could sort perfume into b/w versus color. (I love that that appears in your images, therefore, even though you didn't bring it up that way. :) ) But let me play this way...

    Sometimes I visualize a scent as either dug into my skin, with varying amounts of projection/rise/layer above. In this way of imagining, there are some scents which hover above my skin (again, various distances). Additionally, there are a very few fragrances which do BOTH, and behave differently in each space.

    As for sillage...I think I have to admit that this is a weird area of modesty for me. As in, I'd rather believe I am NOT trailing, because I don't want to be impregnating people's space...I want them to experience mine. Which is a bit odd, I know, and I know the sillage is the glory for some wearers (and some audience, too). But, this was subjective and personal, right? :)

  3. Oh...forgot to say that I'm glad the post provoked thinkings! :) I enjoyed this take quite a bit.

  4. MyperfumeLIfe, I love the way you are visualizing/describing that kind of amber--I knew right away what you were referring to.

    The shimmer is how I think about a good scent too; unless it is a nice thick thing, and then it's more of a coak or blanket. Thanks so much!

  5. ScentShelf, I like the idea of a scent 'dug' into the skin, and I admire your modesty w/regards to sillage.

    I too think of fragrance in terms of color, and black and white, so I am glad you brought that up!

    Thanks for popping by and putting in your respective two, cents!

  6. I think I feel most like that first picture, of the sparkly long dress, languidly leaning against the wall...exhaling and inhaling beauty.


what thinkest thou?


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