Ladies, if you have still not deciphered how to buy a fragrance for your other half, brother, father and the likes or for yourself as a man, this post should put you on the right path.
Knowing what fragrances to use goes beyond liking the aroma. A good place to start is knowing the brand offerings. I would not normally suggest brands as the starting point, with clothes for example, but in the case of perfumes, that is how it works. Another method would be to go into a good store that sells fragrances and ask relevant questions. Have a chat with the store representative and let the person know exactly why you want a perfume, how and where you plan to use it – its purpose. Ask him/her if it is for evenings and nights out, to feel good about yourself, to be used during the day for a smart professional aura or just for everyday regular use. A good store assistant should be able to answer these sort of questions.
Their recommendations should take into account your personality; if you are wearing a button up suit when you come in, expect their recommendation to be different from the gent that comes in wearing flip-flops and a rock band t-shirt.
This guide should help you discover the right perfume for you.
Just like clothes, perfumes are about the occasion; context plays a big part because you would not wear boots to go jogging or shorts to a professional job interview – would you?
At the store, try on about two perfumes – it is important that you let it settle for 15 minutes or more, this way, you will be more confident with your final selection. If the scent is still appealing after this time, it most likely will for a long time, if you do not like the aroma after 15 or more minutes, you have yourself an easy decision.
The quality of a perfume lies in its ingredients. It boils down to two aspects, molecular and natural ingredients, with molecular ingredients being the cheaper compared to natural ingredients for obvious reasons. Natural ingredients, however, are not always better. Combinations of the two ingredients usually make for the best perfumes – naturals provide sparkle while molecules bring depth to the table. Tom Ford’s private blends in Eau de Parfum are good examples.
This is the concentration of the perfume in a given volume. Eau de Cologne, Eau de Toilette and Eau de Parfum provide visual signals of the strength of the perfume. This, you will see on the package box or the bottle.
Eau de Cologne has concentration levels ranging from 3 – 8%, Eau de Toilette has 8 – 10% while Eau de Parfum comes with 15 – 20%.
Preferable is Eau de Parfum (EdP) because of its strength – you want to use less of Eau de Toilette (EdT) where possible.
Men tend to use perfumes sparingly compared to women. A spritz here and there and that is it, they are done – try three or four spritz instead for EdT and two or three for EdP. You will be glad you did as it will last hours after use, stretching into the day. This all depends on what happens during the day – if you are caught out in the rain or find yourself battling strong wind currents on a windy day, the effect would be dampened.
Your neck and wrist are your best application points, your chest can be included when wearing heavier clothing like knitwear. Lighter scents may be applied to the edges of your hair, not on your face, because it is not an aftershave. These pulse points generate body heat that helps intensify a scent although they do not affect the longevity.
Just like your clothes, having more than one perfume is a good idea – because they can be used in different moods, weather and schedules of the day. A collection between four and six is okay, two heavier and spicier evening fragrances, two lighter and citrus summery fragrances and the last two goin between for everyday use.
As your senses decline with age, you will prefer stronger scents. Some fragrances are continued longer than others – your signature perfume should be one you know will be around for a long time. For instance Creed has been around for hundreds of years; you would not expect them to be discontinued anytime soon. The same goes with Giorgio Armani that has been around for decades. It will be frustrating to discover that your new favorite fragrance has been discontinued, some of you that have experienced this will know what I’m talking about. This is one of the reasons I recently started collecting empty fragrance bottles, especially the ones that have been discontinued.
At the end of the day, you will find that a lot of brands have wonderful fragrances to explore. The journey of discovery should be a pleasurable one, just like discovering good wine, food or scotch. Have in mind that your preferences are bound to change over time, you may prefer bitter over sweet or vice versa at some stage in your discovery.
It is also important to try it first before you make up your mind, ratings done by other people are usually subjective.
Choose wisely and stay fresh.
Okeluem Felix Onatu trained as a men’s image consultant in London. He buys into the idea of minimalism or ‘less is more’. His style is simple and classy with a bit of originality. Felix runs a menswear line offering men’s casual and formal shirts on Qollars.com. He blogs atwww.freshsqollar.com and can be reached via Instagram on@Qollars.