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  1. #1

    Default No. 5 (and other ubiquitous perfumes)

    No. 5 is one that's generally gone in and out of my life. The first time I smelled it, I loved its bitterness, but the association with the wearer (a mean old crone, a family member I dreaded spending time with but as a child was forced to) really put me off it.

    Then, as a young adult, I was drawn to it again, fell head over heels after smelling it, and bought a bottle, but being the snob and a half that I was the associations of the perfume itself (No. 5! Best-selling fragrance! Monroe! All the grandmothers and all the mothers! The go-to! No-brainer chic! Sheeple!) and its general ubiquity meant I never wore it much, and eventually even left the bottle behind when moving to another apartment (ah, I just couldn't bear to think of myself as one more in a crowd - pff!!)

    Now that I'm older, though, I long managed to overcome those kinds of problems (so what if everyone wears it? So what if people wear it because to them it represents just the kinds of things I avoid? So what if it makes them think of me like "one of them" - yes, I was indeed an insufferable snob, wasn't I) and wear it when the mood strikes because I love it and nothing else will hit that same spot just so.

    What I wanted, though was to hear from you: do you have any experiences like that where you were put off wearing a perfume you were drawn to just because of how popular it was/is or because you associated it with certain ideas/kinds of people (or even because other people associated it with certain ideas)?
    Do you have any No. 5 stories of your own? (And if you do, did it sometimes make you feel like a sheep when you wore it or was that just me taking myself way too seriously as a moody 20-year-old?)
    "I mean, this world without a leopard? Who'd wanna live in it?" - Diana Vreeland

  2. #2
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    Default Re: No. 5 (and other ubiquitous perfumes)

    I had always heard of French men wearing No. 5, but it never really crossed my mind. An old GF wore it, so it never struck me as potentially "me". No. 5 Eau Première changed that - it was the first No. 5 that seemed remotely wearable by me. L'Eau, even more so.

    However, back in "Chanuary" 2017, I did finally wear No. 5 Parfum as part of the project. I was surprised how awesome and not girly it was on me. It had a really great, penetrating subtlety. It smelled classy and "of means" - not feminine.

    No. 5 on a guy just seems to trigger different associations for me.
    There is no beauty / That cannot be more abused / To beauty's effect.
    / blog:// https://cologniac.com / raging for the machines
    Currently wearing: Wanted by Night by Azzaro

  3. #3

    Default Re: No. 5 (and other ubiquitous perfumes)

    I have one I love, but almost feel like I need to apologize when I wear it, because it’s so ubiquitous and not highly thought of - Light Blue by Dolce & Gabbana.

    I love the jasmine-musk-wood-apple note (especially that apple) - it smells just like the sweet gale that grows by the creek, so I think it’s wonderful. But I’ve wondered a time or two if I should quit wearing it. Like now... I just ran out of a bottle and I’m asking myself if I should get another one, if it’s been re-formulated, etc...

    But it’s one of the softest and prettiest in my wardrobe, and makes me feel like I’m sitting next to the sweet gale by the stream, so I’ve already talked myself into it again, lol.


    Oh, I also had a thing about Chanel N°19. My sister and others thought it would be perfect for me, and said I should try it. For some reason, that made me resist it, and I didn’t try it for years. They were right! When I finally tried it, I went out and bought a bottle.
    Last edited by flathorn; 5th April 2019 at 03:12 PM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: No. 5 (and other ubiquitous perfumes)

    Shemelimelle, did you ever end up trying it?

  5. #5
    Super Member PeachieOs's Avatar
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    Default Re: No. 5 (and other ubiquitous perfumes)

    Oh No.5!!

    This is in my intro post, but I remember trying my grandmother’s No.5 in the 80s when I was a little girl (5-6) and thinking it too intense then (or probably “yucky” lol). Blind bought my first bottle of No.5 EDP a couple months ago to see what the fuss was about, and fell madly in love... and fell down this rabbit hole of fragrance as a hobby/obsession. Since then, I’ve bought No.5 EDT and Eau Premiere also, and love them all!

    I totally get your sentiment about not wanting to be like everyone else in which perfume you wear, I definitely have that problem in other facets of my life! However, being raised by hippies in the PNW, perfume was NEVER a thing my mom, her friends, or even my aunts wore. My posh, London-born grandmother was my saving grace: she nurtured my interests in fashion, make-up, and all things girly and feminine (my mother was her only daughter, and remains her polar opposite to this day). As a teenager, fitting in was oh-so-important, so I wore what everyone else was wearing: cK One, ck Be, Curve, Happy, GAP scents, etc.

    I wore Vera Wang Princess (I know, I KNOW) religiously in my 20s and early 30s. I adored (and still do :P) the playful, girly, sweetness of it, even though I knew it was probably considered very basic/popular/ubiquitous elsewhere, yet amongst my “scene” crowd in the crunchy NW, I was one of the few people who even wore perfume. So I never worried about smelling like everyone else, no matter what I wore. This remains mostly true to this day, except now I’m in a more professional field than I was before, and interacting with people who regularly wear fragrance. I have yet to recognize which scents others are wearing, but I’m noticing it more frequently. Oh, except for my boss, who bathes in Coco Mademoiselle every day....

  6. #6

    Default Re: No. 5 (and other ubiquitous perfumes)

    I'm not sure whether this is me only, but even though No.5 is touted to be one of the best sellers and thus ubiquitous, I don't think I've ever smelled it on anyone. Perhaps people only tend to wear it to special events?

    On the other end of the spectrum, you get fragrances such as Coco Mademoiselle and Sauvage (just to name a couple of examples) you tend to smell everywhere.

    To the topic on hand - I'm not put off by anything mainstream. If I like it, I like it and wear it. If I don't... then well... *shrugs*. The issue I have however is that I find most mainstream releases nowadays to be rather uninspiring, especially as someone who's not a huge fan of any massively sweet scents.

    I used to wear Light Blue, but only had a 30ml bottle and didn't repurchase. I liked it, but it got a bit 'much' in the end. And I'm just getting to the end of my bottle of 'The One', which I still love and will definitely repurchase in the future.

  7. #7

    Default Re: No. 5 (and other ubiquitous perfumes)

    I have told my no5 story a number of times over the years.

    Way back in the 70s as a teen people would say "I only wear No5, I am allergic to perfume and it is the only one I can wear!" This was two women in their 20s who my mother worked with. So forward to the 80s, and I came into some money and thought, yes I will buy No5, actually I cannot remember if I even tested it? So bought the parfum and just hated it! I tried a few times to wear and in the end, just gave it away, so from then on I would not go near No5 just stating it does not work on me and has a weird plastic bag like thing going on. Loved No22 and wore it no problems.

    Fast forward to this year, I was buying an Annick Goutal on eBay from a seller in Dublin I am in Belfast and she included a part used a bottle of No5 edt. My first thought I will give this away and knew who I could give it to. So the Annick Goutal arrives, brilliant deal and perfect, No5 is 30mls of a 50ml bottle, decided on a whim to give it a spray. Bloody hell it was lovely powdery and elegant, checked the batch code and it was 2016 version. I have actually worn it a number of times now. So perhaps I should have tried the edt and not the parfum or the edp in No5 way back then.

    I won't tell you the same of No19 which I bought wore for ages then just hated tried it again and again and again and no change of mind.
    DONNA

  8. #8

    Default Re: No. 5 (and other ubiquitous perfumes)

    Quote Originally Posted by donna255 View Post
    I have told my no5 story a number of times over the years.

    Way back in the 70s as a teen people would say "I only wear No5, I am allergic to perfume and it is the only one I can wear!" This was two women in their 20s who my mother worked with. So forward to the 80s, and I came into some money and thought, yes I will buy No5, actually I cannot remember if I even tested it? So bought the parfum and just hated it! I tried a few times to wear and in the end, just gave it away, so from then on I would not go near No5 just stating it does not work on me and has a weird plastic bag like thing going on. Loved No22 and wore it no problems.

    Fast forward to this year, I was buying an Annick Goutal on eBay from a seller in Dublin I am in Belfast and she included a part used a bottle of No5 edt. My first thought I will give this away and knew who I could give it to. So the Annick Goutal arrives, brilliant deal and perfect, No5 is 30mls of a 50ml bottle, decided on a whim to give it a spray. Bloody hell it was lovely powdery and elegant, checked the batch code and it was 2016 version. I have actually worn it a number of times now. So perhaps I should have tried the edt and not the parfum or the edp in No5 way back then.

    I won't tell you the same of No19 which I bought wore for ages then just hated tried it again and again and again and no change of mind.
    The newer No. 5's (including your 2016) are some of the best, IMO. Modern, contemporary and very wearable. I have vintages of all sorts for references, but I concede, they feel old fashioned - utterly beautiful; albeit, dated. I happily admit that the the latest versions are not your mother's No. 5!

  9. #9

    Default Re: No. 5 (and other ubiquitous perfumes)

    But, more OT. If I like it on me, I wear it.




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