I am notoriously bad at choosing many things: men to obsess over, sofas that will appropriately fit my apartment, psychotherapists, entreés at restaurants with friends, where I am inevitably the one at the table sulking at some boring chicken something-or-other and demanding that I be allowed to eat off of everyone else’s plates.
“You guys just can’t let me STARVE,” I shriek. Then later I realize I didn't bring my debit card, and I make everyone pay for me. I'm the worst!
Luckily, one of the perks of being a beauty editor is that I can always make all those dinners up to them with perfectly chosen beauty gifts. And if am terribly good at one thing, it’s picking out new fragrances for my friends!
I’d like to say I have a special nose, but really I’m just a killer beauty editor and have been for a long time. I’ve smelled everything from every brand, and written about everything. I’m a beauty wizard. Modest, no, but a good-looking wizard nevertheless.
So when Clairol (the geniuses behind my beloved PERFECT 10) asked us to come up with some “PERFECT FIT” concepts for stories, I was ALL about finding new fall launch perfumes for the staff of xojane.com. Let’s do this!
XOJANE STAFFER #1: Emily, managing editor
ABOUT ME/MY STYLE: “I'm the saucy pin-up with a day job, right? I love vintage clothing, polka dots and anything that could be described as ‘sweet’ or ‘darling.’ I am never caught without heels and lipstick.”
I WANT MY NEW FRAGRANCE TO SMELL: “I like to have a signature scent that I wear all the time. I want people to be like, ‘Damn, a lady just passed through here’ when I walk by.”
WHEN I’LL WEAR IT: “I like fresh, sweet scents, not into heavy florals or sophisticated scents — like dewy, girly, and light. That said, I want to be able to detect the scent — I hate spraying something so light that it's worn off by mid-day.”
MY FAVORITE SMELLS IN LIFE: “Laundry detergent, cake and frosting, wet grass, vanilla, brewing coffee, men's deodorant.”
FRAGRANCE NOTES I AVOID: “Nothing boozy or with body glitter in it — I don't like looking like I just hit the strip club on my lunch break, even if I did.”
FRAGRANCES I LOVE ALREADY: “Daisy by Marc Jacobs, Clinique Happy, Philosophy's Grace and Demeter's Wet Garden.”
CAT'S PICK: I picked the furthest thing from a “strip club perfume” for Emily: this very glam and very fun (trés Emily, truth be told) new scent PRADA CANDY.
Emily quite endearingly loves to smell like birthday cake and sweets, so I immediatly thought of her when I smelled this. The basenotes of this are caramel accords and something called benzoin, which is a sort of bewitching essence often mistaken for vanilla. In other words, Emily’s going to smell EDIBLE. AND she's going to smell expensive. Perfect!
Also, isn’t the retro colors and packaging sort of bright and classic and great for our retro-chic resident polka dot lover? But it’s also sophisticated in design, and sort of “Mad Men”-ish. And so is Emily! She wears bright colors but also sleek pencil skirts, and always tops off the whole look with immaculate hair. Somehow, the bottle just matches her.
XOJANE STAFFER #2: Eric, fashion director
ABOUT ME/MY STYLE: “Preppy Hippie.”
I WANT MY NEW FRAGRANCE TO SMELL: “Woodsy, sexy, rugged, unique.”
WHEN I’LL WEAR IT: “All the time this fall and winter. I like to have two scents for each season.”
MY FAVORITE SMELLS IN LIFE: “Leather, wood, fireplace.”
FRAGRANCE NOTES I AVOID: “I avoid fruity sweet smells.”
FRAGRANCES I LOVE ALREADY: “Lorenzo Villoresi Sandalo, Kiehl’s Musk.”
CAT'S PICK: I sit next to Eric and he is just the cleanest, intriguingly YOUTHFUL looking man. I am not making that up: Eric could be 23 or 39, and I'd be like, "No doubt" and believe it. And since he has a sort of edgy young essence to him (a little bit Peter Pan-ish, non?) AND he likes to smell woodsy-fresh, choosing this new Calvin Klein CK One For Him was a no-brainer:
I'm OBSESSED with this stuff. It smells INCREDIBLE! I've been spritzing it on my own wrist just because, well, it smells like the sexiest man ever. I don't love all colognes at all, but this is like the best combo of soapiness and freshly chopped wood (there's also an awesome Shock For Her!)!
I also love the packaging for Eric: young and very city and very fun and fashion-y. Yup! Perfect fit, see?
XOJANE STAFFER #3: Madeline, editorial assistant
ABOUT ME/MY STYLE: “Outgoing, energetic, work-hard play-hard no-nonsense native New Yorker. Split personality -- some days I wear crazy shoes and red lipstick and go to art openings and cool parties, but other days all I want to do is cook a nice vegetarian meal, curl up with my dog and cat, and read my book. At my parents' apartment, no less.”
I WANT MY NEW FRAGRANCE TO SMELL: “Sophisticated, sensual, sexy, dark, woody and, um…seductive. Embarrassing but true.”
WHEN I’LL WEAR IT: “I need a good nighttime/sexy time/party time fragrance!”
MY FAVORITE SMELLS IN LIFE: “Wet pavement, gasoline, light scented talcum powder, rose water, fresh basil, nag champa, baby powder, hot chocolate, mulling spices, baking cookies.”
FRAGRANCE NOTES I AVOID: “Citrus – but I’m not totally opposed; I just needs to be subtle and natural smelling. Overt musk (but I understand it’s necessity in a sexy scent — just like with citrus, I don’t want it too over the top). And I don’t like super-sweet, overly girly stuff.”
PERFUMES I LOVE ALREADY: “Stella by Stella McCartney, Love. By Chloe, Chanel Allure.”
CAT'S PICK: Madeline is such a saucy minx despite her demure in-office demeanor! Our editorial assistant wants a SEDUCTIVE fragrance?! Who knew? No, I'm teasing. the thing is that Madeline is like this really together, elegant and chic girl who was raised on the Upper East Side and all that, so I wouldn't give her an overtly sexy perfume to wear -- she's too grown-up for that. I'm not, incidentally, but for once this beauty story isn't about me.
Instead I have chosen the newest launch from a Parisian parfum house founded by the grandchild of some famous fashion designer; I forget who. ANYWAY, Madeline, meet new JULIETTE HAS A GUN Miss Venageance:
Despite the intense looking bottle (pictured here with some sort of artsy bloodspill -- ah, the French!), it is a fun scent with lots of dimension -- just like our Madeline. There's musk and other creamy notes that dry on the skin gorgeously, but the real gist of the scent is pure dark floral and exotic rose blossom -- which is very different from "old lady" rose.
Yes, this is indeed the kind of perfume you spray on the sheets, just like Madeline wanted. Oh, and it reminds me so much of Stella McCartney's fantastic rose scent, which Madeline loves. Perfect!
So, those are my picks for three of our gonna-be-great-smelling staffers. Do you have your own suggestions for them? Leave 'em in the comments, please! XO