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Coming clean on my “No perfume buying” month

Rubber duckies in a bubble bathSo, as you know, Bob, I set out not to buy any perfume in March. This was for the simple reason that I bought waaaaaaaaaaay too much perfume in January and February. (Really. Way too much.) I needed to slow down my pace of acquisition, which had become reflexive and not well-thought-through.

Aside from hemorrhaging money, I wasn’t really enjoying what I bought. I noticed I could look at what I’d previously collected, and every bottle was a lovely collection of memories of thinking about that scent, testing it, shopping for it, and then wearing it with abandon once I’d finally acquired it. Not to mention giving away samples of it. In my wealth of new bottles I found much less joy. I had a hard time remembering why I’d wanted something particularly desperately, when I’d bought it, or even that I owned it to wear it.

It was time to stop and smell the bottles. That I already had.

How did I do? Not too badly, actually. I had made some conditions with myself (the way you do). I bought splits I’d already arranged to do with others, obviously; can’t drop those, and there were only a couple. I also told myself that if I came across something I really wouldn’t be able to get all that easily or really wanted while I was traveling, I would allow myself to get it. So I didn’t get Laura Mercier’s L’Heure Magique in DC, for instance; but when I was in Providence, at one of the few storefronts in the northeast where one can actually smell Providence Perfumes, I did fall in love with Cocoa Tuberose and bought myself a small bottle ($62).

I also bought a bottle of Fleur de Chocolat that I had been thinking about for some time, because it was part of the Smell Good, Do Good auction hosted over at Scents of Self. I mean, it’s not like you can avoid buying a perfume you already knew you wanted when it’s for a good cause, right? ($15)

And then here’s where I went completely off the rails:

I had wanted some Humanity (some say I still do! ba dum ching) back when it was the original fundraising project to raise money for a center providing day care for working mothers, children, and orphans in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. I screwed around too long and missed my opportunity to get some of the perfume (though I did make a small donation), which sounded lovely.

In communicating a bit with Anne McClain at MCMC Perfumes about their new project in Cambodia, volunteering at the Working for Children Rainbow Orphanage, in the process of donating a bit to that project, I found out that a new Humanity fragrance will be coming out later this year. Typically, this reminded me how much I was annoyed that I had missed the first one!

And around about that time, a bottle of the original Humanity came up on eBay, sold, of course, by a fellow perfumista I already knew. It was not only the 12 mls of gorgeous perfume (MCMC scents are simply purely beautiful, as far as I’m concerned), but the original handmade glass bottle shaped like a human heart.

Well, I wanted that.

So on the theory that that fell under the rule of “A chance that I’ve been waiting for more than a year to come around and which might take a very long time to come around again – better take it”, I took it.

So that was over $100 for one bottle, but hey, it’s a good buy, no?

Over $200 in unplanned purchases is far from perfect but hey, it’s a big improvement on the sled-down-the-snowy-moutainside-OMG-we’re-going-to-crash-into-a-tree-and-die spending of the first two months of the quarter.

Overall it was extremely good to have a reason not to buy. In fact, my brain does not explode if I don’t acquire the exact perfume as soon as I want it. I have a growing list of things I’d like to buy; but I’m not desperately dying to buy any of them. (Rubj and By Kilian’s new Bamboo Harmony are kind of duking it out for “bottle I hope to buy for Sniffapalooza”; my adorable baby brother bought me some No. 5 Eau Premiere for my birthday; and I’ll probably just buy some Histoires de Parfums Blanc Violette and some Temps d’un Fete at some point this spring, but I’m not panicking over anything.) I started buying splits again after the buying moratorium, and I am consciously doing it instead of buying FBs of stuff I don’t even know if I adore yet – or of things I know perfectly well I adore but which are really expensive. I don’t know when I became a bottle whore, but I sure don’t need to figure out how many more bottles to store!

And my collection has kind of reached Maximum Capacity. In addition to the bathroom shelves devoted to perfume, my bureau tops, and The Vault (box where I store backup bottles, in the closet), I cleaned out a second bureau drawer and put most of my most recent purchases in there, and a small box for under the bed for decants and random bottles. And really, that has to be enough. Because there’s No. More. Room.

Unless I get rid of some clothes. And that’s not going to happen.

So I’m going to try to hang on to this feeling of It’s Okay Not To Buy That Right Now. It honestly feels better than frantically acquiring. I need more time to enjoy what I’ve got!

The best thing I could do for my collecting obsession these days, no lie, is to make time to paw through my current possessions. I LOVE this. It’s like when I was little and I spent whole afternoons just combing through my grandmother’s boxes of doll house furniture. The simple joy of examining one’s hoard possessions and really thinking about them, deciding what to wear, rediscovering old friends – this is a great activity. I plan to do more of that going into the next quarter as well!

Though eventually I’m just going to break down and get a bottle of Rubj. It’s so expensive, but it’s so beautiful. I thought my longing for the EDP would be slaked by finding one of the wee bottles of extrait on eBay and buying that (sometime last year), but it turns out the EDP is juicy and big in a way the extrait is not. So I still want the EDP. But if I’m going to buy it, I’m going to budget for it.

In the meantime, I need to go paw through My Stuff and decide what to wear tomorrow…

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5 comments to Coming clean on my “No perfume buying” month

  • Not that you’ve asked for anybody’s opinion… 😉 But here’s mine: you did good. Not great, but good. Especially on that one that you can’t get otherwise (Humanity). I assume you tried it before. Right? Ariele’s sale was impossible to pass and good cause combined with good prices equal the exception from the “no buy” rule. But I don’t think I agree with Cocoa Tuberose purchase: falling in love at the store and buying something that you can order later doesn’t sit well with the resolution. But if it made you happy and didn’t broke your bank you should just enjoy it.

    I’ve recently discovered Le Temps D’Une Fete for myself and now I’m in the negotiation with myself: should I buy a 30 ml bottle at luckyscent or should I first look for a 5ml decant?

    I thought I liked Rubj extrait. It was great on me during the first two times I tested it. I was thinking about buying a FB. But when I tried it recently suddenly it smelled unpleasant on my skin – the same way the EdP version always did (I cannot do EdP of Rubj at all!) So now I’m scared even to try the extrait again: it was so beautiful while it worked and I’m affraid it won’t any more.

    • Judith

      I have to say too that the name “Cocoa Tuberose” doesn’t do justice to this perfume. It is an incredible natural that is very much in the style of a classic chypre, to my nose. There are elements in it that remind one of film noir, not just chocolate and tuberose. So it was in that sense also a GOOD investment! 🙂

  • Judith

    Thank you! You’re right, I didn’t ask for anyone’s opinion; but some positive reinforcement is very welcome. It actually was surprisingly hard – which is one of the reasons I know I needed to do it.

    I actually hadn’t smelled the Humanity before. 🙂 But honestly, I’ve never smelled anything from MCMC I didn’t like. I wouldn’t say their fragrances rock my world in some specific way; they’re simply gorgeous, not repetitive, not boring, and I want to wear them all the time. They’re like the chocolate of the perfume world. You can’t live on it, and wouldn’t want to try, but are you ever going to turn it down? Plus I did make a donation, just not in time, so I didn’t feel like a poseur buying the bottle.

    Le Temps d’une Fete would be an unsniffed purchase but everyone just raves about it – I haven’t done it yet but I feel it’s just a matter of time. Everyone raves about it. Maybe I’ll buy La Chasse des Papillons just to be perverse.

    I certainly smell something in the extrait that I could consider unpleasant. I also think it smells quite differently in different weather. I believe it’s the orange blossom component – it can go so wrong. The EDP behaves totally differently on me, though. It blooms into gloriousness that makes everyone around me give me compliments. 🙂 If it doesn’t work for you, surely that’s money saved?

    I’m still sort of torn about the Cocoa Tuberose purchase myself, by the way. I justified it because they did check the website for me in the store, and the mail order site had sprays but no longer any roll-ons, and I did want a roll-on for that (the stuff is NOT shy.) And they had one roll-on left in the store. So I bought it. But I could have gone either way. I think it was important to have one thing in my hands I bought while I was doing all that traveling – it’s actually a nice souvenir and far cheaper than, say, losing my head and just ordering Opus VI unsniffed.

    • Let me clarify something… Are you looking for beautiful perfumes to add to your collection to wear or for the adrenaline and excitement of blind buys? 🙂

      • Judith

        Well, of course, you have me there. You are too clever by half. I am looking for beautiful perfumes…… and the adrenaline and excitement of blind buys.

        As I go forward, I hope to ARTICULATE the different goals and feed one (the blind buy delight) with VERY SMALL CONTAINERS, PERHAPS SAMPLES! Cheaper. Yes.

        I always admire the thought of “Don’t buy a bottle till the sample or decant is drained.” If I could really do this, I would be SO much better off financially.

        Perhaps in this spirit I’m off to get a SAMPLE of Temps d’un Fete instead of just buying the bottle blind. 🙂

What do you think?