I am getting ready for another round of academic interviews for professorships and have been plotting my fragrance strategy, and I figured other people would be interested in my quandary: what does a woman wear to an important job interview? She needs to feel empowered, subtly womanly, and happy, but she should obviously wear nothing that could put people off (so out goes one of my favorites, Samsara, which isn’t everyone’s), but what other criteria should she use to judge which fragrance would be best? Here is a list of criteria I came up with, but I’d be thrilled to get your input!
- the scent should be classic—nothing too unusual, exotic, or oddball, i.e. Chanel’s Cuir de Russie, not Thierry Mugler’s Angel.
- the scent should skew masculine. Consider wearing a classic men’s cologne, like Guerlain Vetiver, Geo F. Trumper’s Royal Fern, or Caron Pour Homme. Although it is wrong that we still live in a sexist world, you might as well play the game and mess with peoples’ minds by embodying a masculine category.
- the scent should be complex and mysterious, something that will intrigue your interviewers subconsciously and make them want to know you/understand you better. So no soliflores or single note minimalism here—that is, Andy Tauer, not Jean-Claude Ellena.
- Make sure the ‘tone’ of the fragrance matches the tone of your outfit. If you are wearing a power suit, wear a power fragrance. If you are doing the librarian look, rock an ‘intellectual fragrance’ like Bois des Îles
- When in doubt stick with the big perfume houses like Chanel, Guerlain, Caron, and Creed, for many of their compositions use a classic, recognizable ‘house’ base that is fundamentally successful and appealing to a broad range of people.
- Watch out for aldehydes—the bubbly synthetic elements in perfume-- intense citrus, and anything else that would strike your interviewers as “too perfumey”, since many people are—unfortunately—hostile to the very idea of perfume, and aldehydes fit the ‘perfume’ profile.
- I sort of hate to say this, but consider wearing something fairly mainstream. Although you may be a big fan of difficult niche fragrances, this is often an acquired taste, and we’re aiming for the lowest common denominator here.
- Finally, smell expensive. You want them to offer you the big bucks, right?