How To Embrace A Signature Scent Without Repelling Everyone Who Comes Near You

I like the idea that the scent of lilacs may remind someone of me. Is that narcissistic? Do I care?
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Publish date:
June 26, 2013
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fragrances, perfumes, nails, soaps, candles, new york color, nail polish, lavender, lilac, lotions, Seed

As a very self-absorbed person, I love the idea of having a “signature” anything. My signature drink? White Russians. My signature look? Stripes. My signature song? Probably “MakeUp” by Elefant. All of those things are mine and no one else can have them because they say something meaningful and profound about who I am.

Obviously that’s idiotic, but who hasn’t felt that way about something they’ve encountered, something that really captures the essence of you? It’s nice when everyone says something reminds them of you, and it’s certainly not bad that everyone always knows one thing they can get you for birthdays and Christmas. It also allows you to indulge in a bit of an obsession, and obsessions are always fun.

I am obsessed with my signature scent: lilacs. Ever since I met a boy one May when I was 16 and had an epicly failed romance of Bruce Springsteen proportions while the lilacs were in bloom, I haven’t been able to shake that scent. It reminds me of that time in the way that only certain scents can. I’ve been wearing it for years now.

If you, too, want to keep a distant memory fresh with a daily reminder, or if you like the idea of people associating a pleasant smell with you, read on for how to build your own signature scent.

First, you need to decide on the scent. Personally, I think it’s nice to pick something meaningful, but if you just really like how vanilla smells, go for it. I advise you to keep it simple. You can pick something complicated like honeysuckle with a hint of cinnamon and Lady Gaga’s blood if you want, but it’s going to be hard to find a lot of products with that exact smell.

Once you know what you want your signature scent to be, find a sample to try it out. Some perfumes change once they come in contact with your skin, so you might find it doesn’t suit you; or maybe you get tired of it within a day. Remember, this has to be something you really enjoy smelling.

This isn’t necessary, but it is nice to be considerate of whether other people around you enjoy it too. Not everyone loves my lilac perfume (my older brother called it "old lady perfume") but everyone agrees it’s not as bad as my dad’s signature scent: patchouli. Ugh.

Now you did your research and your little experiment, so it’s time to stock up. I like to have as many lilac-scented things on me as possible, so I have a perfume, a body lotion, and bar soap. My perfume and body lotion are both from Caswell-Massey, which usually has a huge collection of lilac-scented products. A lot of it seems to be missing from their website now, so I’m trying not to panic.

As for my lilac bar soap, I found that at my local Giant grocery store. You can also get it from Amazon or, even better, a website called Swanson Vitamins, which I think is awesome. You know Ron Swanson would be all about the organic lilac soap.

Once you’ve found lots of lovely-smelling things to spray or rub all over you, don’t stop there. Why not make your entire surroundings be infused with your scent? You could probably use an air freshener, but personally I love candles. I buy Seed Lilac Soy Candles whenever I’m at Wegman’s.

Don’t forget to include your bedding and clothes. I don’t have any lilac-scented laundry detergent yet, but it’s only a matter of time. And why not make it visual as well, just to drive the point home? Nobody is going to forget how much I love lilacs if I’m also wearing purple NYC nail polish that I only bought because it’s called Lexington Lilac.

Of course, if you’re going all the way with this--body, house, laundry--just remember to use caution so you don’t totally overwhelm people with your scent. You want it to be a subtle, almost subconscious thing so that the next time they’re walking past a lilac bush, you suddenly pop into their head. You do NOT want them to feel the urge to puke every time they walk past a lilac bush because they’re so tired of the smell.

So if you went overboard and now everything smells like bacon or whatever (no judgment here), simply dial it back a little bit with the perfume or lotion. I don’t wear my lilac perfume every day, mainly because it’s expensive, but also because I don’t want to get tired of it.

Finally, my last tip is to have a backup scent. Sometimes you want something different, or the store doesn’t have that soap in your favorite scent. It’s nice to have a backup--that’s all.

You have two choices here: either go in the complete opposite direction and get something entirely different (such as something musky for when you need a break from floral) or you can get a similar scent that goes well with your signature one. I decided to stick with my theme of purple flowers and went with lavender. It wasn’t really that thought-out; I just like the smell.

Do you think I’m crazy for being so obsessed with the smell of lilacs? I ended up with the guy who started the whole thing, so if you want, we can blame him. Tell me what your signature scent is, if you have one!