Whether it’s preparing for class, a lunch date, or a night out, I typically end my getting-ready routine with a spritz of perfume. I was a casual perfume-wearer during middle school and high school — a Bath & Body Works body spray here, a small dab of my mom’s Chloé perfume there. I wasn’t too aware of the world of fragrance and I certainly didn’t have any signature scents of my own. I started to explore scents the summer before college but it wasn’t until I started my freshman year that I made perfume part of my daily routine and something I took joy in learning about and collecting. Now, there are certain perfumes that have made their mark on my college life to the point where I think of certain memories or eras when I smell them.
My best friend and I purchased matching Gucci Bloom rollerballs in the October of my freshman year as belated birthday gifts to ourselves. It was a scent I had been thinking about since I had smelled it at Sephora in the summertime. I fell in love with its natural flower scent and its muted pink bottle. I’ve always liked scents that smell like something, like vanilla cupcakes or real roses or fresh lychees rather than a muddled scent that smells like a generic perfume. To me, Gucci Bloom smelled like a real garden. It accompanied me to my first UMass Halloweekend and the rest was history. I wore it religiously to classes, dining halls, and frat parties. I still wear it occasionally today and the smell always knocks me back to memories of putting my makeup on in my Southwest dorm on a Friday night.
Chanel Chance Eau Tendre
Gucci Bloom was my go-to scent for so long that it wasn’t until the summer after my sophomore year that I branched out into another signature scent. Brandy Melville was heavily influencing my closet and my aesthetic at the time and I was really enjoying a clean, simple, and put-together look. A TikTok video appeared on my For You Page of a Brandy Melville employee explaining that spritzes of Chanel Chance Eau Tendre were used to scent the clothes in the store. That immediately gave me the inspiration for my next perfume and my mom was kind enough to gift it to me as my first full-sized fragrance. The fresh floral and fruit scent was perfect for daytime wear and light enough to wear to the office during my first corporate internship. I wore it during the entirety of my junior year and the summer after and it’s still in my rotation for days when I want to feel fresh and put together.
baccarat Rouge 540
If you were on TikTok in 2021, chances are you’ve seen people raving about the luxury scent of Baccarat Rouge 540. People were claiming it turned heads, got people to fall in love with them, and caused people to chase them down the street to ask them what scent they were wearing. I love discovering new products on social media but I’m typically not that easily influenced. It wasn’t until a sales associate at the perfume counter at my local department store gave my mom and me the opportunity to smell it. We were immediately impressed. It wasn’t like any other type of perfume I had smelled before! It had an elegant and warm smell, almost like a honey-soaked pastry. Baccarat Rouge 540 became my most complimented scent and was my go-to nighttime fragrance my junior year and the following summer. Spritzes of it followed me to formals and to my first nights out at the Amherst bars.
…And Everything Else In Between!
More recently, I’ve been playing around with different perfumes. I’ve collected quite a few samples over the past few years and was lucky enough to be gifted perfumes like Maison Margiela ‘REPLICA’ On a Date and Paco Rabanne FAME. I still regularly use all the perfumes I have worn throughout college but I no longer have a signature scent. The weather, the event I’m going to, the time I have — these things all help me decide what perfume to spray that day. Sometimes I’ll use Gucci Bloom on vacations because of its compact size. Sometimes I’ll put on the cream and mango scent of Paco Rabanne FAME when the weather starts to feel like summer. Sometimes I have to use my teeny-tiny Dior J’Adore sample that I carry in my bag because I forgot to apply perfume before leaving the house!
Each of my perfumes has the magical ability to bring back memories and put me in a good mood. From my freshman year Gucci Bloom rollerball to the array of perfumes on my vanity at the end of my senior year, I’ve collected quite a few fragrances in my college career. Although I’ll be leaving UMass behind soon, my perfumes are coming with me to the next chapter in my life. As the years pass, I know that these scents will always have the power to bring me back to my college days.