Thread: Matching the scent to yourself..
Quite frankly I could write an essay on this topic many times longer than what you are about to read. This is an issue that my mind has been tugging and pulling at for a while but never fully considered and I will think and rethink well into the future after this post is buried under new SoD's and the mentionings of latest Chanel creations.
What I'm pondering touches on existentialism but mainly establishes a true difference between your conceptions of who you are as a person and who you are in perception.
I can fully appreciate a character mold envisioned that people seem to wish to fit whether professionally or socially. This is even as vague as wanting to be a good Christian, they will be happy if the only thing they are in life is somewhere along the lines of fitting the perception a good Christian.
Or a more specific stereotype. A power broker in the upper echelons of some banking firm. As long as they meet or strive towards their preconception of such a character, they have no choice but to consider themselves perceived as the high ranking executive.
Now, A junior teller is almost as far away from sitting atop of his firm as a born again newly released convict is unanimously considered a man of god.
They can act as one, adapting several characteristics. Dress sense, professionalism, code of conduct and as most of you would agree, scent. All combine to create impressions and construct image.
But when do you know a scent isn't you..It smells fantastic on and off me but do I suit it?
When do you stop considering a fragrance actually having a function for you and let it change into a piece of Art. Purely appreciated and never used for any practical reason. An Olfactic Sculpture?
What If you crave it to be you and stubbornly wander the streets of your smaller country town, drunk smothered in Bois du Portugal ignorant of status and timing?
These things can't be helped on the people that commit such acts, but something has given them a certain conviction that tell them that is how things will be.
Certainly most peoples perceptions tell them when they smell a scent like BdP it actually encourages a more controlled owner, of a certain time and standing in their life. It seems as if it is made for a specific group of people. BdP is interchangeable with any scent, but When do you know you've made the cut and can suit the scent? Confidence and convictions help in your choice to wear it but ultimately are not the judge, the onlookers are the ones who can tell you if it's too far, not you, perfect match or generally a good scent.
What are you doing sporting a certain scent over this one anyway? Do you want to let people smell you like this not that? Or do you do it for you? Because you want to raise your arm to your nose and experience a favorite scent.
Is it self -satisfaction or self-proclamation?
Last edited by ++++; 27th January 2009 at 02:27 PM.
'Anyone who lives within their means, suffers from a fatal lack of imagination" Oscar Wilde
For sale: Nemo Cacharel 1,7OZ (30ML) 99% full
We are the creator aren't we? It's a matter of creating yourself in a new image isn't it. A different scent choice is a new item in the self making toolbox to recreate the abstract event in time that you are.
To assume that you are trying to find a scent that describes who you are assumes that you exist - a fixed space in time that is you. Is there really a there there that is real? I think the idea of a permanent identity that you are uncovering with a fragrance or any other image of self is an illusion. It is a moving target that you are constantly recreating, whether consciously or unconsciously or some combination of self awareness and asleepness.
My head is starting to hurt. I'm out on this one!
My sense of self-satisfaction is part and parcel of the proclamation of self I put out to the world.
I get the distinction you're going for but I'm going to parse it in more negative terms which again don't fit exactly.
Do you wear a scent as part of who you are
Do you wear a scent as part of who you pretend or aspire to be?
i.e Are you real or a poser?
I wear scent as part of who I am. I can honestly say that I have never even remotely considered wearing a scent because it would somehow make me feel like someone else.
Am I influenced by others? To try something certainly. To make the decision whether it smells good on me not at all.
For me scent is one more expression of my personality and style and I explore it and wear it solely under that function.
Last edited by Somerville Metro Man; 27th January 2009 at 02:40 PM.
Some good points. To me the biggest issue is body chemistry. There are frags that get excellent reviews on here, but they do not smell good on me. Or I'll find a scent that smells great on paper and is either undetectable or terrible on my skin. If I like a frag, I spray it on. If I still like it, I try and get a sample. And of course if I love it, I buy a bottle. I like scents that remind me of something, say a crisp spring day, or a day at the beach, or sitting by the fireplace. Certain aromas just speak to me.
Say you work at a Ballet School but love Havana by Aramis. Your students hate it before you have even spun a pirouette, your peer's don't enjoy it when it gets mixed with the side effects of a 4 hour dance session and your wife is having an affair with someone that doesn't remind her of military upheaval. Do you wear it anyway because that's you, or just appreciate it as an unwearable scent in solitude?
Are perfumers making endless amounts of art that we choose to splash on ourselves or are companies making perfume that we believe represents us?
'Anyone who lives within their means, suffers from a fatal lack of imagination" Oscar Wilde
As to the last statement I wear some scents I believe are a work of art but in that wearing it also represents the way I feel about myself. There are plenty of scents I wear that are just plain nice smelling well-constructed perfumes which also represent the way I feel about myself. My wearing of scent is an extension of my personality and lke that personality can take many forms serious, formal, playful, and the scent to go along with that tends to match the vibe I want to give off for that moment or day.
Part of pleasing myself is feeling that a fragrance is consistent with one or more facets of my personality, and/or that it sparks my imagination (like Charger's example of a scent that transports the wearer to the beach).
Secondarily, it pleases me if people close to me enjoy the fragrance I've chosen. If they don't, oh well! Almost all my favorites are subtle, and for the few that aren't, I apply lightly. If others do like my selection, my experience is rather like sharing appreciation for a sculpture or a song.
(a very interesting explanation of his theory can be found here: http://www.jahsonic.com/PierreBourdieu.html)
social class determines taste preferences, this applying to all sorts of goods, including perfume. Thus, there is evidence that purchase decisions can be regarded as a classificatory exercise working, at the same time, as a mean for classifying others. Thus, remarks like "How can you like..." or "I find that Y is..." so usual here in BN threads can be regarded as an evidence of this.
Last edited by Pollux; 28th January 2009 at 12:23 AM. Reason: Typing
Is it self -satisfaction or self-proclamation?
I guess it would no more occur to me to match a fragrance to myself than to match a poem or a movie. I know that perfume can be thought of as clothing, as an extension of the self, but I think of it more as art. More something you smell than something you smell like. I like the question.
Last edited by Strollyourlobster; 28th January 2009 at 02:05 AM.
i'm gonna chime in with strollyourlobster and say...
fragrances are an art. an expression. a splatter of dust into a well. a pouring of liquid into a cube. nothing more...nothing less.
I believe they both changed over time. Since our signature scent depends on our age, food, and gender, fragrance will be a enhancer to utter personal attitude. We really do try to find such fitness, but it always ends in hostile choices. We might be suit a scent in a day, and change it deliberately in the future. But still, we can enhance some of our character with olfactory games.
Just as I was reading the above comments and thinking of Bourdieu, Pollux beat me to the punch - kudos to him. (I also liked Buzzlepuff's remarks dealing with the self in flux.) I haven't read or discussed Bourdieu in a while, so bear with me. As he notes, we might think that our tastes are our own, but in reality, they are shaped by our upbringing and can often be predicted within some range. (Watch the Up series films, for example.) This can appear to be blasphemous in societies that pride themselves on individualism and perpetual self-expression, such as my home country of the U.S. Let me put it into different words: to what extent can a person express himself or herself through consumption of goods?
Bourdieu saw the consumption of different genres of literature (so, art) as being a way that the wealthy prove their cultivation, providing them with a mark of distinction, separating them from the rabble. (Examples: they know good wines, or artists, because they have been taught which ones are good. Yes, it is circular, which is the point.) Of course, the working class does this too, seeking to prove not high class taste but authenticity and the quality of being down-to-earth. Capitalism encourages us to link such "expressions of identity" to consumer goods, because desire needs to be instilled for any product that doesn't just satisfy raw hunger/thirst, need for warmth/shelter, etc. or else the economic wheels stop turning.
Bourdieu also writes about the "field of cultural production," which provides insight into how the world of art determines which pieces of art/artists are accepted and which are rejected by the art community. Emphasis here on how art is socially defined; someone cannot just "be" an artist, but must enter the "field" and meet her fate by being accepted, rejected, ignored, etc.
Even though I am skeptical of the potential of such goods to express the self, I do hope to find and wear scents that match what I consider to be my identity, or who I hope to be, or am becoming. I do not doubt that this perspective was shaped by being raised in a capitalist society and my class position. I would argue strongly against the idea that one can have a purely olfactory experience of a fragrance outside of a lab. Whether or not we call it art, once a fragrance has become a consumer good and has been entered in the "field," our perceptions of it then cannot help but include what may be subconscious reactions to advertising campaigns, bottles, packaging, reviews on Basenotes and other sites, reviews by experts/Burr/Turin/Sanchez etc., attitudes toward niche/designer/drugstore vis-a-vis previously held attitudes toward labels or products of varying levels of luxury (comfort in stepping into a Saks Fifth Avenue, for example), how we think other people will perceive us if we wear it, how we think we will perceive ourselves if we wear it, and on and on. This just means that all of these associations matter in how we think we are expressing ourselves through "juice."
(Sources: Bourdieu - Distinction
Bourdieu - Field of Cultural Production
The Up series - dir. Michael Apted
See also Giddens - Modernity and Self-Identity
Inglehart/Abramson - Value Change in Global Perspective)
Sorry to be an intellectual bore with this comment ... But ... I choose and wear a scent purely because I like the way it smells and therefor get pleasure from it whilst wearing it. As far as what that scent might invoke in others about me, that's their problem. They can think what they like. (They always do anyway!). I really don't care what or if they think, or how they perceive me, or my scent.
I'm afraid, to me, when it comes to fragrances, it's purely a "self gratification" thing.
I'm working on my own ultimate with some surprising progress.
There's still gonna be 12-15 scents I'll always have in my wardrobe even if when finished/fine tuned/proportioned, it beats them all...
Thinking more about this... I do seem to choose fragrances that have QUALITIES that I appreciate in myself and/or other people. A few off the top of my head: innovation/creativity, balance, harmony, humor, cheerfulness, and a certain lightness. What I mean by the latter: I love people -- and fragrances -- that don't seem to take themselves too seriously.
If this doesn't make any sense, blame this glass of wine I'm sipping.
'Those who grow too big for their pants will be exposed in the end'--anon
Most of my frags are the polar opposite of my personality , in the real world Im pretty quiet and withdrawn if Im honest . I like loud frags , maybe thats how I want to be or something ???
Whatever fragrance I choose to wear on a given day is normally a reflection of the way I feel when I choose the fragrance, this, in turn also reflected in the clothes I wear on that day.
There is nothing sinister in this or indeed unusual.
Physically, we smell different anyway on a day to day basis - this applies as much to the way we feel as the clothes we wear. It is not such a push therefore to consider scents to be reflective of this.
If I were feeling confident, strong and assertive, my fragrance would reflect that and would not be, for example Un Jardin Sur Le Nil, it would more likely be a Heritage, Yatagan, Lagerfeld Classic or something of that ilk.
But then there is also the statement to the rest of the world which we project by wearing fragrance - almost acting like an advance guard to let people know what to expect.
I do agree that we also make a fragrance our own art because we are as organic as the fragrances we put on. This symbiosis is what makes the world of fragrance so interesting and compelling.
In a world where people smell bad, it is the personal responsibility of every Basenoter to improve the world one SotD at a time...
waaay too deterministic guys. I do not think you can say anything concrete about the whole deal.
Self -satisfaction or self-proclamation are not mutually exclusive, but they are not mutually inclusive either. While I believe SMM when he says that his tastes are originated within him alone, for the rest of the 99.658% of the population, tastes are an inseparable mixture of individuality and social construct. I do not agree with the one sided version of Bourdieu presented here. While I agree that our social status defines our tastes to certain degree, I do not think our choices are just a product of self assertion.
This question really has no general answer and it is something that has to be discovered on a personal basis. For some it is one, for some it is other, some have both at the same time, some have both at different non-overlaping times. I cannot say one is better than the other without feeling that I am throwing some serious bs out there.
Contrary to many philosphers, I do not think that beauty/art is always independent of functionality.
I, for one, do not let my perfume define me. I am not a scent, a scent is not me. While I am consious about my surroundings, I usually do not worry about the image I project or the identity I build arround my SoTD. OTOH, it is not about pleasure alone. Sometimes I wear a specific edt because Girfriend likes it...
Ok, it is a bout pleasure, but the pleasure is not derived directly from the perfume.
I'm usually in love with a scent and I'm choosing to wear it on almost any occasions... because, some are exactly what I've always wanted in a fragrance, that sensation of cleanliness, elegance, beauty and so on (or at least anything I understand within and behind these terms) that I knew or at least I anticipated I would like them even blindly, years before I even tried them, and then, there are the scents which are so different to anything I imagined, are so opposite to my personality, that, paradoxically, they reveal parts of myself and my way thinking, feeling, behaving, I never knew they existing. No, I'm not trying to minimize or mock the influence of fashion, certain social groups, certain historical ages in choosing, and before choosing, even in making or inventing a fragrance, but I hardly ever chose I fragrance, whether the aforementioned reasons play a part or not, because of exterior factors. That these exterior factors have indirectly influenced me, is true, but I think that part, if not all of my deepest desires and highest ambitions regarding fragrance came from states of mind, convictions, sensations and so on that would have most likely been inside of me IRRESPECTIVE to what experiences I would have had, since these experiences, even in an entirely different shape, might have influenced my tastes in perfume a bit, yet not change them significantly.