I’ve loved the scent of really good cologne ever since I was a little girl. My first memory of it was nuzzling into my grandfather’s neck, emerging with a face covered in cocoa butter lotion mixed with Old Spice. I used to drag a dining room chair into my grandparents’ bedroom and climb up on it, dabbing my wrists with just a little of the scent so no one would know, but so I’d feel safe just from that smell.
My memories of Old Spice and my grandfather are many: dancing on his feet, holding his hands while I sat on top of his shoulders on a childhood trip to Disney World -- the only vacation my grandfather ever took in his entire life. He passed away when I was 8. I wore a blue and white sundress with little butterflies and dabbed on my wrists were two tiny dots of Old Spice. No one knew...but I did.
So this obsession with borrowing scents from the boys started early,and the practice of mixing men’s colognes in with my feminine fragrances -- or wearing them entirely alone -- is something I’ve been doing for years. There’s something powerful about those bolder, leathery or smoky notes. Wrapped in softer fabrics, they can make you feel like steel wrapped in silk.
An easy entry point is to try the male version of your female fragrance. If you wear Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Pour Homme, try tapping the men’s cologne version underneath a spritz of the female counterpart. The warmth of the note underneath can really add some dimension to the more feminine ones.
You can also just go for it and wear a men’s fragrance right off the bat. I have Boss Hugo Boss, Fresh Cannabis Santal and Tom Ford Noir sitting alongside women's fragrances in small testers and I spritz them on the minute there’s a crispness in the air. I tend toward woodsy, leathery notes, but there are plenty of options out there. I also still have a small bottle of Old Spice in my nightstand next to my bed. I rarely wear it, but I do on special occasions. Just because.
Finally, you can always spray your favorite men’s fragrance on the collars and cuffs of your favorite clothing and then layer the garment over your own fragrance. That’s the real inspiration for many unisex fragrances, and it’s also the reason Kate Walsh designed Boyfriend, which I LOVE: She wanted to capture the smell of a woman wrapped in a man’s shirt. You can try her fragrance (which smells ah-mazing) or just layer your own fragrance with the cologne of your choice. Hit Sephora, ask for testers, apply liberally, go to town.
Do you like layering men’s fragrances or wearing them on their own? Do you have a favorite cologne that brings back memories for you? Let’s discuss in the comments below.