Still struggling to find your signature scent? You might be missing a trick: have you scoped out the men’s counter, or cast a predatory eye over his side of the bathroom cabinet?
Look past the marketing strategy and packaging of men’s fragrances – typically black, macho and more black – and you could open yourself up to a whole new olfactory world.
If you’re wondering where to start, ask the counter staff: Tom Ford tells us that Grey Vetiver, marketed to men, is frequently worn by women, while Black Orchid is loved and used by men. Our favourite is Tom Ford’s Noir, €96 for 100ml: it softens on the skin into a spicy oriental, that’s both sexy and inviting.
In a similar vein, but warmer and sweeter, try Bulgari‘s Man In Black, €64 for 60ml. Think tuberose, iris and tonka bean, tempered with leather, suede, wood and a dollop of rum. Now wouldn’t that pair beautifully with autumn’s layers and knits?
At L?Occitane, the most complex and interesting scents are the ones which aren’t gender specific. Zingy and fresh, Th? Vert & Bigarade was initially designed for men, but is now marketed as unisex, as is Ambre & Santal – a cosy, enveloping scent. Notes of vanilla, amber and sandalwood will wrap around you like a cashmere throw. Both are €57 for 75ml.
Fancy smelling like a crisp, clear woodlands walk? Try Bottega Veneta Pour Homme, €63.50 for 50m; it works equally well pour femme. Kicking off with a crisp, citrusy burst mixed with pine, the drydown is woody and peppery with a patchouli hit.
If you’d prefer something with a lighter touch, look to Serge Lutens: his latest, L?Orpheline (?118 for 50ml), is a clear, cool, silvery take on incense and wood.
Like all scents from this niche French fragrance house, it’s unisex; the point being that regardless of gender, we should wear what we want and what suits us. That’s advice your nose – if not your boyfriend – will thank you for.