How to curate the perfect perfume wardrobe

How to curate the perfect perfume wardrobe

I think there are two types of perfume people. Those that own a couple of fragrances and stick to a signature scent (hey, there's nothing wrong with wearing Marc Jacobs Daisy, day in and out). And those that collect lots of difference fragrances and wear according to mood/outfit/time of day. I am definitely the latter and I think you should be too! You wouldn't wear the same pair of shoes with every outfit, your perfume is no different. I choose my perfume based on what I am wearing, what I am doing and how I am feeling. Sali Hughes described perfume as being the most egalitarian beauty product, and I love that. You don't have to be young, wealthy, beautiful or skinny to feel incredible whilst wearing a certain scent. You also don't have to spend a fortune, whilst some of the perfumes listed are on the pricey side, if you find a scent you like for under £30 then snap it up and add it to your collection!

I believe the perfect fragrance wardrobe contains 5 categories, and I bet you already own scents that fall in to 2 of them. I will leave all the scent notes of the perfumes mentioned at the end of the post. 

I have actually done a lot of my perfume shopping online, risky you might think. But once you learn what base and heart notes you like, it becomes quite easy. A lot of the fragrances I like are not available in Leeds so I trust the online descriptions, and actually, they have never been wrong. If you are new to, or wanting to get more in to fragrance I highly recommend signing up to Bloom Perfume for a year. You get sent 5 samples of perfume a month a long with all the ingredient notes, after a few months you know which you will love just by reading the description and you get to try obscure niche perfumers from around the world (all available to buy through Bloom Perfumery though). 

As a reference point, I like quite heavy woody, bergamot, masculine scents, usually in the Woody/Chypre family. If you're similar in preference then have a look at what I mention, if you are more of a floral fresh lady then I have left a few suggestions at the end of each category. 

Your wardrobe can be broken down in to 5 different scent categories; the spritz and go, day time, night time, the classics and the sentimentals. 

The Spritz and Gos - reserved for when you just need to smell socially acceptable. Often shoved in a handbag, gym bag or quick to reach after a speedy shower. These are often your inexpensive eau de toilette types or roll ons (more people need to get on board with roll ons!). For me this is my Clarins - Eau Ressourcante in the summer and Michael Buble By Invitation in the winter (this was a press sample but I have unashamedly fallen in love with it) and L'occitane Fig & Osmanthus (perfect dupe for Diptyque Philosykos btw) for anything 'sporty'. You will already have something that you reach for most days, work out if this is liberally sprayed somewhat like febreeze just so you can get out of the door, or if it's something you save for work/lunch with friends. If the latter it falls in to the next category. 

Perfect additions for your Spritz and Go categories - Elizabeth Arden White Tea, Shay & Blue Dandelion Fig, Burberry Brit Roll On

The Day Times - these are the perfumes you reach for on a work morning, a day out, lunch date etc. Something a little fancy that makes you feel good for your day ahead. For me, these are my Jo Malone's (usually Blackberry and Bay or Wood Sage and Sea Salt), Byredo Gypsy Water and Diptyque Tam Dao. A recent purchase has been Phaedon Coton Eygptien it's woody but fresh and perfect for summer evenings. Spending a little more on these can be worth it as the scent will be there from 8am till home time. In all honesty, Jo Malone's are probably the worst for longevity.  

Perfect additions for your Day Time wardrobe - Miller Harris Le Petit Grain, Guerlain Mon Guerlain and Armani Prive

The Night Times - This is probably my favourite area of my scent collection. I love rich, woody, smokey scents and love adding new fragrances to this portion. Most of these will be bought in smaller sizes so I can get through them quicker. Quite a lot of my favourite evening scents are actually targeted at men, but don't let that put you off. Wear whatever you love! My favourites include Acqua di Parma Intensa,  Creed Aventus for Her (the for him is nicer but Miller has that!) Nishane Munegu, and YSL Black Opium

Perfect additions for your Night Times collection - Prada Iris (v similar to Chanel no 5) Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady, Armani Si

The Classics - this section should just be called Chanel really. I see it as the 'must haves' portion of your wardrobe. The iconic scents. For each person these will be different but I think all perfume wardrobes should have a Chanel, whether you are a No5 or a Mademoiselle. I have been wearing Chance for the past 10 or so years. Acqua di Parma Colonia is also on my list. You would have smelt this fragrance many times but probably not registered what it was. Make this your next purchase, you won't regret it. It is the type of perfume you put on to feel like a sassy ass bitch and nothing can touch you. 

Other classics include Jean Paul Gautier Le Classique,  Opium by YSL. Tom Ford Black Orchid, YSL Rive Gauche, CK One

The Sentimentals - these are your special perfumes. I bet you already have at least one of these. These are different from The Classics they could be random bottles of Britney Spears or an obscure scent that you bought on a holiday. You put them on for you special moments. For me, Creed Spring Flowers, which was my wedding perfume. Ralph Lauren Romance as it was the first perfume I bought when dating Mr Miller. Miss Dior Cherie as it reminds me of 6th form.  

My top 5 must buys 

Frapin Passion Boisee - Yikes to that price tag but my god, the scent it unlike anything else I have smelt. I wore it out for dinner and then to a party and I have never had so many compliments/people asking me what my perfume was. It is so beautifully made, exceptionally complex but sits very simply on the skin, a light citrus yet spicy perfume. 

Acqua Di Parma Colonia - citrus holiday perfection in one bottle. Take me to Italia! This is one of my all time favourites, it is also a favourite of my mum.

Creed Green Irish Tweed - woody floral yet clean and fresh wonderfulness. If you want to get in to Creed this would be a great starting point. I think most Creed fragrances are unisex and I love this scent on women just as much as men. It is so long lasting that you will keep getting amazing whiffs hourssss after application. This doesn't layer too well so mix with neutral moisturisers etc. 

Chanel No 5 - this needs no words. 

Le Labo Santal 33 - a smokey woody perfume lifted by cardamom, powdery iris and violet. If you want to invest in this perfume house this is an excellent starting point. It is unisex, warm and easy to wear. This scent is like a perfect cashmere jumper. 

On my "To Buy Next" list 

Maison Margiela - Replica 

Prada - Mirages Midnight Train

Nishane - Duftblüten

Tom Ford Private Blend - Tuscan Leather 

Byredo - Super Cedar 

Scent Notes (bracketed 1-5 on heavy scale, 5 being heavy)

L'occitane Fig & Osmanthus - green, woody and fresh (1)

Clarins Eau Resourcante - fresh, basil, citrus (1)

Michael Buble - sweet, vanilla, warming (4)

Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay - warm, green, fresh (2)

Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt - woody, bitter, green (2)

Byredo Gypsy Water - spicy, amber, warming (3)

Diptyque Tam Dao - spicy, woody, warming (4)

Phaedon Coton Eygptien - cedar, green woody (3) 

Acqua di Parma Insenia - warm, woody, spicy (4)

Acqua di Parma Colonia - fresh, spicy, citrus (3)

YSL Black Opium - dark, heavy, vanilla (5) 

Nishane Munegu - citrus, woody, floral, amber (4)

Creed Aventus for her - clean, green, woody (3) 

My top tips for buying and storing perfume

  • The larger bottles are always more cost effective over time but you may prefer smaller bottles if you feel you will change up your scents and don't want to over commit. 
  • The price of perfume is based on (amongst other things) the amount of essential oils used to make it. Cologne contains about 3-5%, Eau de Toilette is 4-8%, Eau de Parfum is 14-18% and Perfume/Parfum (no Eau de) is 15-30%. 
  • Go to a beauty hall and get different samples. Lots of them! Then take the next few days to try them in your normal way. See how they wear. 
  • The same scent smells different on individual people, not based on their skin (we have the same ph) but on what you've put on it prior ie moisturiser, shower gel etc.  When testing, spray on the card first. Let it sit for 10-15 mins. Sniff again and if you enjoy, spritz on your skin. Wear for at least a few hours to let the base note settle on your skin. If you fall in love straight away, ignore this and just buy it. Life is too short. 
  • Don't rub your wrists together once you have applied, the heat transfers the scent and knocks out the top notes quicker. 
  • Store your precious perfumes in a dark cupboard/drawer to keep the scent. Like a fine wine.
  • To make your self smell irresistible for longer, apply a complimentary body lotion or oil before the perfume. It will take a few goes to get this right. I once wore a vanilla body lotion with Blackberry and Bay on top, ended up smelling like fruit crumble and custard.  

I really hope you enjoyed this post, I absolutely love fragrance, it is one of my favourite things to spend my money on. I wasn't sure how to split up this post as I could have talked about the different scent families, and my favourite perfumes that fall in to those but felt breaking it in to types of scent was easier if you're wanting to start building up your wardrobe. None of this is sponsored/affiliates etc and all have been bought by myself (except for that Bublé revelation!).