Finding the right scent for the right occasion

    Photo by author.

    Mixing scents at the Aroma Workshop. Photo by author.

    Put down the Dark Temptation, Voodoo and Essence. In fact, put down those Axe cans altogether. They aren’t working. Finding a great smell takes time and a good amount of research. Luckily, we’ve done most of that legwork for you.

    Dr. Alan Hirsch of the Smell and Taste Research Foundation in Chicago emphasizes that smell not only has an effect on you, but also has an effect on the people around you. “You are as you smell,” said Hirsch. “If you smell good people perceive that you are good, if you smell bad people perceive that you are bad.” Smells can affect your confidence and can even affect your visual perception,” said Hirsch.

    So, we traveled down to Aroma Workshop, an awe-inspiring, dorm room-size fragrance shop in Lincoln Park, for some answers. Ingrid Feder, a self proclaimed perfumist at the Workshop, helped us pick the best scents for each occasion.

    What should I wear to work?

    Fragrance: Citrusy or classic floral or light musky scents.

    The key for women and men when going into an interview, according to Ms. Feder, is to not necessarily have the boss be overwhelmed by your scent. “It is best to go with something subtle,” said Feder. “It is important to smell clean and be presentable.”

    Estee Lauder’s Dazzling Silver, $46, Chanel’s N 5, $75, and Vera Wang’s Truly Pink, $90.

    Colognes: Lacoste Pour Homme, $47, Burberry’s Touch , $53, and Geir for Men, $69.

    Note of caution: These are great options for clean and subtle notes, but be wary in application; too much of anything can turn a subtle fragrance into the dreaded “Sex Panther.”

    What should I wear in the classroom?

    Fragrance: A combination of eucalyptus and other scents.

    Dr. Hirsch says that a study in San Francisco found that eucalyptus mixed with other scents inspires empathy in others. So if you’re lucky and have a good TA, that F might get bumped up to a D.

    Perfumes: Calvin Klein’s Contradiction, $36

    Colognes: Calvin Klein’s Escape, $34 and Ralph Lauren’s Safari, $42.

    What should I wear out on the town?

    Can be floral, citrusy, or pumpkin and mixed spices/ stronger musks and fruits.

    It all depends on how you want to be remembered. According to Dr. Hirsch, a woman who wants to receive sexual attention should wear pumpkin and mixed spices. Ingrid Feder thinks you should use the opportunity of a party, formal or bar to experiment with smells. “I definitely think it’s appropriate to wear something that stands out a little more,” says Feder, “because it kind of sets that mood when you put something fun on. Some women go for something more sweet and fruity, and some women will go for fragrances that are deeper and sexier.”

    Marc Jacobs’ Daisy, $57, Ralph Lauren’s Notorious, $65, and DKNY’s Delicious Night, $52.

    Colognes: Aqua Di Gio, $55, Chanel’s Egoiste, $70, Billy Jealousy’s Illicit, $65.

    A good fragrance can help stave off insecurities and help you make the step towards that hottie across the hall. Everyone can smell, so take the time to look for the fragrance that fits you best–or rather, the ones that get you the most complements. If anything, just put down that damn aerosol can. We’ll all appreciate it.


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