How to Smell Good 101: Cologne & Perfume Guide for Queers

Being queer or a total fucking weirdo in this day & age means it’s often difficult to locate appropriate beauty and fashion advice in spaces that aren’t totally alienating. We cannot spend our entire lives mentally re-appropriating Esquire’s Manly Men Man at His Best Manly Manliness Manscape or Glamour’s 567 Ways to Make Your Lips Look Like Everyone Else’s to meet our own sinister queer purposes! We need somebody to just do it right the first time!

We’ve decided to take that on. Welcome to The Queer Beauty Bar, where everybody knows your name and we keep our nails very short.

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Today’s topic: Scents.

We had a request for a story on men’s cologne for lesbos, but of course we could not contain ourselves to one gender and had to share all of our feelings about all of the smells in the whole wide world.

Anecdotal evidence shows that smelling good is the number one best way to get laid or to hide your aversion to daily showering. If you have a special somebody this Valentine’s Day, scents are a fabulous way to tell somebody, “I love you, and I want to nuzzle my nose in your shoulder and bite your collarbone.” You know? What I’m saying is that a good cologne is the gift that keeps on giving. Seriously if you’re not wearing cologne or perfume or patchouli or scented lotion or something I don’t really want you anywhere near me, to be perfectly honest.

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Man scents

Dolce & Gabbana, Dior Homme, Armani, Givenchy

Popular Picks: Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue & Burberry Brit For Men

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Brandy HOWARD & Julie GOLDMAN

video stars, “In your box office”

The best smelling man in our life is (hands down) Jonny McGovern. Nothing but the best for the Gay Pimp- he wears Play by Givenchy. And that’s our vote for the sexiest cologne worn by a boy we know.

Julie smells pretty sexual herself, and she sprays on Lacoste for Men and then smokes a cigarette. (That combo is a panty dropper. I’ve seen it happen!)

Both of those are hot, but we aren’t mad at Axe Body Spray. It’s great in a pinch and it’s cheap enough that you can afford to spray it all over your body, your car, and your sheets. (Girls go crazy for that!)


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G. of “Can I Help You, Sir?”

[via fitforafemme]

My preference is for clean, fresh or in some cases, woodsy scents with an underlying masculine feel. I tend to stay away from the spicy colognes, as they’re too heavy. I don’t want my scent to be noticed as soon as I walk in the room; I’d rather it be noticed because someone had to lean in closely to talk to me.

My top 3:

+ Armani Code for Men: I think it’s the combination of the lemon and the wood that really does it for me with this scent. One of the things I like best about it is that it’s definitely masculine without being overwhelming, which is an elusive quality with all the macho colognes out there.

+ Burberry Classic for Men: I really love what Burberry does with their fragrances, especially this one. It just smells great on my skin. It’s been around for a while, but it’s still one of the first ones I grab as I’m getting ready. The top notes of bergamot, cedar and amber really do it for me. I also own Burberry London, Brit and Beat, and I love them all.

+ Banana Republic Slate: I love the fresh scent of this cologne, which relies basically on a blend of ginger and citrus notes. Those two together give it the a quality that is tough for me to find, which is clean AND inviting. It also just feels like a simple, easy-to-wear cologne, which I really like.

My choices also vary a bit depending on the season. These ones are all good fall/winter selections. I have different standbys in the summer that are a little lighter with more prominent citrus undertones (Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue is a favorite).

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via fitforafemme.com

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M.

[via fitforafemme]

First, much like G, I treat most colognes like seasons. Summer scents are not okay in the winter, unless there’s some sort of obscene heat wave that drives all the sea lions from Pier 39 all the way to Oregon. There are a few that are transcendental, though, and can be enjoyed year round, not unlike peach cobbler.

+I like spicy (but earthy) colognes in the fall and winter. Serge Lutens Borneo 1834 and John Varvatos Vintage are good examples. The Varvatos in particular smells like you just made an emergency landing with your prop plane in a mossy forest, survived, and so did your flask. It is quiet-handsome-action-hero-ruggedness! Tobacco, dirt, woods, gasoline, smoke!

+I am loathe to admit this, because Tom Ford is a giant dickbag, and most of his colognes reek like urinal cakes, but I really liked his Black Orchid cologne for Men. Fuck you, Tom Ford (but also: good job)! I plan to steal some from a department store so Mr Ford doesn’t profit. This makes me feel better. Anyway, why I liked it- even though he is like an attention-whorey-Vegas-casino, the cologne is more like an Olympic fencer: surprisingly subtle.

+ Summer and Spring call for lighter, cleaner/fresher scents, to go with lighter clothing. Although I am all out, Creed Silver Mountain Water is my favorite. It is light and clean and not FRUITY! I don’t want to smell like food. Only food should smell like food! In fact, I have a household ban on any non-food product that smells like food (candles, soaps, cleaning products, etc). Okay, okay, I made one exception for a fig candle.

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Kelsey

Video Assistant

I roll with Old Spice “Swagger which my girlfriend Taylor insists smells like everybody’s grandpa.

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Jess

Senior Editor

My best friend is an impeccably groomed twenty-something gay guy and he always smells delish. He wears Dior Homme or Gucci II for Men. Whatever he’s doing, it’s working.

via fit for a femme

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Corey

Music Blogger

Personally, I wear Curve for Men. It’s the least overpowering men’s cologne I have found and it smells good. As an added bonus my girlfriend likes the way it smells when she wears my jackets so that aspect doesn’t hurt either.

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Natalie

News Writer

I enjoy Burberry Brit For Men – it’s smart, fresh and light, but also robust and earthy, just like my honeys. I like it because it says “I’m serious (you can wear it to the office) – but come from a peaceful, relaxed place.

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Fit For a Femme

Fashion Blogger

There’s a great, super Portland company that does old-timey scents in great little manly bottles here that are definitely worth taking note of (don’t say I didn’t warn you; you will want them ALL).

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mixed-gendered scents

 

 

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Robin Roemer

Photographer

If you want to break all gender barriers and also the bank, you can be one of many NYers who visit Le Labo to get a Feminine, Masculine, or Androgynous perfume.  Carly’s gay boy roommate and I had the same scent for awhile.   I like being able to sample an array of scents and see which one fits best.

Burberry’s The Beat is another one I own.  Although I believe it’s “for women”, it’s a pretty unisex smell.  It’s not too flowery or too musky.  I like straddling that line between smelling feminine and masculine.

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Deanne Smith

Comedienne Columnist

I wear Chanel Allure Homme. If you smelled it, you would want me to hug you.  My smell-sensitive and generally allergic little raw nerve of a girlfriend likes it, too, which is a bonus.  I found out recently that her mom wears Chanel Allure for ladies, though, and I’m trying not to be weirded out by this.

The best-smelling fragrance in the world is Gaultier 2. On the right body, when it settles in, it seriously smells like muffins.

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Rachel B.

Tech Writer

I really like warm, spicy smells. The kind that smell comforting and cozy.

I like to wear Intimately Beckham by David Beckham because it’s very warm but also light. It combines really well a spicy aroma while being sweet at the same time. Also Curve Crush smells really good because it kind of smells really clean and like you’re sitting at the ocean and it’s kind of a cold day but you have a really great cardigan on. Another favourite is Paris Hilton for Men. It’s sweet and very delicious but my bottle ran out a long time ago and I’m still sad about it.

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Carly

Televisionary

I love fragrances! It’s one of my favorite accessories and they always come in very exciting packaging. I never leave the house without spraying something on. A scent can completely change your perception of a person… a great scent goes a long way but so does a bad one. I’m always asking my friends what perfume or cologne they’re wearing if I like what they smell like. Wow reading this back I sound like a lunatic.

Anyway, I am obsessed with Le Labo Fragrances (lelabofragrances.com). They have a store an adorable store in SoHo. They’re all amazing and they whip you up a fresh batch whenever you buy one. A little pricey but it goes a long way. And their whole look/decor is fantastic. Currently I’m wearing Fleur D’Oranger 27. They have collections that are for men, women, and unisex, but I’ve found that most if not all of their fragrances can be worn by anyone.

Other favorites: Gucci II for Women, Burberry Touch for Men, Clean’s entire line for women, Viktor & Rolf Antidote for Men, and even though it’s mega-popular, D & G Light Blue for Women is lovely. And whatever that Burberry scent is that Robin wears, it’s really really nice :)

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Stef:

Music Blogger

I used to be really obsessed with the natural perfume oils at Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, which are handmade and unisex and delicious.

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Vikki:

Mom-Blogger, uppoppedafox.com

I’m of no help. We don’t wear cologne. Luisa always smells like men’s speedstick and I smell like mentos gum. Unless alcohol counts because apparently drinking a lot of whiskey makes you smell flammable and I came home smelling like that a couple weeks ago.

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Intern Elizabeth

I don’t tend to like or wear any cologne or perfume because I’m pretty allergic, but I do enjoy when a person (guy, girl, whoever) wears Old Spice Sport or if they just smell like regular aftershave or fresh laundry. I guess I just like it when people smell like they shower?

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via etsy.com/shop/ForStrangeWomen

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Crystal

Music Editor

I’ve always been in love with the classic Hugo Boss Man fragrance (and anyone who wears it), however it’s extremely strong and masculine and post-college I decided that it was a little too bold to pull off. So now I wear Hugo Boss Element, a far more subtle fragrance for men that could really be marketed as unisex, it smells amazing and always attracts compliments from both genders.

I also wear Hugo Boss Deep Red, which is a fragrance for women that’s wood & spice-based rather than floral. I like it because it’s soft and warm and there’s something rather masculine about it. But that can be said about a lot of Hugo Boss lady products, the brand caters to people who prefer their fragrances & fashion to be a little androgynous.

Every now and then I’ll also wear Daisy by Marc Jacobs and With Love by Hilary Duff, they both smell pretty.

Becky

Style Editor

Kiehls Original Blend-Toilette Spray – it’s pretty expensive, but it was seriously the best/sexiest thing I’ve ever smelt. Also I can get down with the apothecary aesthetic of the bottle. Other favorite smells include cigar boxes, cocoa butter, and jasmine.

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lady scents

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Gucci, Burberry, philosophy, Chanel, Hilary Duff

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Rachel B

Tech Blogger

Some favourites that my lady wears are Heat by Beyonce – this is a very sexy, dark, deep smell. Obvs. And With Love by Hilary Duff. It is also wonderful when she wears the Lemon Bath and Body Works spray. But that just makes me want lemonade.

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Michele

The Scene writer

Most days I wear Falling in Love by Philosophy because my grandma has been buying it for me since 10th grade and it smells like a good winter day and also because I’ve been wearing it so long that people associate it with me and I like that. But I like to wear Axe, too, which is totally nauseating I know but I have no doubt that inside I’m a 15 year old boy. 15 year old boy is a really fun thing to channel before going out on a Friday night. Also I like how cheap and fresh it smells.

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Intern Lily

I wearProvocative Woman” by Elizabeth Arden for a number of reasons. Mainly because I really really like wearing something called “provocative woman”, I think it is hilarious. It is also fun to pretend to a be a “provocative woman”, of which I pretty much am not. I got a free sample of this stuff freshman year of high school when I was hanging out with my friends after school. It was a day that was just really really good for no reason in particular–I hadn’t been consistently content or happy in a long time so the feeling was new and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it but I knew I liked it. So that perfume reminds me of being ok. Who knows if I even truly love the smell, I just like the sense of security it gives to me. And, of course, the name.

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Intern Megan

Very Sexy from Victoria’s Secret because it’s what my first girlfriend wore and I’m now addicted to the scent.

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Riese:

Editor-in-Chief

My first scent EVER was Fuzzy Peach from The Body Shop which I picked because I got a lot of Body Shop stuff on my birthdays. I then graduated to a ten-year romance with Tommy Girl which I selected because it made me think of tomboys. Then when I was no longer a girl, I switched to Burberry Brit because my boyfriend said it was the best scent for a woman. If anything smells oaky, fruity, calm, oceany, or whathaveyou, I know not of these things.

When I’m traveling, gymming, or spending a day in the unscentisfactory wilds, I pack a travel-sized bottle of Victoria’s Secret Very Sexy or a rollerball of Juicy Couture Original which is about as big as a tube of chapstick. The former I liked when it came free with something I bought during the Semi-Annual Clearance Sale and the latter I selected for its size, but consequently fell in love with the scent. Perfumes worn by my roommates which I have co-opted and worn myself include Fresh Sake and Mademoiselle by Chanel.



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Jess:

Senior Editor

I’ve been using the same formula since late high school to make myself smell good….. CK One + Gap Body Dream. For some reason these two scents are a bit too strong for me when used individually, but when I spray one of each on my wrists and rub them together = magic. That’s my staple, but I also dip into Angel and Burberry Brit on occasion. Don’t mix those together!

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Alex Vega

Design Director

I wear Gwen Stefani’s fragrance called “LAMB” because my mom bought it for me for Christmas one year. I just kept buying it after that because I feel like it’s an androgynous scent, or at least less “flowery” than others geared towards the ladies. Also, it comes in a cool square bottle so I dig the packaging/product design on it!
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Feature graphic image from wild umbrella. Special thanks to Fit for a Femme for letting us republish M. & G.’s responses from her fantastic post on this topic.

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186 Comments

  1. Thumb up 1

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    damn, smells are expensive. I’m going to continue to go with cigarettes, cheerios, shampoo, and a subtle note of something that’s _definitely_ not marijuana, but I will bookmark some of these in my Tevye folder (for when I’m a rich [wo]man).

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    My favorite scent in the entire world is Blossom Romance by Victoria’s Secret. When I win the lottery it will be Miracle by Lancome. Right now VS loves my pockets because they are always having that 3 for $24 deal. I like to buy it and imagine I smell like the models.

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    I don’t really use scents because they make my nose runny and they dry really fast in my climate so I always feel ripped off.

    I prefer to smell like soap and nothing else.

    However i really enjoy the smell of detergent, and a couple of years back I saw this detergent-scented cologne online. I can’t remember the name though.

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    Perfume gives me a headache. Just walking past Abercrombie & Fitch gives me a migraine, let alone the perfume department. I’m more of a hypoallergenic soap and lotion person. I order rosemary and peppermint soap from a place in Utah that’s kind of pricey, but it lasts a long time, doesn’t make me break out in hives, and smells really clean, so that’s sort of my scent. I also used to love me some Axe on a lady, but then I realized my brother wears it, and now it’s weird.

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    I feel like there’s a hipster just camping out on this thread, waiting to ambush me with a really obscure weapon but…

    I REALLY REALLY miss the old Hollister unisex cologne/perfume. The one that was so cool it was just called “Hollister”. It got to the point where after it was discontinued, I was paying 3-4x retail on ebay.

    It’s still really hard to talk about. Excuse me.

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    I’m told I smell of clean laundry and cherries. Which I’m okay with as a standard but my go to when I’m wanting to spice it up is Marc Jacobs Men. It smells like figs and forests and flowers. Ever present but sensitive to the nostrils. And one time this super hot girl walked by me, turned around, put her nose to my neck and said wow, you smell great. I don’t think I could ask for a better reaction than that so I’ll stick with it. Also, I had a girlfriend who used to wear Sensual Amber from like bath and body works or body shop or something and it smelled amazing on her skin.

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    Oh my god, smells. They are the most important thing in my life. I once went on a date where the girl took me around to different places where I could smell things, and I actually liked the date better than her. I mostly do not wear any kind of cologne because for me that would be like walking around with glasses with pictures painted onto the lenses. If you smell good, I love you. Or probably more accurately, if I love you, you smell good.

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      I’ve only just recently realised how important smell is to me and how much I associate it with memories. And also how over developed my sense of smell is. I can always tell if someone has recently washed their hair in my uni lectures/tutes/on buses etc, and the smell drives me crazy.

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    I used to be really attached to TommyGirl but I quit it for CK One specifically because it was marketed as androgynous. I like it so I never looked any further but I’ll definitely check some of these out.

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    This post was the best ever. Allure magazine’s strangely erotic descriptions of perfumes are what I miss most about lady magazines, therefore I’m SO glad to read about the scent choices of the homogaylady set :)
    Of course Stef “used to” be obsessed with Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. The scents of creative geeks everywhere!!!
    There’s this little shop in Paris in the Jardin du Palais Royal called Les Perfums de Rosine. It smells like heaven. (Yes, you can buy their stuff at Barneys, but that is not fun at ALL.) My motivation to go to work every day is to someday have enough saved up that I can commit senseless acts of frivolity and beauty and buy myself a whole bottle.

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    Due to my perfume filled home, I have very bad memories of overwhelming scents (such as when my brothers and I had perfume spraying wars).

    Consequently, I’ve avoided them for most of my life. But recently I found some tester bottles of a cologne that shall not be named and became mysteriously attached to it. Once I run out I will forget about this chapter of my life and move on to better scented pastures.

    I’ve actually been meaning to search for the Old Spice scent my grandpa wears or something close to it. Will check out Kelsey’s suggestion.(oh and I don’t feel that smelling like my grandpa is weird because he is badass, and lives thousands of miles away in the future).

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    Thankfully I’m not allergic to much and finding a new scent always makes my mall adventure worth the trip. Some of my favorites are Coco mademoiselle, which I “sample” from my accomplished sister when I want to feel like a grown ass woman, Euphoria from Calvin Klein for the oriental spiciness. Lolita Lampeka when getting rowdy, and my most recent loves are Daisy by Marc Jacobs and Chloe which are very similar. I can’t seem to choose between the delicate flower and Chloe Sevigny on the ad photo.

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    Ok, most perfumes have something in them that make my nose stuff up/freak out/bleed. So perfume and I have had an interesting relationship over the years. I generally use oils (my go to is cinnamon, I am ok smelling like food), but a friend introduced me to a unique perfume website called cbihateperfume (dot) com. They don’t use an alcohol base and don’t use the types of chemicals that lead to sneezing and other terrible things. All of their scents are based on memories or experiences and have a really unique concepts. I’m a huge bibliophile, so I’ve been coveting “in the library” since my friend let me sniff her bottle.

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      I’ve been lusting over CB Perfume for a while, but there’s no store nearby my house that sells it and I always forget to go check it our when I’m in LA/SF. I love love the descriptions online and am thinking about just sucking it up and ordering a ton of samples. My favorite is “Winter 1972:A field of untouched new fallen snow, hand knit woolen mittens covered with frost, a hint of frozen forest & sleeping earth.” WANT.

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    L de Lolita Lempicka. :)

    I got a sample of it from Sephora a few years ago, and I’ve been in love with it ever since!

    It smells kinda like a campfire, the ocean, cinnamon, musk, lemons, and rootbeer, which sounds kinda gross but it’s not. It’s a pretty gender-neutral scent and I love that it’s not flowery at all because flowery scents give me a headache.

    Also, Harajuku Lovers’ “Music.” It smells like a candy necklace. Mmm :)

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      That doesn’t sound gross, it sounds awesome! Fantastic description. Now I need to go to a store and sniff a bottle of it.

      I have that Music scent, it does smell like candy necklaces! You should be a perfume/cologne reviewer and share your scent analogies with the world.

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    I like to layer one tiny spray of Stella McCartney and a tiny spray of regular cK One. I tried it on accident once and really liked the two scent’s unusual mix of feminine and masculine. I’ve always gotten a lot of attention (from guys and girls) when I wear it.

    I also LOVE Axe Dark Temptations scent because it’s mysterious–a little sweet and a little manly. I think it must be pretty popular, it’s one of the few Axe deodorant sprays that I’ve seen made into other incarnations, like body wash.

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    I really like l’occitane’s honey and lemon perfume. it would be perfect if it were a little sharper but it makes me think of dumbledore and lemon drops and tea and honey and deliciousness.

    perfume is expensive though, I mostly just go with the general palmolive milk and honey body wash thats like three pounds and pretend its the l’occitane stuff. I probably smell like honey and dog though, I eat so much honey and am obsessed with honey smelling things. that doesn’t sound too great =p

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    This post is only fueling my desire to go to the mall and buy expensive things that I don’t really need but will make me feel sexy.

    I have heard great things about Calvin Klein One. Sadly, my sense of smell is somewhat lacking cause my nose is always angry about something and so I’m not sure I could choose the right scent for me.

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    Love Burberry Brit, that Dream Angels Heavenly stuff, and Givenchy Pi. But I can’t really afford perfume anyhow right now and I question my own taste on most things so shrugging emoticon?

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    Totally agree with M: Black Orchid is so good. It’s like smoking a cigarette after getting it on in the woods. I read that Tom Ford wanted it to smell like unwashed balls. Um, which it does a little bit, but not in a gross way? I don’t really know how that’s possible, but it smells great.

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    agree on the burberry beat and og scent
    gasp no le male by Jean Paul Gaultier, I love that scent

    This reminded me of waiting around for my straight girl friends getting ready to go out and always smelling one’s chocolate lotion and being really confused, then snapping back into reality

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    I love it when people smell good, but at the same time if u are using cologne or perfume pleassseee do not over do it.
    I have asthma and die a bit, and can usually not stand near you or be in a car with you.

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    Going from nice to shamefully cheap….

    I have Ralph Lauren’s Ralph (with the blue cap and clear bottle, as far as I can tell it doesn’t have another name, just Ralph) which I blew a bunch of money on, but it lasts a long time and I def get compliments on it!

    A sample roll-on of Clean, the original scent

    And, this Zumiez scent called Viola that was really cheap. Don’t judge me, it’s kinda spicy/sweet and I like it.

    I want another really spicy-woody kinda scent and I have my eye on Emilio Pucci Vivara…the top is black and purple and I do. want. But can’t afford yet :\

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    Love seeing what other folks are into and feel sexy in and find sexy in others. This also reminds me that I REALLY need to index my posts better, so that folks looking for perfume/fragrance/scent reviews can find them a whole lot easier.

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    I wear Creed Green Irish Tweed sometimes, which is apparently a “masculine floral”. I hate florals marketed to women (powder! bleh!), but GIT’s floral component smells mostly like irises, I think. I also like Versace’s Blue Jeans, which is an “oriental”; it’s a little spicy, but not overpowering.

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    I have never bought myself a cologne, but if I did it would be Hugo Boss Pure. It’s sweet without being candy-like. Very fresh… dare I say, pure?

    I used to wear a very androgynous body spray from Bath and Body… it was called something and herbs or something. Why do they always discontinue good things?

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    autostraddle. You read my mind every time. I have worn chanel allure for a million years, but I was thinking about branching out. So many good ideas!

    Perfume smelling also provides me with a reasonable excuse to go to the mall. (GIANT PRETZELS AND COKE ICEES!!!!!)

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    I wear Jo Malone’s stuff. Blue agava and cacao for spring/summer, with nutmeg and ginger for autumn/winter. I’ve been wearing those for years, so I might check out some of your suggestions since I could probably do with a change.

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    This is definitely not a post to read when you are poor/broke. Now I just want to go perfume shopping.

    My all time favorite is Burberry Classic for Women. I don’t know how this smells on other people, but it smells like fresh baked sugar cookies on me. I love sugar cookies and smelling like sugar cookies. And now I really want to eat a sugar cookie.

    I also love most of the Tokyo Milk fragrances (http://www.tokyo-milk.com/t/parfum). My favorites from this line are Le Petit and Paper & Cotton. They also make a line of solid perfume. I really like Lotus Sake from their solid perfume line.

    Since I’m on a budget though, I usually just go for Bath and Body Works fragrances and I pretty much love the whole line, though lately I’ve been really into their Sea Island Cotton fragrance because it smells like laundry.

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    I wear CKIN2U perfume, which I may have bought because Freja Beha was the model in the ad…;) I also own a bottle of the old Hugo Boss Woman perfume.

    They’re both pretty androgynous perfumes I think, maybe leaning a bit more towards the feminine, but they stay away from the powdery floral scents.

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    I’ve been wearing Fahrenheit by Dior for 5 years now. Alternate between Fahrenheit Summer and just regular Fahrenheit depending on how hot it is outside. Spicy, kind of like orange peel in a weird way but I love it.

    I once sat next to a guy on the train who had this amazing old leather jacket on that was so musky and masculine smelling. I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to recreate that scent. Not there yet.

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    I love Daisy by Marc Jacobs. It’s definitely feminine but not old lady or tween girl smelling. Which I think is a hard to find. It’s also clean smelling, but still has enough scent so it’s not like you rubbed a laundry static sheet all over your body.

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    I’ve been wearing Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue for years without realising there is a male version! Obviously I’m a bit slow ;)

    I’m so keen to check it out… anyone out there who can comment on the difference between the male / female versions?

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    I’m a weirdo and rock a different scent every season.
    During the spring I like soft, floral scents (but not like, REALLY floral), so I wear Vera Wang’s Princess.
    I wear fruitier scents during the summer. I actually really like Ed Hardy’s perfumes, and alternate between the original fragrance, and Hearts and Daggers. My mom also got me a small bottle of Harajuku Lovers’ G, last year, and it smells like coconut, so I’ll be adding that to the plethora of summer scents.
    Spicy scents I wear during the fall. My favourite is Calvin Klein’s Euphoria.
    During the winter, I wear what I describe as “strong and weird” perfumes. Right now (though not RIGHT NOW, because I just rolled out of bed), I’m wearing Hard Candy Liquid, which I’ve had for like…5000 years, because the perfume was discontinued back in like ’03 or something. It’s definitely an unusual perfume.

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    Awesome stuff! Am definitely going to try Burberry’s The Beat sometime soon

    Any recommendations for perfumes that do a good job masking the smell of food after a meal? I find that whenever I leave a restaurant after a meal I smell like leftovers. Especially after Indian food because of all the spices. I respray my perfume but sometimes my perfume might react with the smell of food and turn out awful!

    Thanks :)

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    In Australia Axe is called Lynx and I personally hate the smell of every flavour. It reminds me of the douchey guys in my grade spraying it in the corridors in middle school. Also, in Australia, Lynx is owned by a company called Unilever which owns an incredible amount of brands. I know that it tests on animals for many of it’s products. (Dove, Lynx, Impulse etc) So I refuse to ever buy it. I just thought you guys should be aware.

    On another note, I wear Ralph Rocks because a Lady in Myer gave me one of those sample cards when it first came out and I loved it. My mum finally bought it for me about 4 years later :) But it wears off quickly and I tend to just smell of strawberry extra and people always compliment me on that so I guess I don’t mind.

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    I cannot wear one of my favorite smells because my girlfriend hates it, but it’s called Song of India Temple Oil. I haven’t worn it in almost five years and I’m still really sad about it. I guess it’s one of those “compromises” or whatever.

    Neutrogena Rainbath is one of my favorite smells ever, except it’s not a perfume. They need to make it a perfume.

    Focus 21 Sea Plasma is mesmerizing and anyone who uses it will instantly attract me.

    HOWEVER, THE BEST SMELLING PERFUME IS L’OCCITANE’S THÉ BERGAMOTE!!!!! They are currently not making it right now and I’m really sad about that. Thankfully I’m stocked up for at least a year, but I don’t ever want this smell to end. Ever. Their Verveine is also really great. Pretty much everything they make smells wonderful, it’s just expensive.

    I think Stetson Black is amazing and it’s really cheap too. When my grandpa passed away I took his bottle and I fell in love with the smell. I guess that means I often smell like a cowboy.

    No one likes Adidas Moves or Davidoff Cool Water? NO ONE?!

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    You guys, why is no one as much in love with CK BE as I am??! It’s the most magical smell ever invented for andro-dykes who love unicorns and also love to smell like they just came out of a shower, but with a musky undertone.

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      I saw an ad for it when I was about 9 and promptly requested it for Christmas because it was unisex. I wore it for a few years, but I really don’t remember what it smells like. I also don’t remember why I thought I needed perfume/cologne at 9 years old.

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        Oh shit, it just came back to me. I remember it now, because I used to leave it in my “skate box” at the skating rink, and everytime I opened it to put my skates up, it smelled so good. Childhood.

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    K so I have scent-visual synesthesia,(meaning that smells all have colours to me). Perfume might be my favourite thing EVER. I suddenly have an urge to run to my nearest department store and smell all of these scents and tell you what colours they are so you can coordinate your outfits. Also, OH my GOD there is nothing better than someone who smells good.

    PS the only one that I know on here is Very Sexy by victoria secret and it smells like sparkly mango orange and I love it.

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      Can I ask, do scents look to you like maybe someone would expect? Like, I kind of think pine smells green. And florals smell pink or yellow or white or maybe sometimes purple/blue, depending on what it is. Are your scent-color associations more abstract than that?

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        Well sometimes they match and sometimes they don’t. Pine DOES smell green, kind of a deep muddy green, close to brown. Florals… basically it depends on the flower, but they tend to be on the orange-yellow side of the spectrum. Things that smell similar tend to have related colours. For example, baked goods are generally purple or purplish pink, but in different shades and with different nuances. It’s pretty weird sometimes. Also, if a smell is nice it tends to be a nice colour, neutral smells tend to be beigish or grey and nasty ones tend to be gross muddy oranges or greens.

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          That’s very interesting. I definitely wouldn’t have guessed purple for baked goods. Unless maybe they were bread-y, caraway-flavored baked goods. Thank you!

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    My girlfriend wears Bvlgari Pour Homme Soir and it is the BEST-SMELLING THING IN THE WORLD. Whenever she takes the time to actually put it on I want to attach myself to her neck permanently and never leave, so I think it’s doing its job. She apparently didn’t know that the name means that it’s targeted at men, and was evasive and strange when I translated the name for her (she’s Japanese, so it’s not really common knowledge that ‘homme’ means ‘man’ like it would be in a western country). I had to spend a lot of time calming her down because she panicked and thought she had to convince me that she wasn’t ~intentionally smelling like a guy~ (I wouldn’t have cared, but w/e w/e).

    I wear the regular Curve in the blue bottle with the green stopper. I also have a bottle of Curve Crush from high school, but I’m less into sweet scents now, so I don’t really use it very often.

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    Kelsey, I also enjoy the Old Spice Swagger spray. I will basically do anything Bruce Campbell says so it’s a bonus that it smells good.

    Also, I’d like to clarify that I was talking about David Beckham for men and not the pink ladie’s kind. I don’t know what the pink ladie’s kind smells like. But as it is so pink, I’d imagine something like a flowery field of flowers.

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    I buy this vanilla body spray from Walgreens called Body Fantasies Vanilla, it’s like $5 and it’s not some Bath and Body bullshit where you sell like watered down vanilla and sugar poop. No no. This stuff is balls to the walls vanilla, you sell like vanilla extract that you bake with. Everyone flocks to me and then lingers around so they can smell me. It’s how I meet new people.

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    I also really like Anna Sui’s fragrances! They all smell really nice, and the bottles are always so fun and colourful. Up until it ran out a few years ago, I wore Sui Love (I think? The one in the orange and red bottle shaped like a butterfly) during the summer.

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    Great resource! I am pleased to see all the love for Burberry — it never occurs to me to buy perfume for myself, but in college my mom bought me a bottle (I think just plain Burberry for women) and it’s pretty much the first perfume I’ve ever liked. But now there’s just a drop left, and even though I love it, knowing me, I probably won’t replace it for like 2 years/ever.

    The other scent I’ll wear, if something lighter is called for, is a mist by Warm Spirit called Lavender Rain. It’s pretty much just lavender and water, and it makes you smell like clean laundry.

    I’ve received a lot of perfumes over the years (the kind of gift you get when people try to think of what they know about you and can only come up with the fact that you are female) and they are almost all terrible I think. Most of them smell pretty much indistinguishable to me. I don’t like anything fruity, or too astringently floral, or overwhelmingly vanilla-y. So this is a helpful guide.

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    This post totally made me want to go shopping.

    So, I popped over to Macy’s at lunchtime and smelled Burberry, Yves St. Laurant, Play by Givenchy and D&G Light Blue. I don’t know spicy from woodsy so all I can tell you is they were all lovely. Although Play is a little different. And I went with Light Blue, which, thanks to Valentine’s Day, was on sale.

    PS. These were all men’s.

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    my coworkers know i have an obsession with Playdoh – so last year Hasbro on the Playdoh 50th anniversary released a “Playdoh scent” perfume. The coworkers got together and purchased me a bottle for Christmas. It smells just like a freshly opened container of my childhood memories! So when ever i am feeling a bit dragged down with adult crap, i squirt a lil on and feel so much better!

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      That sounds awesome. But it also makes me kind of sad that you probably would not taste like a salt lick when someone gives in and licks you.

      …c’mon, we’ve all been five.

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    I LOVE Old Spice. Any Old Spice scent. Axe is too weird for me… too reminiscent of high school and my 16 year-old brother. Other than Old Spice, I wear lady perfumes. My main three:

    I’ve been wearing regular ol’ Burberry since 10th grade. It’s a lady scent but doesn’t smell flowery.

    Also, Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue! I started wearing it very recently, but it’s gotten me so many compliments from girls who sit next to me in class. More so than when I wear anything else.

    My favorite is Emporio Armani Diamonds (ladies version again). The description says it’s “Lychee, Raspberry, Rose, Freesia, Lily of the Valley, Vetiver, Cedar Wood, Patchouli, Vanilla.” That’s a lot, and sounds a litte overwhelming… but I think it’s so perfect.

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    I wore TommyGirl until my sophomore year of high school, and then I started my love affair with Dolce and Gabbana perfume. First, I bought Light Blue because I smelled it one time and thought it smelled like teenage girl lol. But, I soon found The One. It’s my favorite perfume for night time. It’s pretty heavy for all the time wear.

    In the day I wear D&G 10 La Roue de la Fortune from their Anthology “unisex” collection. I went to the mall with my gay bestie to buy it and he ended up buying No. 3 L’Imperatrice and he smells like a woman if ever I’ve smelled one. Like, straight up teen girl fruity…glitter and rainbows and shit.

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    Colognes and Perfumes are great and all but I feel like the smell of my hair contributes significantly to my smell. I don’t wear any fragrances, but I do use this great Moroccan oil and Moroccan oil leave in creme conditioner that everyone tells me smells amazing. Its also more subtle than a perfume so people ask “is that you? wow that smells amazing”

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    i usually like to let my body wash (pomegranate & lemon verbena) and lotion (cocoa butter) speak for themselves but when i’m feeling extra fancy i go for the tommy girl, definitely. mostly because i asked for it one christmas when i was in middle school and then got like three bottles that i haven’t used up yet. also it smells pretty good!

    my mom used to wear this perfume, i think it was by halston, that made me melt into a puddle of happy. i wish i could find it somewhere. i feel like if i wore it i would smell like a grown-up woman, haha.

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      Yeah, my mom has a “signature scent” too. I somehow ended up with her leather jacket once, and I thought it was neat that it smelled like my mom.

      A few years later she got custody and I learned it actually smelled like Red Door. FAREWELL, CHILDHOOD MAGIC.

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    Um, I have two questions for anyone who’s reading through comments and doesn’t mind answering. I don’t have much of a sense of smell (seriously, the last thing I remember smelling was molasses six months ago, and snow about the same amount of time before that) so I’m kind of curious/concerned that I’ve unknowingly assaulted people’s noses.

    Do most people wear perfume/cologne/whatever? Do people smell bad without it?

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      I am with you! I rarely notice if anyone else smells bad, so it doesn’t occur to me to try to make sure I smell good. But if I think about it there are some people whose smell I do remember (i.e. people who wear scented products who I’ve hooked up with) and I would like to be able to provide memories like that to other people, I have to say.

      However, I’m afraid to start just buying a random scent that I like. Because different smells interact with different people differently, and I have no idea what I smell like and what will smell wrong on my body. Plus, I wear all kinds of other things with smells that I chose pretty randomly (shampoo, soap, deodorant, lotion), so I’m afraid that if I choose a perfume it will just battle with all those other smells and the person smelling me will leave confused. How can so many smells be reconciled?

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      As much as I love the smell of perfume and oils, nothing compares to the scent of a human in natural form. Certain people have a great natural body scent, but maybe I’m just weird. So according to me people don’t smell bad without it.

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    “If you have a special somebody this Valentine’s Day, scents are a fabulous way to tell somebody, “I love you, and I want to nuzzle my nose in your shoulder and bite your collarbone.””

    And that is when they get a MOUTH FULL OF SCENT and NEVER LICK YOU AGAIN.

    Not to be on your ass or anything, sorry I am drunk right now but this is why I don’t wear perfume. Because a) your natural pheromones do a LOT, have you ever tried to get off with someone who doesn’t smell rgiht I have can;’t do it and b) ew perfume mouth.

    <3 this is all

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      You better believe I was one pissed-off little kid when I discovered perfume never tastes like perfume.

      I later determined that what I expected perfume to taste like is actually what black walnut ice cream tastes like. Though for some of the woodsier scents I suppose you could throw in some chai or something.

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    hey do any of you guys know what the adidas perfume in the red glass bottle is called? it’s in the same shape of bottle as adidas moves and there’s no name on it. i got some from a friend of mine and i cannot find it anywhere!

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    Oh man I was getting frustrated when I didn’t see Gwen Stefani’s LAMB on this, then Alex comes in to save the day, saved the best for last…THANK YOU, this stuff is my favorite to wear with darker colors. For lighter colors and sunny days that make me want to skip, I prefer Happy Heart by Clinique.

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    Hopefully this is a safe space because I have a confession to make. I just rub dryer sheets on my clothes once I’m dressed. Nothing smells better to me than clean laundry.

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    Cursing the day Banana Republic stopped producing Modern. Absolutely, fan freakin tastic smell…citrus and clean. Made my mouth water and vice/versa for my partner. Only con to it was you had to reapply throughout the day.

    Black Walnut from the above mentioned brand sits on our bathroom counter. Woodsy but not as mouth watering as Modern.

    Very Sexy for men by Victoria’s Secret is nice as well as Tommy Bahama men’s cologne…sweet and spicy.

    On the womens side. I really dig Jo Malone’s Sage and Citrus. I also like Romance by Calvin Klein. Oh and Filigree made by Thymes. Very sweety/spicy and again…have to reapply during the day.

    Now, off to search for Modern on the internet. Maybe someone will still have a bottle…

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    a disclaimer: i do wear women’s perfume. always. this is not something i am committed to, it is just what is happening now.

    and so i am EXTREMELY HAPPY gaultier made it. i wear a locket of gaultier body solid perfume everyday ….just in case one morning i wake up not at home. you will always smell like a lady. and by this i mean everyone will be all over you.

    that being said my main scent is shiseido zen. it even has a movie: http://www.us.shiseido.com/zen/visualmovie.htm

    also queer beauty bar is a thumbs up.

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    Oooh, I love this article. I am, however, quite often am too poor for expensive scents (although I do love Marc Jacobs). And so, I love Green Tea by Elizabeth Arden – it’s nice and light and fresh, and not overly girly. And cost efficient, yay!

    On a different note, I once got paid a back-handed compliment, when someone at work told me I smelled nice and what perfume was I wearing, and I was forced to tell them, actually? Febreze. I WORKED IN A BAR, AND IT WAS BEFORE THE SMOKING BAN, AND I HADN’T HAD TIME TO WASH MY WORK SHIRT OKAY. Over-skooshing of Febreze seemed neccessary at the time. (Please don’t judge.)

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    I’ve been wearing Victoria’s Secret “Love Spell” for about the past 10 years, which goes against the Justin Bieber-ish look (or “futch” if you’re using Dani Campbell language) I’ve got going. What can I say? I like to mix it up! And I’ve had plenty of ladies tell me that I smell addictingly fantastic as well. :)

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    Presence D’une Femme – by Mont Blanc

    hands down best perfume – not a fan of wearing men’s perfumes – however, this one carries some wood notes in its aroma, which makes it boyish enough to always get a girl to tell me I smell great or ask me which perfume I wear. It softly carries a flowery smell as well, which smells incredibly nice without getting girly or overly floral and/or fruity. I’ve always thought of it as an androgynous fragrance for girls. I just love this balance! Discovered it a few years ago, when launched as the female counterpart to presence for men.

    It’s a ladies’ perfume described as:
    “Gender: Men’s Collection”
    (pretty androgynous…i guess)

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    I love scents, then I got allergic to the freaking chemicals. And then I found organic perfumes which I love & now I’ve found vegan perfumes which is the Lesbian El Dorado:
    so now going to buy me some Lush Icon & start smelling great again

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    I’m struck by how many of us put value on a unisex scent. It’s crazy that something as simple as perfume can have baggage attached.

    I remember when I was 13 or 14 and I was in my mother’s bedroom while she was getting dressed for church. My stepfather had just left the room and I could smell his cologne in the air. I asked my mom what it was and she pointed out the bottle so I grabbed it sprayed some. I really liked it so I said “I really like this, I’m going to start wearing it.” She snapped at me like I had just cursed in front of her and said “That’s for men. I wish I would catch you wearing some damned men’s cologne.”

    But, the only perfumes for women I knew smelled too soft and flowery and I didn’t want that so I didn’t wear anything at all until CK One came out. It was unisex so I could wear it without feeling compromised or my mom tagging me for having something that said “for him.”

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    Hmm. I find the smell of men’s cologne to be really gross and that was one of my hints growing up that I am totes a lesbo. Honestly though, I’m not that keen on strong perfumes anyway. My favorite scent is the way girls smell when they just get out of the shower. It’s like soap and shampoo. They should bottle that. Mmm.

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    Lush Karma Solid Perfume for me. It’s kind of a mix of patchouli, lemongrass and orange. Also it’s £4.95 and it’s vegan…My actual favourite smell on me and others is cannabis though. WHY AM I SUCH A HIPPIE.

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    Does anyone else buy from One Hand Washes the Other on Etsy? Because I’m currently using Pink Lady, which is all sorts of girly but I like it anyway, and Salty Mariner (it makes me smell like the ocean. Seriously. It’s fantastic).

    I’m not very good at buying actual legit perfumes because I am super cheap and that stuff is EXPENSIIIIVE, but I do like to wear Chanel No. 5 when I want to feel like a super BAMF sort of person, and I’m kind of having a long-distance love affair with Taverns and the Hague from Anthropologie because it smells awesome and the NAME, but I’m poor and it costs so much.

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    My signature scent is Breath Of God by LUSH’s Guerrilla Perfumers. It’s pretty spicy (vetivert, cedarwood, amber, and sandalwood)with subtle floral undertones (some light jasmine, rose, and neroli)and a bit of fresh citrus (lemon). It’s delicious. That mixed with my pretty much pure patchouli deodorant is a match made in heaven.

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    I am sensitive to scent because I have a really powerful sense of smell and am allergic to numerous things. However, I found that cologne bothers me less than perfume.

    I think what is more important that the scent is knowing how to put the scent on your body properly. Perfume and cologne are meant to be hints of a smell not “I took a bath in my bottle of curve” powerful. Generally you should spray and then walk through the mist…. that’s all you really need.

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      Ahh no!

      You should definitely not do the mist walk-through when applying fragrance. Some perfumes and colognes stain clothes really badly, and spraying it on fabric usually makes them smell different in a bad way.

      You should also never spray wrists and rub them together. Rubbing ruins the molecular structure of the perfume and also makes it smell weird.

      Just spray an appropriate amount on pulse points. Perfumes and colognes all differ in strength. If unsure, just ask a very honest friend if you’ve put on too much or not enough.

      And I am officially a perfume geek. ^^

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    No one has mentioned this, which makes me sad.

    My bestie gay boy friend wears Anchor Blue’s cologne, which I believe is just called Blue? It’s in a little blue square bottle. NOT Anchor Blue Sport, which is all I can find on the internets except for one tiny little obscure site which sells the one I want, I think. ANYWAY. Love this scent. I hug my bestie & he doesn’t even have to hug me back; just the smell of that cologne makes me feel all comforted & warm & safe & happy. I cannot really describe the scent, though. It just smells like boy to me; not boy in a gross way, but boy in a nice way. I plan to buy some when I have money next. /rambling

    I am devastated that Anchor Blue is going out of business, mainly because eventually all this cologne will be gone & I will cry.

    & oh! Very Sexy by VS. I had forgotten about that stuff. I’ve never worn the perfume, but my aunt used to use the shampoo & conditioner & then I stole it from her. I should get more of that sometime for when I am feeling girly.

    Also, currently, I am using Old Spice Swagger. The deodorant, though, not the cologne. It DOES NOT smell like everybody’s grandpa.

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      NO! So sad to hear that Anchor Blue is going away. They made the first guy’s plaid flannel shirt that I somehow managed to con my dad into buying for me about a decade ago. The end of my baby-dyke era…

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    so i’m a little late to the perfume party but can i just say that i was in the market for a new scent (i normally wear burberry brit, but i’m wildly impulsive and try to do everything autostraddle tells me to) so i went to le labo in soho yesterday and bought rose 31. and today i smell like excellence! plus the girl behind the counter was wearing this cute little lab coat like a chemist! science can be sexy and now i know. thanks for the recommendation you guys.

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    i’m definitely a seasonal person – dkny’s ‘be delicious’ on warm days, ck’s ‘euphoria’ otherwise, esp. on nights out. in future i might buy either ‘envy’ or ‘gucci’ by gucci – the model freja beha erichsen mentioned that she wears them and i’m a little in love with her at the moment /shallow
    a friend of mine wears ‘individuelle’ by montblanc which used to send the blood rushing through my ears. though i’d probably marry the first cute girl who could make viktor and rolf’s ‘flowerbomb’ work for them, since it doesn’t for me :)

    also, for those who wear britney’s ‘fantasy’ – FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PLEASE STOP! it’s on everyone and it’s not funny any more.

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    I really really enjoy DKNY Be Delicious (the light green bottle), my first love bought some for me my senior year and i’ve worn it ever since. Everyone calls it my signature scent and i think that is awesome.
    its a super yummy scent.

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    im a chef and prefer not to mess with my nose so i dont normaly where any thing unless going out with my BestFriend then i where hers its this oil that has fermons in it and i dont know if its that or her or its really that good smelling but its amazing and unisex her ex hubby used to where it also but she wont tell me what it is and she getts it at a little market in las vegas and they mix it she tells me that its the smell of a high class hooker but im not sure what a hooker smells like but since my only other fav sent is the smell of a chick thats been drinking cheep vodka and smoking camels all day id say i have a strange taste in womens sents

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    The Old Spice deodorants, the new ones that smell like blank, blank, and freedom are pretty awesome. They could definitely straddle a lot of lines. I particularly like Fiji.

    Snaps for my pops who just recently switched from wearing “girls'” deodorant to the floweriest “boys'” one. Snaps man snaps.

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    feeling ripped off because your allergic, but would love to smell as good as some of your friends?
    well, i did anyways. until the vanilla extract spilled in my cupboard and i had an idea. a dab of extract on my collar bone or backs of my knees. and not just vanilla, either. almond, mint, etc. its going to sound zany but lemon or orange zest rubbed in my inner elbows, or a cinnamon stick in my pocket.

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    I am SUCH a picky perfume human, largely because I’ve got the olifactory skills of a basset hound. I personally wear Kai, because it reminds me of the Big Island and mixes crazy well with my body chemistry.

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    I love, love, LOVE Falling in Love by Philosophy, so I was really excited to see it on here! It smells like flowers and snickerdoodles, and I would smear it all over my face every day if I could.
    I also like to use Bath and Body’s Warm Brown Sugar fragrance/spritz bottle thing, because I really like sweet, delicious smells.

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    Definitely my go-to scent is “Inspire” by Christina Aguilera http://amzn.to/zFDEdl

    However, I ran out and perfume is expensive sooo, I have some cheaper back-ups too:
    “Natural Vitality” by Adidas http://bit.ly/zgxgb8
    “Vanilla Noir” by Bath & Body Works (which I’d sometimes mix with my tester of “Curios” by Britney Spears until that ran out)
    http://bit.ly/yw5q7p
    “Dark Kiss” by Bath & Body Works (this scent seeps into bras and t-shirts and skin like nothing else, espesh if I use the body butter after a shower, omg it’s delicious. And the ladies appreciate it, also)
    http://amzn.to/zP4llH

    Also, at the Duty Free last month I fell in love with either “Euphoria” (http://amzn.to/xWvz8x) or “Forbidden Euphoria” (http://amzn.to/A02IKE) by Calvin Klein. One I adored, one I didnt, can’t remember which is which. But they both have a sexy, powerful, not-super-feminine vibe which made me feel like a total sexpot. Just one was not a scent that I personally would wanna rock, ya know?

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    I practically collect fragrances. It’s so fun! CK One and CK Be are awesome, unisex scents that pretty much everyone likes. Bvlgari Black is another fun one that smells like vanilla, leather and… well, rubber, but not in a bad way.

    Personally I wear men’s colognes that smell more unisex than heavy, but I’m not gonna reveal which ones ;)

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    how did i only just find this article? I have so many feelings about smelling good and being cruelty free at the same time. it’s tricky! currently i’m searching on etsy for complicated/unusual scents but when I do remember to wear perfume it’s Lush’s Vanillary, which is super sweet.

    my most favourite perfume ever though is my ex’s, called black xs (the women’s one) and I swear, it’s like an aphrodisiac. it’s kind of floral but incredibly sexy and, I can’t even explain, smell for yourself.

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