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  1. #1
    DustB's Avatar
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    Default What makes a scent "college" or "for college"?

    I see the question in many threads here: "I need recommendations, and I'm in college," or some phrasing very like. When we think about it, I really don't think it means much, and I'll explain, but really my thoughts aren't the end of everything and I'd like to hear what everyone else means by it.

    Truly, I have this wondering everytime I see the "I'm in college and need a scent" question, but right now there's an example of it near the top of the first page of the board that has driven it home to me and made me have the fearlessness to ask this question. In that thread, Axcell, a good guy, asks a question with all the best motives--he wants ideas and help and we all want to be of assistance; I absolutely do not post this thread to pick on Axcell at all, but indeed his thread gives birth to this one. I don't want this to be a thread about his thread either, just one on the repeated phenomenon of "college" as it relates to scents, so please, help me try not to make Axcell nervous or self-conscious in his fine question. But in the thread Axcell underlines and bolds "college student" as if those two words are defining characteristics.

    Why would that affect what scent one might like? Maybe college scent seekers are just using the words to show their age group, as if that age group has certain smell things associated and required to be associated with them. But I also wonder if "I need a scent for being in college" isn't also some kind of class reflection that we're not immediately aware of, as if the scent a person in college would like would be different from the scent of someone who drives a fork lift after high school. Why would they be different? Why would a college student believe they would be different? Do we divide scents between college, fork lift, convenience store clerk? Is there a way we implicitly say to ourselves "oh, this guy's in college, so he needs a 'better' scent"?

    I don't think we do. But in the same way General Motors made Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick, and Cadillac to call upon car consumers to think they needed a new and fancier marque as they progressed up the industrial pay scale, I wonder if "I need a scent and I'm in college" doesn't presume the same thing--a car marque or a scent choice to reflect one's perception of status accumulation.

    Of course it's easy for us to say "Hell no, I'm totally fair to all concerned and I'm a totally socially and social class fair guy and I give as much value to society from a college student as I do a forklift operator, yessir, for sure I do!" but I wonder if such declarations aren't made a little false if we think "I need a scent that's appropriate for college"? Wouldn't such a scent be just as much fun and just as appropriate on the factory floor or delivering shipping packages? Do we ever say "oh no, don't wear that scent, that's appropriate while working on the road repair crew!"

    I don't think we do. I don't know what college means for scents.

    Any ideas?
    That girl, that bottle, that mattress and me.

  2. #2
    StylinLA's Avatar
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    Default Re: What makes a scent "college" or "for college"?

    Wow Dust- going deep tonight. Never thought of it at that level. I've always taken "college" in this context to simply be shorthand for "I'm between 18 and 22."

    I get what you're saying, but I think most of the guys who post something like that are using it more as a general age reference than "I'm not a forklift operator."

  3. #3
    Dependent pluran's Avatar
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    Default Re: What makes a scent "college" or "for college"?

    There isn't one.

    Other than that: Somebody thinking it, saying it, believing it.
    Last edited by pluran; 15th May 2011 at 07:06 AM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: What makes a scent "college" or "for college"?

    Dust, the age range, as StylinLA showed, is a good way to categorise.

    This category is opposed to "mature."

    It's all relative, in a way. Some very young men chose to wear Habit Rouge.
    "No elegance is possible without it...perfume is a part of you." Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel

  5. #5

    Default Re: What makes a scent "college" or "for college"?

    Interesting. I had never considered the socio-economic aspect when the question is asked. When I see it I think of a classroom situation (or lecture hall, I guess) with regular close proximity to a peer group who are probably more acutely aware of what others are listening to, wearing etc. etc. And so the dilemma might be, how do I fit in while asserting my own individuality?

    In that sense it's an internal peer group thing, and I confess I think of my son, early 20s finishing college and hanging with a specific crew of his peers outside of classes, who have their own style, look etc.

    College, BTW, also says America to me because here and where I come from (NZ) university and polytech etc. are used so I flash on to what I would consider a US classroom environment (as seen in movies and the odd TV show) which in turn makes me think about what specific brands and scents might be common currency / reflect popular culture in that environment. Of course I haven't got a clue, so I never comment

  6. #6

    Default Re: What makes a scent "college" or "for college"?

    Disclaimer: I don't speak for anyone else when I say this. I speak for myself only. Many of you may disagree, but I think even those who disagree will understand my point of view.

    Some people enjoy the idea that all fragrances are for all people of all ages and all lifestyles that can be worn for any occasion, any time of day, any time of year. Just grab a bottle and spray.

    Personally, I think a fragrance are like an article of clothing and act an extension of your style and personality. Like clothing, you need to be mindful of your occasion, environment and lifestyle. You wouldn't wear a t-shirt and jeans to a boardroom meeting, and you wouldn't wear a three-piece suit to a Superbowl party. Fragrances allow for much more flexibility, but fragrance choices are still somewhat governed by things other than "whatever I felt like."

    Don't get me wrong. I think that everyone should, first and foremost, find their own style and be comfortable with it regardless of any external factors. However, there is an appropriate time and place for everything, and I'm probably part of the minority when I say this, but there is an appropriate time, place and person for each and every fragrance. At the end of the day, it boils down to whatever works for you, but to me, every fragrance tells a story. I try to match that with my personality, when I'm wearing it, where I'm wearing it, who I'm wearing it in front of.

    To answer your question, when someone tells me that they're in college, this gives me clues on the following factors that I consider when choosing or recommending a fragrance:
    -Environment: A college student will be in crowded areas such as a lecture theatre. You can have more than ten other people within a five foot radius from you, and they're sitting with you for up to two hours. If your fragrance becomes cloying in a cramped and sweaty lecture theatre, you will not only distract your classmates but you will also distract yourself by feeling self-conscious that your two sprays of Encre Noire is totally out of control. You also don't want something too generic or weak that blends in with everyone else's Acqua di Gio and gets lost in the crowd thus defeating its purpose. You want something that stands out but isn't potentially overpowering or offensive. I would think that a dude who wants to smell good in his forklift would not need to worry about such things.
    -Age: A college student typically falls within the ages of 18-25. Younger people are more likely to favor styles that are "trendy" or "fashion forward" than "classic" or "timeless". This holds true for clothes, shoes and also fragrances. I think fragrances have a very wide range of style and I think the basenotes community can somewhat reliably choose from ten random fragrances which ones most 20 year olds would enjoy over most of the others.
    -Love/Sex: One of the primary functions of a fragrance is to help attract the opposite sex. One of the primary goals in college is to attract the opposite sex. Some fragrances are better designed to pull this off. I'm more likely to recommend a "panty-dropper" (Sorry, guys. I had to use this term at least once) in a "for college" thread than a "for funeral" thread. There is more to attracting women than your fragrance, but knowing that you smell damn good and that every woman in the room thinks so too can do wonders for your confidence.
    -Uniqueness: Some fragrances are much more commonly worn than others. This is more true of the teenage and early-20's demographic than any others. If you want to wear what every other college boy is wearing, ask a department store rep. If you want to wear something different and better, ask Basenotes.
    -Versatility: College life is all over the place. You're in a classroom, out for coffee with a few friends, on a date with a special lady, at a house party with 50 special ladies, etc... Most college students are on a budget...maybe not for Mr. "Recommend me a Creed" Axcell (jk). A signature fragrance that is versatile for all situations that a 20-year old college student might find himself in will get much more mileage than the spicy oriental for formal evenings. I'm sure the OP would appreciate it if our recommendation gets him through day and evening, Sunday to Saturday during busy college life.

    This is just a small list of a few things that can change your fragrance choices and recommendations based on three simple words that contain a lot of information about a person's life: "I'm in college".
    Last edited by Bokchoy; 15th May 2011 at 06:10 AM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: What makes a scent "college" or "for college"?

    Very interesting and relevant questions, DustB. My guess is that it relates to "what scent is appropriate for this age group?", the college set. Perhaps it is that individuals in a younger age group are still seeking their identity and unsure of making a move that would be way too outside of the box (reaching for Boucheron Pour Homme or VC & A Tsar or whatever) as far as how other individuals perceive them based on their scent selection.

    That being said, anyone concerned or thinking about what is an "acceptable" scent for their particular age group is forward thinking enough to be able to wear anything, in my opinion. There is no right answer when it comes to determining what is a college scent.

    Curious to hear other people's insight.

  8. #8

    Default Re: What makes a scent "college" or "for college"?

    I remember going to college with guys who wore Serge Lutens and Micallef and I am pretty sure there were students who did not know what perfume was. My point is that specifying "college" is not enough. Usually a budgetary figure needs to be attached to it for better suggestions.

    Funny story:

    I remember getting on to the dorm elevator at 9 in the morning first week of my freshman year at college. The elevator was already pretty full when I got on. Immediately this guy blurted out "Are you going on a date man? "
    I looked at my watch, then him then my watch then him again and said its 9 am on Monday! wtf
    You have cologne on he said. I replied, yeah and ?? We were both really puzzled lol.

    I then realized he was reacting to the perfume I had on. Musta been pretty potent for people who are not used to perfume and some who still smelled like beer from last night. Needless to say, I quickly ditched the dorms and rented myself an apartment. A month later (had to wait till I was 18 to legally rent lol).

  9. #9
    hednic's Avatar
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    Default Re: What makes a scent "college" or "for college"?

    Any scent IMO can be worn as a college scent or for college

  10. #10

    Default Re: What makes a scent "college" or "for college"?

    Quote Originally Posted by DustB View Post
    I see the question in many threads here: "I need recommendations, and I'm in college," ...
    I don't think we do. I don't know what college means for scents.
    Any ideas?
    Why does he ask? He doesn't know for himself. That might be a clue to analyze the situation further. If he was more self assured he would go out or online and get him some samples and decide then after, by own judgement. Maybe his GF would assist. That's apparently not the case.

    As others mentioned before an overapplied fragrance could isolate the student further. By far more than a wrong vibe of his cologne. What is desireable could be something not too powerful, should be natural smelling in case of unvoluntary overapplication, avoid fancy in favor of a tame, smooth appeal. Most probably the wearer is not prepared to be asked about his cologne. Not at least it should fit regional specifics regarding fabric softener, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, shoe shine.

    Refering back to Axcells attempt to make it with a Creed, that wont do it. Creeds are meant to be loud, maybe even vulgar 'compliment getters'. All in all conventional, occasionally of lower artisanal quality, if not by 'batch variances', each with some weired distinctive 'note' to make sure it gets noticed. E/g 'pineapple' or 'coconut' kitsch. A force to make You the sovereign over the airspace. Clearly other choices are possible, and in my humble opinion, preferable. College or elsewhere.

    My suggestions would be the same as with any other beginner, who is looking for a friendly, humble scent just to lift the mood before leaving.
    Last edited by WildThingy; 15th May 2011 at 07:38 AM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: What makes a scent "college" or "for college"?

    Quote Originally Posted by WildThingy View Post
    Refering back to Axcells attempt to make it with a Creed, that wont do it. Creeds are meant to be loud, maybe even vulgar 'compliment getters'.
    Of all of the Creeds I've tried, Tabarome, Bois du Portugal, and maybe Aventus are the only ones that I would classify as "loud". GIT, SMW, MI, Himalaya, VIW, Erolfa. Definitely not "loud"

  12. #12

    Default Re: What makes a scent "college" or "for college"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bokchoy View Post
    Of all of the Creeds I've tried, Tabarome, Bois du Portugal, and maybe Aventus are the only ones that I would classify as "loud". GIT, SMW, MI, Himalaya, VIW, Erolfa. Definitely not "loud"
    Define 'loud'. I meant it more in sense of being 'phony', a perfume perfume, something that pretends to be perfume but isn't due to lack of handicraft (or, at least, some peculiar 'batch variations'). In order to just make a statement, THAT 'perfume' is worn, more or less regardless of which one. Something that is not desireable for its own in the first place.

    Piguet Fracas ain't loud by that definition, but the infamous 'Silver Mountain Water' is. SMW screeches as soon as one smells it, it doesn't fit in, it ain't 'agreeable'. Makes one think, uuuhhh, 'perfume'! That is the 'compliment getter'-quality on one hand, on the other hand it may feel presomtuous to those who, by attitude, won't compliment someone for his cologne. By now Creed shifted over to replicate the once 'female' fruit salad fashion with pineapple and coconut, as a nonchalant cocktail time thing. In College?

    To be avoided. May be o/k for reckless professionals to get noticed in the office.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: What makes a scent "college" or "for college"?

    Quote Originally Posted by pluran View Post
    There isn't one.

    Other than that: Somebody thinking it, saying it, believing it.
    Exactly.
    Please feel free to check out my Swap Thread - Patou pour Homme, L'Instant de Guerlain PH Extreme, Dior Homme Intense, Pure Malt, Pure Coffee and many more! Click Here For My Swap Thread

  14. #14

    Default Re: What makes a scent "college" or "for college"?

    Not so much a college fragrance, but one that is more accepted by college aged peers. That's what I'd think and go for.

    I'm not going to wear something that smells like an "old man" to my peers. In general that's not a good comment, IMO and experience.

    There's some things I like but wouldn't wear to class. Like Trefle Pur by Atelier. Girlfriend doesn't like, and I can see it smelling way too citrus/green/natural for the average person. But I love it. So I wear it when I'm at my place and when she's not around.

    It's not that I'm out to impress others with cologne (that's pathetic, sorry), but I simply don't want to offend anybody. I don't know... I'm just considerate like that

  15. #15
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    Default Re: What makes a scent "college" or "for college"?

    College is a unique social environment that exposes a man (or a woman) to an unprecedented number of sexually available and willing women (or men). Very different from the shop floor guy, who is not going to interact with as many women in any given week.

    A college guy is going to want something that is light and inoffensive for class, yet sexy as to attract the potential romantic partner.
    Last edited by adonis; 15th May 2011 at 09:36 AM.

  16. #16

    Default Re: What makes a scent "college" or "for college"?

    Quote Originally Posted by adonis View Post

    A college guy is going to want something that is light and inoffensive for class, yet sexy as to attract the potential romantic partner.
    I'm sorry but that's just lame if a college guy really believes cologne is going to get him a partner.

    I'm sure most college guys here (who actually get partners) can agree with me on this: if you want girls go to a party (esp. where there's alcohol). Don't be antisocial and be nice (aka have some GAME). You'll attract some romantic partner eventually... as long as you look presentable and decent.

    Enough of this cologne getting girls/compliments nonsense on basenotes!

    I'm sure 100+ college shmucks have rushed out to buy some Aventus in hopes of female attention after the over abundance of compliment hype it has on basenotes.

    But Adonis, don't forget while college guys may buy light, generally liked by female scents (aka AdG, fierce ect), the ones that really want the attention will over apply it anyways. So it's not that light and inoffensive after 10 sprays.

  17. #17

    Default Re: What makes a scent "college" or "for college"?

    Forgot to mention, when I was at university pure patchouli oil ruled. With talk of this thread being saved for posterity I thought you all should know that
    Last edited by mr. reasonable; 16th May 2011 at 03:49 PM. Reason: we want a kinder, gentler world n'est-ce pas?

  18. #18

    Default Re: What makes a scent "college" or "for college"?

    I always thought it was more for age classification, with possibly some budget restrictions implied. When I think of college students, I think of an age group that is most likely beyond the age of striking out in absolute "different" directions just for the sake of different, but also an age group that is just starting to find their own identity and all things associated with that identity. Fragrance being one of those identifiers.

    So, different, but not too much. Maybe not dirt cheap, but possibly not in the high end niche range. Approved by peers but individual. Things like that.

    I don't think it is a class statement.

  19. #19

    Default Re: What makes a scent "college" or "for college"?

    In my opinion... no particular characteristic whatsoever

    From strictly personal viewpoint, during my own "college age" I had such an eclectic and such an unpredictable range of fragrance choices, including wearing some quite formal, "mature" and (generically speaking) "non-college" scents

  20. #20
    Basenotes Junkie lionheart's Avatar
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    Default Re: What makes a scent "college" or "for college"?

    bokchoy, you make some thoughtful comments.

    I'm pretty sure that when someone is asking for a "college" fragrance, they want something that smells "young," and perhaps trendy. I'm too much of a newbie to know exactly what that is, but I believe I know it when I smell it. I remember when I was in college in the late 80s/early 90s, Eternity was all the rage. I do not like that frag at all anymore. I'm not making a value judgment; I just don't like sweet smelling things anymore. However, back then, many of the young set were wearing it.

    To me, what such a person would be trying to avoid would be something like YSL's Rive Gauche, which, IMO has a soapy, old-school barber shop fragrance. Don't get me wrong...I love this scent and own it.

    To recap: the distinction is probably mostly about age.

  21. #21

    Default Re: What makes a scent "college" or "for college"?

    When stating they are in college, many may also be signaling they don't have tons of disposable income at the moment, so would prefer more modestly-priced recommendations.

  22. #22

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    Default Re: What makes a scent "college" or "for college"?

    When somebody says "I am in college", a lot of information about lifestyle choices is missing. For example, I can go to a small liberal arts college or to a large state university, then I will either have mostly small seminars or large lectures--these parameters change, but it's still "college". I can go to frat parties or study in the library every weekend, but it's still "college", and so on. Certainly "college" has different implications from "forklift", but I can be a college student or a forklift driver and still love to read philosophy. I think if somebody is not willing to specify his or her lifestyle decisions, we should respect that. In that case, we should just go on whatever stereotype of "college student" we have--certainly this does not have much intersubjective reliability, but when you take a large enough sample of people you will probably get a reasonable approximation of what is appropriate to recommend to a "college student".

  23. #23

    Default Re: What makes a scent "college" or "for college"?

    this post was too long to read. i skipped the massive chuk in the middle. I always interpreted "i'm in college" to mean "I'm 18-22 and think i'm the man"

  24. #24
    Frag Bomb Squadron XIII
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    Default Re: What makes a scent "college" or "for college"?

    Bokchoy's post (see #6) pretty much sums it up for me, though I'd add that not every college-aged guy go as deep. Many of them just want something that makes them stand out positively to both peers & potential romantic partners. That's why we often hear concerns over the fragrance's lack of projection/sillage & longevity from this group.

  25. #25

    Default Re: What makes a scent "college" or "for college"?

    Quote Originally Posted by pawful View Post
    this post was too long to read. i skipped the massive chuk in the middle. I always interpreted "i'm in college" to mean "I'm 18-22 and think i'm the man"
    Yes. Humble and grounded people NEVER go to college.

  26. #26

    Default Re: What makes a scent "college" or "for college"?

    I always took it to mean they were interested in a fragrance that would assist with picking up young women.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: What makes a scent "college" or "for college"?

    I feel that anyone who asks for recommendation really needs to be more specific. Stating that you would like to have a fragrance for college just does not cut it. I think Incents makes a good point above, except I don't feel I want to respect a poster who "...is not willing to specify his or her lifestyle decisions...". You gotta give more info, otherwise, these college rec threads are a dime a dozen. It is also to the OP advantage to specify more.

    DustB, thanks for such a well written post above, I know I certainly appreciate that. Reading and thinking on Basenotes...what a nice concept !

    And what is this business of having to always fit in ? I'm not saying wear Habit Rouge to your Chemistry lecture, but if you are on Basenotes, branch out a bit. And take your time, read, sample....etc.
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  28. #28

    Default Re: What makes a scent "college" or "for college"?

    Only if it came with a calculator and a pocket protector in a gift set lol. Very valid points and I don't get it either. I am frustrated when those type questions are asked. I try to think of their age if I answer. The ultimate answer is, if you like it, wear it. This is something Joe has maintained and I believe to be sound advice.
    Is the juice worth the squeeze?

  29. #29
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    Default Re: What makes a scent "college" or "for college"?

    There is an identity thing here, too.

    Part of the college experience is continuing to discover who you are, what you want in life, and how you might begin to pursue it. In that sense, posting a thread on BN taking suggestions for a "college" scent is both perfectly natural and laudably conscientious.

    But eventually (hopefully?), each of us comes to a point where we are secure enough in ourselves and our desires to do as we wish without fear of ridicule or reprisal from those around us. There were days in college I wore Shalimar to class and Zino out that night. The people who knew me well understood this hobby as but a part of my larger identity, the whole of which they were free to accept or reject as suited their fancies.

    That said, such a journey is a personal thing and ought not to be unduly rushed. Telling new members to "wear what you like" is not particularly helpful when they are still finding their way around. I have got a lot of time for people who can admit when they do not know something and are willing to seek help and learn. That kind of gumption can be a useful thing in life; I am always pretty clear with friends about what I will take shit for and what I won't. Put thusly, people will respect your choices in their own time if you give them a chance.

    If they don't, then perhaps one ought to consider finding others who will.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: What makes a scent "college" or "for college"?

    Quote Originally Posted by G Man View Post

    I'm sure 100+ college shmucks have rushed out to buy some Aventus in hopes of female attention after the over abundance of compliment hype it has on basenotes.
    True dat, LOL. They're not "schmucks", just inexperienced guys who are looking for the olfactory equivalent of Spanish Fly.

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