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My Life in Perfume

My Life in Perfume

Have you ever discovered an ex’s shirt buried in the back of your closet? Where even though you hold it far away — using just two fingers like it’s a biohazard — you can’t help but catch a whiff of that old familiar scent? And in one avalanche of an instant, all the memories come flooding back to you. (Is that only me?) Studies say scents can trigger memories even better than images can. As I recently discovered, perfume is no exception. Join me, if you will, on a scent-laden walk down memory lane…

Tommy Girl
The year is 1996. I have big front teeth and large, elfin ears and all I want is to disappear inside a pair of the very baggy jeans my parents won’t let me buy. The cool kids wear black lipstick paired with androgynous CK One that wafts through the middle school hallways. My poison of choice is Tommy Girl, which is wedged in my Christmas stocking next to No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom. I spritz it as I lounge in my red pleather bean bag and contemplate the boys who do not like me. According to the marketing copy, Tommy Girl smells like “wildflowers growing in the American landscape.” Now there’s a nice way to describe growing up.

Calvin Klein Euphoria
Fast forward to 2005, my senior year of college. Thankfully, I’ve grown into both my teeth and ears. I wear this scent as soon as it’s released. I’m attracted to the bottle, which looks like a sexy taco from outer space. It smells spicy, sophisticated, hard to describe. I long to be all of these things. Revisiting this scent over a decade later, all I smell is panic. Panic over internships I didn’t apply for, over my college boyfriend moving away, over holy-crap-graduation-looming-do-I-have-to-figure-out-my-life-now? The taco cannot solve these problems, only time will do.

Diptyque Eau Duelle
What, exactly, is adulthood? Is it when you live independently for the first time? When you start making well-informed decisions? I stumble across Eau Duelle on a walk through Soho during my lunch hour. I’m in my mid-twenties, and if I’m honest with myself, I want this fancy liquid in a fancy bottle because I don’t feel fancy. I want to be the kind of woman who leaves a trail of sweet-but-spicy air in my wake, a minor spectacle on her way to somewhere important. I want to be, above all things, a woman. One day, I will learn that this feeling is perfectly okay. In the meantime, I will smell like a pleasant but overpriced marshmallow.

Maison Louis Marie No. 4 Bois De Balincourt
Like many of my current favorite things, I “borrowed” this idea from a friend. (Thanks, Alex!) In a word, Bois De Balincourt smells like sandalwood. But in a feeling, it smells warm and comforting and sensual and amazing. Multiple times a day, people near me will sniff the air and inquire as to what smells good, only to determine that what smells good is ME. I recommend this feeling. It’s not overly feminine, nor overly complicated. It’s a nice place to be.

Maison Francis Kurkdjian À la rose
My favorite perfume shop gave me a sample of this, because they want to ruin my life. It smells like sticking your face into a rose straight out of a fairytale. I’m sure that wearing this perfume would make my life immeasurably better, but I cannot allow myself to purchase something this expensive while my bureau is cluttered with scents. I use the tester on special occasions. (Tuesdays, PMS, overcast days… these count as special occasions.) My future self will wear this perfume. I like to think she’ll really have her shit together. It’s good to have dreams.

Have you worn any defining scents throughout the years? What are you wearing these days? I’d love to hear.

P.S. Now I’m dying to know what THIS smells like… that price tag!

  1. Ha ha– Tommy Girl takes me right back to the same time period! All I wanted were JNCO jeans and all my parents said was no. (So I got the knock-off version from Mandee’s :O )

    For me, Light Blue by Dolce and Gabbana will forever remind me of my college years, and in particular, studying abroad in Italy. Great post idea!

  2. Abigail says...

    Loved this post, so entertaining, so relatable. I’m a reader from Singapore who reads cupofjo in the morning. It relaxes me and reminds me that life is meant to be savored and appreciated. Sundays and Mondays without new posts makes mornings less fresh! Keep up the great work :)

  3. Polly says...

    This was so great. I’m not a huge perfume girl now, in fact, not at all, but I can totally relate to your story. The scents I most enjoyed and still feel proud about are Hermes. So good.

  4. Tommy Girl was my first perfume!!!! I wore it with my tommy girl sweatshirt, which I found at Salvation Army, which I wore constantly :) great post.

  5. Cait says...

    I found my favorite scent on this site when Joanna said you were wearing Carven, Caroline! You two have great taste so I checked it out and looove it, and I’m really picky when it comes to scents (I don’t like musk or vanilla or really anything that is in most perfumes.) So thank you :)

  6. Bethany says...

    I’ve been wearing Daisy by Marc Jacobs for a couple of years now, but I’ve been looking for something new for a while. I try on so many things and they all smell delicious in the bottle, but totally different when I sample them on my wrist–it drives me crazy.

  7. I sure have had signature scents over the years!
    – CK One
    – Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb
    – Burberry Brit
    – Elie Saab
    p.s. the price of Creed is nuts!

  8. DKNY Apple was one that I would go back over and over again in my early 20s… Now i’m into smaller brands like Jo Malone. I’m wearing her earl grey and cucumber scent now. It’s definitely an acquired taste but I love it!

  9. Haley says...

    For my everyday scent, I’ve worn CLEAN Skin for the past four years. Its amazing. Musky, a bit floral, a bit sweet. So lovely.

    For Fancy Date Night, I tend to wear Estee Lauder Sensuous. Spicy and sweet and sexy.

  10. It’s funny because groing up my perfume was somethign very important to me. I used to choose a fragance an stick to it. I would change it when a new period started: high school, college, university, new job… But during the last few years I’ve gone crazy and I have several perfumes in rotation. Mostly men fragances (I love them!) and Jo Malone perfumes that are dangerously addictive!
    xx,
    E.
    http://www.theslowpace.com

  11. Naddie says...

    Really enjoyed the smart and funny writing of Caroline. A trip down her memory lane and mine too! And her Instagram is just as witty. What a pleasure to read her!

  12. nicky says...

    Love Bath for day and Narcisco for night. When I was young in the ’80’s all the girls in London were really into paco rabanne aftershave. I was too until my 16th birthday when a guest drunk my treasured bottle and passed out!!! Ahhhh , nostalgic post!

  13. Prudence says...

    I don’t wear perfume much but the Maison Francis Kurkdjian À la rose does sound so amazing! Thanks for sharing!

    Prudence
    http://www.prudencepetitestyle.com

  14. My first proper perfume was the Christina Aguilera original one when I was in 6th form. Still love it. Davidoff Cool Water joined the lineup a bit later and for the past 4 years it’s been Thierry Mugler’s Womanity, one that I wasn’t sure of but really grew on me and I adore it. Inbetween there are lots of other scents, I wear a different one each day but these are my top posh ones. I like jasmine, cinnamon, vanilla, green and white tea and berry scents best

  15. Oh I came across my signature scent on a random trip to Paris 2 years ago and I know I will wear this perfume until I die (or they stop making it)

    It’s a collaboration between Frederic Malle and Dries van Noten, I can’t actually describe the scent but people stop me in the street to ask what I am wearing.

    It’s divine!

    • Isabella says...

      I have a sample of this, and it’s lovely! A gentle and tasty take on amber.

  16. I was JUST thinking about this very thing last week because I saw a bottle of Sunflowers perfume in a drugstore and I was immediately 14 years old. I loved that and Gingham from Bath&Body Works in high school. College was Ralph by Ralph Lauren. Now I love Femina by Jor’el Parker and I have always been a sucker for Burberry Brit.
    Certain perfumes/colognes remind me SO strongly of certain times in my life; smelling them is an instant walk down memory lane. :)

  17. Scents bring back so many memories for me. Especially pine trees and campfires. But as far as perfume goes, I just love Shalimar. Reminds me of my mom. I’d sneak her shirts into my bed growing up and sniff on them for comfort. Now I am in my thirties, and I still try to sneak something with her scent from her closet whenever I visit. I’ve tried to wear the scent myself, but it just does not smell the same on me.

  18. Excellent post, one day without the boys I need to stand in a department store and do this time travelling nose journey too, think it’d be fun. I find it incredible that one sniff of a ex-lover’s aftershave can make your stomach fall into your feet YEARS after you’ve moved on??? And even now, after 15 years, whenever I smell a certain shampoo I am immediately standing in the shower room of a ranch in New Mexico crying after an argument with my mother over scrambled eggs!! Crazy!!

  19. Thea says...

    I like to buy a perfume at the airport before a big trip, and wear it all through the holiday, so when I come back home I’m reminded of those places. Hermes’ L’Orange Verte reminds me of Florence and Lisbon. I’m loving Aesop’s Tacit right now. It’s so different and gets so many comments!

  20. My signature is Coco Chanel. I wore CK One, and Armani Aqua di Geo throughout high school. Armani reminds me of my mother because she fell and scraped her knee when she was trying to catch her flight at Singapore airport after she purchased this bottle at the duty free shop. It has been two years since I lost her to cancer. There isn’t one day goes by that I don’t miss her. I love you mom

  21. I’m loving Aesop’s Marrakech. It lasts forever <3

  22. Jessica says...

    My middle name is Lauren because my mom loved Ralph Lauren’s Lauren perfume…unfortunately I’m not a fan. I remember wearing Jean Nate and Love’s Baby Soft when I was really young. I moved on to Juniper Breeze from Bath and Body Works. Then Love Spell because I thought it smelled sexy and grown up…I remember Sunflowers and ck One being a big deal but I didn’t wear them. My dad is/was a big cologne wearer and was quite trendy. :) My college ex wore Acqua di Gio and I remember loving that smell and then fiercely hating it because of a hard breakup. I think now if I were to smell it I would only remember the good times and being so young and in love. I have a hard time with scents now because insta-migraine! But I had a scented oil made for my wedding because I wanted a scent memory. It had two different rose scents and some jasmine….ahhh I need to find it. Thanks for the memories!!!

  23. Colleen says...

    Oh my goodness, what a trip down memory lane! From Loves Baby Soft (wow, what was I thinking!?) to CK One (…again) to patchouli oil and even lotus oil and then on to sandalwood . I may have even had a small bottle of myrrh…crazy that I had forgotten all of these until this moment of reading your great post…I later moved on to Givenchy Ysatis – the first and only time that I sprayed it once and just bought it, not taking into account natural pheromones and the role they can play on how a scent reacts differently to an individual. I very quickly realized that I smelled of a heavily spritzed 90 year old. I needed a shower and never wore it again. I now wear Givenchy Hot Couture, and have for over 10 years. I’m a slave to it, I never tire of it and it just smells delightful to me. Always parfum, never eau de toilette – I felt that was important to note.

  24. Theresa says...

    I was in high school in the late 80’s and I loved Liz Claiborne in the triangle bottle, what a great memory. My Mom loves Chanel number 5 and it smells so wonderful on her. I’d really like to find a fragrance, but I haven’t worn one since college 20 years ago. I like citrusy, fresh scents and have no clue where to even start.

  25. Balsam Elajouz says...

    Caroline’s writing makes me smile so much :)

  26. Oh, and does anyone here wear Bobbi Brown’s “Bath”? Is it really that great?

  27. What a great topic!
    My first perfume was Ralph Lauren’s “Romance”. Then I wore Bath & Body Works “Cucumber Melon” for YEARS (no one stopped me), probably for most of my 20s. I dabbled with J. Lo’s “Glow” (whatever happened to that?!). And now, in my early 30s, I’ve become OBSESSED with Hermès “Poivre Samarcande” after reading Kendra Smoot’s Beauty Uniform. Thank you Kendra! This is incredible!

  28. Misty says...

    “My future self will wear this perfume. I like to think she’ll really have her shit together. It’s good to have dreams.” PREACH, Caroline :)

  29. great and clever post. I def. remember the tommy girl days!!! i still have a bottle actually, my grandmother bought it for me YEARS ago, but i can’t get rid of it because even though she’s not here anymore…it still is. does that make sense?

  30. What a wonderful walk down memory lane, and a clever blog post :) You have a wonderfully witty writing style!

  31. Megan says...

    Oh my. I’m dating myself here but Love’s “Baby Soft” and Coty “Wild Musk” totally rocked my seventh and eighth grade experience. I later moved on to “Tresor” (by Lancome?) and Clinique “Happy”. Then it was a long stretch with Ralph Lauren “Romance” and a scent called “Nude” by Bill Blass. I went for years with no fragrance at all but am again on the hunt. I’m sure it would give me a headache these days but I never wore that “Nude” without someone asking me about it!

  32. Elizabeth says...

    “I spritz it as I lounge in my red pleather bean bag and contemplate the boys who do not like me.” Oh, how I can relate. This made me laugh out loud. Great piece!!

  33. Couldn’t agree more! Scents are like keys to little cupboards, lost beneath the stairs. Fresh figs will always remind me of summer days with grass between my toes. Right now, I’m loving MCMC Hunter and will have to check out Bois De Balincourt!

  34. Jody says...

    Good news for me, I hate the smell of vanilla. So I can save myself the fortune that is your PS fragrance. As for the walk down your memory scented lane, I loved it! Your writing is wonderful and made me smile today. :) (and Clinique ‘Happy’ for the win, at least for me. :)

  35. Ashley says...

    Oh this is SO great. I love this post, Caroline. It makes me think of my own life in perfume which is really an interesting way to document your life & remember the season you were in at that time.
    More posts like this please!!! :)

  36. zoe says...

    Caroline, what is your favorite perfume store?

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Great question! Twisted Lily (http://twistedlily.com/) on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, is a pretty fantastic place to browse. Plus they have candles as well as perfume!

  37. Katie says...

    I love the more masculine, ambery scents. I’ve been wearing Burberry Brit for years, and also like Bath and Body Works’ Sensual Amber sometimes. My struggle is finding a lighter version of these that works for summer. Any suggestions??

  38. Ashley says...

    I agree with Jillian, I need help on finding a scent! I have honestly given up trying and don’t bother wearing anything at all, but I would love to. Mostly it’s because I am overwhelmed at the perfume counter. Not only is it hard for me to find something I actually like, but scents have a tendency of disappearing on my skin. Even scents recommended as tried and true are undetectable on me after a few minutes. My soles successes are with heavy vanilla/amber scents, but as those are undertones, the ladies at the counter pretty much ignore my request and still try to sell me on some flowery stuff.

    So how does someone like me – who is baffled – find a scent? Help!

    • christina says...

      @Ashley, Jillian! Try ScentBird!

      https://www.scentbird.com/r/d/christinalutters2 (<– FYI that link does get me a freebie, but will also get you your first month free!)

      It's a subscription to perfume samples — You take a quiz to get recommendations on scents, then you make a scent queue and they send you a roller-ball-sized sample each month.

      Me and a couple friends are doing it to try to find our grownup "signature scents" :)

    • N icole says...

      Same for me! I always say that my skin ‘eats’ perfume! The only perfume that really lasted on me, when I think back, was Calvin Klein Eternity but I CANNOT walk around smelling like high school desperation so the hunt continues.

    • Bunnun says...

      Have you tried Prada’s L’Eau Ambrée? It’s a little hard to find as it’s discontinued, but it is a very sexy, skin-like amber scent.

  39. Amy says...

    Love this post! Caroline’s voice is such a great addition to Jo. :)

  40. Hannah K says...

    I’ve switched from Prada candy which smells inherently too powdery, and away from vanilla scents- something from kiehls (thanks to a smartly written entry in women in clothes) to multiple scents from DS and Durga- decidedly wanting to change scents with different moods and to adopt scents that aren’t exactly ‘feminine’- which make me feel more feminine!

    favorites from them are mississippi medicine, bowmakers, and coriander

  41. I’ve been wearing shi by Alfred sung for years. I try to give other scents a try, but it’s still my fall back. I do love daisy by Marc Jacobs, shi is still my everyday love

  42. Jen says...

    Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers? Victoria’s Secret Pear Body Spray? Gap Grass and Dream? Ahh, the migraines….

    • Celeste says...

      So many migraines! Uck, synthetic scents get me every time.

      That said, I’ve always been jealous of women who can wear perfume (and on many occasions, angry at those who abuse this power).

  43. Kim says...

    High school/college – Sunflowers, Clinique Happy
    Then went a long while without a favorite scent during med school, followed by years of Origins ginger essence
    Discovered Dasein’s Winter a year or so ago – cardamom and pine – I love this scent. Thought about changing to something lighter for summer, but never found anything I liked better. Love the way I feel when wearing this.

  44. N says...

    What a great post! I love starting my day with Cup of Jo, it’s always special. Thanks for the laughs this morning Caroline!

  45. LJ says...

    I remember getting a sample of Charlie perfume at cheerleading registration in 1995, and wearing it like I was the most sophisticated woman in 5th grade. I also vaguely remember Exclamation perfume, whose bottle was shaped like an exclamation point. Very high class. The first perfume I wore on a date was Candies, which was my go-to in high school. I got interested in perfume oils and finished out high school wearing Almond Oil from The Body Shop and Victoria’s Secret Amber Romance body spray. Because body spray was a thing. In college I wore Michael Kors and Chanel Chance (which I still throw into rotation). For a while it was Stella McCartney’s Stella perfume. My current favorite is Lys 41 by Le Labo, and the Weleda Wild Rose deodorant spray. For real, it smells great. This was a fun walk down memory lane, great post Caroline!

    • Taylor says...

      Oh, the Victoria secret body sprays! Love Spell was my go to- now looking back it was so sweet and syrupy, but damn if I didn’t feel great covered head to toe in it.

    • Ashley says...

      Exclamation! The memories!

    • Jessica says...

      LJ, I loved that Exclamation perfume. I think it may have been the first perfume I ever bought. I even remember it’s tag line: “Exclamation: Make a Statement. Without Saying a Word.” Ha!

  46. I so enjoyed reading this! Totally agree that a scent can push you right back in time – any of those cheap, spray on male deodorants take me right back to high school dances where I feel nervous and horrified at the same time. I would have been wearing some hideous bubblegum scent called “Vanilla Kisses” from Victoria’s Secret or something haha!

  47. Julieta says...

    I’ve been wearing Crabtree & Evelyn’s Evelyn Rose eau de perfum for a few years! It’s affordable and long lasting :)

  48. Julie says...

    most commercial perfumes or scents give me an insta-headache. I blame menopause. I used to wear the heavier scents from the 80’s (opium, etc) and then changed to perfume lotions…and then found I could not tolerate any scent at all, even dryer fabric sheets….slowly, I have been finding clean, possibly European manufactured scents do not give me headaches. I tend toward the more masculine scents. Kiehls original musk is a winner, MCMC talon, L’aromatiqua desert man, West Third Brand Lone Wolf, Parfums DelRae Bois de Paradis, Penhaligon’s Artimisia & Opus 1870…, Marble & Milkweek #1 & #3, lastly a Canadian manufactuer called Saje–“yoga” scent!

  49. Emily S. says...

    I absolutely love your writing, Caroline! This was so fun to read.

    My first ‘scent’ was Victoria’s Secret Fresh and Clean. It was handed down by my best friend when I was 17 and brings back memories of summer camp and high school ‘love’.

    In my sophomore year of college, I finally sprung for a ‘grown up’ perfume and bought Clinique Happy, but soon after switched to Chloe by Chloe, which I wear now. It’s subtle, floral, and delicate, and makes me feel lovely. Lately I’ve been thinking about finding a ‘warmer’ scent for summer, though, so we’ll see…

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Thank you so much! I love Chloe by Chloe, great choice. :)

  50. lauren simkins says...

    I borrowed Chloe from a friend for my first date with my now husband. He loved it so now it’s all I wear! When he notices my bottle is running low he always orders me another. Good thing I dig it, too ;-)

  51. The strongest scent memory I have is a sunless tanner from Victoria’s Secret – reminds me of riding in cars with boys freshman year of college.

  52. Liz says...

    YES. I wear Bois de Balicourt also and it’s a dream! Also a less expensive Santal 33 knockoff. Le Labo’s Bergamote 22 is completely my jam too. (big splurge but worth it). So many points to you Caroline! A+ list.

  53. Karen T. says...

    My mom rarely did her hair or makeup (too busy as a surgery nurse) but when she did get fancy on the rare occasion, she’d wear her one and only scent, Emeraude. I can still picture it on her dresser. I still remember the scent even though she’s been gone for years. Such a bittersweet memory, thanks for the beautiful reminder, Caroline. :)

  54. Carrie says...

    Love’s Lemon scent in junior high! (I’m dating myself), then on to Charlie, Anais Anais, Opium, Coco, now nothing! Thanks for bringing back those memories…

  55. KKHobo says...

    That was so fun. Read the post. And all 86! Comments.

  56. Jen Vercelli says...

    So funny Caroline, I love this post. I agree that scent is so evocative. I can still remember as a young girl smelling my mother’s perfume, opium, on her silk blouses and thinking how wonderful and grown up. Maybe because of those early memories I have always loved perfume.

    There were definitely phases…YSL Paris was my first, Eternity in college, Chanel in my early 20s when I was trying to be way more sophisticated than my age warranted. I generally have 2-3 at a time that I’m rotating. Jo Malone is my go to, fig and orange blossom. I try to purchase one new scent a year and recently fell in love with a Tom Ford scent but the price tag has me hesitant. And I just bought the MLM No.5 Kandilli Candle which smells amazing..will have to give the scents a try also.

  57. K says...

    I’ve recently been wondering if I would like any of those ubiquitious CK scents from middle school TODAY. Like could I be wearing Infinity or Escape or CK ONE as a grown lady? It’s been so long since I’ve smelled them. Are they actually any good? They are certainly better than the Axe Body Spray nightmare that is currently rolling through middle school. I’m curious, would someone be able to pull off Obsession as a grown up?

    • Karen T. says...

      Ha! I love this! I feel the same about Drakkar Noir and Polo for Men!!! So reminds me of the middle school boys!

    • Hillary says...

      This is so funny because my girlfriend (since forever) bought me Obsession ironically for Christmas and I have been wearing it. I am 40 and work in finance–no one has said anything, so I think I am pulling it off.

  58. Sara says...

    This is such an interesting topic and I love reading everyone’s connections to thier scents. I have congenital anosmia, which means I have never had a sense of smell. I love the idea of perfume and smelling nice, mainly because I’m always slightly afraid I don’t. But, I have no concept of what either situation actually means, or a way to know if I’ve over done it with a scent, (all I ever go with is one or two spritz in my hair while I get ready). I tend to have one scent at a time, I think the current is from Aerie, chosen largely based on packaging and then deemed acceptable by the boy. He’s gotten used to being my surragate nose.

  59. Jillian says...

    As someone who has always been intrigued but overwhelmed by perfumes, I would love to see a post for scent newbies!

    I remember wearing Tommy Girl back in middle school, but I always felt like since I didn’t notice the smell after a few minutes, it must mean that no one can. Silly of me, because I know that isn’t true, but then how do you know when you have put on too much or too little?

    I have worked with people who have had to be called into bosses office to be talked to about their too strong (applied) scents. I don’t want to knock people over with it- but I also would LOVE to feel like a classy adult woman who walks by and leaves a very slight trail of perfume.

    As you can tell by this ramble of a comment- we perfume newbies need your help!

  60. Lynn says...

    I’m not much of a perfume wearer anymore after moving to Texas and being a sweater (of the smelly, liquid type, not the fuzzy kind). But I love Jo Malone on occasion. And oh the memories of cute 20-something boys in cool water and acqua di gio.

  61. Colleen says...

    I relied on Ghost Myst and Vanilla Fields in middle school, and went to Vanilla Fields throughout high school. Throughout my twenties I used BCBG Sexy, Elizabeth Arden Red Door, and Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue. Now that I am in my thirties, I still use Light Blue, Marc Jacobs Daisy, and Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku Lovers ‘G.’

  62. I keep a bottle of the perfume my grandmother wore, just so I can smell it whenever I want. I once tried a sample of Amarige by Givenchy and I received compliments all day, so I took it as a sign and have worn it ever since. I still get compliments on it every time I wear it and my husband loves it! Great post!

    • When I was growing up, my mom wore Amarige de Givenchy when she had a date. I called it her “going-away” perfume & it always made me cry when I smelled it. Now, I like the way it smells, but I still feel that pang!

  63. Jill H says...

    Caroline: reading his is like a blast from my past! I love the 1996 references, so funny!!

  64. Gabi says...

    Just a note to say how much I enjoy Caroline’s posts. What a great additio to Cup of Jo! Smart, funny, and a lovely writer to boot. Nice pick, Joanna!

    • Sara says...

      Totally agree!

  65. ow very nice girl. this perfume is great nice detected. all available

  66. Meg says...

    Current: Trish McEvoy #9 (the “Sexy” version since it is a bit more musky)
    Prior to that, Burberry Brit for a long time.
    I can’t do florals, they make my head hurt.
    Middle/high school I remember various bottles of Gap perfumes, Tommy Girl, Clinique Happy, Abercrombie, Love Spell… I don’t think most of them got finished because most of them gave me a headache!

    • Meg says...

      Now that someone else mentioned it, it was Abercrombie 8. Blast from the past. I wore that a lot in college I think. It was a good non-floral!

    • Katie says...

      Love Spell brings me straight back to sweaty high school track meets. The scent is so sweet, but so are those memories :)

    • ahhhhhh Abercrombie 8 was SO GOOD! I would still wear it today if I could. I never wore the clothes (what highschooler/college girl has that much money to spend on clothes??), but I loved the perfume…

  67. Patricia says...

    I think the same smell-association holds true for fragrances of former boyfriends, etc. I can still remember the once-intoxicating fragrance of Armani Mania. :D

  68. yael steren says...

    So true about perfume! I’m currently wearing the Joie perfume. I happen to be hyper sensitive to smell, so it’s really tough for me to find a perfume that I like and that doesn’t make me nauseous! I used to wear Alfred Sung and I was obsessed but sadly it got discontinued : ( ! xx yael

    http://www.yaelsteren.com/blog/

    • deb says...

      you can still get Alfred Sung on Amazon!

  69. Emma Giner says...

    Donofrio, you are the best. Ever.

  70. Sarah H. says...

    Love this post. Hilarious, Caroline. I never got into perfume until college, and then it was Clinique Happy and Victoria’s Secret Heavenly. Before that, whatever Bath & Body Works lotion I was currently loving. (Fresh ginger lime was my “holy grail” lotion scent, as they say, and when they discontinued it, I bought about 10 bottles. All long gone now. :) ) My current fave scent is Bvlgari Omnia Crystalline. When I wear it, I always get compliments from people close enough for a hug, which seems to suggest I’m not wearing too much, but I’m always worried I am with any fragrance. My now-husband wore Curve and some Abercrombie scent when we met years (and years and years) ago, and now on the rare occasions I smell those, I’m catapulted back to the early days of our relationship, as you described. So interesting how our memory for scents works!

  71. ‘A sexy taco from outer space…’ I laughed out loud! I love your writing here! I’ve always been a cheapo with perfume remember country apple body splash? Ha! The others I remember Gap Dream, Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers, Clinique Happy, and Eaude Lilas. Today I’m loving Fresh Hesperides Grapefruit.

  72. Hell yes to Tommy Girl and CK Euphoria. It’s definitely a sexy taco from outer space. I would have to add Love’s Baby Soft when I was really young, Vanilla Fields to 6th grade (so gross), Abercrombie 8 to college, Chanel Mademoiselle (I’ve been wearing it since college. still love it) and VanCleef and Arpel’s Muguet Blanc as my aspirational parfume. One day I will be the type of woman who wears it.

  73. Liz says...

    The only perfume I’ve ever owned is Paris Hilton’s. Yipes. Really gotta get to the perfume counter and update myself. lol

    • Katie says...

      haha one of Britney Spears’s was my favorite in high school The classiest.

  74. Colleen says...

    Perry Ellis by Perry Ellis. Now defunct but I still LOVE it.

    Also Lauren by Ralph Lauren.

    Product of the 80s, what can I say? I miss them both and am now all nostalgic for the good times those scents evoke…

  75. Ashley says...

    I love this post! I’ve worn various perfumes throughout the years, gone years without wearing any scents (I was in love with the idea of just smelling like “me”), but what this post has reminded me the most of is the one scent I grew up around as a little girl. Growing up of a Cuban family and surrounded by other Latins, it’s known that every little girl wore this: http://www.amazon.com/Agustin-Products-violetas-Original-Cologne/dp/9533223510
    It’s actually a surprisingly sharp scent for children, so you certainly learned at a young age to apply perfume sparingly (I was often filled with regret when I sometimes felt bold enough to freshen up without the help of my mother…I’d end up smelling like I’d been doing shots of alcohol in a bed of roses!). Every little girl wore this same exact perfume, though. It’s a lovely thought, bottling up what it means to grow up as a woman in a Latin family!

  76. Leslie says...

    I never wear perfume but I love your posts. Thanks for brightening my day and making me laugh!

  77. Jen says...

    OMG I love this topic and article!! I love your writing, Caroline! :)
    Also, now I’m into muskier scents, like Burberry Brit. I was a fan of Tommy Girl and Gap Dream back in the day, though.

  78. eg says...

    Fuzzy Peach from The Body Shop was THE smell of my 7th-8th grade years.

    Gucci Rush immediately post-college and every time I catch a whiff on someone on the street I get flashbacks.

    Marc Jacobs, any variety, any time is a pretty good standby.

    I have a bottle of Chanel Mademoiselle that I bought in duty free at CDG airport, but it gives me a horrible headache so it’s just decorative at this point.

    Currently Jo Malone French Lime Blossom is my every day. Very pretty and not too strong at all. Whenever I walk through someone else’s overwhelming cloud of scent I get paranoid about being that person, so I tend to under-apply. Makes the bottles last longer!

  79. Caroline says...

    Narciso Rodriguez has been my go too! Musky and sexy

  80. F.P. says...

    I’m a recent perfume convert, and bois de balincourt was one of my first purchases. Caroline your description is perfect!

    Last year I bought Coqui Coqui’s Tabaco Cologne in Mexico, and when I wear it I feel like the cool and intelligent adult woman I aspire to be. Scent can give such a nice feeling of transformation.

  81. Jessi says...

    Absolutely on point with Tommy Girl. This was me, right down to the teeth! I can’t seem to move beyond Dior’s Jadore now — my own “adult” scent!

  82. Liza says...

    About a year ago a friend told me about this monthly niche perfume subscription company called Olfactif. I decided to treat myself. They send you 3 small vials a month and each month has a theme. I ended up falling in love with the Vanilla themed month I think they called “Coming Home”. Lira By Xerjoff was my favorite, but at $345, not what I was willing to spend. I ended up going with Black Flower Mexican Vanilla by Dame Perfumery and just recently ordered another bottle. I’ve gotten some great compliments from it. What I also love is that Dame Perfumery sends me samples of new scents from their collection all the time. This Christmas I added some to different peoples gifts. Recently Olfactif came out with a mens line. I decided to treat my boyfriend, who previously didn’t wear cologne, to a 6-month subscription. February was the last month and I’m tempted to renew it because it was so much fun to smell him and guess which one he was wearing that day. It also got him to wear cologne every day and I love it!

  83. Bois de Balincourt sounds exactly to my taste (and I’m going to try it!!). In case you need any similar-ish options, I am currently loving Atelier Santal Carmin and Frederic Malle’s Vetiver Extraordinaire. :) Fun post!

  84. Rachel says...

    Early high school: Anais Anais- because an older boy told me it turned him on. Gag-I know!
    Late high school: Calvin Klein Eternity- most of my high school friends consider this my signature scent.
    College: Clinique Happy
    Post-college: Burberry (the original)- this is truly my signature. I wear it daily and people will stop to ask what I’m wearing. Most are shocked (as well they should be) that it is Burberry. It just works on me.

  85. Whitney says...

    Clinique Happy and a sample of Chloe perfume I took from my mom’s make-up drawer are the extent of my fragrance history. During my twenties I preferred the smell of my shampoo or body lotion, followed by the “scent” of baby spit up when my first born arrived. On my 30th birthday last month I splurged on a bottle of rose oil that I like to dab behind my ears. Perfume just seems too fussy for me.

  86. The smell of joop! instantly brings me back to having crushes on boys in the seventh grade. I think it’s something about your nose being the only sensory organ directly connected to your brain?! Also, Costume National reminds me of nights (er, mornings?) out in NYC in my 20s before I met my husband and brings on an instant hangover. I love it still, regardless.

  87. Maryli says...

    Love this!

    I wore Banana Republic Modern forever in high school and college, then switched to a Paul Smith scent that appears to be discontinued. I haven’t had a regular scent in years until I recently stumbled upon “the Peradam” by Apoteker Tepe (http://www.apotekertepe.com/). I was going for a “grown-up-hippy-with-giant-trust-fund” scent, minus the giant trust fund price. This hit the nail on the head.

  88. Melissa says...

    I haven’t had much evolution, personally. I’ve worn various Vanilla scents since high school. I’ve tried getting into spicier, muskier perfumes because I like them on other people, but for some reason I always reach for sweet stuff for myself.

    This is my current favourite: http://www.amazon.com/Vanille-Eau-Toilette-1-6-LAromarine/dp/B000BOA6S6

  89. Molly says...

    1st ever: anais anais cacharel perfume

    Followed by:
    Middle school:
    – Gap Dream
    – Abercrombie and Fitch signature scent (yikes)
    – Victoria Secret Love Spell (another yikes)

    High school:
    – Clinique Happy
    – Burberry
    – Burberry Brit Red
    – Cheap & Chic Moschino I Love Love

    College:
    – Nina by Nina Ricci (always got a lot of compliments)
    – Ralph Lauren Romance
    – Chanel chance

    Current:
    – Chloe by Chloe
    – Philosophy loveswept
    – Jo Malone Grapefruit
    – Le Cherche Midi # 14 ( obsessed with their candle version of this as well)

    Another scent that always sparks memories is white linen from Estée Lauder, it’s my grandmothers signature scent and it always makes me think of her!

    • Meg says...

      Oh geez, I totally forgot I wore Abercrombie perfume until you said it!

  90. I wear Burberry Brit – I have been since college. It just reminds me of such a fun time in my life, and the girls I used to live with, and I don’t think I’ll ever let it go.

    http://www.smallestthing.com

  91. lomavistagirl says...

    What happy memories this post sparked! My father gave me my first scent, Love’s Baby Soft, when I was a little girl. He then followed that with my first “grown up” scent for Valentine’s Day when I was in high school – Estee Lauder’s Beautiful. I love that my dad gave me my first scents and I’m looking forward to the day that my husband gives our daughter her first bottle of Baby Soft.

    The first scent I bought on my own was YSL’s Babydoll in college (there might have also been a brief flirtation with Bath and Body Works Gingham somewhere in there?), followed by Dolce & Gabbana’s Light Blue purchased on a trip to Italy in my early twenties. My favorite of all has been Hanae Mori Butterfly, which I bought after a friend wore it and all I wanted to do that day was stand near her sniffing her neck. And I’m currently wearing Fresh Fig Apricot, which took me months to find after picking up an unidentified sample from Sephora that I loved but could never identify until a Sephora associate finally figured it out.

  92. Megan says...

    If you came of age in the late part of the last century, you cannot think of your teenage years without thinking of Drakkar Noir and the boys that tried to drown their adolescent shame in it. My first kiss had a scent, and it smelled like Drakkar Noir and leather jacket.

    (Today I wear Caudalie.)

    • Maryli says...

      Haha – the predecessor to Axe Body Spray!

  93. Loribeth says...

    DKNY Be Delicious is what I started wearing one summer in highschool, which is also when I started dating my now husband. So that scent makes me think about the first couple years of our “relationship” when we were just kids who liked soccer, Dave Matthews Band, and watching movies together..

    I wore CK One for a few years after that and through college, not many other people were wearing it by then cause the really heavy, sexy VS style scents were popular.

    Now I wear Stella Dot for everyday which is a nice combination of feminine and fresh, but not too sweet or heavy.

  94. You’re hilarious, Caroline.

    I’m jo malone through and through. I love that I can layer her scents, and I do so according to my moods and the weather.

    The one perfume I will break my jo malone loyalty for is Chanel #5. I pair it with Kiehl’s original musk lotion, and it’s an amazingly musky smell of delicious.

  95. Linsey says...

    Middle school: Love Spell
    High School: Fetish
    College: Dior Light Blue
    20’s: Chanel Mademoiselle

    …I guess I need something new for my 30’s!

  96. Sarah says...

    Loved this post! And oh.my.gosh all of the scents I have gone through. Right now I alternate between three: Folle De JOIE (warm and grown up), DKNY Be Delicious (I love the crisp apple smell during the warmer months), and Jardins du Midi from Chloe and Isabel (light but lingering). They are all so different and look beautiful on the dresser.

  97. This post is great! I’m a perfume lunatic and find it fascinating how easily we attach scents to major stretches of our lives.

    Current – Narciso Rodriguez for Her, Burberry (the original)
    College – Ici, Carolina by Carolina Herrera
    High School – Jovan White Musk
    Middle School – CK One, Gap Om, Exclamation!
    Childhood – Love’s Baby Soft

    I’ve also recently been into a sample of Tom Ford Black Orchid lately, so I’m planning to purchase it soon!

    • HJM says...

      Exclamation! I forgot about that one… I can totally smell it right now.

    • Kim says...

      OMG Exclamation! I never would’ve remembered that in a million years and it sat on my dresser throughout grade school/middle school. Thanks for the flashback!

  98. msmaryedith says...

    Caroline, have you tried Aerin’s Rose de Grasse? It’s not much less expensive than the Maison Francis Kurkdjian (and I haven’t smelled that one to compare), but when I smelled it, I knew I had to have it. It’s the perfect rose scent!

  99. I’ve had Calvin Klein’s Euphoria for years and it remains one of the two best things I’ve ever smelled (aside from food and bonfires). The other is Twilight Woods bubble bath from Bath & Body Works.

  100. Probably Calgon and Victoria’s Secret sprays to start and then Ralph in high schol. Light Blue has stayed with me through college and my 20’s!

  101. One of the few scents I’ve found that I actually adore is J Crew’s #57 – whiskey and oak loveliness. Unfortunately it was only available for about a year and I’m already out. If anyone bought it and doesn’t like it, I will happily buy it from you!! I like the more natural and slightly manly scents. Most perfumes give me a killer headache and make me want to vomit.

  102. Jenni says...

    I agree with the other commenters, this is such a fun post! :)

    Right before my senior year in high school, I went on a music tour of Europe. I bought a bottle of perfume made in the town we stayed in Switzerland, my favorite stop in the tour. It wasn’t too expensive, but it smelled fresh like the mountains and I felt so grown up to buy a nice looking bottle of perfume! I really should have worn it all the time, but instead I saved it for special occasions. I happened to start dating a guy that fall who had also gone on the tour, and is now my husband. We dated that year, and then dated long distance for our college years, where I probably wore the perfume the most. I found the perfume in my closet and tried to wear it about a year ago, and instead of bringing back lovely memories of Europe, my husband whispered sweetly to me “You smell…like prom.” Ugh! Noooo. I’m almost 30. I can’t go around smelling like prom! Haha.

  103. Leticia says...

    Davidoff cool water (ugh)
    Clinique Happy
    Dolce Gabbana Light Blue
    Apple Marc Jacobs Splash ….
    Currently I’m rotating between three scents: Roses de Chloé (fresh cut roses) , Burberry Baby Touch (fresh skin and laundry) and Goest Perfumes Dauphine ( notes of pink, full blown rose; milky, fresh, sweet almond; and a reveille of innocent, airy musks).

  104. “sexy taco from outer space” is on the best things i have ever read! i received ck one for christmas in elementary school and thought it was so school. however, not “cool” and this scent didn’t give me the leg up i hoped for. for much of my late twenties until recently (early thirties) i only wore chanel coco mademoiselle. a year or so ago i was told i was allergic to (unnatural) fragrance! i had to retire perfume, most of my skin products, and bulk of my makeup (A LOT of makeup has fragrance in it!). a few months ago i started dabbing a teeeeny drop of patchouli oil on the back of my neck, and dabs of lavender on my wrists and behind my ears, and i have never received so many compliments on how i smell.

  105. Tina L. says...

    This was a fun piece to read – my first scent was also Love’s Baby Soft…I’ve since moved on, and I currently really enjoy Beach by Bobby Brown. It really reminds me of being on a beach -salt, sea, and suntan oil – and I am instantly calmed and soothed when I spritz it on….in short, it makes me happy.

    • Tina L. says...

      Duh, it’s by Bobbi Brown…

  106. I heart my English perfumers: Penhaligon’s & Floris. Cefiro (F), Quercus (P), & Lavadula (P).

  107. Jenn I says...

    I wear Banana Republic’s W, and have since my senior year of high school, twenty (!) years ago. I occasionally try something new, but nothing smells as good to me as this perfume.

    • That’s my scent too for years! I can’t get over it!

  108. liz says...

    I just love the way Caroline writes.

    • Lynn says...

      Same! More posts like this. Please :)

  109. Hilarious! Thank you for this post, Caroline.

    Tommy Girl – check!

    I’m still trying to find that “I’m a grown woman that has her shit together” scent. But in the meantime – Happy by Clinique and (don’t judge me/my mom bought it for me) Viva La Juicy by Juicy Coutour. Honestly, it makes me feel “romantic” and “girly” when I wear it.

  110. Danielle says...

    My perfume relationship goes back to age 7ish when I received CK One in my Christmas stocking. I think everything I’ve worn religiously has been the popular choice at the time- Ralph Lauren Romance or Ralph in high school, Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue in college. There was a horrible period of the Versace Denim collection too. On a trip to France I fell in love with Fragonard and have been wearing Ile D’Amour for years since. New period in life (new job, new house, newly married) means I need to move on scent wise.

    When I was in elementary school I had a bottle of perfume I had bought on a trip to disney world. It was Belle-themed: a pale liquid in a swooping bottle with a yellow rose shaped cap. It smelled exactly like the best roses you could buy (in my 9 year old mind). I wore it always- until I dropped the bottle and the top broke off. My bedroom smelled of roses for about a week! I saved the cap for years, but was never able to replace the scent. 20 years later my glorious husband buys me Diptyque Eau Rose and I am instantly a Disney/Belle obsessed little girl again, smelling like glorious (grown up) roses.

  111. HJM says...

    Caroline… you need to write a book!
    My fragrances were:
    Jr High was those Designer Impostor aerosol cans.. Malibu Musk was my jam. High School was CK One, Prescriptives Calyx or The Body Shop Vanilla. College was when I worked in the mall so it was all about Bath and Body Works Juniper Breeze. College Graduation I needed something more sophisticated, so I wore Guerlain Herba Fresca. (I kind of want to go back to that one!) Newlywed was Pink Sugar (I was a newlywed in the Jessica Simpson Nick Lachey era.)

    Now I mostly wear Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir and her Nectarine one, but I flip over to those roller balls from the health food store from time to time (patchouli, honeysuckle, etc.) or Tocca Florence.

    My future self wears LeLabo Santal 33… and my current self hoards samples of it. ;)

    • Lila says...

      I agree with HMJ, I’ll be waiting for your book! This was a beautiful post….

    • Lila says...

      Oops, HJM.

  112. I love perfume! That Sublime Creed pricetag is INSANE! Now I want to know what it smells like too! haha

  113. Samantha says...

    PS I so agree with everyone else! I knew this post was written by you as soon as I started reading it (without seeing your name at the top). You have such a distinct voice, but it works so well with the rest of CoJ!

  114. Samantha says...

    My FAVORITE perfume of all time is, ironically, called ‘Not A Perfume’ by Juliette Has A Gun. It is so clean + fresh, not at all sweet or flowery. Anything sweet or musky ends up smelling terrible on me for some reason! This perfume is actually just one scent and is the non-perfumey perfume of my dreams.

  115. Lindsay says...

    Im very picky. Since discovering ‘cashmere mist’ deodorant, I wear the perfume as well, very powdery fresh. I rotate a few Jo Malone scents….sage/sea salt, apricot, and red rose, I love them all and never get sick of them or headachy which is rare for me!

    • Nicky says...

      I love Sage & Sea Salt so much too, but it just doesn’t last at all.

  116. L. says...

    Love this post because my friends always debate a signature versus changing perfumes!

    I hunted for a signature scent from about 13 after I smelt my best friend’s perfume on someone else and it brought back so many amazing memories that I knew I wanted someone else to have that experience. I tried the immortal ‘Ralph’ by Ralph Lauren which my bestie and I wore – like nearly everyone else at school. Then followed a blur of cheap and expensive samples because I just couldn’t find the right balance between floral and sensual. Also, great advertising.
    Finally I was waiting for one of many flights to begin my gap yah adventure but realised I had forgotten perfume – an essential part of my ‘getting ready to rock’ routine for a night out. I ran around testing perfumes in duty free before finally panic buying CK Eternity Moment because it seemed the least heinous. It turned out to be exactly what I had been searching for so, years later, I am still wearing that impulse purchase. To everyone I know, this is my signature scent and it always brings back memories of travelling, partying and falling in love. I never thought a chance, cheap CK perfume would grow with me, but here we are and I can’t think of anything else I would rather wear.

  117. emily says...

    I love this! When I got engaged, a friend had a great idea and suggested that i get a special perfume for my wedding day. I wore Thymes’ Kimono Rose and took it on our honeymoon. i also had Tocca Florence on for most of our engagement parties and activities. now when I put one of those on, it brings back all the fun and wonderful memories.

    • BDubs says...

      OH! My good friend suggested the same thing and now whenever I smell Chanel’s Allure I think of our honeymoon and all the joys and pleasures it brought!
      I highly recommend getting a new (but hubby-approved!) scent for your wedding to make those sense memories!

  118. Jill says...

    As a pre-teen/early teen, I was OBSESSED with Calgon’s Hawaiian Ginger body spray. My poor family. If it wasn’t body odour they were struggling through, it was me marinating in Hawaiian Ginger…

    I want to puke when I smell that stuff now.

    • HAHAHA yessss this brought back so many memories. My friend and I would spray EVERYTHING with that God-awful bottle.

  119. Kristin says...

    I have been loving Vince Camuto’s Amore!!! It’s part fruity, part flowery, part sandalwood– sounds like a funky mix but it’s amazing!!!

  120. Brandy says...

    Elizabeth Arden’s Sunflowers. Didn’t we all rock this scent circa 1993? One whiff and I’m instantly transported back to the 9th grade, for better or worse!

    • Andrea says...

      So funny, that is the first scent that came to mind when I was thinking about high school scents! Preceeded by Love’s Baby Soft in middle school!

  121. Bath and Body Works Cherry Blossom was my jam for pretty much all of high school and into college.

  122. This is great! My list is horrendous:
    gummy bear body spray (94/95, late elementary school)
    Vanilla Fields (96-98 middle school–i can’t smell vanilla perfumes now without being reminded of my sister spraying down her smelly track shoes with bottles of vanilla fields)
    Gap Heaven and Dream (late 90s/early 2000s, high school)
    Juicy perfume (college)
    Burberry (post-college)
    and lately, Capsule’s Jaunt, which is a good price, and is described as “Like an afternoon stroll through the forest, this woodsy cologne is invigorating, but not intense. Rich floral top notes excite your inner explorer, while base notes of cedar and tobacco invite peaceful introspection. The result is a scent both warm and exotic—a pleasant companion for the everyday adventurer.”

  123. Kim says...

    Grade school: Love’s Babysoft
    Middle school: Poison and Liz Claiborne (remember those colorful triangle bottles?)
    High School: Pikake by Bare Escentuals
    College: Maybe, Baby by Benefit
    In the early 90s my cousin loved Design which will always remind me of her and all the boys wore Cool Water. Then I realized in my mid-20s that perfumes were the reason why I had headaches all those years and I never made the connection. Now I’m perfume free!

    • Me too!
      Between the perfumes and the highly-scented lotions I thought I loved when I was younger, I now can’t wear any scents that don’t dissipate within a half hour or so. And I can’t tell you how many almost-full hair products I have under my vanity because I discovered they too gave me a headache or made me feel generally agitated (scent is a big trigger of annoyance for me for whatever reason).

      Perfumes are out totally but I have found a few hand lotions that I can use when I want a nice scent for a short while.

  124. Cynthia says...

    I am a scent-free person myself but appreciate that Caroline and all the commenters thus far at least change up their scents over time. There’s nothing more dating than a mature woman wearing her “signature scent” that you can ID from decades ago. Ugh. Plus they can’t fully smell it any more b/c it’s so much a part of their DNA and it’s really overpowering and obnoxious. I’ve actually asked to change tables at a restaurant so I could enjoy my food.

    • Jean says...

      Amen!

  125. Emma says...

    I am laughing out loud. This is hilarious, Caroline. Did anyone else ever wear “Katia,” sold at Target and named for the ice skater Ekaterina Gordeeva, famous for her pairs skating and tragic love story with Sergei Gringov? I had an unfortunate phrase with Chanel’s “Allure,” when I wanted to feel like I had it all together.

    • Jenni says...

      Ahhh! Yes. I remember this! I was even gifted a Katia candle for my birthday that year. I had forgotten about it, but now that you bring it up, I remember exactly what it smelled like.

  126. Corinna says...

    Caroline, I’ve never commented before, but religiously read your posts. You have a unique voice. Only you can write about perfume like it’s telling your life story to someone: growing up and making choices. P.S. I have been wearing Burberry The Original for the past 10 years. It’s just me – or so my friends say :)

  127. Sara says...

    Lots of once personal blogs have now started to include pieces written by other contributors and, in my opinion, most of them are struggling to build an identity that makes sense. Thanks to you, Caroline, Cup of Jo really stands out. You have a really strong and personal voice and yet you have been able to blend perfectly into the blog, almost as if we were now able to see another side of Cup of Jo that had always been there but hidden from the view. You sound like a really sweet and talented person.

  128. Elizabeth says...

    Clinique Happy in Bloom is the one perfume that regularly gets compliments. I definitely have my seasonal perfumes: Fresh Sugar Lychee in the summer, Burberry Brit or Burberry Sheer in the fall, Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt or Juicy Couture in the winter, Clinique Happy in Bloom in the spring (or special occasions when I want to be noticed).

  129. Foree says...

    Caroline I love your writing style ! So great

  130. This is great! Taco from outer space. Right on. I wore Burberry Brit as a teenager, which paired nicely with my tendency to mispronounce words I’d only ever seen in books. The. Lamest.

  131. Emily says...

    I love this post! Clever idea and so well written. A voice you want to keep reading. The only story I have to share is about the one time I spent weeks researching purfumes online, went out and tested in a local shop, FINALLY selected something, wore it as a surprise and… my boyfriend walked in and said “Wait, did someone spray febreez in here…?” :D

  132. Yes! My high school was Clinique Happy, and a few months ago I was walking through a department store and just had to smell it for the memories.

    When my husband passed away the biggest thing was keeping his scent around so I could go back in the closet and smell him. It took me years to clean his things out of the closet, but I never washed any shirts or pants in the hopes that the rubbermaid container I put them all in would keep the smell lingering for future sniffs. I’ve since moved out of state and the containers are stored at his parents, but in the back of my mind I’m just going to pretend the smells will be there any time I feel like reminiscing. It’s true about the images, I always felt it was similar to looking through old pictures. :)

  133. Jessika says...

    While I have others I do wear, I keep a small vial of Auric Blends’ One Love perfume in my purse. It’s roll-on with a screw-on lid, so I don’t have to worry about purse spills. It is great to turn to, whether I need a quick dash of scent or a pick-me-up from a stressful day. I love the smell, and it’s cheap (under $10). It’s also not too overwhelming– just enough for me and maybe a little for anyone near me.

  134. Right now I am into Elizabeth and James Nirvana White. I got samples from Sephora and at first I thought it was kind of rough but then I got to liking it, and now whenever I put it on I am reminded of Jennifer Lawrence’s rant in the bathroom to her husband’s mistress from American Hustle where she describes herself as a good smell, though slightly sour, that keeps him coming back. These are the things I think of…
    As for smells that take you back…Biolage Detangling Solution. Sniff that blue conditioner and it’s high school all over again. Ugh.

    • Elizabeth says...

      Oh yes, I LOVE Nirvana White. And great description :)

  135. Briana says...

    Love this post! I have spent the last 15 minutes happily remembering all my favorite scents over the years. I’m the girl who might forget to brush her hair and never remembers to put on lipstick, but I ALWAYS wear perfume.

    I got hooked as a pre-teen on the Gap fragrance line – Heaven and Dream were my favorites. At my high school, Angel by Thierry Mugler and White Musk from The Body Shop were huge for girls, and all the guys were wearing Le Male by Jean Paul Gaultier. In college I was obsessed with Be Delicious from DKNY bc it had the cutest apple shaped bottle. Early 20s were the rise of everything Marc Jacobs and I loved Daisy and Lola. By my late 20s I decided I needed to grow up and decided to splurge on something classic and iconic and feminine – Chanel No 5. Unfortunately, the scent reminds me of my grandmother so that was short lived and the near-full bottle still sits on my bureau. These days I’m into Jo Malone for everyday and Rodin for special occasions.

    What a lovely unexpected trip down memory lane… so fun to think about all these old friends.

    • Madie says...

      Rodin! There is a shop near my house that has a tester, and I’ve been known to duck in and “borrow” a spritz… it’s so beautiful, I could just eat that scent. I haven’t pulled the trigger yet on that hefty price tag, but it’s pretty much inevitable. Chanel No. 5 is my mom’s scent, so I know what you mean about loving it but not being able to do it! Rodin is the “new” Chanel No. 5 ;)

  136. I grew up wearing Clinique Happy! Classic 90s girl. Now I wear Jo Malone’s Wood Sage & Sea Salt because it’s sort of sexy and unisex at the same time. My fiance loves it. If I want to feel a little girly, I will layer one spritz of the citrus-y sweet Gin & Rosewater (by Tokyo Milk) over it.

  137. Chloe has been a favorite for a while now. My husband get migraines from 99.99999% of fragrances, which makes it super difficult to find one we both like! But Chloe fits the bill, and no one around me wears it…so it seems uncommon and special at the same time.

    But you’re cracking me up with Tommy Girl! How about Gap Dream! Surely we all had a vial of that somewhere….

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      OMG Gap Dream! I’d totally forgotten about it! You are so right.

    • Sarah says...

      I was thinking the same thing–Gap Dream (or worse, Grass!)!

  138. Claire Johnson says...

    I love my Burberry. It reminds me of my best friend from college, dating my now husband, and autumn.

    My past sents were:
    Adidas (I don’t know if it had an actual name) brings me back to my high school swim team days!

    And bath and body works “grapefruit,” which was absolutely lovely. A perfect way to bring sunshine to my day.

    • And I meant ‘scents’ not ‘sents.’ Oi!

  139. Taylor says...

    I feel like I just stepped back through my high school & college years:) yes to Tommy Girl, cK one and then Euphoria. Now I wear Issey Miyakeh Spring from years ago. I’ve searched EBay and found an extra bottle, it’s light enough that I can wear it at work. My now husband, had bought it for me when we were first dating. I’m still on the hunt for a nice winter scent. Some scents that trigger memories for me: cK Eternity, my mom would put it one whenever she was going out or getting ‘dressed up’. Instant memories of her ‘getting done up’. And Winterfresh gum, my high school love always chewed it and the scent of it sends me back to high school.

  140. I love your writing, Caroline. You could tell stories about deciding which brand of toilet paper to buy and I’d be intrigued.

    • Alexis says...

      Paige, you took the words right out of my mouth!!
      Caroline- not only are you a joy to read but you leave me smiling, thinking and excited!

      I look forward to trying a sample of No.4 Bois De Balincourt.

      Thanks!

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Thank you! That might just be the nicest thing anyone’s ever told me.

    • jlhbhat says...

      Agreed. The whole piece had me smiling.

      jlhbhat

  141. Amy L says...

    Oh my gosh- Tommy Girl defined my awkward teen years. Thank you for this post, I loved it!

  142. Claire says...

    This is awesome – I definitely associate scents with people, times, and places. Last year, my best friend and I had a habit of playing around with Nordstrom’s perfume counter and I was frightened to realize that I could fall in love with one perfume one week and then, two weeks later, have moved on to another one. Maybe it’s just that there are so many great scents out there? Anyways, current favorites are Chloe (which I realized, several months later, that my mom wore when I was a kid – I think I like it’s familiarity) and Jo Malone’s Wood Sage and Sea Salt and Blackberry and Sage. As far as memories, Tocca Colette will remind me of my best friend, Giorgio Armani’s Acqua di Gioia will remind me of England, and L’Aromarine’s Oceane perfume will remind of me a fancy hotel I once stayed at.

  143. Sandra says...

    Ooh! Scents offer such a fun trip down memory lane. Here are my past scents:

    Love’s Baby Soft

    Jean Nate

    some kind of musk (ugh)

    Gloria Vanderbilt (because a cooler-than-me high school friend wore it)

    Poison (because a cooler-than-me college friend wore it–I am seeing a Single White Female stalkery trend here)

    A post-college rose scent that I wore while spending a summer in Houston, because if you are going to be hot all the time you might as well smell really, really lovely

    A discontinued J. Crew scent that I was wearing when I met my now husband. I freaked out when used it all and couldn’t get any more while we were dating since I was convinced it was the magic love potion that made him like me.

    Clinique Happy

    I stopped wearing fragrance when I was nursing my son since he has really sensitive skin. Then it seemed frivolous to spend money on something I almost never wear. Now when I go out for date night with my husband I just grab a magazine and tear out whatever sample strip is in there and wear that. So if anyone asks what I’m wearing I really have no idea.

  144. Louisa says...

    I am still in love with the first perfume I ever bought. YSL Babydoll. I feel like I should have outgrown it by now, but I haven’t. I’ve tried more “grownup” scents but this is still my favorite.

    • Patricia says...

      I have been wearing Egyptian Musk oil for twenty years. I have also thought that I need to dabble in more “grown-up”, less hippy perfumes, but they just don’t feel like me.

  145. Omg Tommy Girl, I’m dying! Who didn’t wear Tommy Girl, and my boyfriend always wore CK1! Or how about Love’s BabySoft when you were really young! Too funny! Now I am in love with either Jo Malone fragrances, especially Bluebell and Blackberry & Bay (although their scent never lasts long enough for the price tag). Or I also love Tom Ford fragrances, which are expensive, but last all day and smell amazing!

    xoxo http://www.touchofcurl.com