Friday, July 25, 2008

When Someone Usurps your Signature Fragrance

When at school my best friend was using Anais Anais, the soft-focus lily scent in the retro opaline bottle that recalled Victoriana and the BBC series Jayne Eyre and The Barrets of Wimpole Street we were watching on television. Something about the aesthetics of its nostalgia coupled with the erroneous hint that it might have something to do with Anais Nin and her Delta of Venus lured me into getting my own bottle. Little did I know that this act would produce the fury of a Maenad! Never mind that Anais Anais was worn by almost anyone below voting age at the time. The cardinal sin had been commited: I had usurped the signature fragrance of someone else and my penance would be exile.

After half a bottle, I somewhat tired of Anais Anais, no matter how pretty and wistfully autumnal it was. The initial coup de foudre was no longer there. Instead, my heart was pounding with fascination for the decadent opulence of Opium which had marked me years before unexpectedly: finally able to procure a bottle of my own with my pocket money, I did just that. The fragrance became so much a part of my psyche, with sporadic flirts with my mother's Mitsouko and Cabochard, that I could never understand how anyone on God's green earth could claim it. Yet, claim it they did and several other people, usually older, used it as well, often in exceedingly large amounts that became noisesome. I remember I was both dismayed and disappointed at that. Since I loved it so much, one would assume that I would enjoy smelling it in the air, catching the wake of it from passing strangers and acquaintances. But it never seemed to smell properly on them. Yet deep down I was a little relieved as well: It was still mine and mine alone, I was hissing through clenched teeth ~my precious!

The final straw was at the university, when a particularly nosey classmate questioned me on what I was wearing and I was very eager to let her share: a small eau de toilette bottle was always in my Longchamp along with my notebook with lecture notes on the Aeniad, the syncretism in late Middle-Ages and the artifact types of Upper Mesolithic. Soon enough, what was that divine cloud I was smelling two pews below, wafting up to engulf me in the smell of betrayal?
It was at that moment that I had the perfumephile's equivalent of St.John's visions at Patmos: I finally realised why it's not good form to wear the same fragrance as your friend...

Copying someone's identity in its external manifestations and even their intellectual interests, emulating their fashion sense, their hairstyle, their makeup and colour choices and suddenly adopting the same music sense and book material can feel annoying and a little alarming for the one who is being copied: is it to be taken as a compliment or as an invasion of private space and the right to mark one's own territoty?
That last part seems to me to be at the bottom of this particular annoyance. Although we have progressed from the jungle, the jungle hasn't left us: we still need to mark our territoty with the invisible olfactory stain of our id. And we do that with our loved ones and the scents we choose for them as well.
The scent we choose ourselves to represent our id can be even more poignant when usurped: the betrayal is not only on the physical, territorial plane but on the cerebral as well. It's as if our decision to adopt a certain signature fragrance has been cheapened through blatant copying which required none of the visceral or alternatively the meticulous care with which we came to it ourselves. And in a world where there are myriads of fragrances around, finding that special one can be both hard and frustrating to go through again.
Additionally, when that signature fragrance is some obscure niche little thing we unearthed in one small boutique in Crete, hiding behind a local deli with dakos and stamnagathia, and only there, then it feels unique and we subliminally graft that aura on ourselves.

So what to do when asked? Faced with a question as to what is your signature fragrance, you're faced with a trilemma: if you reveal it, you are open for the other person to adopt it and leave you feeling somehow less special; if don't reveal, you risk to seem aloof and arrogant and lose a friend and get gossiped behind your back; if you don't reveal and it's a little known or unpopular choice you run the even greater risk of the fragrance never surviving the axe of discontinuation from the accountants in the manufacturing firm. It's a conundrum!

Personally, I have come to the conclusion that it's better to be gracious and sharing when it is someone who either has a genuine interest in perfume (so you get the chance to win a friend for life) or it is not someone you're bound to meet every single day (therefore even if they copy you, it won't be really significant). Seems to work so far...

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts and experiences.

Pics from the film Single White Female via movieshcreenshots blog


  1. Anonymous13:45

    Wonderful writing and thoughts E! While I have had many people ask me about my perfume -- just to find out what it is, or to buy it for their significant others -- no one has ever 'stolen' my perfume till this day.

    While I have bought several perfumes having stalked women (and men) down supermarket aisles and shopping malls, (one such perfume was Lancome's Poeme back in 1998, running behind a woman leaving a gorgeous sillage and it's one of my top 10 today; the other being D&G in the red cap on a woman in front of me at an ATM) they are always strangers and you cannot consider that 'stealing' their scent. At the same time, I have never bought or worn a scent worn by a friend, because usually, their tastes are completely different from mine. Albeit the hot and humid climate in Singapore, I prefer the richer, bolder florientals. My friends are always going for the fresher, lighter, transparent nonsense in the market. That way, while they may appreciate my scent, they never want to wear it themselves. On the other hand of the spectrum, most of my friends find the scents I wear too expensive or exclusive, and will never go that far to buy a bottle of Chergui or Sacrebleu. I am quite thankful that I go to Paris often, or have access to wonderful swappers on MUA.

    Will I share what I am wearing with people? I will. I love spreading the joy. Plus, I don't have a signature to start with, so it does not matter to me.

    On this note, I must add that the other day at the museum, my nose picked up Poeme on someone. I was not too happy to say the least. For some reason, you hardly smell it anymore around here, and I have claimed Poeme to be 'mine', so I was a little unhappy that someone else too smelt good in it!

  2. Anonymous14:59

    Phew! I have Poeme among my bottles, and consider a bit of a secret weapon...the reasonably priced, yet infrequently worn by others scent that can be "my" whitish floral...I was worried for a moment there that it was me who had irritated you, but if you are in Singapore, I am a hemisphere away, so it was a different someone in the museum... ;)

    As for sharing, I must say I play my cards a little close to the vest, but will divulge if asked. Generally, I wear "close" scents, so the inquiries don't come frequently...


  3. Hi Helg,

    This is a great post! I have received what I suppose could be deemed the highest form of flattery- the 'borrowing' of a scent.

    I don't have a 'signature' scent but I had one that was in very regular rotation for a good year or two borrowed. It has become that person's signature and she always spritzes it and comments to me on how lovely it is on her and how she loves it which always makes me smile.

    It's a shame but it has definitely meant I have worn this scent less and wouldn't wear it out with the lady in question or our mutual friendship group as I think they would now associate it with her more than me as she literally wears it all day every day.

    That said I would always pass on a fragrance name if someone asked as I know I would want someone to do the same for me.

  4. Anonymous16:09

    I have mixed feelings about sharing scent-

    A good friend of mine wore Eau d'Hadrien, and it smelled so good on her I was tempted to buy some for myself. I asked if she would mind if I bought it and she said no-we both wore it, and enjoyed it on each other.

    I shared my Annick Goutal secret with another friend, and she now wears Petite Cherie with aplomb. She also sneaks my Tubereuse when she comes to my house!

    In both these instances I think sharing is great. I would not have known about this line if my first friend had not worn it: the second friend is so sweet I was pleased to be able to introduce her to something wonderful.

    But I used to wear Samsara. I loved it, had it in all concentrations, including a beautiful Meteorites refillable container. It was wrecked for me when a woman visiting my house chose to apply it liberally before we went out for a disasterous night on the town. We ended up (for a work function) at a horrible bar, where everyone was drinking too much beer. The air reeked of stale smoke, beer, desperation-and my beloved Samsara. That was a decade ago and I still can't wear it without remembering Kate breathing beer on me and line dancing with some low down cowboy! She absolutely wrecked it for me.


    Carole MacLeod

  5. Honestly, I have never had this issue, my friends have always been more into floral, fruity, and fresh scents. Where as well i am pretty much the opposite.

  6. Delicate subject, that is!

    In general, I find people are flattered when faced with my eager "You smell heavenly! What's your perfume?" - though a few have seemed a bit reluctant to share their secret ;)

    That, though, is with casual acquaintances. Sharing a scent with one's close friend... that might be a tad more difficult. It would indeed be a bit close to "copying" someone's clothes, style, etc... and people don't like that *at all*. I'd sure think twice before starting to wear a friend's signature scent, to avoid giving them that impression, and because I'd associate the scent with them in the first place!

    Now again, once upon a time, I found this fantastic new fragrance. It was outlandish, and unique, and I adored it. Bought it with my pocket money, too. That scent was so special, and so out there, nobody wore it, it was my precious, mine, all mine.
    Then I noticed another girl at school was wearing it - sillage being of the very noticeable sort. Boy, was I annoyed. Then a woman in the street was wearing it too. Then another one, then ten, and then dozens, ad nauseum. After a while, I got severely disenchanted with my till-then best kept secret and stopped wearing it altogether.

    Oh, and that treasured fragrance? Was a little thing called "Angel" ;)))

    Now, I'm fine with the issue. I know I'm the only person in the whole Universe to wear L'Heure Bleue, it is my perfume, my very own, mine only, and lalala I can't hear you! ;)

  7. You are so right, E--this issue brings out the territorial id in a lot of us. The closest thing I've ever had to a sig was My Sin, and everyone in my cohort considered it horribly old-fashioned, so no danger of theft was ever present. I wear so many different things now, I can't really claim to "own" any of them.

    I will admit that I tend to steer clear of ultra-recognizable popular scents, not out of a desire to avoid treading on somebody else's territory, but because I want to be unique. If I do wear something like Paris or Shalimar, I usually layer it with another scent, just to give it my personal stamp.

    That said, I actually do enjoy sharing a scent with someone I like. I got my violin teacher hooked on my beloved China Lily from The Fragrance Shop, and my mother and I share Etro Heliotrope.

    If someone asks outright what I'm wearing, I tell them. Usually it's something sufficiently obscure that a casual perfume buyer won't pursue it--but I figure that if they do, it's a good thing. I want my obscure favorites to stay in production!

  8. Anonymous22:13

    Hello Helg,
    Chanel coco mademoiselle and Jolie Madame are my signature perfumes for the last years.
    Had same feeling about my Coco Mademoiselle Edp which my brothers wife unexpectedly started wearing one day. It couldn't be right I owned this perfume since it's birth. I was so sad that someone else stealed my secret weapon.
    But then my brother one day fixed the hypothetical problems...
    Said to his wife he was detecting a smell of And she stopped wearing immediatly.
    These are the facts of a Signature Scent...

  9. Absolutely! Perfume is so intimately tied into images and image-making that I've found myself steering away from favorites of my friend, in spite of how I like them, you feel like you're usurping someone else's identity.

  10. I was in the city the other day Helg and sprayed a touch of Diorissimo on myself and yeah - I love this. When I can afford a bottle - thats going to be my next frag. purchase. Taken me some years since a so called friend copied me. It was that shocking - plus the fact that she decided she did not like it and bitched to me as if it was my fault.
    I sometimes will ask people what scent they are wearing but not for the reasons you think. I ask if its a smell I cannot stand and I just want to know what the hell that scent is. Of course I say I like it but......

  11. Dear T,

    thanks for your kind words. You're quite brave to stalk and ask: this is something I don't always do and then I regret it :-(
    I agree that you can't "steal" a stranger's scent whereas when it's someone you know and meet often, it's different.
    Indeed Poeme sounds forgotten now; I recall when it was ubiquitous!!

  12. ScentScelf,

    close to the chest indeed :-)
    Maybe your subtle approach works best!

  13. Thank you Rose!

    I can sympathize with what happened to you: somehow when other come to associate something with another, we're reluctant to use it as much ourselves, even if we were the ones who first used it.

    And good on you to share! There is something to be said about that as well :-)

  14. Carole,

    thank you for commenting and stating your very interesting experiences.
    You highlight the good and the bad aspects of it perfectly!And so sorry on having Samsara ruined for you: it's a potent fragrance and I can almost taste it myself reading your story.

  15. J,

    that's the luckiest course imaginable on every level possible.

  16. S,

    what a delightful comment!! Thank you :-)
    Angel was uniquely different than anything else on the market when it launched. I recall I was utterly confused on the unfamiliarity.
    In fact I remember there was some Opium Fraicher d'Ete LE which came out at some point a few years later which had the merest whiff of Angel and it was eerily familiar (through the blue juice) and then also confusing as to where I had smelled it: very confusing!
    And then everyone started to wear Angel and everyone on the market started imitating it! :-((

    I am not going to say anything on LHB, don't you worry, LOL

  17. M,

    what a pity, dissing something as old-fashioned. They probably don't realise smelling old-fashioned is sometimes a desired effect!

    You're very wise on sharing the way you do: I do the same with the smaller brands, we have to support them! And if the person is activately interested, there opens a whole new territory of beautiful discoveries :-)

  18. Peggy,

    thank you for your comment: LOL! He used the best possible line! Bravo!
    Enjoy your Coco Mademoiselle, it's very pretty.

  19. D,

    I am glad we agree. Isn't it funny how it produces such strong reactions?

  20. M,

    I'm overjoyed you have been able to re-claim Diorissimo again! Bravo for you!

    But no-no on complimenting people on something you don't like, LOL!!! You will encourage them to wear it more often!! I admit though that sometimes I want to know what is that terrible something I am smelling too! For science, you comprehend! Haven't figured out a way to ask efficiently yet...

  21. I told a god friend of my quest to find a perfume to wear and said that I loved Chanel No:5. I think she was disappointed that I didn't recognize that it was the scent she wears rather than horrified that I might copy her.

    Diorissimo is also a scent that I will add, it just talks to me constantly when I try it.

    There are a few others I will go back and try when I get to the end of the list I took from the comments. It has been a remarkably revealing quest so far.

  22. That's very interesting to hear Amanda and I am truly overjoyed that your quest has been so entertaining and revealing!
    Those are both excellent choices. :-)

  23. Hi there! I'm a little late to the discussion, but I had one experience with an acquaintance stealing my signature fragrance a long time ago, before I was obsessed with perfume. At that point I still bought one perfume at a time, and that perfume was ONLY Feminite du Bois in grad school. I was sooo upset because I was convinced that perfume should be unique to me!! She ruined it for me! But good things came out that: I found a new perfume I loved, and wore Theorema very happily for ages afterward. So it was a good thing, getting me to explore other scents. Besides, what better perfume for a grad student than Theorema?

    Anyway, nowadays I have so many perfumes I would love it if some of my friends got interested enough to steal one! 99 times out of a hundred, if someone shares a perfume interest with me, she innocently enthuse about g**&^$%m Angel or Happy, and then I try desperately not to act like a snob when they want my reaction to it.

  24. Never too late, Aimee! Thanks for stopping by.

    Feminite du Bois is a great scent and Theorema is also beautiful (WHY did they discontinue it is beyond the realm of reason!). I can see how you wanted to claim them for yourself, and believe, you probably owned them despite everything ;-)

    There's something to be said about the ubiquity of certain scents (and that extends even to some not as well know as those two you mention): it's as if they are small rodents falling off cliffs in Scandinavia or something ;-)

  25. Anonymous00:49

    Thank you so much for this post!
    I so needed it.
    I've been copied for all my life. At school one girl would wear the same clothes as I and even my drawings. I painted some pretty aquarels and showed them to her. A few months later I visited her and sow the copies on her table. It was terrifying.
    Later another girl acquired my tastes in music and movies and my love for oolong teas. And I think she even believes that she came to love them herself...

    and of course perfume... Opium was stolen from me. than J'adore by the same person. When she smelled Spring Flower on my table and said that she would by one for herself I couldn't keep it anymore. I actually yelled at her. Since than our relationship was very cold:)

    Now I'm contemplating making Eau des Merveilles my signature and I/m afraid that someone may steal it from me. So I won't tell anyone. If asked where I can't not say - I'll lie. I'll say it's emporio armani she or something, just not to loose it. It even pains to see how other women buy EdM in stores or how some girls praise it on forums... My scent is a very emotional stuff. I worked really hard to acquire my personal perfume tastes and recognizing what's good and what's bad. So I won't just give it away like money one hadn't earned...

  26. You're welcome, J m'en F!

    It's indeed scary when someone wants to "be" you although it can be seen as a compliment too.
    Opium and J'adore have the unfortunate quality of being very popular (luckily Opium isn't as popular as it was in the 80s, which is a good thing considering we're left to enjoy it ourselves more!), but then luckily sometimes fragrances acquire subtly different nuances on different people. I don't subscribe to the "dramatically different due to personal chemistry" school of thought myself, because otherwise we would never recognise something on someone else (and we know for a fact that we often do), but "subtle difference" are the operative words here.
    Maybe that would happen with EdM too??

    In any case, if you feel really possesive of your personal fragrance (and I sympathise), one little "trick" that might actually work is having already thought of something quite similar but not identical to what you wear and reveal that instead of the truth. That way they won't feel as betrayed when testing the suggested fragrance out (as they would if it was diametrically opposite!) and you don't run the risk of losing your signature. They might even discover something they like even more that way!! ;-)

  27. Anonymous18:33

    I don't believe in personal chemistry. When someone says: on my chemistry it's too sweet or it's too sour - it's not your chemistry, it's your nose and you perception of things. It's really in your head, not on your skin. More than anything. And yes, I'd like to find something similar to make lies more appropriate, or to say that it's something discontinued or made for me exclusively in Grass. But a close enough friend might wanna see the actual bottle:) Well, I agree, if someone copies you - change. Coco Chanel said that it's the key to be unreplaceable - to change. I'm just tired of searching and changing. I want to settle. At least there are also Bois des Iles witch is harder to get, L'Heure Bleue witch is not so popular, and Chanel N 19 - my fragrances on the "bench"

  28. It's amazing how much the "personal chemistry" theory has caught on when there is so much experimentation that proves our smell sense is a product of perception more than anything. It's a good way of politely refuting something you don't like and it has thus gained a widespread appeal especially in those PC times.
    Then again there is some difference among people who are on serious medication or on very different diets (say one is eating lots of spicy cuisine, while another is strictly a carbohydrates consumer) but that would be rarer than claimed.

    In any case your on the bench fragrances are exquisite, all of them. I wouldn't hesitate into bringing them into the gam in a permanent position, if I were you. :-)

  29. Anonymous20:56

    "we left the jungle..."
    I'm sorry I'm still here, but here is a thought:

    it's a natural process of education do adopt something,
    we learn to talk and to walk that way, we have a lot of our parent's habits, we get our "oggsford" pronounciation:) according to our environment and people we grow with.

    So it's built into us to mimic in order to learn and survive. But an educated person receives a lot more information to form an informed decision. Not so well educated person just copies something she sees and likes right away - it's easier and she even doesn't know that there might be better. That's the thing about interest on what is Angelina Jolie is using on her lips, or Jennifer Aniston on her hair I think.

    That same girl who copied my fragrances started using knife instead of just fork when eating at the dorm dining when she saw me doing so. That's fine. Then she started using a brush for applying her lipstick when another girl did it in front of her. Well, may be that's fine to. But it's not fine to buy the same dress in front of you just when you are paying for it at the counter... That girl is still a bamby learning to walk. She's not mature, well educated or informed. That's the reason alone I don't like her along with the fact she can't even go to a perfume store to try something out. It's easier for her to adopt smth from another person's - who lives right in the next room of the dorm - night table.

    I'm sorry for all that. I'm not very polite here. But the subject is very painful.

  30. Anonymous21:17

    I just wanted to thank you again for this amazing blog - I've been reading for about a year but was afraid to comment - I learned English reading Jane Austen's novels and watching Friends series - so didn't have an opportunity to actually practice my skills at all.
    There are some witches instead of "which"-es, and sowing things where "seeing" should be, but it's a good thing you understand.

    I believe that my signature scent should be something modern in order to not raise images of grandmothers and mothers in other's heads. That's why Bois des Iles and 19 are on the bench. But I think I'll get over myself and start wearing them with time - these are really masterpieces. No one would accuse me of being old fashioned for reading Shakespeare or listening to Beethoven for that matter.
    Thank you!

  31. Je m'en F,

    thanks for your most kind words. I am flattered of course and hope you feel always comfortable to comment here without being self-consious of mistakes/typos. After all I am writing in a foreign language myself and I am sure I make a lot of those (I'm also lazy into not using spell-checkers, so...)

    You have a point that some people think seeing someone else do something is like a signal for them to pick up on something they didn't know, didn't think about and just do it all "the easy way" without thinking.
    The knife example though was hilarious! What, was she gnawing on her steak before?? LOL!
    I believe with celebrities it goes in a somewhat different path, something along the lines of "if they're using this, it must be really good, considering the options they have available!". Or so I think?
    In any case, I'm sure it's very irritating having someone copy you in so close quarters as a dorm.

  32. This is such an interesting topic!

    In school I had a friend who wore a beautiful scent that I adored and I always felt a little sad because I knew I could never purchase it!

    Because I feel (just slightly) territorial about perfumes that I wear, I always believed that to copy her would be a bit of a mean thing to do. Not that I wasn't tempted! Luckily, I managed to quell my inner greed and found other fragrances to love.

  33. Janice,

    thank you for stopping by and welcome to this community!

    You're wise to choose to love other scents. After all there are just so many out there and often while exploring we come against even better choices than those we began with at the back of our minds. Hope you find that special something that will make you feel like you're smelling like a million bucks and have others wonder "what is she wearing?"


  34. One of my best friends and I are major perfumistas. I don't think either of us would mind if we both showed up at an event wearing one of the grand dames, like Mitsuoko, but I suspect if I even TRIED to wear Tolu (which I love) she'd pull my hair (and deservedly so).

    People ask me all the time what perfume I'm wearing and I usually tell them, but if for some reason I don't want to reveal the juice I usually say "wow, you've got a great nose, it's a little bottle I picked up in London/New York/Wherever. I wish you could get it here!" That way they feel good about themselves rand my secret stays safe.

  35. Ooo, this is almost scary... It is a very strange feeling to read such things... a perfume is a trading good, it is made to be sold and that makes it bought by many people... A perfume can be "our perfume" in our mind only. It is a free world out there,you know.

    I suppose I should not follow and read this blog anymore- could it be that you all sound like freeks when you talk about othe women "stealing" your scent ?! Yes, I guess, so :) Good Bye and be happy with "your own perfumes"...How unrealistic could that be ???

  36. Plumcake,

    just saw this, so I'm terribly late probably, but if you're reading....oh to have someone around who wears Tolu!! It's divine! On the other hand, pity you can't make it "your own", LOL.
    Still seems to me you have found your stash of signature scents all right, so this shouldn't be too much of a problem.

  37. Rosabell,

    somehow I think you're missing the point? Or take things more seriously than intended? (Perhaps it's because we're both writing in a non-native tongue)
    At any rate, it's an issue that is very interesting to a LOT of people and no one is seriously expecting to have their perfume solely for their own use!! So it's all for discussion's sake, you see.

    Of course if you honestly feel it's scary or perverted, you're free to decide what to read and what not. Thanks for following thus far!

  38. No, I do not miss any point. I have been following the blog so far and usually liked it and I have never posted anything until the subject on "usurping" someone's fragrance. The point of my post was that I find it extremely difficult to uderstand how could anyone in this world imagine he/she has a right to comment on why a certain individual decided to wear the same fragrance as her/him. I find this a "borderline" reaction in the medical sense of the word "borderline". The article you wrote did not bother me ( althogh the comparison with Single White Female seems a bit over the edge ) but readig the posts of the people, well... that was scary and a big time nonsense. I do not share moments with borderline personalities nor do I want to loose any precios second of my lifetime conected to such people....:))) So, my reation it's not about who is right or wrong , but merely an emotional reponse to things I strongly dislike.

  39. Rosabell,

    all right, thanks for explaining, it's clearer now. Well, if you liked the blog but not all comments, perhaps you might continue to read the articles and not the comments! :-) Or comment yourself and flesh out your thoughts; it's cool to disagree too!

    Seriously, since there is a gracious tolerance of many different types commenting, I cannot be held responsible for what anyone posts (we even get the occasional spam as you can see for yourself by people who want to advertise for free). Erasing comments would equate censorship and unless someone is outright insulting to another reader then I don't have grounds for intervening ~it would be limiting free speech. (I'm only saying these things to explain the policies of this blog, in case anyone -you or someone else- wonders from time to time).
    Of course, whatever you decide it is respected and emotional responses are just as valid.

  40. Anonymous01:15

    My friend sent me the link to this post because I had been complaining to her about how my Mother bought my Sister-in-Law a bottle of my sig fragrance for Christmas. When I discovered this I stomped down the stairs in parents house and told my mother that she was, "an idiot." (I'm 31). Not my proudest moment. My mother tried to explain away her blunder by telling me, "not to worry," because she had, in fact, bought my sister-in-law the Special Edition of my perfume. Like that was supposed to make it all better?! She should have just said, "Don't worry Honey because I bought her the more special version of what you already thought was special." Needless to say I was annoyed. I enjoyed this post because it made me laugh. Just like I have to laugh at my Mom for being so clueless and at myself for being so passionate about my personal "territory."

  41. Anonymous14:15

    i know this may be sacrilege but what i do is i buy rather expensive oil dupes and occasionally layer them with the original scent and just claim that it'a unique blend: a perfectly truthful statement.

  42. anon #1,

    eons later, but better late than never, eh?

    Sorry this happened. I guess some people will never "get" it. We think perfume expresses our deeper self, like a tattoo would express our innermost philosophy, but people just-don't-get-it! Argh...

    Now that scents are being reformulated and a hundred different editions of the same original (but smelling different) are churned out ever season a personal signature scent becomes suddenly a much more complex, but unique case. A blessing in disguise?

  43. anon #2,

    now, there's an idea that had never crossed my min, I admit. How clever of you, do you find it works well?

    Yup, perfectly truthful and possibly giving an added nuance that wouldn't be possible without your intervention, so more of a "personal" thing than one would assume.

  44. Anonymous13:43

    hi perfume shrine,
    i am anon2
    yes i find that it's quite interesting to combine these dupes with the real thing although i'm not really planning to replenish these oils since they are even more expensive than the real thing (i sometimes suspect that i've been duped! - pun intended). i'm experimenting with layering different scents now and so far i have had only a few misses - i've been told that most of my combos are hits.

  45. anon 2,

    sounds great; if people notice and comment on them, then you have created something really distinguishable, I suppose. Pity it's such an expensive experiment.
    (I have one of those, but it's so costly, it doesn't really make sense)

  46. Anonymous04:51

    A couple of years ago I had been searching for my signature scent and one day I fell in love with Miracle by Lancôme. My older sister wore it years before but it was a gift and she never got it again so I got a bottle of it...... but who should steal my perfume and start wearing it.....none other than my MIL!!!

    I hate the smell of it now, and I hate smelling it on her. My Husband thought said he thought I was crazy at being upset over it. Im so glad that there are other people out there that understand stealing perfume is like stealing your identity. How my husband can be ok with my MIL smelling like me is beyond me and quite sick.

  47. I suppose, Anon, that your husband doesn't place such an importance (as we do) in smells, therefore it is "trivial" to him. His loss! :-)
    Perhaps you will find something else (even better) to love and claim as your own. I think this is why niche perfumes became popular; you won't be smelling yourself coming and going when going about. ;-)
    Just a suggestion!

  48. Anonymous11:24

    One of the most heart-wrenching things 'perfume' to happen to me was when 'my' perfume went off the market.I once met up with someone I'd worked with briefly, and she commented that I'd always worn a perfume that she thought of as 'mine'.I was chuffed to be associated, in her memory, with a scent.It was called "Trent Nathan", by a well known Australian fashion designer of that time.I contacted the company in desperation, but the answer was No,they weren't going to make it any more.....(sobbing).

    1. I'm so sorry (even if late in replying).
      Here are some suggestions for you, nevertheless.

    2. I too loved Trent Nathan's scent. Can anyone suggest a current perfume that is similar to the Trent Nathan fragrance of the 1980's ?

  49. Miss Heliotrope08:43

    I know this is a zillion years late, but my sister in law admired my Greenwitch, and so we purchased her a sample set from Roxanna Illuminated that included said lovely (one of my faves). She had actually asked if I minded if she tried some/wore it & being nice (& with my husband in the same room) I said no no of course not. Sister in law says she loves it & has been using the sample up. I breathe calmly (but not deeply around her) - she is a heavy smoker, if anyone can smell anything that isnt carcinogenic on her I'd be shocked...

  50. MH,

    that's a story that is familiar to many. The really good thing is it's not something in mass production so the chances that she will actually go to the trouble of getting it all the way from US and having to search for it too (unless she makes YOU get it) might be a deterrent. On the other hand, I kinda like when people like and admire and want to share obscure things, especially from artisan perfumers, like Roxana, because it means it will keep them in business so we can admire and wear and share their creations for much longer. Maybe look at this this way? :-)

  51. Anonymous15:15

    People asked me about the perfume I was wearing many times, but I don't reember anyone really copying me. Since each bidy chemistry is different, I don't mind.
    I did buy few perfumes my friend has, but we both love and collect perfumes. We often go to the hunts together.
    It was Omnia crystalline, which I would of never bought without my friend.
    I also love her Ferre Lei which is completely discontinued. So she stay proud about this fact, she has some left in her bottle, and noone esle could have it. Great points!

  52. I don't think that I will ever, ever have this problem, as I have acquired enough of a legendary, almost mythical vintage Guerlain (that really weird one, y'all :) ) to use it as my signature scent, if I so desired. I wear it often enough for it to be recognisably mine, and I can just about rest assured, especially where I live, that no one else will ever be wearing it, they would be doing good to just find it. I wear other scents "in-between-times", just because, for instance, I get a notion in the heat and humidity of my local climate to have the fresh salinity of Acqua di Sale , or Hilde Soliani's salty strawberry
    Fraaagola Saalaaata, or I want a nostalgia fix (and it pleases my husband) of vintage Opium.

    1. Lucky then!! Thanks for commenting.

  53. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Thanks Melanie for sharing your story.

      I do believe old people (and your mother must be getting older by the minute if you're 50 yourself) can become a bit weird in their behavior.
      I don't suppose it's wanting to be around your dad smelling like his daughter nevertheless. I believe she genuinely fell in love with that mysterious solid and (not knowing the story behind its unavailability) she was ashamed to confess about what she did.
      I'd chalk it up to some family rivalry -in the benevolent stakes- and not think about it more than you already have. It wouldn't really lead to anything but bad feeling between the two of you. If she were younger it might bear a little confrontation sharing your feelings.

      It's annoying though; I'll give you that.

    2. Anonymous01:34

      Huh. I love my mom's perfume. My tastes aren't exactly the same, so I have a whole collection of others, but I'd wear hers, no problem. She likes some of my favorites, too, and I'd be happy to have her wear them. I've never even thought to ask her if she would be upset by it, nor have I ever thought about being upset if she wore one I liked. We're mother and daughter, we share blood. I guess maybe it's a little weird if you're considering smell and sexual attraction but mom and I probably smell a bit like each other even without perfume because we share so much genetic material. It is what it is. The only reason I don't wear hers more often is because it's her lifelong signature, so I associate it completely with her. I could never wear it and primarily think "me"! But if your mom is happy smelling it and thinking of you, that seems kind of sweet.

      None of which is to belittle or negatively judge your situation. Just a different way of looking at it. Maybe you could suggest some layering options for her so you guys can still retain a little difference.

  54. Anonymous11:08

    I am a long term wearer of Mitsouko, as well as no 19 and to some extent Miss Dior, but have gone back to Mitsouko of late, as it feels slightly warmer in tone. I should say upfront, I don't (nor do many people) get on with my sister in law, despite knowing her over 30 years and trying everything in the book, she is just one of those awkward, spikey people you meet in life. About a year ago she came to stay with us for Christmas (yes, I do try, my dear mother in law, whom I loved to bits, asked me to look after her, before she died) and she asked me what pefume I was wearing, it was was Mitsouko. She then went out and bought herself a big bottle and has worn it everytime I have met her since, declaing it her perfume and asking me not to wear it when we are together! Frankly, it reminds me so much of her presense now, that it has put me off anyway, and a perfume I loved to bits is now no longer mine. I would love some more of it this Christmas, but it just doesn't feel like I own it anymore.

  55. Ella gamberi03:09

    I was unlucky enough in the eighties to live with a girl who literally became my echo. It was Single White Female and was deeply weird. She copied everything from what I bought at the supermarket to personal opinions. Two days after she moved in she announced I was her best friend. I had not known her previously. I left a job, she took the job. I started working at a new job she showed up a couple of months later. I got engaged, she immediately got engaged despite confessing she didn't want to weeks before. I wanted to get married in August she had to get married in July so she was there first. I moved out of the house first opportunity I got but the copying got worse, as did the gossiping to other friends about how awful I was. The thing was she never copied my perfume. Her boss gave her a bottle of Beautiful for Xmas the year she moved in. That perfume always reminds me of her. I tried wearing it once. Just jarred me to the core. So I fully appreciate what you are getting at with this post!


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