Marilyn Monroe famously revealed that she wore Chanel No. 5 and nothing else between the sheets.
While she had her signature scent, I myself have never been that loyal to one fragrance and, in fact, I can define the eras of my life by the perfume I was wearing at the time.
I love how life history can be told through scents. Here are a few of my chapters…
As a child growing up near the beach, suntan lotions and oils still evoke lots of great memories. And yes, it was called suntan lotion then… not sunblock! Hawaiian Tropic, in particular, with its signature coconut-y smell transports me to Folly Beach, S.C., and the sound of crashing waves and sea gulls.
As a high school exchange student in Paris, I learned first-hand how important perfume is to French women. Not only is it a vital part of their wardrobe, it’s part of their DNA! I bought my first bottle of perfume in Paris — the very sweet Anais Anais by Cacheral and I still have that bottle, which sits on my dresser to this day! In high school, we also loved to wear the same cologne our boyfriends did. Long before unisex scents became trendy, we were wearing Polo and Drakkar Noir!
My husband and I had a big travel phase and Chanel Chance was my go-to scent. Every time I smell it, I immediately think of Paris and all the glam and stylish people there — so fitting for a perfume by the French luxury brand! Becker Eshaya B.e. reminds me of New York because I bought that perfume at Bergdorfs! And when my husband and I visited Capri, my friend Maurine asked us to pick up a bottle of her signature perfume Luna Caprese, which is made in Italy and hard to find elsewhere. I liked it so , I bought a bottle for myself, which my husband said might not be a good idea since I was stealing another woman’s scent! Women can be very territorial about their fragrances and Maurine loved that my husband stuck up for her! All the years later, she’s still my friend, so I guess she got over the fact that I am a perfume stealer!
I cheated on all those scents though when I was given some Jo Malone Nutmeg & Ginger Cologne. At first, I thought to myself, why would I want to smell like a muffin or cookie? But then I smelled it and fell in love with it and still wear it during the Fall and Winter. Yes, I change perfumes by the season! Lighter and cleaner during the summer months and a little heavier during cold weather months.
The scent that stands out to me more than any other though has nothing to do with any perfume that I wear. My lovely friend Jeneine gave me Noodle & Boo Baby Skin Care products as a baby gift and any time I smell that unique scent, my heart skips a beat. I instantly go back in time to those days when our first daughter was just born. Having a baby is a game changer and I will forever associate this scent with the most memorable time in my life.
These days, I am wearing Gypsy Water by Byredo. I like it because not many people wear it. It’s not too strong. It’s unique. And the name itself is pretty awesome and exotic and, well, let’s be honest, the most exotic place I am going these days is the playground with my two kids!
We’ll see what scent the next chapter of my life brings…
-- Ryan Patterson