Raise your hand if you’ve picked out a fragrance based on what the bottle looks like. OK, I’ll admit that I used to do this. Thankfully, growing up I didn’t have a ton of cash to indulge this habit, so my first scent was a classic that I still wear today. But, like most fragrance-o-philes, I find myself looking for any excuse to update my current lineup — and sometimes that motivation is driven by beautifully designed packaging.
In an effort to break this cycle, let’s take a moment to celebrate the following buzz-worthy bottles for the eye-candy vanity gems they are so we can judge them based on what they actually smell like. Read along to find out what scents stack up.
According to Mui Mui, the brand’s first-ever fragrance offers a modern twist on the familiar lily of the valley for a youthful interpretation of a classic. That super vague description doesn’t even scrape the surface. You know that new car smell? It’s like that, but the car is a Tesla and upholstered in Prada. It’s fancy and a little intimidating, like when a grown woman pulls off a tulle skirt or a full-on pajama set IRL.
Available at Nordstrom, $68 — $118
Marc Jacobs claims it is "a bright bouquet of fresh florals," but I like it because it makes me feel like I'm hanging out with my BFF Mindy Kaling and we're about to hunker down for a rom-com marathon with plenty of snacks (i.e. cotton candy and fancy cocktails). Best thing ever, right?! Also, I don’t really think fresh flowers smell as amazing as everyone says they do because they make me sneeze. Also, this bottle looks like something Mindy would totally own.
Available at Sephora, $78
According to Maison Margiela, this fragrance is inspired by “the intimate atmosphere of a boudoir” with bergamot oil and orange flower notes. The description isn’t far off, since this scent reminds me of my BFF’s room in high school. She was obsessed with Marilyn Monroe, tap dancing, and everything Victoria’s Secret. A beauty queen vet by the age of 17, she had a dressing room that still makes me jelly (we’re talking Broadway-style lighting, strategic extension cords and a highly coveted three-way mirror). “Lipstick On” is what I thought glamour was at an early age, but translated into more sophisticated terms that I’ll happily revisit.
Available at Sephora, $125
This honeysuckle-based scent is just one of Lam’s 10-piece fragrance “wardrobe” that debuted late last year. Inspired by the stylish patrons of NYC’s Crosby Street, “Drunk On Youth” is described as a romantic, plentiful, and feminine fragrance. At first glance, the packaging suggests this is a sharp, intimidating scent that will catch me off-guard but I’ll learn to love. Surprisingly, this scent is super feminine, just like the brand suggests. But it’s friendly too, which is super unexpected. It’s like walking into a boutique with a “meh” display, you dipped inside just to peek at a price tag, but now that you’re there you LOVE everything and never want to leave.
Available at Sephora, $95
This interpretation of Miss Dior was created for “an irresistibly charming and flirtatious woman,” but on first whiff it seems more appropriate for a meet-the-parents moment than a first date. TBH if my first priority was flirting, I’d wear something a bit more daring (like this), or nostalgic (like this). That said, wearing this ‘fume actually makes me a little anxious, like I’m about to have drinks with friends that are doing a dry month or getting dinner with a cousin I haven’t seen since we were kids.
Available at Sephora, $60 — $120
You know when you experience something IRL and you think “retweet, pin, double tap” all at once? That is this parfum. Don’t let the petal pink hue throw you, this scent is the definition of “elevated lifestyle.” Something about the combo of jasmine and citrus oil is just so romantic. You know those cheesy ads where a ridiculously attractive couple is hugging in a field of daisies while the sun sets? Ms. McEvoy knows that the average woman rolls their eyes at that kind of imagery, but that’s how I feel when I spritz this on.
Available at Trish McEvoy, $185