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  1. #1

    Default "Too strong for the office"??

    I have read a number of stories made by various basenoters regarding scents they dearly love but feel unable to wear at work because of their strength - as well as recollections of comments made by colleagues who don't seem to appreciate scents (evil, evil people :P).

    I was wondering if someone could enlighten me further on the issue. Am I right in assuming that this happens more often than not in America? Are there actually any laws stating that one should not ... erm, how shall I put it ... smell in an overpowering manner? And, if so, how does one define "overpowering" anyway?

    I am genuinely intrigued about this. I have lived, studied and worked in Italy, Germany, England and Ireland and have never had the problem. And believe me, when I wear perfume I tend to bathe in it.

    (I remember my father once telling me, during my "Obsession" days, that I should consider a career in standing up beside the CK counter in our department store as a permanent human tester ... :'( :'()

    Any thoughts on this?

    Thank you, and have a lovely Sunday

  2. #2

    Default Re: "Too strong for the office"??

    Well I think it all depends. Are a lot of people working together in a small place? As much as i love perfume it would make me unable to breathe and give me a major headache if I had to work in a crowded environment where all bathed in powerful perfumes ( and yes I know.. Unwashed bodies and cigarette is even worse, but I donęt think that is what you asked )
    I have experienced a male coworker almost having an asmatic fit because of my perfume ( and I was only wearing bodylotion of it.. Hypnotic Poison ), and that was quite a scaring experience. If all co-workers agree that all can use as much as they want.. then that is how it is.. but I would hate to be the cause of constant headaches in a colleague. I think that many of the "no perfumes allowed here" comes from heavy spraying.
    And it also depends in what kind of a work place you have IMO. I work in healthcare, and Ięm extremely cautious what and how much I wear when Ięm working with sick people. I would simply HATE it if I was in the hospital feeling really bad.. and had to be in close contact with a person really heavily scented ( and yes.. I would hate body-odour and cigarettes too ).
    If you have to work in close contact with other people.. I think that "less is enough".
    I donęt live in America.. so I donęt know how things are there.. this is just my opinion

  3. #3

    Default Re: "Too strong for the office"??

    Quote Originally Posted by lille_my
    Well I think it all depends. Are a lot of people working together in a small place? As much as i love perfume it would make me unable to breathe and give me a major headache if I had to work in a crowded environment where all bathed in powerful perfumes ( and yes I know.. Unwashed bodies and cigarette is even worse, but I donęt think that is what you asked )
    I have experienced a male coworker almost having an asmatic fit because of my perfume ( and I was only wearing bodylotion of it.. Hypnotic Poison ), and that was quite a scaring experience. If all co-workers agree that all can use as much as they want.. then that is how it is.. but I would hate to be the cause of constant headaches in a colleague. I think that many of the "no perfumes allowed here" comes from heavy spraying.
    And it also depends in what kind of a work place you have IMO. I work in healthcare, and Ięm extremely cautious what and how much I wear when Ięm working with sick people. I would simply HATE it if I was in the hospital feeling really bad.. and had to be in close contact with a person really heavily scented ( and yes.. I would hate body-odour and cigarettes too ).
    If you have to work in close contact with other people.. I think that "less is enough".
    I donęt live in America.. so I donęt know how things are there.. this is just my opinion
    Thank you!

    I think I must have been extremely, extremely lucky (and more than a touch naive ;D) so far, inasmuch as I have never encountered anyone with a perfume allergy.

    I completely agree about differentiations on the job front too (esp., as you mentioned, hospitals). It's just that I've never ever seen any "no perfume allowed" signs in my workplace (academia), and I was wondering if there were criteria applied - and if so, how they were regulated.


  4. #4

    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    Nashville, Tennessee
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    438

    Default Re: "Too strong for the office"??

    Quote Originally Posted by incenso
    (I remember my father once telling me, during my "Obsession" days, that I should consider a career in standing up beside the CK counter in our department store as a permanent human tester ...  :'( :'()
    Thanks for starting my day with a chuckle.  That is hilarious.  I have always had a tendency to overdo.  I think you're suppose to wear fragrance so that it is not so prominant to you, but leaves a wisp in the air for others to catch.  Well, I guess I'm just not that classy because I prefer to reek.  

    I think I read on Basenotes (maybe the Off Topic Discussion) about perfume becoming a problem, and that there are some offices/buildings that are perfume-free - seems like Canada was one place that was enforcing this but I may be wrong.  I'll have to search for it.  I remember thinking that I didn't realize there were that many sensitive people in the world.  What will be next?  Good for me that I work at home because the sun will never shine on a day that I am not wearing a fragrance.  

    JAG



  5. #5

    Default Re: "Too strong for the office"??

    Quote Originally Posted by JAG
    Thanks for starting my day with a chuckle.  That is hilarious.  I have always had a tendency to overdo.  I think you're suppose to wear fragrance so that it is not so prominant to you, but leaves a wisp in the air for others to catch.  Well, I guess I'm just not that classy because I prefer to reek.  

    I think I read on Basenotes (maybe the Off Topic Discussion) about perfume becoming a problem, and that there are some offices/buildings that are perfume-free - seems like Canada was one place that was enforcing this but I may be wrong.  I'll have to search for it.  I remember thinking that I didn't realize there were that many sensitive people in the world.  What will be next?  Good for me that I work at home because the sun will never shine on a day that I am not wearing a fragrance.  

    JAG

    I'm a "reek-er" too. Also, I must admit, I'm lucky enough to do most of my research at home. However, I do have regular meetings with colleagues, and give lectures to students, and believe me when I say they can smell me a mile away (mind you, the reverse applies too).

    It just seems to be an easier atmosphere over here - a battle of scents, if you will. But hey ho, who can win against Opium/Obsession/Coco?!

    (PS: I save my SLs for special occasions - nothing to do with work ethic)

  6. #6

    Default Re: "Too strong for the office"??

    ;D If there's anyone pregnant or highly allergic in close proximity to me at work, I simply ask. Are you allergic to my perfume? Does it bother you? Let me know if it annoys you. And I ask frequently.

    I take it easy on the perfume and spray at least an hour before I leave for work. Behind each ear, back of the neck, and The Girls. That's it. If it's an eyecrosser like Aromatics Elixir or White Witch, it's half that amount. Good God, There have been times that I've become nauseated or almost gagged over others' perfumes. My opinion: perfume is to enhance, not overwhelm. There's nothing worse than being stuck by someone who's OD'd with a scent unless it's when someone farts in a full elevator. Either way, you're trapped. :P
    "Too much of a good thing is wonderful." -- Mae West

  7. #7

    Default Re: "Too strong for the office"??

    I just wanted to chime in, as a Canadian, there is NO law about perfume wearing! I've noticed a few mentions from non-Canadian citizens on various boards about this apparent law and there is no such law federally or provincially.

    We do, at least in Ontario, have increasing strict smoking laws.

    I've noticed a few things. More and more people seem to be aware of allergies and chemical sensitivities. I've found people are less afraid of complaining because many companies are supportive of such issues. I can understand ... I have horrible asthma attacks from carpet cleaning fluid. At my office jobs, I could always tell when the carpets had been cleaned because I'd wheeze and feel like I was suffocating. I have friends with similar reactions to perfumes. In the large companies I've worked, with large human resources departments, people have been able to complain about a perfume and then, the strong scent wearer would be asked to wear none or something more gentle, depending on the situation. I've noticed employment wanted ads seeking someone who would work in a non-fragrance environment - this was a doctor's office. My girlfriend teaches at a high school and they have a no-perfume policy. She spritzes Mitsouko on her wrists everyday and leaves it a that. It seems individual employers (large ones like hospitals and schools) may issue these policies for a variety of reasons - even to save on lawsuits! Similarly, I've read that artificial nails contain horrible amounts of bacteria - much more than normal if they are not scrubbed continuously. So, hospitals can ban nurses from wearing these nails for sanitary and safety reasons. I suspect any policies about perfume would be made for same reason.

    I'm just responding because I've seen non-Canadians on various perfume boards (I can't even remember which ones) speak about Canada (we are a variety of provinces and territories) as if the entire country just implemented these completely fascist laws outlawing perfume and it's not true! We love perfume too.


  8. #8
    MJH
    Guest

    Default Re: "Too strong for the office"??

    For the past week, I've been working in temporary accomodations with a crew of co-workers who I'm not accustomed to working with. One of them (a very sweet older woman) uses a rose-scented hand lotion several times a day. Each time she applies it, I begin a coughing fit which I'm only able to control with a quick sip of water and a cough lozenge. I've never said a word to her about her hand lotion, and I don't plan to. On the other hand, I may just have to say something to the boorish woman who invariably comments, "Cover your mouth! I don't want your cold!", "Don't pretend to be sick! You're not going home and leaving the rest of us here!", or "I'm going to get a can of Lysol and spray for germs!", every..single..time..I choke back a cough. Back in my real office (the one where the sprinkler system malfunctioned last weekend), I have more privacy from my co-workers, more room, a desk-fan, and neighbors who are accustomed to my...temperament. They know they'd be told to "shut the hell up" and MYOB pretty quickly. I personally don't feel like being bothered with one more scintillating discussion :P with my temporary neighbors. We don't all find every single aspect of our mundane existences to be worthy of comment.

    Which is why I think the issue boils down to this: there are self-dramatizing, passive-aggressive people everywhere, and fragrance is just one more issue that people find to bicker about. Take the fragrances away, and the very same people will be arguing about the office dress code, the thermostat settings, other peoples' lunch and snack choices, etc. :

  9. #9

    Default Re: "Too strong for the office"??

    Quote Originally Posted by MJH
    I think the issue boils down to this: there are self-dramatizing, passive-aggressive people everywhere, and fragrance is just one more issue that people find to bicker about. Take the fragrances away, and the very same people will be arguing about the office dress code, the thermostat settings, other peoples' lunch and snack choices, etc. :
    BINGO!!! ;D
    "Wovon man nicht lesen kann, darŁber muss man schreiben."

  10. #10

    Default Re: "Too strong for the office"??

    Thanks for your answers!

    By the way, MJH and Tigrushka, you're stars. That's exactly what I thought, but didn't have the guts to say ...

  11. #11

    Default Re: "Too strong for the office"??

    Quote Originally Posted by MJH
    Take the fragrances away, and the very same people will be arguing about the office dress code, the thermostat settings, other peoples' lunch and snack choices, etc.    :

    Exactly! I didn't mention this issue in my post but it's absolutely what I've found, so far, in my working life. Don't forget complaints about someone's choice of music on their desk radio, phone habits, tone of voice, sound of laughter, etc. etc. You're so right.

  12. #12

    Default Re: "Too strong for the office"??

    I'm going off-topic here, sorry.
    There is a nice article on working women perfumes in the american issue of ELLE (Uma Thurman is on the cover). The article explains how the trend started in the 70s with Aliage.

  13. #13

    Default Re: "Too strong for the office"??

    Quote Originally Posted by cedriceccentric
    I'm going off-topic here, sorry.
    There is a nice article on working women perfumes in the american issue of ELLE (Uma Thurman is on the cover). The article explains how the trend started in the 70s with Aliage.
    Thanks for the info!

  14. #14

    Default Re: "Too strong for the office"??

    I've been told and I've read in many fragrance books that American's love heady strong scents. Meaning if one can't smell their own scent then they don't have enough on.

    Its been written in history...Giorgio and Poision banned from eating places.

    The new killer has been Angel. Some women hear take a bath in the stuff I've been in offices that the whole building can reek of the scent just from one or a few women being very heavy handed with the blue liquid.

    We all know especially with Angel that too much can create a very rank cigar smoke stank. :P

  15. #15

    Default Re: "Too strong for the office"??

    I work in close quarters with others in a small office and my supervisor has told me that some of my perfumes set off her allergies, so I've stopped wearing those specific ones and try to go lightly with others. I also commute to work by mass transit and am usually squeezed next to others on the train and subway. The bad thing is that no matter how lightly I apply, my scent of the day usually invades other's personal space simply because there is no space between people when it's crowded. I know I overpowered this one poor man with my scented body lotion one morning because I noticed him trying to discreetly cover his nose with his hand. :-[

    Recently, I wore Chanel No. 19 to my weekend job (also in a small office) and not knowing this fragrance very well, I didn't realize how much I had applied. I felt like I reeked (although no one said anything) and by the end of the day I had a splitting headache. That experience and then getting sick with a bad cold has left me going scentless for a couple of weeks. I've got my sense of smell back now, but I'm going to continue on my break from fragrance for a little while longer. I was looking forward to enjoying the scents others were wearing around me, but I've been surprised by how few people wear fragrance (at least to work). I will say this, Chance by Chanel is one that I can smell a mile away, even in small amounts. It's quite a recognizable scent.

  16. #16

    Default Re: "Too strong for the office"??

    Quote Originally Posted by MJH
    On the other hand, I may just have to say something to the boorish woman who invariably comments, "Cover your mouth! I don't want your cold!", "Don't pretend to be sick! You're not going home and leaving the rest of us here!", or "I'm going to get a can of Lysol and spray for germs!", every..single..time..I choke back a cough.
    How incredibly annoying! Now why can't that be banned from the workplace? That kind of behavior is far more offensive than any overpowering perfume. :P

  17. #17
    Vanillacoffee
    Guest

    Default Re: "Too strong for the office"??

    I always thought that people who complain about other's perfumes referring to allergies were oversensitive and somewhat hypocritical. That was before my beloved sister, currently living in UK, described how she feels when someone is wearing too much perfume. Our mother loves quite distinct aldehydic fragrances, and these often give my sister terrible asthma attacks.

    I always found prominent perfume -wearers rather stylish. That was before I went to the opera to re-experience Tristan und Isolde and sat next to a woman wearing a lot of TM Angel. I got a terrible headache, barely heard the music, and after the second act I had to go to the ladies room and ended up vomiting.

    Exhausted by a fourty-minutes-long (yet wonderful) duet, I asked the lady what perfume she was wearing. Angel, she said. Determined to find out whether she had taken a bath in it, I continued: "I absolutely love your perfume. Where can I get some? How many spritzes do you happen to be wearing?" "Three. I love to apply it lightly".

    I love perfumes. I love perfumes that won't apologize for my existence. For school, however, I only wear one spritz of my beloved Escada Magnetism. I don't want to be known as the overdosed headache-inducer, but the one who smells pleasant.

  18. #18

    Default Re: "Too strong for the office"??

    Quote Originally Posted by Vanillacoffee
    I always thought that people who complain about other's perfumes referring to allergies were oversensitive and somewhat hypocritical. That was before my beloved sister, currently living in UK, described how she feels when someone is wearing too much perfume. Our mother loves quite distinct aldehydic fragrances, and these often give my sister terrible asthma attacks.

    I always found prominent perfume -wearers rather stylish. That was before I went to the opera to re-experience Tristan und Isolde and sat next to a woman wearing a lot of TM Angel. I got a terrible headache, barely heard the music, and after the second act I had to go to the ladies room and ended up vomiting.

    Exhausted by a fourty-minutes-long (yet wonderful) duet, I asked the lady what perfume she was wearing. Angel, she said. Determined to find out whether she had taken a bath in it, I continued: "I absolutely love your perfume. Where can I get some? How many spritzes do you happen to be wearing?" "Three. I love to apply it lightly".

    I love perfumes. I love perfumes that won't apologize for my existence. For school, however, I only wear one spritz of my beloved Escada Magnetism.  I don't want to be known as the overdosed headache-inducer, but the one who smells pleasant.
    That was a fun story... Jigga/ Jayman

  19. #19

    Default Re: "Too strong for the office"??

    I really do try to keep my fragrance to myself, and a lot of good points have been made about this. I certainly hope that laws will never be passed against the wearing of fragrance. It's so pervasive in our society--if not in perfume form, then definitely in hair products, deodorants, laundry detergents/softeners, etc. etc. The world is full of scent, and sometimes perfume is just the most obvious part of it.

  20. #20

    Default Re: "Too strong for the office"??

    I work in a school environment and here is something I would like to share:

    Students (I don't wanna sound sexist, but mostly girls) who are in the 7th and 8th grades ( 13,14 or 15 year old girls) tend to overspray with their cheap perfumes. If you happen to have 5 of them in a classroom , it is suffocating. Moreover, one student had an asthma attack.

    As a result, deans had to interfere and asked students to apply moderately, if at all.
    "Whereof one cannot speak, one must remain silent thereof." --Wittgenstein

  21. #21

    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Nashville, Tennessee
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    438

    Default Re: "Too strong for the office"??

    I'm so glad I work at home and don't have to worry about offending anyone. That being said, I did send one of my cats, Frasier, into a gasping asthma attack one New Year's day, which took us on a frantic trip to the emergency clinic on ice-covered roads. That was the last day I sprayed my perfume around the cats but, instead, now take my bottle to the bathroom and shut the door. The upside of that experience was that I figured out I could drive on ice if necessary - absolutely necessary - like life and death necessary.

    JAG :

  22. #22
    Vanillacoffee
    Guest

    Default Re: "Too strong for the office"??

    Quote Originally Posted by eric

    That was a fun story... Jigga/ Jayman
    Thank you! (Even though I have no clue of what you're trying to say. I am not a man....)

  23. #23

    Default Re: "Too strong for the office"??

    "Wovon man nicht lesen kann, darŁber muss man schreiben."

  24. #24
    Vanillacoffee
    Guest

    Default Re: "Too strong for the office"??

    I think I'll just have to keep posting so that you will eventually believe I'm not anyone with a double identity...

    Makes me angry! Grr. I feel like overspritzing. Or even better - overspritzing for the office.

  25. #25

    Default Re: "Too strong for the office"??

    OK Eric (and everyone), false alarm!

    Sorry for the incovenience, Vanillacoffee.
    "Wovon man nicht lesen kann, darŁber muss man schreiben."

  26. #26
    MJH
    Guest

    Default Re: "Too strong for the office"??

    I know I've read at different times that people would get around any possible fragrance bans or restrictions by wearing body products (like lotions) instead, but, in my earlier post on this thread, my problem was specifically with someone's lotion.

    To me, the underlying issue is that many of us spend long periods of time in tightly-confined spaces with strangers or near-strangers, which is already uncomfortable for many of us. Strong personal fragrances only exacerbate the problem. Heck, I make myself uncomfortable when I overdose on samples, but I can go ahead and take a shower and clear my head (at home, of course). The best way to keep a 'fragrance ban' from being enacted at work is to keep from being one of the 'offenders' who applies so much scent that the co-workers begin to complain. Since I wear scents for me, I wear enough for me to smell, not the rest of my office. And I change my scents often enough that I don't think I'm risking olfactory fatigue by becoming 'immune' to my own choices.


  27. #27

    Default Re: "Too strong for the office"??

    Quote Originally Posted by MJH
    The best way to keep a 'fragrance ban' from being enacted at work is to keep from being one of the 'offenders' who applies so much scent that the co-workers begin to complain. Since I wear scents for me, I wear enough for me to smell, not the rest of my office. And I change my scents often enough that I don't think I'm risking olfactory fatigue by becoming 'immune' to my own choices.
    So very true.

    Whenever I feel the urge to overdose a scent I do it in the privacy of my own home on my day off.

    One of the biggest problems of having a signature scent is the inevitable "immunity" to it. A workmate often remembers with horror her former workmate who had (and has) been wearing Opium since it was launched...
    "Wovon man nicht lesen kann, darŁber muss man schreiben."

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