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  1. #1
    Surfacing's Avatar
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    Question Do you believe that "formal" fragrances are generally more interesting than "casual" fragrances ?

    Hey Gals & Guys,

    I have been pondering this thought for a while. Maybe it is just me, but I feel finding a casual fragrance that keeps my interest for a long period of time is difficult. And not just the length of time, but just in terms of being an interesting affair.

    What constitutes the terms formal, casual and interesting ? Well, that is totally up to you.

    What do you think ? Do you believe that "formal" fragrances are generally more interesting than "casual" fragrances ? I wouldn't mind some specific fragrance examples as well.

    Thanks
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Do you believe that "formal" fragrances are generally more interesting than "casual" fragrances

    i think the formal frags have more character and are more timeless, the casual ones are too low grade in many cases or not that memorable there are exceptions but that is my opinion.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Do you believe that "formal" fragrances are generally more interesting than "casual" fragrances

    I typically enjoy more casual fragrances than formal fragrances. I really enjoy New Haarlem, Virgin Island Water, Nouveau Bowery, Mugler Cologne, Pure Malt, Fuel For Life and etc. I don't think it's either formal or casual is more pleasing or interesting but, rather than the scent itself. I really like Grey Vetiver, Burberry London and Gucci Pour Homme II and I'd classify those as formal.
    Formal to me is something that isn't too loud, and is typically more dry and woodsy and traditional whereas casual is more laid back and fun. You're obviously not going to wear A*men to a business meeting and you woulnd't really want to wear Bois Du Portugal to college.

    I think it just comes down to what fragrances people tend to lean towards.

  4. #4
    DeepSilence
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    Default Re: Do you believe that "formal" fragrances are generally more interesting than "casual" fragrances

    Yes i do! But what do you mean of formal?
    when i see casual word, i'm thinking about aquatics or floral fragrances.
    sometimes it's subjective. For example Paco Rabbane XS: Spicy, Floral,... I like to keep it in casual category. but it's warm and spicy enough for being formal.
    Last edited by DeepSilence; 29th May 2010 at 02:14 AM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Do you believe that "formal" fragrances are generally more interesting than "casual" fragrances

    Normally I'd consider formal as very focused and clean fragrances, that are safer.
    I'd think of casual as laid back, fun and subtle.

    Formal as black suit and clean shave, and casual as shorts and tshirt with a stubble.

    In the end, I would imagine any fragrance called as both casual or formal (as I interpret them) to be non interesting.
    I would consider things that are called, romantic, seducing, intimidating;
    things that make people use emotions to label them instead of jobs/attire to be interesting.

    Words are confusing.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Do you believe that "formal" fragrances are generally more interesting than "casual" fragrances

    Quote Originally Posted by sarıpatates View Post
    Normally I'd consider formal as very focused and clean fragrances, that are safer.
    I'd think of casual as laid back, fun and subtle.

    Formal as black suit and clean shave, and casual as shorts and tshirt with a stubble.

    In the end, I would imagine any fragrance called as both casual or formal (as I interpret them) to be non interesting.
    I would consider things that are called, romantic, seducing, intimidating;
    things that make people use emotions to label them instead of jobs/attire to be interesting.

    Words are confusing.
    I like this view much better

  7. #7

    Default Re: Do you believe that "formal" fragrances are generally more interesting than "casual" fragrances

    I really dislike formal fragrances. I just don't think they smell good. I prefer young, casual, jeans and t-shirt frags. I think those are the nicest smelling, and those are the ones I feel comfortable wearing.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Do you believe that "formal" fragrances are generally more interesting than "casual" fragrances

    I'm not sure I can define formal, but like differentiating porn from art, I know it when I smell it. Formal scents (at least to me) will tend to smell more natural, not have any sweetness, and tend to be more complex.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Do you believe that "formal" fragrances are generally more interesting than "casual" fragrances

    Formal and casual are simply not terms in which of think of fragrances, and many of the things I like are suitable for any occasion.

    If forced to think of these categories separately, I don't see any general difference in the quality between them. Each has its classics and duds, with neither class offering a greater number of good scents than the other. I certainly don't gravitate more to one than to the other. My wardrobe is eclectic and varied, and I care only about the quality and composition of a fragrance, not of its applicable social use.

    I suspect most here are the same. We just want good scents, and we realize they come in all kinds.
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Do you believe that "formal" fragrances are generally more interesting than "casual" fragrances

    I really have no conception of this as it translates to what I wear. If I was going to some formal event I'd simply wear what I felt like but less of it.

    When I think formal in terms of a fragrance, I think of that's reserved, on the traditional side, and dare I say it... Often boring. Subdued citrus; demure flowers; tamed woods; emasculated herbs. Formal isn't a bad thing per se, but when I call something formal I'm usually saying it's well put together but a bit staid and doesn't take any risks.

    It doesn't have anything to do with age, either. Caron Pour Un Homme, for example, is formal to my nose; Jicky, though much older, is not.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Do you believe that "formal" fragrances are generally more interesting than "casual" fragrances

    I was just thinking the same thing over the last week or so !

  12. #12
    Hob Dobson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you believe that "formal" fragrances are generally more interesting than "casual" fragrances

    Quote Originally Posted by Surfacing View Post
    What do you think ? Do you believe that "formal" fragrances are generally more interesting than "casual" fragrances?
    I don't think either group is inherently more interesting or necessarily smells better.

    For me a "formal" scent is one that I feel would work best worn to accent my best efforts at grooming and clothing for a special occasion or event. So it would be a waste to go with something "safe", "inoffensive", or "boring" - on the other hand, a floral chypre like Knize Two, a dry incense like Hinoki, or something calculatedly outre' like Ma Griffe works well.


    "Casual" is a bit more difficult to choose for, as the whole point is that one isn't putting unnecessary effort in, and there might end up being some sweat and dirt involved. I've had decent results with English Leather and English Leather Musk, CdG Sequoia, Yatagan, Aelopile. Surprisingly, CdG Tar doesn't stay as fugly on a warm day as the name would imply, and l'Heure Bleue survives yard work better than many more traditionally "casual" and "masculine" scents.


    Betwixt and between, it all depends on my mood and what shirt I'm wearing for the day. If I find myself overthinking my choice, there's always Knize Ten.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Do you believe that "formal" fragrances are generally more interesting than "casual" fragrances

    I think of formal fragrances as ones that are more traditional, but opulent. Van Cleef & Arpels first men's fragrance comes to mind. A formal fragrance should be like formal dress, a black tuxedo for example: simple, yet forceful.
    For me, a casual fragrance would be something uncluttered and natural, like a neroli in the summer or a hippie amber in the cooler months.
    But, ultimately, I love to mix it up. Van Cleef & Arpels poolside is very cool. Neroli Portofino at a black tie event is nice and sexes it up a bit.
    I guess my answer to your question is no, all fragrances are different.
    Last edited by Kevin Guyer; 29th May 2010 at 05:48 AM.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Do you believe that "formal" fragrances are generally more interesting than "casual" fragrances

    For me, the key question is, does any one type of fragrance represent the "height" of "perfume art?" We'll put aside fragrances that are clearly "feminine" because a lot of guys won't wear them, except perhaps in private. I am leaning in the direction of "yes," and such frags must have:

    1. Many notes, especially ones that have some "contrast."
    2. At least fairly good note articulation (meaning you can smell most of those notes, though perhaps not entirely clearly).
    3. Development over time (which leaves out many orientals).
    4. Naturalness (or lack of "synthetic" qualities, whichever you like).
    5. Technical adequacy (longevity and sillage).

    If you think of frags this way, the "winners" are the "formal" frags, such as Oscar Pour Lui or Acteur, but also Cumming the Fragrance (is it a "formal" frag?). Of course, sometimes you want a simple frag, perhaps because you want to smell specific notes, and you don't want contrast. Or it could be for "social" reasons. But the question was about whether formal frags are more interesting, not the most pleasant or whatever.
    Last edited by Bigsly; 29th May 2010 at 04:36 AM.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Do you believe that "formal" fragrances are generally more interesting than "casual" fragrances

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsly View Post
    For me, the key question is, does any one type of fragrance represent the "height" of "perfume art?" We'll put aside fragrances that are clearly "feminine" because a lot of guys won't wear them, except perhaps in private. I am leaning in the direction of "yes," and such frags must have:

    1. Many notes, especially ones that have some "contrast."
    2. At least fairly good note articulation (meaning you can smell most of those notes, though perhaps not entirely clearly).
    3. Development over time (which leaves out many orientals).
    4. Naturalness (or lack of "synthetic" qualities, whichever you like).
    5. Technical adequacy (longevity and sillage).

    If you think of frags this way, the "winners" are the "formal" frags, such as Oscar Pour Lui or Acteur, but also Cumming the Fragrance (is it a "formal" frag?). Of course, sometimes you want a simple frag, perhaps because you want to smell specific notes, and you don't want contrast. Or it could be for "social" reasons. But the question was about whether formal frags are more interesting, not the most pleasant or whatever.
    Not for me. I just want it to smell good. (And I want girls to think so too.)

  16. #16

    Default Re: Do you believe that "formal" fragrances are generally more interesting than "casual" fragrances

    Exactly, you are not interested in "interesting." LOL.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Do you believe that "formal" fragrances are generally more interesting than "casual" fragrances

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsly View Post
    1. Many notes, especially ones that have some "contrast."
    2. At least fairly good note articulation (meaning you can smell most of those notes, though perhaps not entirely clearly).
    3. Development over time (which leaves out many orientals).
    4. Naturalness (or lack of "synthetic" qualities, whichever you like).
    5. Technical adequacy (longevity and sillage).
    I really don't smell these qualities as formal... In fact I'd say bold and interesting contrasts almost preclude a "formal" vibe for my nose.

    I guess it just goes to show the relativity of formality.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Do you believe that "formal" fragrances are generally more interesting than "casual" fragrances

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsly View Post
    Exactly, you are not interested in "interesting." LOL.
    I think I'm lucky that my fragrance needs are fairly humble.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Do you believe that "formal" fragrances are generally more interesting than "casual" fragrances

    No, I'd say "bold" is too "spiky," and not part of the "formal" idiom here, but that's what makes the formal frag really interesting, that is, you experience notes that contrast but the contrast is subtle.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Do you believe that "formal" fragrances are generally more interesting than "casual" fragrances

    Formal fragrances are more interesting than casual fragrances, like formal clothes are more interesting than casual clothes

    J/K. I think there are interesting and boring fragrances in both categories.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Do you believe that "formal" fragrances are generally more interesting than "casual" fragrances

    I guess that in many ways, the casual fragrances are more prone to being generic and thus the formal ones often startle me much more frequently through their elaborateness and uniqueness

  22. #22
    Surfacing's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you believe that "formal" fragrances are generally more interesting than "casual" fragrances

    Good responses all around.

    Quote Originally Posted by MrFragranceReview View Post
    I... Burberry London and Gucci Pour Homme II and I'd classify those as formal.
    Formal to me is something that isn't too loud, and is typically more dry and woodsy and traditional whereas casual is more laid back and fun. You're obviously not going to wear A*men to a business meeting and you woulnd't really want to wear Bois Du Portugal to college.

    I think it just comes down to what fragrances people tend to lean towards.
    I do agree that it certainly has to do with what fragrances people lean towards. Good point. I once got caught walking behind a man in his late 40s, wearing a black suit, and who was leaving a trail of A*Men. I thought it was odd. Mostly because it was at daytime in a formal "business" setting. Maybe better to wear A*Men on casual Friday .

    And with your examples of Burberry London and Gucci pour Homme II, that would definetly be an example where differing opinions on whether a particular fragrance is formal or not. I find them both casual, but can see why you would feel that they are formal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hamid View Post
    Yes i do! But what do you mean of formal?
    when i see casual word, i'm thinking about aquatics or floral fragrances.
    sometimes it's subjective. For example Paco Rabbane XS: Spicy, Floral,... I like to keep it in casual category. but it's warm and spicy enough for being formal.
    I don't always think of casual fragrances equalling aquatics. I think you can include some citrus's or woody amber fragrance's as well. And floral fragrances, to me at least, generally fall into a more formal feel. But, of course, it depends on the particular fragrace. XS is casual, for you and me. Many other florals, like Czech & Speake No 88 or Washington Tremlett Black Tie, fall into the more formal feel. Maybe its a rose thing ? Caron 3rd Man I feel is a bit floral ( but no rose), and also feels formal.


    Quote Originally Posted by Sugandaraja View Post
    ....

    It doesn't have anything to do with age, either. Caron Pour Un Homme, for example, is formal to my nose; Jicky, though much older, is not.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Guyer View Post
    ....
    But, ultimately, I love to mix it up. Van Cleef & Arpels poolside is very cool. Neroli Portofino at a black tie event is nice and sexes it up a bit.
    I guess my answer to your question is no, all fragrances are different.
    Very good examples guys.

    In the past, sometimes my own personal bias has left me to believe that when a fragrance was created before another particular fragrance, it is more formal. The more I had sampled and read have helped combat this.

    And I do love mixing it up. A Van Cleef & Arpels scent in a casual fragrance ? Why the heck not. I really like rose scents at the moment, and because I am more of a casual settings guy, I have little choice but to force them into a casual setting. Unless I don't mind going long periods of time not wearing them.
    Seeking: Bottles/decants : of Midnight in Paris EDP, Aramis New West, Alain Delon Iquitos, Feeling Man, Gucci pour Homme, Essence of John Galliano, Oxford & Cambridge, Azzaro pour Homme (vintage),...etc.

    Seeking decant/sample of PdE Ambre Russe, Jil Sander Feeling Man, Comme des Garcons 2 Man, Giorgio VIP, ....etc. I have samples to swap.

    More HERE
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  23. #23
    hednic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you believe that "formal" fragrances are generally more interesting than "casual" fragrances

    Not at all.

  24. #24
    Point Blank
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    Default Re: Do you believe that "formal" fragrances are generally more interesting than "casual" fragrances

    I think the division between formal and casual fragrances is quite simple. A formal fragrance lacks any overtly seductive or eccentric elements, which goes along the lines of separating business from pleasure. This does not necessarily mean a boring and impersonal fragrance, with sweetness or certain notes being faux pas. It just means that any seductive or eccentric elements must be treated subtly. It is all about intellectual and cultural power, rather than bodily power. But of course the former brings about imagination of the latter, but it is not in your face. A casual scent, on the other hand, is more raw, carefree, uncomplicated, in the open. Whether a scent is interesting or not, I think, depends on execution rather than category.
    Last edited by Point Blank; 30th May 2010 at 10:10 AM.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Do you believe that "formal" fragrances are generally more interesting than "casual" fragrances

    Yep, IMO they are much more interesting. The "formal" ones smells more luxurious and refined, and I like that! The smell of "high class" is more interesting than a ordinary/everyday scent..

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Do you believe that "formal" fragrances are generally more interesting than "casual" fragrances

    I don't know if interesting is the word I would use, but I do prefer more formal, dressy scents no doubt.

    Most of my favorites require a bit of sartorial support. But living in casual SoCal, I've head to break down that wall a bit.
    Last edited by StylinLA; 30th May 2010 at 04:35 PM.
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  27. #27
    Surfacing's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you believe that "formal" fragrances are generally more interesting than "casual" fragrances

    I think what surprises me about some of the responses here is with regards to formal fragrances being clean or conservative...etc. I guess I kind of feel that with formal fragrances, you are able to get away with fragrances that are more eccentric or outgoing...etc. It certainly depends on the occasions, of course.
    Seeking: Bottles/decants : of Midnight in Paris EDP, Aramis New West, Alain Delon Iquitos, Feeling Man, Gucci pour Homme, Essence of John Galliano, Oxford & Cambridge, Azzaro pour Homme (vintage),...etc.

    Seeking decant/sample of PdE Ambre Russe, Jil Sander Feeling Man, Comme des Garcons 2 Man, Giorgio VIP, ....etc. I have samples to swap.

    More HERE
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  28. #28
    Point Blank
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    Default Re: Do you believe that "formal" fragrances are generally more interesting than "casual" fragrances

    Quote Originally Posted by Surfacing View Post
    I think what surprises me about some of the responses here is with regards to formal fragrances being clean or conservative...etc. I guess I kind of feel that with formal fragrances, you are able to get away with fragrances that are more eccentric or outgoing...etc. It certainly depends on the occasions, of course.
    That almost seems contradictory to me. A formal event is a event that by definition is strict in terms of clothing, behavior, progression etc. It can be a business meeting , a wedding or a black tie night - the common denominator is that there are certain expectations and rules to follow. You don't wear a bow tie to a business meeting, a white suit to a wedding or a pink shirt at a black tie event. Formal events are ritualistic and everbody is supposed to participate - you are not supposed to play it your own way. Why would a fragrance be any different? You are not supposed to wear something distractingly loud in a business meeting, overtly sexual on a wedding etc.

    How else would you separate formal from casual???

  29. #29
    Surfacing's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do you believe that "formal" fragrances are generally more interesting than "casual" fragrances

    Quote Originally Posted by Point Blank View Post
    That almost seems contradictory to me. A formal event is a event that by definition is strict in terms of clothing, behavior, progression etc. It can be a business meeting , a wedding or a black tie night - the common denominator is that there are certain expectations and rules to follow. You don't wear a bow tie to a business meeting, a white suit to a wedding or a pink shirt at a black tie event. Formal events are ritualistic and everbody is supposed to participate - you are not supposed to play it your own way. Why would a fragrance be any different? You are not supposed to wear something distractingly loud in a business meeting, overtly sexual on a wedding etc.

    How else would you separate formal from casual???
    Nothing contradictory here.

    Just because a fragrance is eccentric or unique or even BOLD, does not mean it will be "...distractingly loud..." in a situation. As long as one applies accordingly, it will work fine.

    I'll take your example of a wedding. Yes, everyone is suppose to participate in a certain expected way. However, I think a unique or even "strange" scent will not be inappropriate. Business meeting, that is different. Its formal, but you ( or I ) would not want something too sexual or inappropriate. So I agree with you here.
    Seeking: Bottles/decants : of Midnight in Paris EDP, Aramis New West, Alain Delon Iquitos, Feeling Man, Gucci pour Homme, Essence of John Galliano, Oxford & Cambridge, Azzaro pour Homme (vintage),...etc.

    Seeking decant/sample of PdE Ambre Russe, Jil Sander Feeling Man, Comme des Garcons 2 Man, Giorgio VIP, ....etc. I have samples to swap.

    More HERE
    Please PM me !

  30. #30

    Default Re: Do you believe that "formal" fragrances are generally more interesting than "casual" fragrances

    Quote Originally Posted by Sugandaraja View Post
    I really have no conception of this as it translates to what I wear. If I was going to some formal event I'd simply wear what I felt like but less of it.

    When I think formal in terms of a fragrance, I think of that's reserved, on the traditional side, and dare I say it... Often boring. Subdued citrus; demure flowers; tamed woods; emasculated herbs. Formal isn't a bad thing per se, but when I call something formal I'm usually saying it's well put together but a bit staid and doesn't take any risks.

    It doesn't have anything to do with age, either. Caron Pour Un Homme, for example, is formal to my nose; Jicky, though much older, is not.
    LOL! "Boring, subdued citrus, emasculated herbs."

    We need to keep in mind that "traditional" gentlemanly scents are often mistaken on these forums. In the early 19th century, (post-Brummell, that is...) "gentlemanly" sometimes meant musk or jasmine with tons of sillage!

    I agree with Suga on this. I do not distinguish the occasion and the scent. I wear what I feel like wearing. I *do* think, however, that "safe" and light scents can be worn for social events.

    The bottom line is wear what you like, be it aquatic, floral, or oriental. Just don't over do it. Smelling like a Parisian maison close of the 19th century while at a weddling or at the theatre is the height of bad taste.
    Last edited by Primrose; 30th May 2010 at 09:12 PM.
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