Shop girl

crochatI feel like my own snobbery is coming back to bite me in the ass. Sitting here amongst all my Amouages and exclusives and vintage whatnots, I realize that what I am mostly wearing this spring are department store juices.

Gucci Guilty and I are having a real thing. I fell for this lilac amber last year but I’m not done with it yet. I have a travel bottle, and the silly double-G “I’m really Batman” logo looks even more Batman-y on its smooth black surface. (It has a twist-up top like the much more expensive Chanel purse bottles.) I’m finding it perfect this spring.

You know how spring has those “What just thawed??” type smells? I mean, some things are fresh and green, especially just after a rainshower, but some things decidedly are not, and that includes the mud that gets made from the rainshowers. As the weather warms up, even I feel more sticky and funky than I do during the real winter-winter, and I want something fresher and cleaner even as laundry-musk clean really doesn’t do it for me. Gucci Guilty is making me really happy. I’m stopping myself from wearing it pretty much every day.

At the same time I’m investigating the Chloé line a bit. Traditional Chloé, especially the vintage, really didn’t work on me. But I keep reading good things about the newer additions to the line – and Eau de Chloé is one of my unsung favorites, just a perfect summer rose that is never wrong, and that gives me some faith in the brand too. I guess roses are their “thing”?

I keep reading about Love, Chloé. This is one of those scents that has a huge popular following and I’m trying to figure out why. When I first put it on skin I keep thinking this is one of the most unremarkable things I’ve ever smelled. But then I read no less distinguished a reviewer than bois de jasmin about it and I think, hmm. Actually if I had to name another floral bouquet that quite reminded me of this… I’d have a tough time. And if I considered it alongside another floral bouquet, like Chanel No. 5, while I am not feeling sophisticated enough to claim I discern all the separate floral notes bois de jasmin discerns in there, I have no trouble believing that it has the notes of heliotrope and hyacinth that she points out – things that I crave in spring when I crave clean purple flowers, but which are too clean for a lot of people.

The musky base is different from Chanel No. 5 (or Eau Premiere) too. There comes a time when the sandalwood has got to have a REST. Also the vanilla. This is that time.

There’s always a Mugler or two in my rotation, and as I bring out the aquatics I think it’s time for some Womanity along with the Yosh Sea Ranch (a freebie from another perfumista on NST, I’m glad she didn’t care for it, I love it) and the Bond No. 9 Wall Street. I like my aquatics weird and Womanity fits the bill, bondage pink department store fragrance though it is.

And my ridiculous love affair with all things LPRN goes on. Birthday funding acquired for me a bottle of the new green La Petite Robe Noire Eau Fraîche. For me this is a perfect summer version, slightly lighter for warmer weather when the chewy cherry sweetness of LPRN is a bit much, but definitely bearing a family resemblance (fortunately though most reviewers mention almond in relationship to this scent, there’s no almond note leaping out at me).

Tink2Perversely, what disappoints me most about my birthday bottle is that it doesn’t say Petales on it. I love the French name for this scent; I love the idea of a little black dress made up of flower petals. The American sales material generally refers to it as Eau Fraîche; I like the name Petales; neither appears on the bottle. It’s only one ounce, but I feel like Guerlain is just being too cagey here. Pick a name. It’s clearly NOT La Petite Robe Noire per se,  even though that’s all it says. The juice is green, guys.

(I would also like it if it were named Tinkerbell. Because it is green. And I like that the skirt has petals like Tinkerbell’s. ‘Cause I like Tinkerbell. Even though, as others pointed out, she did try to murder Wendy twice.)

I’m just wanting to wear perfumes for fun right now. I have so much else going on, I don’t have a lot of brain space. I want easy. These perfumes are easy. I’m not slut-shaming them any more. Not right now.

I want fun. See that chick in the crcodile hat? She’s having fun. I like fun. Fun perfumes good now.

tl;dr Shedding my snobbiness but not sure why. This stuff is just what’s smelling good to me right now. Things that are richer, more complex, are just too distracting.

Image is “Jess in a dino hat“, by Britney le Blanc, via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license; some rights reserved. Tinkerbell image swiped off the intarweb. I’m glad I’m not just four inches tall but sometimes I vaguely wish I were tiny and blonde and cute and if I were this green petal skirt would look perfect on me.

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Collection Frustration

screamWhen does your collection give you more annoyance than pleasure? Right now I’m in a slightly unhappy moment in the relationship. I own both the EDP and the parfum of Mahora and can’t find either one; and as I search I uncover samples and tiny decants that have dried up. (In two cases larger 10 ml decants that make me kind of wistful.) Those 3 ml spray bottles cannot be trusted.

Also, though I have a pretty good system of records, it’s not perfect. I could have sworn I had a sample of Bendelirious and wanted to drag it out recently when EauMG was writing about it. But my records indicated I did not. Seemed odd to me (as I have thought hard about this perfume in the past) but nothing I could do about it. Now while I’m rooting through other things – boom, there it is, the sample of Bendelirious I was pretty sure existed. Yes, better to find it than not to find it, but what use is it if it isn’t there when I want it?

I’m also cranky with myself because I’ve had a rather insane day of perfume-wishing-shopping. There really isn’t a perfume I would die to get, not at all. But what ought to be the pleasant task of perhaps (ONLY PERHAPS!) spending a birthday gift check on a bottle I’ve wanted for a long time leads me down a path of yet more desire. There’s something to NOT wanting more, but I don’t seem to have the knack. Do I need a backup bottle of DSH Divine Gardens? No, Profumo del Forte’s Roma Imperiale is so much more to my taste these days! But I’ve been collecting irises this last year and still don’t have any Iris Silver Mist; should I try to find some? But it’s never grabbed me when I’ve sampled it. Should I just give in and get the LPRN Eau Fraiche I’ve been coveting? Yeah, because I need ANOTHER full bottle of a La Petite Rober Noire flanker. I just got Couture a few months ago. But good lord, I have all these things I own and haven’t been wearing (*pulls out bottles as I paw through things*). Where did I put my Tunguska Blast? I hope it’s in the nightstand. Lord, I never even opened that Amouage Fate? Was I working my way through all the samples/decants first? DID I work my way through all the samples/decants?

Why the HELL don’t I just break down and get the bottle of Scent of Hope I’ve been wanting all year?? It’s an iris and gorgeous and perfect for the season. (News flash: this is probably what I will get.)

Lest you think I am in an insane shopping frenzy, let me point out that I just finished one of the cheapest quarters of perfume buying I have had since I fell down the rabbithole. Yes. It’s just that collecting right now feels so… fraught…

Plus this week I wore YSL Parisienne and it was so boring, I’m actually kind of mad at myself for keeping it this long. (It was one of the first bottles I got myself when I started down the rabbithole and I think I was mostly keeping it for sentiment.) But then do I just toss it or try to sell it? I didn’t know to keep the box back then – and I think it’s one of the ones where the top notes fade away when you’ve kept it too long. It’s not really pink any more like it was. I need to toss it. In that drawer I see both the parfum and the EDP of Bill Blass Nude, which I should really wear more often – it’s SO pretty and I worry about the longevity of parfum in stopper bottles…

Meanwhile, where the FUCK did I put the Mahora?

That stupid concave disk-shaped bottle the parfum is in never used to be hard to keep track of. Did I try to do something clever with it? And if I did why can’t I at least find the spray?

And I really still have no idea where either the L’Artisan L’Eau du Navigateur or CBIHP Library have gone. They were both in the desk before the move. And this weather would be kind of perfect for both of them. They’re the only two things I’m sure I haven’t located since the move.

Except I’m wearing iris more these days. The inventory says I have a travel bottle of Iris Ukiyoe – where the hell did I put THAT?

Why did I buy more essential oils? Why did I buy the NEST sprays that called out to me at TJ Maxx? I think I thought I would use them to help clean the shower but they’re going to smell the whole place up if I try that and Mr. Censer will ‘splode.

Oh, THERE’S the Iris Ukiyoe – right with the other purse sprays, where it should be. I must have pulled it out of somewhere else and put it there months ago. Anyway, I should be wearing the Wall Street I just got a few months ago – I spent ages trying to decide what size purse spray to get of that, and there it is, I should wear it.

Plus I’m worried that the Carner Barcelona Rima XI I just bought (with credit card points, at least) smells too much like Andrea Maack Smart and I shouldn’t have. But I love them both and they just didn’t seem similar enough to me to avoid buying them both. But I can’t tell if that’s just because I REALLY LOVE THAT SMELL.

And I shouldn’t be buying anything else anyway. I just got the decant of VC&A Rose Velours I was dying for, and it’s gorgeous, and I scored a really good condition parfum of vintage Hermes Caleche off of eBay and really. CALM THE HELL DOWN.


Honestly, where did the Mahora go??

OK, here’s the dead soldiers. Only the first two I’m a bit sad for as I never really got a chance to wear them and they were pretty:

  • Guerlain Eau des Fleurs du Cedrat
  • Piguet Oud
  • Laura Tonatto Olire Deo Spray. I don’t even know what this was. It smells nice.
  • Montale Fleur d’Oranger
  • Bond No. 9 NY Amber
  • Montale Deep Roses
  • Le Labo Vanille 44 (fortunately I have tons more of this in a real bottle, whew)
  • Something in a rollerball, I suspect some vintage Miss Dior I decanted to carry and wear

Bye guys, I hardly knew ye. Seriously. I couldn’t swear to what any of you smelled like. Except the Le Labo. Well, and I do recall the Guerlain and the Piguet.

If any of you know where the Mahora is though…

Image is (scream) by greg westfall, via Flickr; used under Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.

P.S. I have to say, my hands smell amazing from handling all these evaporated decants!

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The Chanel Project: 31 Rue Cambon. Wait for it…

thewaitingDo you want to know? In the Chanel collection of scents, after No. 5 it’s 31 Rue Cambon. If 31 Rue Cambon were a person, and someday that person passed away, its gravestone would read “Perfume” pure and simple.

On me 31 Rue Cambon opens with that “perfume” perfume note that cause young people to say on Makeup Alley that a perfume smells like an “old lady”, which then causes other perfumistas to want to use a “nail gun” to “attach” signs to those young people’s foreheads that say things like “Someday when I am an old lady, I hope I smell half as good as 31 Rue Cambon.”

If you don’t care for this note, well, don’t turn in your perfumista badge yet; I don’t entirely care for it either. Have some patience. Be that adult who can delay gratification for a while.

You know about delayed gratification, right? It’s linked to a lot of things; among other things, being able to delay gratification has been thought to be a greater indicator of success later in life than intelligence. Over time, it has even been shown that the brains of those who are able to delay gratification are different; though it’s also true that external factors affect one’s ability to say “no” to something temporarily. In an environment of scarcity, for instance, it makes no sense to delay gratification.

But perfume is not a feature of scarcity. It is a luxury, something you consume when all of your other Maslovian needs have been met. It is something you breathe in, sink into, and enjoy.

Sink into 31 Rue Cambon. Enjoy it. The bursting floral bouquet reportedly substitutes lush tropical ylang-ylang for Chanel’s more usual jasmine. I believe it, because this perfume is far more come-hither than No. 5 or any of my other Chanel perfumes. There is nothing prim about 31 Rue Cambon. This is not a perfume that speaks of home or office. A person wearing this might be going literally anywhere. With anyone. To do just about anything.

The base notes of this perfume, according to Fragrantica, include labdanum and patchouli. You see where this is going, right? If someone offered you a perfume with ylang-ylang, labdanum and patchouli in it, wouldn’t you think they had offered you something for a hippie sexpot? Would you associate it with the proper high-classness of mid-twentieth century Chanel suits? No. You might associate it with the fashion house that introduced jersey to sportswear and did away with women’s corsets. Think big. You should.

There’s a peppery stem-ness even in the base of 31RC that does not allow the whole thing to become as creamy smooth (and featureless) as, say, Cuir de Russie in the far drydown. It retains some structure, some body. And quite a bit of naughtiness. I don’t know if it’s the labdanum or something civet-ty, but I find 31RC to have juuuuuuuust a touch of warm satisfied woman to it.

I can see why the uninitiated might turn away from this perfume in the first few minutes. That is flat-out a mistake. If you love perfume at all, it’s worth letting 31 Rue Cambon develop. It is a rich, rewarding classic in its own right.

Do you have trouble waiting for things besides perfume?

Image is “The Waiting” by Tormod Ulsberg, via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license; some rights reserved.

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The Chanel Project: Chance

Upon my first wearing of Chance, I decided that I felt about perfumes the same way I feel about books: awwww, all of them should be loved by someone somewhere.

I’m dead serious about this. I worry about how inanimate objects feel, especially about whether or not they feel lonely and unloved. I used . . . → Read More: The Chanel Project: Chance

Resistance is futile

When you fall in love with a perfume, how long can you wait till you have to have it?

I am making myself wait till I reach the end of the billing month to acquire what will be a relatively tame purchase. I’ve only smelled the perfume twice – once I fell madly, mouthwateringly in . . . → Read More: Resistance is futile

The Chanel Project: Bois des Îles

I consider Bois des Îles to be the third in a trio with Chanel’s Cuir de Russie and (vintage) No. 5.

I don’t know why other people don’t comment on the relationship more; I have a feeling it’s because either

1) They haven’t smelled much of the vintage No. 5, in which this aldehydic . . . → Read More: The Chanel Project: Bois des Îles

Roses for winter

I just am dying for roses this time of year. Not for Valentine’s Day (I don’t need them dying in my kitchen, I much prefer the sunny bright bouquet my beloved brought me), but around me.

Did you read Undina’s post on her rose equation? It made me think of so many roses I wear: . . . → Read More: Roses for winter

Your mileage may vary

What are you wearing for Valentine’s Day?

I thought Aperture would be sexier than it was. I know, I know – camera apertures. Nonetheless, if you’re going to name a perfume “Aperture” I’m going to think outside that box.

My imagination was clearly in a different place from the perfumer’s. I long for a . . . → Read More: Your mileage may vary

Thought on shopping

Here’s what I’ve learned about shopping that has slowed me down a tad:

Things I’m not sure about turn out to be poor investments. If I spend much time wondering if I really like it or not, turns out I won’t wear it that much if I get it, no matter how “interesting” it is . . . → Read More: Thought on shopping

Cheap buttery thrill: Adam Levine for Her

Are we supposed to be too strong for shopping therapy now? Is the phrase anti-feminist? I can’t remember.

However you slice it, I needed some shopping therapy last night, and TJ Maxx really delivered.

I found a remaindered bottle of Aniston (I’d always liked it enough as a beachy type summer fragrance but figured I’d . . . → Read More: Cheap buttery thrill: Adam Levine for Her