Topic Thief: Swoon inspiring vs. Wearability

Does it make me swoon? It had damn well better!

Tuesday on Now Smell This, Robin wrote “The state of things: a little rant, and a poll.” A topic (the number of new perfume launches) that many of us think about as we’re sampling our way through the perfume world. But more interesting to me were the poll questions, specifically the final question:

What’s the last perfume you absolutely swooned over?

I love reading the comments, because it always interests me to see how many of us are on the same wavelength—I give you a snippet from the comment by KRL:

My last swoon was maybe Carillon pour Ange, but I hardly wear it. For me, there may not be any relationship between swoon and wearability.

I was just telling Olfactoria that I am, at this point, determined to add to my collection only those scents that fulfill both requirements. The cabinet is over-stuffed, and anything new that comes in (bottle or split/decant) had damned well better be highly wearable and swoon worthy!

What say you?

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28 thoughts on “Topic Thief: Swoon inspiring vs. Wearability

  1. I read the comments too, and I noticed the discussion that “swoon vs wearability” comment sparked!..

    I’m afraid I’m too green behind the ears as a perfumista to be able to appreciate it though because I haven’t swooned over anything that was amazingly wearable. To me that seems to go inseparably. Perhaps, I should not blog about fragrance (which I considered doing) since I’ve heard that the blogging pulls those apart!

    1. It was such a great topic, I couldn’t help myself!

      Warum, I don’t think that it’s because you’re “green,” I just think that there aren’t that many perfumes that fill both categories! 🙂

      I’ve only actually met a few (Puredistance Antonia, Memoir Woman, OJ Woman…maybe a couple others), but I suppose now that I know it’s possible to have my cake and eat it too, my standard for what I actually want to spend cash on has gone waaaay up.

      And, as far as blogging goes, I think you should follow your heart—if you want to blog, there’s a great community of fellow bloggers who will welcome and encourage you; don’t worry about the rest 😉

      1. Dee, I am sorry to be such a goofball. It was late in the evening and I had a long day. I meant that I only swooned over something I could see myself wearing. Kind of like shoes, have you done that? Put those old shoes in the box and I’ll wear my new ones right out of the store!

        So I said quite the opposite of what I wanted to say, uh-oh! Then I read your comment, went “Uh?”, reread mine, and called myself a goofball. A sleepy one, at that.

        So that’s where the green comes in, I think, when I smell something and it’s unwearable, I go: “huh?” and even if I think about the state of art and interpretation of a theme or a note, I still in my mind think it with “yes, but” attitude. If it’s unwearable even when I’m alone, won’t buy it. Won’t love it too. So far 🙂

  2. I don’t know that the words ‘perfumista’, ‘swoon-worthy’ and ‘wearability’ are mutually exclusive. (And I haven’t tried ‘Carillon Pour Un Ange’, either). I can appreciate ‘swoon-worthy’ as, well, an intellectual exercise, but I can’t conceive of anything ‘swoonable’ I wouldn’t want to wear – or be worn by! 😉 That is to say, if I’m really out to feel faint and weak in the knees, I’d want to be embalmed in the juice, and if that’s not wearability…
    Back to my Cardinal Rule of Keeping Out of Serious Trouble. (At least when it comes to perfume! 😉 ) Is it me? Is it me being something, emanating something, saying something I truly want to be/emanate/say? If so – ah, yes, bring on the smelling salts! I’ll swoon first, and then pass it on later…If not, well…I’ll live. But it’s still not going to stop me sticking my nose in whatever I can because you never know…

    Here’s what I do know: I think it’s too early in the morning for me to be coherent, LOL!

    1. You *are* up early today! Usually my European friends aren’t awake until I’m about to curl up in my nest 😉

      I agree with you: I don’t think the terms are mutually exclusive. However, I do understand the appeal of having pretty, comforting, or easy fragrances that don’t quite ever make it into heart-break territory. I call them my “Pair of Jeans” perfumes, and I couldn’t live without them.

      But then again, everything in my collection that actually causes me to *swoon,* I do wear. There is nothing that I save for special occasions, nothing too sacred for sleep or yard duty.

      Confession: I like to hike in Shalimar parfum. It makes dirty boots feel quite sexy!

  3. While I was living in the Land of the Mainstream Perfumery life was much simpler: in my perfume wardrobe there were couple of “special occasion” fragrances (rather assigned to be such than by nature) and most of the rest were usually easily approachable, very wearable and office-safe scents. It was boring and at some point I stopped even looking for anything new since I had enough bottles for all possible life scenarios.

    When I discovered the idea of niche perfumery (some niche/-ish perfumes themselves somehow made it into my collection earlier) and went on the testing frenzy first and then on a buying spree, I ended up owning disproportional amount of “special” perfumes that I cannot wear in my day-to-day life. It has happened because it was easier to justify for myself paying much higher than I used to pay before prices for something with a “wow” factor than for a nicely done but quiet concoction.

    I love all my recent purchases, I want to wear them more, but they are just not suitable for small meeting rooms and offices. Hm…. Am I in the wrong line of work?..

    1. I know what you mean. I wore Bandit today, even tho’ it is not exactly an office scent! But I could not resist. So , yes, we are both in the wrong line of word!

    2. Undina, I totally know what you are saying. I think that if I worked in an office space, or very closely with others, I would probably have to re-think my perfume wearing strategy. But since I work in a larger setting, and I’m the boss!, I have more freedom than a lot of other people do in this area.

      Fragrance in the workplace is a touchy issue for many people; we want to smell beautiful, but it only takes one or two people who either don’t like the perfume or are genuinely allergic to a perfume ingredient to get fragrance banned.

      But then, a very small dab of even the most audacious scent will surely stick close to the skin, will it not???

      Also, I think you should change your line of work so that you can wear all of your “wow” factor perfumes without worry!
      😉

  4. Well, as most of my perfume wearing hours are spent at work, I don’t usually wear perfume that make me swoon there. 🙂 I do NEED to concentrate on work and not live in a different, wonderfully-smelling world.
    Although, sometimes I just need more oomph to my day so I go for a swoon-worthy perfume.

    I’m a bit sorry for myself when I have to say that most of my perfume bottles are there for wearability, not many of them are swoon-worthy.

    1. Ines, I completely rely on leaning into my wrist and swooning a little escape from the work day!

      I don’t think you should feel sorry for yourself; think of this as an opportunity to hunt for a highly-wearable, swoon-worthy fragrance! 🙂

      Enablers, unite!

  5. Great post, Dee!

    As you know, I am absolutely with you, I want only perfumes that make me swoon AND are wearable.
    Lately this has been true for Amouage Memoir Woman and Lyric Woman. So these two are on my list right now, with the possible addition of Mitzah, who got points for exceptional wearbility and the covering of a lot of ground. It would be ideal to take on trips.

    From what already is in my closet, Frapin 1697 is the most swoon inducing perfume I have encountered, but it is also supremely wearable, I wear it day or night with no quandaries at all. But then I enjoy a little incongruence between my perfumes and the situation, as long as it stays appropriate and bothers nobody.

    1. B., there is something inherently wonderful about wearing a totally fabulous perfume in a less than fabulous situation! I think the incongruence itself is just an added pleasure on top of the pleasure of smelling so good!

      That’s what I’m liking so much about the Amouage’s too—and actually, the very thing that a year ago kept me from buying one: when I was wearing Lyric the first times, I thought, “this is a great everyday perfume!’ and didn’t want to pay three-hundred dollars for an everyday perfume. But that’s the thing, isn’t it? Not that I’m scoffing at the price, but that it’s a totally swoon-worthy fragrance that is utterly wearable!

      Memoir, obviously (if my ranting is any indication), is totally swoon-worthy, and I want to wear it every moment! 🙂

  6. I don’t demand that my swoonworthy fragrances are wearable. for every day. I like to keep something for special times. The question for me is whether it is worth paying for FBs of the swoonworthy stuff, given that I don’t wear them often. On the whole I’m thinking I can live with decants. But what if part of the ‘swoonworthiness’ of a fragrance includes the bottle? I’m not a bottle collector, but there is something wonderful in the whole aesthetic of a fragrance – the scent, the bottle, the label, the box, the ads … Even the feel of the bottle in your hand. There is beauty there too, and beauty enriches our lives.

    1. Amen to the merits of full bottles! It is a “Gesamtkunstwerk”, the bottle, the scent, the whole package is a piece of art and a piece of beauty not to be underestimated.

    2. “Special Times” has gotten me into a lot of trouble in the past—not with fragrances, but with clothes; I’ll buy the perfect dress, and then it sits in my closet for years, waiting for a special occasion to be worn on, while my cotton dresses get worn down to threads…

      I’ve amended that situation by buying everyday dresses that are spectacular (swooning over BCBG dresses a lot these days), and wearing the heck out of them!

      Cost-per-wear is an important algorithm for my buying strategy—though, as you say, decants are perfect for those fragrances that are must-haves but rarely worn. Like my L’Heure Bleue extrait—I’ve got 5mL, but it will last a lifetime because I prefer to wear the vintage EDT!

      🙂

  7. Dee, this is something I am currently weighing up regarding Ta’if. It makes me swoon and is definitely full bottle worthy but when am I going to wear it? It’s very much an evening/special occasion scent which (sadly!) doesn’t fit in with my lifesyle. I’ve also had the same issue with Shalimar which I adore but never wear.

    So do I take your lead and wear swoonworthy scents whatever I’m doing? Or do I only buy bottles that are either wearable or both wearable and swoonworthy (but not just swoonworthy)? I really don’t know but great discussion topic!

    1. Tara, I know I’ve heard you talk about Ta’if a few times, so you obviously love it! But why doesn’t it fit into your lifestyle? I think that you could wear Ta’if to the Opera, but I also think you could wear it in a canning factory. It’s about you, not about your circumstance!
      (the usual caveat about fragrance bans in the workplace, etc)

      Wear swoonworthy scents whatever you’re doing!! 🙂

      Be that woman. She’s fun to be!

      1. For me Ta’if is one of those “special occation” perfumes as well and I cannot imagine myself wearing it not for such. Well… I could wear it just for myself at home but I do not spend too much time there. That’s why for now I’m going with a decant (ok, I’ll admit – two of those, but the second was a bargain and I couldn’t resist). And also I’m contemplaiting a perchase of Ta’if perfume… as if there will be more chances of me wearing a perfume when I can hardly find a reason to wear an EdP!

    2. Tara,

      I’m with you on Ta’if. I do not know if you thought about it already, but there is an option of buying a travel set with four 10 ml bottles. Price per ml is exactly the same as for a 50 ml bottle but you can swap couple of bottles for something else you’d wear more often and will not risk a bigger bottle going bad over years of not wearing it enough.

      1. Thanks so much for your thoughts Undina, the travel set had crossed my mind as a good compromise so I think that’s the way to go!

  8. Wow. Deep thoughts in Perfumeland today. Have we all been sniffing too intently? 🙂

    My budget limits me to full bottles of only scents that are swooners AND wearable. That said, like some of you I do play it fast and loose with the “fancy” scents, wearing them whenever I darn well feel like it (though respectfully – I’m not gonna wear a sillage monster in tight corners, etc).

    Small decants of scents I really like intellectually are ok. I see no point in hanging onto anything that doesn’t wow me via gut or brain, though, in anything other than samples (because I’m a geek and want them for reference).

    Oh, and Warum: I’ll read your blog!

    1. Hahhahha! Yeah, we’ve been spending too much time huddled in wrist-to-nose posture, apparently!

      The more carefully I stick to my budget, the more carefully I select the things I do buy… and as I develop love for more expensive fragrances, I’ve got to stick to my budget more carefully… deja vu! 😉

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