The Art of Scent

Fragrance is everywhere – in your soap, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, hair dressing, deodorant, washing up liquid, house cleaning sprays; it’s in your make-up, hand cream, lip salve, washing powder and fabric conditioners. Without even realising it, every one of us either intentionally or not makes an effort to smell fresh and clean (one would hope intentionally…). Even males who refuse to engage with fancy aftershaves or cologne will step out of their hot steamy shower fresh every morning and use deodorant (and boys, if you don’t, start now). It’s like putting clothes on in the morning; being clean and smelling fresh is part of our every day effort to look and smell nice, or at least routine to getting ready.

I feel like I’ve dealt with those members of the male sex, and those of the female sex too for that matter, that really don’t care about actually smelling good, they just concern themselves with smelling fresh and clean, which is sometimes even nicer than being overwhelmed by a male who seems to be drowning in a very strong cologne, and sprayed one too many sprays before leaving the house. But for us girls who love perfumes, smelling beautiful matters. The idea of a scent as a means of a social art and a sexual attraction has grown over the years, and compared with clothes or jewellery, is an invisible and implicit way of enhancing one’s presence around others.

Smelling good is a potent sign that one has made an effort and is intending to please, be it to please oneself or others. Certainly, there are days when I am at home working in my room and spray myself with perfume just to improve my mood – call me crazy… But scent is a powerful thing and should be used for personal satisfaction as well as the desire to feel and smell good around others, be they the same or opposite sex. But care should be taken to not make it an anti-social thing… You don’t want people catching their breath and spluttering behind you in lecture theatres because you over-sprayed yourself with your Calvin Klein to cover up for the fact that you didn’t shower that morning.

Subtlety is everything, as is your choice of scent. I’ve always been one for staying loyal to one particular perfume, to the point where it’s actually got quite ridiculous how many bottles of it I have bought, and really think I should mix things up a bit soon and adventure to John Lewis for a testing session. I’ve always wanted a dressing table with an array of perfumes positioned in front of me so I can choose which smell I want to sport that day, and have a different one for the evening. But whether you stay loyal to your old favourites, or are always smelling of the brand new perfume from off the shelves, you’ll carry with you a positive aura that (hopefully) will make people wrinkle noses in a good way and wonder “Mm what is that you’re wearing?”.

Real perfumery is an art form and what all proper art does is capture a moment and reflect it back to us.  The beauty of perfume is its ability to make us think instantly of a person who wears or used to wear that scent or a period of time that involved it. Everyone must have family members or ex-boyfriends who used a particular scent, so that when you smell that special smell now, your heart does a flip just as it may do if you saw that person right in front of you. My Grandma fit the cliché perfectly, always smelling sweetly of Chanel No 5, and I remember adoring her aroma when I was too young to even understand what perfume was and I assume I just thought it was her natural scent. Now every time I smell that famous and unmistakeable smell, I stop and think of her and nothing else.

It’s the same with ex-boyfriends; there’s something just a little bit weird about starting a new relationship with someone or even just getting together with someone who smells strongly of the person you used to be with and your mind takes you to a place you really shouldn’t go to at that moment in time. Such is the power of scent. 

Photo Credits:,,