Ask A Woman: The (fragrant) Honeymooners.
If you’ve got a question that needs the female treatment, chances are you’re not the only one who wants to ask it. Beth is our source for the answers. From opinions on men’s style to decoding the sometimes mysterious ways of women, she’ll take on a different question every Thursday. She also might provide an answer without waiting to be asked. That happens from time to time too. Click here to get to know Beth, then get in touch with her by sending your question to: email@example.com .
My fiance and I are planning our honeymoon and she had a great idea. Because scents are so strongly linked to memory, she asked me to pick out a perfume for her to wear on the honeymoon, a way of linking that scent to fond memories and happy times. This is a brilliant and intimate idea. The problem is I don’t really know perfume. I don’t really wear cologne. I stick with my bay rum after I shave because it has a nice sweet smell with a subtle hint of spice…it also doesn’t linger.
This is new territory for me and I want to get it right. She tends to like the lighter sweet scents herself. I think I remember her wearing something from Victoria’s Secret in the past. I want to pick something unique, something new, something special. But, I really am lost. Any help at all would be appreciated.
This is such a great idea. How sweet that she’ll be able to uncap a bottle of perfume years from now and be transported back to all the fun you had on your honeymoon.
There are hundreds of options. I could make recommendations for what I like (and in fact I’ve done that with the picture below), but if your bride-to-be doesn’t like amber, woodsy, musky scents (my favorites), then it’s not going to help. But, don’t despair, and don’t listen to the predictable wet-blanket response of “just don’t buy a woman perfume” you’ll hear by some in the peanut gallery. This CAN BE DONE! It just takes a little stealth detective work.
Go into her shower and collect her shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. Look for her body lotion on the sink or in the cabinet. While you’re there, see if there are any bottles of perfume or body spray. Put all of these in a bag and head to a specialty cosmetics store like Ulta or Sephora. Do not go to Victoria’s Secret. No disrespect intended to your fiance if she does, in fact, like the VS scents, but I am a perfume snob and I cannot allow you to buy her a fragrance there. Nor at Gap or Bath and Body Works. Just, no.
Ulta and Sephora carry many different brands of high quality perfume and you’ll be able to sample any of them. They also have enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and helpful staff. Tell them what you’ve told me, and let them sniff the products she obviously already likes, to help choose something along the same lines for perfume. People tend to have preferences for fragrance notes like floral, citrus, spice, or amber. So even though two fragrances might smell differently, they can have similar top or base notes, and if you’re someone who is crazy for fruity scents, for instance, then you’re likely to appreciate any perfumes that have those notes.
Another thing to consider, many perfumes and brands are quite young; many others aren’t on the market long. Sarah Jessica Parker launched one of my favorite fragrances, Lovely, about 10 years ago and you can no longer buy it in a brick-and-mortar store. Once it’s totally discontinued, it will be difficult to find it or have it replicated when your spouse runs out of it. If you go with a heritage brand like Chanel No. 5, you can be sure your great-grandchildren will be able to purchase it. The downside there is that many heritage brand fragrances haven’t aged well. That is, your grandmother wore it…it smells like something a grandmother would wear. Something to think about.
Do I detect a hint of…moth balls? And Jordan almonds?
For readers who like this idea but are scent-averse, you could do something similar with your spouse with a great bottle of champagne/wine or very expensive chocolate that you buy to enjoy on the honeymoon. And then again once a year . . . for as long as you both shall live.
Got something brewing in your life? Send me an email–style, etiquette, relationships–I answer it all: firstname.lastname@example.org