This morning I was surprised to see a short article entitled “How to find your signature scent”. How many of those have you seen over the years? It doesn’t appear to be a zombie article from decades ago because it was published just this week on a website mostly dedicated to business, not perfume. In all fairness it’s probably directed at people who have never used perfume before. Still, I thought that the alliterative concept of the single “signature scent” was a relic of the 20th century. Maybe I lead a sheltered life in the ivory tower of perfumista-hood.
The advice on how to choose a signature scent was basically, “go to a department store, try a few things, decide what you like and buy the perfume and a matching lotion”. OK. That’s one approach. What I wonder is how many people today actually do that? How many people ever did that? I know that even in my pre-perfumista days I liked to smell a variety of scents and would never have worn the same perfume two days in a row, or even two days in the same week. I always checked out every perfume shop I saw, looking for new things, especially mini-bottles. I’ve had a collection of those as far back as I can remember.
Wearing a signature scent makes about as much sense as wearing just one type of clothing all the time. Come to think of it, some people do exactly that, like Steve Jobs and his iconic black turtlenecks, or my colleague from Texas who is never seen without his one cowboy hat and one pair of cowboy boots. I guess it makes life easy if you don’t have to spend any time thinking about what to wear or what to spray. However, to me, life is too short to spend it as a caricature of myself. On the other hand, maybe this strategy is the ultimate form of self-actualization. Is it a metaphysical achievement to find the one thing that epitomizes one’s being and stick with it exclusively and faithfully, setting aside all curiosity about everything else?
I really didn’t intend to make this post philosophical, but the question of severely limiting one’s style is an interesting one to explore, as are the pros and cons of having one perfume that announces your presence like a fanfare leitmotif and prompts people to say, “Oh, it smells like X was/is here in the room”.
One thing I love about living in the 21st century is the amazing variety and lack of rigid societal norms about what we wear, either as clothing or perfume. We are free to play. I would not want to give up that freedom for an iconic “signature scent” or a black turtleneck. What do you think?
[Steve Jobs headshot from Wikipedia; poor Pepe Le Pew, who cannot get away from his/her signature scent, is from a Loony Tunes themed website, the sterile perfume counter is from a commercial website]