I basically called my mom for help. Except when I say mom, I mean an esthetician.
I am a very girly young lady.
I eschewed volleyball for cheerleading, preferring to prance about in a flirty little skirt and knee socks with my ponytail bouncing to the pep band instead of sweating it out on a gym floor. I refused to wear pants until I was in first grade; it was dresses all the way. I grew up on a farm, so I did my fair share of riding shotgun alongside my dad or my old boyfriend in a tractor or a pickup, but I just wasn't interested in getting too dirty or physical.
There is 0% tomboy in me. "How lovely to be a woman," sings Ann-Margret in Bye Bye Birdie; I've always identified with that song and statement. I sleep in lace-trimmed vintage slips, ran around campus in heels for four years, and can put lipstick on in the dark. I'm girly. Deal with it.
When the weather gets cooler and I get to pull my sweaters and furs out of storage, it also means I change up my fragrance routine. In summer, it's all beachy jasmine or coconut lotion, but in the colder months I have more freedom to be as sugar-sweet and feminine as I want. What pairs better with a snug baby pink cashmere than a girly vanilla perfume? Nothing, except maybe boobs.
There’s a double-edged sword to these uber-feminine perfumes. Like a classic film femme fatale, I can lure you in close with the radiant sweetness emanating from my skin, then stick a knife into your gut. (I actually did punch a kid for getting handsy with me on a dance floor while wearing one of these.)
Prada Candy is my go-to perfume in fall. I actually believe that if I were melted down into a fragrance, it would smell similar to this one.
When it was released about two years ago, the fashion world was surprised at the departure Miuccia and company had taken from their previous fragrances. Prada was known for its elegant perfumes of iris and amber, not this shock of sugar in a teenybop bottle.
It may look and smell kiddish at first, but at the heart of Candy is a rich, caramelly vanilla and benzoin, which is a resin often thrown into perfume to give it extra sweetness, depth and silage. It radiates warmth and good-natured sexiness. Simply put, Candy is fun, a tongue-in-cheek fragrance that doesn't take itself too seriously but is complex and smart enough to hang with the rest of the Prada crew.
Hanae Mori is a classic sweet scent and it's unabashedly feminine; it's actually sold as Hanae Mori Butterfly and the little pink creatures decorate the box and the bottle cap. A Mariah Carey butterfly scent this is not.
It opens on a note of candied strawberries and pralines, which I'd normally detest. I'm not big into fruity scents as they smell cheap to me. However, as Hanae Mori develops, the almond and vanilla take the stage and settle down into a sandalwood and ylang-ylang heart.
Hanae Mori reminds me of something Elle Woods would wear, all fluttery sweetness at the top but with a strong, assertive backbone that makes an impression.
Sorry, Wendy! If we ever meet in person, I promise I won't wear Aquolina Pink Sugar, my current spritz of choice. I would never, ever have chosen this scent for myself a few years ago, but I guess I'm regressing in age?
The packaging of this cheap thrill looks like it was designed to appeal to eight-year-olds, not girls on the eve of their 26th birthday. Pink Sugar smells exactly like that: a huge cotton candy blast upon first spray. It's intensely sweet, as if someone made cotton candy out of strawberry Starbursts. If sugary scents are not your jam, you will hate Pink Sugar. But if you've got a sweet tooth, you might love it.
As you wear it, Pink Sugar settles into a caramel-vanilla with a slightly musky base. I have done some field research and discovered this scent can turn any big, strong man into a little boy with just a whiff. He'll peel that cozy scarf off your neck and lose his mind. Another thing to note is that a handful of strippers I've met wear cotton candy perfume at work because customers love it.
Lately, I've been layering Pink Sugar with Body Fantasies Cotton Candy body lotion. My friend watched me purchase that and a pair of Nicki Minaj for KMart jeans--$25 of pure, flawless high-waisted goodness!--and remarked, "I think this is the trashiest purchase you've ever made." She has no idea.
In contrast to Pink Sugar's delightful trashiness, I fancy things up with Atelier Cologne's divine Vanille Insensée, which loosely translates "insane vanilla." It's a much lighter, sophisticated take on vanilla, with notes of jasmine, vetiver, oak moss and even a tiny bit of lime to lift vanilla out of its tendency to lean too sweet. I love it because even though it's recognizably vanilla, it's unexpected. I would love this on a dude, as there's nothing cake-like about it.
If you like straight, pure vanilla and have $15 in your pocket, I have an inexpensive gem for you: Vanilla Musk by Coty, easily found at drugstores, Targets and Walmarts everywhere. It's nothing fancy by any means, and the silage isn't great, but since it's so cheap you can spray it as often as you want and not have to worry about replacing it.
Though it claims to have notes of sandalwood and cedar, all I get from Vanilla Musk is just that: vanilla and musk. I wear this year-round, layered with coconut in summer and on its own in winter.
Do you guys like sweet perfumes or do they make you gag? Which perfumes have a devastating effect on your chosen lover? I want to know.