Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

December 5, 2007

The Big Question: Sadly Not in Smell-O-Vision

Filed under: Makeup,The Big Question — Miss Plumcake @ 1:46 pm

Francesca and Plumcake want to know:

What is your signature scent?  Do you change it with the seasons? Have you ever had a perfume “turn” on you?


  1. My all time favorite remains Coco by Chanel. I have to admit I prefer the Eau de Toilette to the Eau de Parfum but either way I love it. My next two favorites are Knowing by Estee Lauder and Youth Dew Amber Nude created by Tom Ford for Estee Lauder

    Comment by Debbie the Bee Queen — December 6, 2007 @ 1:09 pm

  2. I’m with Leah on the Bath&Body Works Jasmine Vanilla scent–it does drive men wild, or my husband at any rate. Of course, the fact that I bought it in the form of massage oil might help….

    I don’t usually wear perfume, although I have some Estee Lauder “Pure White Linen” that a relative gave me which I quite like. I am quite fond of meyer lemon-scented lotion, as it is a light, food-ish scent.

    Comment by JaneC — December 6, 2007 @ 1:48 pm

  3. I only wear Obsession by Calvin Klein, and have ever since I was 16, which is … well, it’s sort of sad, actually. But Obsession smells delicious on me and makes me feel delicious and really, what more can you ask for in a scent?

    I also love love LOVE Sheer Obsession, which was the lighter version that CK came out with a while ago and was perfect for daytime, but it’s harder and harder to find now that it’s discontinued.

    Comment by Miss Julie — December 6, 2007 @ 3:02 pm

  4. Allure by Chanel, hands down. Delicious.

    Comment by sara — December 6, 2007 @ 3:40 pm

  5. Flower Bomb for dress up and LAVanilla for everyday. I used to wear Fendi and then they stopped importing it, now I find it too strong. A wonderful scent is Shiseido’s Feminite duBois… very cedar and rich. Also, not imported anymore but thank goodness for the internet.

    Comment by Renée — December 6, 2007 @ 4:23 pm

  6. I’m partial to amber based scents and other warm, dry, resiny scents. My current obsession is Ambre Russe from Parfum d’Empire which is an amber/tea/spice sort of scent. I have a little trial size vial and I’m in love, but scraping together the cash for it during the holidays… not so much.

    The fresh, clean american type scents smell horrible on me. Good on other people, but they get a sour note when they hit my skin. And I hate super flowery perfumes.

    Comment by jj — December 6, 2007 @ 5:09 pm

  7. My mother gave me a bottle of Chanel No. 5 — the top screwed off, and you upturned it onto your fingertip before dabbing. Over the years, the oils from her finger and then later mine changed it into something MAGICAL on me. Unfortunately, new bottles just don’t have the same quality.

    I wear Creed’s Angelique Encens most of the time, and sometimes Creed’s Fleurissimo.

    Comment by Faith — December 6, 2007 @ 5:20 pm

  8. I don’t have a huge range of perfumes and I tend to think of perfumes in colors so I tend to match them with what I’m wearing. I also like some of what are considered “weird” scents.

    My loves are:
    Chanel No. 19
    Issey Miyaki L’eau de Issey
    Origins Ginger
    Sake by Fresh
    Jo Malone’s Nectarine Blossom & Honey as well as her White Jasmine & Mint
    Bvglari White Tea

    I love Annick Goutal’s Petite Cherie and Ce Soir Ou Jamais, but they are kind of pricy.

    There are few others, but those are my faves. I’m currently sampling a bunch of scents though vials. I bought a whole slew of them and am comig up with more to get.


    Comment by Poochie — December 6, 2007 @ 5:52 pm

  9. I have about 30 different perfumes on the dressing table, but the ones I keep coming back to are warm, lush scents. Helmut Lang is DIVINE — a grown up version of Bonne Bell Skin Musk. It’s subtle, but when men get close enough to smell, they love it. Comptoir Sud Pacifique’s Coeur de Vahine (formerly Les Enfants du Soleil) is a great summery fragrance, like a spicy creamsicle. I wear it alone in summer and in fall/winter, I layer it with a vanilla body lotion to bring out the base notes. Last, I’m still in love with Jo Malone’s Nutmeg Ginger. It must be used sparingly, however, since it’s a very strong fragrance.

    Neller, if you like Poison, take a whiff of Hypnotic Poison. It has lusher base notes (of vanilla, maybe?) and smells like seduction in a slinky red satin dress.

    Comment by Orora — December 6, 2007 @ 6:28 pm

  10. Byzance, by Rochas. Last Christmas I made hubby buy me three bottles on eBay, because you simply can’t find it in stores in North America any more – though I understand it’s still available in France.

    There’s tuberose and sandalwood and musk and other things that I can’t remember that are simply divine, and I’ve never smelled another perfume that I like so well. The Body Shoppe’s white musk comes close, but isn’t, quite.

    The pity is that my body chemistry seams to eat perfume, so it’s barely detectable an hour after I put it on – and that’s the eau de parfum not even just the eau de toilette *sigh*.

    Comment by magista — December 6, 2007 @ 6:30 pm

  11. Pamplelune by Gerlain. It’s not sold in the States anymore (except at Sephora) so I have stockpiled a stash from a duty free website.

    Comment by texasexile — December 6, 2007 @ 6:31 pm

  12. I am ruled by my sense of smell. I love perfume. On men, I love cologne.

    In the summer I wear Issey Miyake or Sui Love by Anna Sui.

    Fall and winter usually finds me wearing Eau de Mervielles by Hermes or my current fave, Supermodel from Victoria’s Secret. Both are hard to place and I frequently get complimented on them.

    God bless whoever created the classic Abercrombie and Fitch for men cologne. It reminds me of my 19 year-old o-chem lab partner. Sexy and so dangerous, all at the same time…

    Comment by JayKay — December 6, 2007 @ 6:36 pm

  13. Dior Addict for winter, Philosophy Falling in Love or Clinique Happy to Be in summer (except that my Happy to Be got stolen from a hotel room).

    My current favorite websites for learning more about perfumes:
    Now Smell This:
    Perfume Posse:

    Comment by Elizabeth — December 6, 2007 @ 6:49 pm

  14. Most days for work I wear Chance by Chanel.

    Also like Hermés Jardin sur Nil, the original Marc Jacobs, and Sonia Rykiel Rose.

    Comment by deja pseu — December 6, 2007 @ 7:13 pm

  15. DKNY is my everyday; I love citrusy scents, and that’s a good one. For special occasions I wear Calvin Klein Contradiction, but it’s too strong for everyday.

    Comment by Amanda — December 6, 2007 @ 7:47 pm

  16. Fendi… it is dark and spicy and I’ve worn it for almost 20 years. For a little while it was impossible to find in Canada and then suddenly came back…

    I love it and it smells wonderful on me and I find that it fades (1 spritz) for day and has great staying power (2 spritz) for evening…

    Comment by robby — December 6, 2007 @ 7:57 pm

  17. Most days I stick to the lingering aroma of my Dove white bar soap. Otherwise, I love Just Cavalli Her, which I use sparingly because I’m running out and it’s been discontinued. My new favorite is Valentino V. I’m one of those people who has to be very careful about scents. I’ve found out the hard way that many scents that smell great to me in the bottle turn nasty on my body. Gucci Rush is an example.

    And I love a good-smelling man.

    Comment by caitlin — December 6, 2007 @ 8:15 pm

  18. I wear Champs Elysees by Guerlain, no matter the season. It was the first and only scent that ever smelled good to me on one of those magazine inserts. It’s floral but also woodsy and somehow, to me, does not seem too girlie.

    In the 90s I wore Tresor by Lancome. I loved it. Now, it’s not as if it smells awful to me, but just completely nondescript. Weird.

    In the 1980s I wore Oscar by Oscar de la Renta even though it was completely too old for me. Then all of a sudden it smelled “dated,” as Babs said above about Poison. Recently I sniffed a bottle again in a store, and it smelled wonderful again. Maybe it’s time to bring it back into my wardrobe.

    When I’m really grown up (smile) I’ll wear Shalimar, which my mother always wore. You can’t go wrong with Guerlain.

    Comment by Marie — December 6, 2007 @ 9:30 pm

  19. I change scents pretty much daily, but my “signature” scent would be a basil-based scent that was custom blended for me by Mandrake Apothecary ( I actually have about a dozen of Mandrake’s scents, and I love them all! Jezebel would probably be my second favourite Mandrake scent.

    For people who are perfume sensitive, I highly recommend trying Mandrake – the perfumes are synthetic-free, made from all manner of essential oils, absolutes and extracts and made in very small batches by a very talented perfumer…

    Comment by Canadian Chick — December 6, 2007 @ 10:46 pm

  20. The Annalucia has but one scent : “Imperatrice” from Hove Parfumeur in New Orleans. It is heavy and rich, and suits her perfectly.

    Comment by Annalucia — December 6, 2007 @ 11:01 pm

  21. I used to really like Casma by Caswell-Massey, but they no longer make it, sadly. I have some that I ration out, I love to pretend I’m a 1920s starlet about to go into a speakeasy.

    Currently, I’m a big fan of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s ( blends, mostly because I can spend hours on the site reading all of the descriptions. Currently, I’m a fan of Vice (deep chocolate, cherry, & orange blossom) and a “voodoo blend” called Follow Me Boy.

    I’m also a huge fan of the Flying Fox (jasmine & honey) body wash and temple balm by Lush. I’m glad that Lush is making more solid perfumes, but saddned that they aren’t continuing Flying Fox– that stuff really is great for PMS.

    Comment by Lunakitsch — December 7, 2007 @ 12:52 am

  22. I’m another one for fragrance free products!

    I’m sort of a hippie though and I rub a little vanilla or almond extract behind my ears b/c it’s such a warm scent. Plus I rationalise the stuff is about 35% alcohol anyway.

    Comment by Ninjarina — December 7, 2007 @ 1:21 am

  23. I loved Chanel’s Allure when I first got married and wore it for years. When I got pregnant about five years later I found myself smelling “wrong” somehow, I think it was much too strong. I craved a body butter that The Body Shop made in an earthy olive scent and I wore that throughout my pregnancy. It just smelled very right to me. I still love that scent, but rarely wear it anymore. I wear different scents now, more seasonal. Usually with fruit or herbal scents.

    Comment by Eilish — December 7, 2007 @ 2:30 am

  24. Incidentally, my husband never has much of an opinion on my scents. He says as long as I smell better than him, he’s fine with it!

    Comment by Eilish — December 7, 2007 @ 2:32 am

  25. Yeah Lunakitsch, another BPAL fan over here! I’ve heard it said that Lush is a gateway drug for BPAL :-). Flying fox is gorgeous and I too am sad it’s being discontinued. I never could get it to have any lasting power on me though :(.

    Canadian Chick, Mandrake sounds interesting, thanks for mentioning it. Not that I need any more perfume mind you; I probably have enough to last me the rest of my life if it wouldn’t go bad! But I get such joy out of discovering new scents and I LOVE supporting small artists in industries like perfume which are mostly dominated by large corporations.

    Comment by Kimocean — December 7, 2007 @ 4:00 am

  26. M: try

    I too have funny body chemistry, so can wear very few scents/they turn on me quickly. I adored Fresh Index Olive Muscade and Moroccan Mint Tea, both now out of production. I used to like Hermes Eau de Cologne/d’Orange Vert. Or in summer, Hermes Amazone, though that now smells too saccharine on me.

    Both in an attempt to avoid having them turn on me and to reduce the amount of potentially carcinogenic chemicals that get absorbed through the skin from cosmetics and scents (but still smell good), I’ve recently been experimenting with more natural brands of eau de cologne and eau de parfum, like Terra Nova and Aubrey Organics, and layering them. And Weleda makes nice highly natural moisturizers that have strong scents from the included essential oils. Other people have commented positively on how those smell, perhaps making perfume unnecessary.

    Comment by N — December 7, 2007 @ 4:50 am

  27. Angel in wintertime, and I love Herve Leger for warmer weather.

    When I am feeling “low maintenance”, vanilla spice products from the Body Shop.

    Comment by Jenna — December 7, 2007 @ 6:30 am

  28. Mine’s definitely Dolce and Gabanna for Women. Perfect amount of deliciousness and spice. I wore this the first time I met my boyfriend and to this day he smells my clothes when I’m not around. :)

    Comment by Maurina — December 7, 2007 @ 6:38 am

  29. The de prefers Aveda products – they like her skin and hair best, she’s found.
    I use Rosemary Mint shower gel and hand lotion, so I often smell of it, but I do have a little roll on of Aveda Love – it makes me so happy. It smells like rosemary, cooking spices and brown sugar….:D.

    I can’t wear florals usually, and I can’t wear vanillas – I smell like sour milk :(.

    But for a while I did dabble in making my own at a lovely little store called Bath Junkie – you can mix your own scents and they’ll put them in a little spray bottle – I mixed tea rose and peppermint. :D It’s my backup for when I forget my little vial of Love.

    All three make me feel superfantastic.

    Comment by De — December 7, 2007 @ 11:50 am

  30. We all seem to have read the same Cosmo article about men and vanilla!!
    My usual is Vanilla Fields (which is getting harder to find these days!). It gets me a lot of compliments from both genders, and women are always shocked it’s a cheapie drugstore perfume when I tell them.

    In the winter I like something a bit heavier, like Warm Vanilla Sugar from bath and body works, or just essential oils.

    Comment by Kelly — December 7, 2007 @ 2:54 pm

  31. I don’t really wear perfume, but I am a SUCKER for cheapo girly body spray. Bath and Body Works, The Healing Garden, stuff like that. I don’t go overboard on it, and it dissipates in like an hour or two anyway.

    I used to like Lancome’s Miracle–the first half of the bottle always seemed so fresh and light and feminine without being too floral or fruity–but after awhile, it really did “turn” on me. I had the bottle for several years, so maybe my skin chemistry changed during that time.

    I do like some colognes on guys – Armani’s Acqua di Gio comes to mind–but I don’t like it when guys douse themselves in cheap cologne. Guys, please learn how to apply it sparingly–especially in cramped environments like mass transit!

    Another thing I absolutely can’t pull off is heavier, muskier, amber-y scents. I kind of wish I could, because they’re so grown-up and elegant, but something about my skin chemistry makes it smell too man-ish on me. I’d love to find a nice light watery/rainy scent but I don’t know where to start.

    Comment by T — December 7, 2007 @ 4:39 pm

  32. Add me to the vanilla chorus… I’ve been wearing some version of it since I was 18. Although, I used to LOVE Crabtree & Evelyn’s Vanilla, but then they discontinued the perfume and it’s nearly impossible to find now.

    I’ve been wearing the Body Shop’s vanilla (not too sweet, not too flowery), but it lasts about 2 minutes on me, so I’d been looking for something something new.

    Recently, I’ve been inspired by your fabulous post on samples and decants (I had no idea!) and I’ve just ordered a bunch of samples so I hope I’ll have a new signature scent soon (even if it’s just a new variation on a warm comforting vanilla!)

    Comment by Chellers — December 7, 2007 @ 5:05 pm

  33. I am madly in love with 24, Faubourg by Hermes. I dislike overly fruity, floral, girly smells, and “fresh” perfumes smell like chemicals on me, but 24, Faubourg is heady and ladylike without being obnoxious: orange blossom, jasmine, a little vanilla and sandalwood. For more casual days, I buy travel-sized roll-ons of Crabtree and Evelyn’s Evelyn Rose, which is light and pretty and not saccharine.

    Comment by Em — December 7, 2007 @ 5:11 pm

  34. Also, I love when men wear good cologne. Recently I smelled Kenneth Cole RSVP: mmmm.

    Comment by Em — December 7, 2007 @ 5:26 pm

  35. My absolute signature scent is the original Dali. Just smelling it makes me relax. I also have a lovely oil by Planetary Perfumes called Hematite. And if I’m feeling casual and summery, since I have a lot of grapefruit-scented bath products, I’ll use So Pink from the Gap.

    As for turning on me, I don’t know but there are a lot of perfumes that I used to wear that I’ll smell now and be like ‘Really? I used to like this?” Such as LouLou, Pavlova, and L’air du Temps.

    Comment by KellyGirl — December 7, 2007 @ 6:08 pm

  36. Lolita Lempicka’s original scent is fabulous, as is Ralph by Ralph Lauren (ahhhh the memories!). I will FOLLOW a man who wears Carolina Hererra’s 212 degrees ANYWHERE in the world.

    Comment by Zaftig — December 7, 2007 @ 7:07 pm

  37. Vera Wang Princess and VS Very Sexy are my favorites right now.

    Comment by Angel — December 8, 2007 @ 12:47 am

  38. if you like BPAL, you’ll LOVE Mandrake. The same creativity is at play, but the scents are all botanically based, unlike BPAL which uses a lot of synthetics.

    not that synthetics are bad – I’ve got a lot of those too!

    Comment by Canadian Chick — December 8, 2007 @ 1:09 am

  39. My “signature scent” is Bath and Body Works Mango Mandarin body splash. I love it because it’s so light and fruity that I can just spray it everywhere and it’s never too strong or heady.

    My boyfriend’s cologne is some generic NFL brand, but I always connect that smell with the good times we’ve had together over the two and a half years we’ve been dating. Right now he’s working seasonally at a Christmas tree farm, and he smells like pine all the time. I can’t stop smelling him! :-)

    Comment by Hester — December 8, 2007 @ 1:43 am

  40. Actually Canadian Chick, BPAL uses no synthetics. To quote one of their employees from the forum “it’s ALL 100% natural. The Lab uses no synthetics.”

    Comment by Kimocean — December 8, 2007 @ 7:24 am

  41. I’ve been crazy about perfume since I was about 5 years old; I remember making a special trip downtown with my mother so we could go to Simpson’s, at that time a huge department store in Toronto, where she bought a gold and pink purse-sized atomizer of Miss Balmain perfume. It was a Big Deal, I got a lovely spritz of the perfume to wear home after our day out shopping, and I felt very grown up and sophisticated, like my mommy. Now I’ve got dozens of bottles on my dressing table, but the ones I love the most are the most difficult to find.

    As a teenager, I wore Guerlain’s Nahema (and later, YSL Paris, similar and available, since Nahema was discontinued). I still love YSL Rive Gauche and Nu; Chanel Cristalle and Allure; Shalimar, Jicky, and Rosa Magnifica by Guerlain (but try to find that last one now) Lancome’s Magie Noir, and my real fave, Issey Miyake’s Le Feu.

    The ones that get the most compliments: Fracas, Hermes Rouge, Guerlain’s Samsara, Givenchy Organza, and Nocturnes by Caron, a blend of amber, vertiver, and lily of the valley, among other things.

    I love a great smelling man, too: if he’s wearing Estee Lauder’s JHL, I’m in trouble. Otherwise, Chanel Pour Homme, Dior’s Eau Sauvage, or Aveda’s dry, delicious “Men” scent.

    Comment by chachaheels — December 8, 2007 @ 8:02 am

  42. Kimocean, I know they say that, but I’m very very skeptical of their definition of natural. There are some essences that are just not practical or safe in their natural form, that most companies either eliminate or use the “nature-identical” form of.

    but, this isn’t the place for that discussion, is it? *grin*

    Comment by Canadian Chick — December 8, 2007 @ 4:25 pm

  43. I’ll drop the discussion after this Canadian Chick, but I’ve come to know Beth (the founder of BPAL) in real life and I’ve never met anyone whose business integrity was so high. It’s part of why I enjoy supporting the company. I have a hard time believing she’d say it was 100% natural if it wasn’t. She did elaborate apprenticeships in herbal work and scent work for many years before starting BPAL and I’ve heard her talk about how she has worked to perfect bouquets (blends of other natural ingredients) to replicate scents that aren’t available or safe in natural form.

    I’m not entirely against synthetics in perfumes and still love some of my more traditional perfumes that do use them but with BPAL I’m pretty certain I’m getting a 100% natural product.

    Comment by Kimocean — December 8, 2007 @ 5:10 pm

  44. I have worn Paloma Picasso since i was 19, (I am now 40). I have been stopped on the street three times in Manhattan and three times in Boston, by persons of both sexes asking what I was wearing. I took that as a good sign! I usually wear it in the evening and only dab on a little as it is very strong. For eeryday, I tend to wear a rosemary/mint body spray. It has such a fresh smell and make smy skin tingle!

    Comment by matryca — December 10, 2007 @ 2:22 am

  45. I wear Donna Karan’s Black Cashmere. It was discontinued a couple of years ago, but I was lucky enough to find out in time to buy a huge bottle (which is still sealed, as I had just bought one a month before that which is just now running out). I’m not quite sure what I’ll do when that one’s gone… Occasionally I’ve been wearing Prada instead, but even though I love it, it’s not quite “the one.”

    I’ve gone through “signature scents” over the years- they usually last 2-3 years and then I move on. Past ones have been Paris, Paloma Picasso, Hypnotic Poison, and Cashmere Mist (which is the lightest one I’ve ever managed to pull off) alternated with random body shop/bbw sprays in the summer. The heavier scents work with my chemistry- lighter ones disappear completely, citrus turns rank the second it hits my skin, and heavy, spicy perfume actually smells much lighter on me than on others. Fortunately.

    Comment by Sarah C. — December 10, 2007 @ 7:43 am

  46. I’ll wear Stella by Stella McCartney any day. The amber and tuberose work all seasons. In the summer, I tend toward the honeysuckle and jasmine in Marc Jacobs. My absolute favorite, hands-down, is a layering of two Creed scents. It’s a bit too heavy for summer in Texas, but worth it anyway. I layer white flowers and original santal together…so fine.

    Comment by Sara — December 10, 2007 @ 6:44 pm

  47. To the Kimocean and the Lunakitsch: Thank you! After reading your comments about Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, and particularly Lunakitsch’s description of the Vice scent (I am a fiend for chocolate scents), I visited the website and ordered some Vice and also some Gluttony and some Eden. They arrived yesterday and they are fantastic! I’ve found in recent years that I can’t tolerate most traditional perfumes any more — something about the alcohol content makes them all smell a bit off to me. But these perfume oils are wonderful! Plus, they included a huge pile of samples with my order. I’m going to order more scents this week. Thanks, y’all!

    Comment by Cat — December 25, 2007 @ 2:17 pm

  48. Good Day Guru, what made you want to write on Manolo for the Big Girl!? I was wondering, because I have been thinking about this since last Saturday.

    Comment by Neroli Essential Oil Soap — November 1, 2008 @ 2:46 pm

  49. Hi – just wanted to say good design and blog –

    Comment by Serious Skin Care C Body Butter — November 29, 2008 @ 3:17 pm

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