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I Smell. . . Age Marketing

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I had a hard time finding threads about Must de Cartier on Basenotes lately, as it seems the search function was not working well for a few days. When it did finally work, I really didn't find much about it. So, I went searching on MakeUpAlley.com. My search there caused me to re-open the question I've visited time and time again -- "Why do I like the scents that I do?"

The interesting thing about reviews on MakeUpAlley is that users have an option to list their age-range. What I noticed about the reviews for Must de Cartier is that the predominance of positive reviews were by those in an age range above 30. (Granted, if I did a statistical study, the n-value is so low and the population of reviews so skewed because people tend to post about scents they like more than they dislike, it would be meaningless. But, just as an observation, that was the trend.)

The common complaint from those under 30 is that it was "powdery" and that made it seem dated.

I too have noticed that a lot of powdery scents were common in the 1980's, which is when Must de Cartier debuted. I don't really see a lot of powdery scents currently. Mostly floral. A lot of fruity. So, do I like Must de Cartier because it's powdery? Or for other reasons. And do I like it because of my age? With my age come certain associations, and those are things I cannot deny.

I know I myself like to distinguish myself from the generations that preceded me -- both in fashion and in scent. I don't know if that's because I prefer to not smell like my grandmother, or I truly prefer the scents of a different age. I know that if I gave my younger cousins (all at least 15 or more years younger than I am) jeans that came at a normal waistline for Christmas, they'd think I was playing a practical joke. "Granny pants," they'd call it. Shirts that in the past would be considered a camisole are now common. It would be considered highly irregular to tell someone that they needed to wear a slip under a dress. And just as petticoats and whale-bone corsets have become obsolete, fragrances of the past seem to be the past-time of a select few enthusiasts who probably would be considered odd by the masses. (And thus why I love Basenotes so much. . . as birds of a feather, ya know.)

I think sometimes the market caters to this trend -- to be different from one's elders. The trend of adolescence is to rebel. Some of us never quit that phase, and continue to rebel well into old age. And yet, there's something to be said for moving past that phase and instead looking at "tradition" for its intrinsic worth -- examining the good aspects of the things used by a previous generation, and sometimes plucking those good things out and making them even better.

I don't see whale-bone corsets coming back en masse though. And frankly, I think that's a good thing. But, I do wonder when amber and "powdery" scents will make a comeback, if ever.

If bell-bottoms did, I don't see why amber wouldn't.
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  1. Sugandaraja's Avatar
    I must admit powder inherently smells grandmotherly to me, through associations of the favored florals of a generation now either deceased or pushing their ninth decade ( namely, my grandmother and her generation ). I have no such associations with vintage chypres, but a good many older florals and orientals took a time for me to be comfortable around and not make me think ''I smell like grandma'' ( no offense to grandmothers everywhere ).

    When I think of recent trends among my generation back in Canada, I can easily see a time when personal fragrance simply isn't in the culture. More than gourmands and fruity-florals, what I mostly see women my age wearing is... nothing at all, fragrance-wise. Fragrance counters are, despite the endless new-releases, on the decline. I remember the Bay a decade ago had a whole floor dedicated to perfume; now that area is mostly make-up, with fragrance as an afterthought.

    For better or worse, I see today's ''grandma smells like powder'' to be ''grandma smells like perfume'' tomorrow.
  2. Redneck Perfumisto's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sugandaraja
    When I think of recent trends among my generation back in Canada, I can easily see a time when personal fragrance simply isn't in the culture. More than gourmands and fruity-florals, what I mostly see women my age wearing is... nothing at all, fragrance-wise. Fragrance counters are, despite the endless new-releases, on the decline. I remember the Bay a decade ago had a whole floor dedicated to perfume; now that area is mostly make-up, with fragrance as an afterthought.

    For better or worse, I see today's ''grandma smells like powder'' to be ''grandma smells like perfume'' tomorrow.
    Scary. Just..... scary.

    Great review - some real food for thought.

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