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Structured for Men (1969)
by Avon


Structured for Men information

Year of Launch1969
AvailabilityIn Production
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About Structured for Men

Structured for Men is a masculine fragrance by Avon. The scent was launched in 1969

Reviews of Structured for Men

Structured for men from 1969 is an odd, fairly rare, and interesting attempt at a men's version of an old-school fragrance set, just like the kind Avon used to make back at the turn of the 20th century when they still went by "California Perfume Company". Not sure who's idea it was to come up with this three-piece whammy at a time when it was still just starting to be acceptable for the average guy to have a signature scent (e.g. Brut), let alone a collection of them. We were still about a decade away from the "cologne guy" stereotype that would emerge and be made light of in the film "Anchorman: Legend of Ron Burgundy" so I'm not really sure if there was yet a market for multi-piece male-oriented scent set, but here it is regardless. There also must not have been much advertising or push for this set either, as little to nothing remains besides it being mentioned in passing among other items in more generalized Avon ads of the time. What I find most fascinating is the three fragrances in this set are unique to it, not just in name but in smell also, and were never sold separately outside of refills in the bottles just as seen in the photograph above, but never as standalone fragrances. This means when the set was killed off, so was the purchasing of separate bottles to refill it, and although you very, very, very rarely see this set or it's individual bottles go up for sale on eBay, when you do, they're always labeled as part of a whole.
Finding a complete surviving set of this for sale second hand is extremely difficult and finding the separate bottles can also be a bother too, prohibiting their use.

Thus, my impressions here are from very sparing wearings, which I usually frown upon for reviews, so bear with me. This strange trifecta of masculine fragrance comprises of scents each named after a building material, which when combined will comprise the "structure" I suppose this set is meant to imply as part of it's dual-meaning (the other being structured/well-groomed men). The scents in question are Steel, Glass, and Wood. Starting with "Steel", one is presented with an oddly camphorous style, which lends a breathless cold quality, dressed up in fougère tones of bergamot and lavender with a tonka finish. It's closest relative is Windjammer (1968) from the previous year, of which "Steel" is probably a development of, or a prototype used for this set. Windjammer is a much more "complete" fragrance than this, and has much in common with the piquant British barbershop style, while Steel is just cold and sharp to a fault. Next in line is "Glass", which is the lightest and sweetest of the three. It's another fougère but it's got the powdery notes turned way down, with the sweet elements cranked way up with musk. It's like a very sugary Wild Country (1967) without the heliotrope, rose, or carnation and heavier musk base in it's place. It's the most wearable of the bunch due to this lightness, but also the most boring because of it's simplicity. Still, if any of these three would be good as a complete standalone cologne, it would be "Glass", because it takes a generalist inoffensive attitude that would have the most appeal overall to the largest cross section of guys, but is of a more dated barbershop construction than modern generalists. "Wood" rounds out this set, and smells like Avon Leather (1966) but an expansion of that scent with added herbs and wood tones (of course). Cedar, thyme, basil, and some pine find their way into this leather chypre making it pretty aromatic. I think these additional notes actually cause Wood to be more wearable than Leather and also feels like a further development or prototype of that scent. It sort of also serves as a go-between of Leather and the later Blend 7 (1973).

All told, Structured is a cool find not because it's rare, quirky, or even noteworthy from a scent-alone perspective, but because it seems to be comprised of what smell like "B-sides" of then-popular Avon masculines, making it a neat historical aside. I don't know if these were indeed further re-dressings of previous releases, or beta versions that themselves saw redressing into their stand-alone forms, but the similarities between Windjammer, Wild Country, and Leather (respectively) with this set are undeniable. Maybe the idea was that guys who bought or were given these three numbers together would literally just wear these and nothing else because they weren't fans of fragrance to begin with, but might eventually explore the rest of Avon's catalog if they liked the set, like a "starter pack" mentality, or maybe it was a way for Avon to second guess their formulations and use the buying public as a guinea pigs. I can't say for sure, but these 3 little guys are pretty peculiar, and if not for being so rare, would be given a spin around the block at work to see how they fare in public use. As it is, this set is more of a trophy centerpiece of Avon kitsch than a practical addition to a wardrobe, but I'm glad I could at least shed a little light on them here for those with no idea what they are. I applied 3 star ratings in all categories and gave a thumbs up because this set is more of a historical/collector interest than wearable scent and I wanted to be neutral in the critique department. If I was to be honest here, all three of them are passable but average for the decade at best, mediocre at worst, but oddly endearing.
26th October, 2017 (last edited: 20th March, 2018)
Three component bottles in the set: GLASS, STEEL and WOOD. I have obtained two sets, both from 1969, and both seem to have held up fine.

WOOD reminds me of the refined offspring of herbal DEEP WOODS and the original warm WILD COUNTRY, with a hint of pine/cedar and powder mixed in. Not particularly sweet, at least when contrasted with the modern overly-sweetened WC. A very good fragrance, pleasant and totally unobtrusive. In the barbershop neighborhood but not as barbershop as...

GLASS is odd. Sharp, light, bright and clean. Most closely resembles WINDJAMMER, CANOE and CLUBMAN but really isn't any of them; GLASS is neither particularly aquatic nor citrusy nor musky. Possibly some lavender (or another floral) comes out at some point. Barely any powder, which is nice for a change (and comparison to Pinaud Clubman fails on that point alone). Still, it's the most classic barbershop scent of these three.

STEEL strikes me as containing notes of bergamot and other stuff, possibly something pleasantly camphorous. A bit of musk, too, as Avon was wont to do. Bears a distant but much more refined resemblance to TAI WINDS. The dressiest fragrance of the three, imo.

All three were marketed as colognes but the strength and longevity varies. I tend to use them as I would an aftershave. Would recommend them to anyone who comes by a set -- you can't go wrong with any of them.
20th December, 2014

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Avon Structured for Men 3 Piece Set - Wood * Glass * Steel * Cologne - 1969

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