How to Find Your Signature Perfume
In search of a signature scent? Whether you prefer crisp and clean or soft and floral fragrances, there's a match for you. Find your perfect perfume once and for all with this guide.
If the same bottle of perfume has been sitting on your nightstand for years now (or perhaps you’ve even been spritzing that one go-to scent since high school...), it may be time for an upgrade. Find your new signature fragrance with this guide to the best perfumes for women, from woodsy nature blends to the latest generation of florals that are sweet but not cloying.
A hot toddy on a cold day—mmm. These scents remind us of that delicious warmth, thanks to their blend of spicy and citrus notes, says Erika Shumate, co-founder of the fragrance brand Pinrose. If you like to leave people guessing, you'll enjoy these androgynous and often hard-to-pin-down aromas.
We like (from left): Diptyque Kimonanthe ($200 for 3.4 oz.; diptyqueparis.com), Stash SJP ($85 for 3.4 oz.; ulta.com), Jo Malone London Orange Bitters ($135 for 3.4 oz.; nordstrom.com), Elizabeth and James Nirvana Bourbon ($85 for 1.7 oz.; sephora.com).
Sexy, exotic escapes
Spritz here if you like the idea of "a getaway with a loved one," says Shumate, "where the location is unknown but the person you're with is familiar." The marriage of unusual notes, like fire tree, with more recognized ones, like lavender, creates an unexpected but seductive scent. One-way ticket, please!
We like (from left): Aerin Tangier Vanille ($160 for 3.4 oz.; sephora.com), Michael Kors Wonderlust ($108 for 3.4 oz.; michaelkors.com), Lancôme Lavandes Trianon ($185 for 3.4 oz.; nordstrom.com), Charlotte Tilbury Scent of a Dream ($100 for 1.7 oz.; charlottetilbury.com).
Fruit and flowers
Forget what you thought you knew about floral scents—the new generation is sweet without being cloying. The key is their updated ingredients: "Fruits like pear and berries add something that make the flowers pop for a much more energetic mix," says Shumate.
We like (from left): Missoni ($94 for 3.4 oz.; bloomingdales.com), YSL Mon Paris ($92 for 1.7 oz.; sephora.com), Coach ($95 for 3.4 oz.; ulta.com), Kate Spade Live Colorfully Sunset ($95 for 1.7 oz.; sephora.com).
The great outdoors
If "fresh" could be bottled, this is what it would smell like. Moss and vetiver are, as Shumate says, "the perfect fall notes" because of their green and woodsy qualities. Just right for work, these subtle scents will make you feel like you're out in nature, not stuck in an office.
We like (from left): Gucci Bamboo ($82 for 1.7 oz.; sephora.com), Malin + Goetz Vetiver ($165 for 3.4 oz.; malinandgoetz.com), Chanel No 5 L'Eau ($132 for 3.4 oz.; sephora.com), Maison Margiela Replica 'Soul of the Forest' ($180 for 3.4 oz.; barneys.com), Pinrose Treehouse Royal ($55 for 1 oz.; sephora.com).