Wearing perfume at the office is a delicate affair: the key word, I believe should be respect. Respect for the fact that space is usually limited, the hours are long, air-circulation can be poor and tempers tend to be frail when the stress mounts. What does this have to do with perfume? An overpowering scent, or heavy-handed application can and in many cases will bother those working close to us. Thus, not only sympathy for our coworkers, but good manners as well, demand that we be neighborly and limit application to a few discrete squirts, so as not to overwhelm. Solid perfumes, splash colognes and light eaux de toilettes will allow more liberal application, in my opinion however, as long as we are considerate, we do not need to take things as far as resorting to solids! Another thing that will certainly help if you do not trust yourself to not-overapply, is to rotate a variety of favorites: this will ensure your nose will not get too used to a certain scent to the point that you do not smell it yourself – something that can at times result to dousing ourselves with our favorite because we can no longer detect it. Still uncertain? Another good idea is to assess the perfume habits of your coworkers. Offices function in many ways like small communities and as such, many develop their own unspoken rules and codes of conduct. Conforming to the office’s model will not only score extra points, but will also save the trouble of being confronted with friction or discontent later on. I do not consider myself a conformist, but as a reluctant perhaps realist, I see more potential for advancement for someone who does not unduly stir the waters or draws too much unwanted attention. No, perfume is not a trivial issue to us perfume addicts, and part of me wants to rebel against my own thoughts. (Why should I be deprived of my favorite perfume? I put in my hours! etc..) But certainly, if not for the sake of advancement alone, then for the sake of a balanced mental state at going-home time, we must consider laying off the sillage monsters in favor of something less controversial. Seeing the same colleague that decided to declare perfume war upon you every day is, nine times out of ten, simply not worth it. Lastly, in my humble opinion, choosing fragrances that smell of pure seduction is extremely counterproductive. The aim, surely, is to be taken seriously.
Having said all this, however, does not mean we now have license to become predictable and bland! Fabulousness must be maintained! What you are looking for here is something that sets you apart, while still following all the rules above. Feeling beautiful, capable and fresh in the sometimes stifling, air-conditioned environment of the workplace will do wonders for your confidence, something that will undoubtedly reflect on your work and the way you are perceived by your colleagues.
Here are a few of my own recommendations for great office scents:
· Eau de Campagne by Sisley : Wonderfully fresh, butter-wouldn’t-melt cool, improbably superior, reeking of good taste and money, this green beauty that does the tomato-vine note better than any other is a choice that simply can’t go wrong.
· Light Blue by Dolce & Gabbana : People either seem to love or hate this one, but the tremendous appeal it has as evidenced by its sales and the fact that it is going as strong today as it did when it first came out makes me inclined to think those that love it far outnumber those that hate it. I most certainly belong to the former group. Light Blue is strangely appealing: It is undoubtedly seductive, but in an innocent, unthreatening way. It can be your ray of sunshine and happiness under the misery of the dreadful artificial lighting.
· Cashmere Mist by Donna Karan : Soft, clean, expertly blurring the lines between warm, clean skin and fragrance, this will offend noone. As a plus, its comforting scent will hopefully balance you throughout the day.
· Perles de Lalique : Wonderfully, beautifully sophisticated, the dry, peppery edge of this modern chypre makes it a fantastic choice for cool weather. The only word to describe it is chic.
· Lumiere by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz : If you must wear a gourmand fragrance at the office, then it has to be this one! For cool weather only, this beautiful scent is warm enough to engulf you in a gourmand bubble filled with goodness, yet soft and unobtrusive enough to keep the dirty looks from your colleagues at bay. Despite its gourmand nature, Lumiere manages to be only as sweet as it needs to be – it is never saccharine or cloying. The first time I smelled it, I was not only instantly hooked but also completely taken by surprise! It smells exactly like the “Hot Masala” chocolate by Dolfin! (a brand of Belgian chocolates) Seeing the ingredients, my nose felt vindicated! They both feature cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg. The similarity is astounding – smelling Lumiere, I can almost taste Hot Masala chocolate in my mouth. I have not tried the spray, only the pulse roller and when it comes to the office, this is all the sillage you need.
· Allure by Chanel (Edp) : If you are certain you need to amp the fabulousness appeal, if you are sure you need a little more oomph and if you know you can control your application....then you need some Allure. It is not a favorite of mine, that’s one thing that is certain -Allure is slightly controversial to my nose for some reason- but it certainly fits the bill: It is sophisticated, it is warm, yet at the same time exudes an air of coolness, it is sexy, yet it does not cross any of those invisible lines. Sexy yes, but not approachable without the wearer’s consent. And despite my professions that it is not a fragrance I really like, I often long for it. It has an addictive appeal and it most certainly sets the wearer apart. I recommend the Eau de Parfum and I most definitely suggest dabbing, not spraying.
So, what do you think about wearing perfume at the office? What are your own choices and do you try to keep to lighter, more subdued fragrances or do you just follow your mood? I’d love to hear what you think!
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