Monday Question – Do You Change Your Perfume Wardrobe With The Seasons?

Do you wear certain perfumes only in winter?

Some only in summer?

Do you mind those weather dictated conventions? Why or why not?

What is a perfume that would be impossible for you to wear in summer?

My Answer:

Generally I go with my mood. But there are certain perfumes that get more wear time in the colder seasons, some more in the warmer part of the year. But often I work exactly against that, when I crave summery colognes in February or insist on my ambers in June.

I am following a lunar-like cycle of craving where I tend to warm and opulent orientals for a time followed by a phase were it cannot be light and citrus-y enough. Luckily between those two poles almost everything fits in somewhere, irrespective of the season.

Perfumes I cannot wear in the heat of summer would be many by Serge Lutens, I otherwise love. Un Bois Vanille, Chergui, Douce Amère or Jeux de Peau are wonderful in a temperate climate, but in the heat they spell head ache with a vengeance.

How do you handle the seasons?

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30 Responses to Monday Question – Do You Change Your Perfume Wardrobe With The Seasons?

  1. ChickenFreak says:

    Yep, my wardrobe changes almost completely between full-hot and full-cold weather. It’s not a conscious choice of what’s appropriate, it’s pretty much entirely about cravings.

    I like the sticky-foody, animalic, and “dirty” fragrances in winter, along with some of the richer florals and a selected subset of the bitter fragrances – oh, and oranges. In summer, I like the greens, minty things, sweeter and cleaner florals, most of the teas, the rest of the bitter things, and non-orange citruses.

    And, irritatingly, there’s usually a time during the hot-to-cold or cold-to-hot weather transition when I like almost nothing. I assume that one set of cravings is fading and another is gearing up, and none are strong enough to make me happy with anything.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Too bad about the transition phase, it is awful to look at a closet full of perfume, yet nothing appeals…
      You make me curious with your bitter fragrances, which are summery, which wintery?

      • annemariec says:

        I wondered that too because I’m wondering whether Niki de Saint Phalle, which I find wonderfully bitter, will survive from summer to winter. If it does, I’ll be upgrading to a full bottle.

        And dear lord, please let my sample of Bandit arrive tomorrow …

  2. Sandra says:

    My mood is my guide. I sometimes crave lighter perfumes in winter to cheer me up and summer can be cool so my ambers and vanillas can be enjoyed. Having said that, I do not think Memoir will receive much attention in the heat.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I am with you, Sandra, mood wins.
      Memoir in the heat – hmm, can’t really imagine it either, it is my first summer with it, maybe at night? We’ll see…

  3. Suzanne says:

    I’ve actually found that I love just about all of my fragrances more in the heat and humidity of summer: I fell in love with Caron Tabac Blond on such a day, and I’ve also found that Serge Lutens Chergui smells less sharp and more gloriously rounded in the heat. But I tend to apply my fragrances very lightly, so maybe that’s why I can get away with the heavier stuff in the summer. It seems like the humidity and heat really meld the notes together well and make them radiate beautifully.

    The only time I did get sick wearing a heavy perfume in the heat was with Guerlain Spiritueuse Double Vanille. Vanilla can by a cloying note for me.

    Sorry I didn’t get around to wish you a Happy Easter yesterday. Hope you and your family had a wonderful day.

    • Olfactoria says:

      For me it is a really fine line between blooming and oppressive, but your method of very light application probably does the trick. I can imagine SDV getting cloying in summer.
      A late Happy Easter to you, Suzanne! 🙂

  4. deeHowe says:

    I’m with you— I have to go with whatever I’m in the mood for, weather be damned. Although, I’m with Suzanne on thinking that most smell better in the heat—even the really dense stuff! Just a tiny amount will go a long way… last summer I was craving my dense oudh attar oils, and wear them I did! My philosophy being that they were created in a hot environment, so they must be made to wear in the same! 🙂

    Maybe I don’t think of them… when I want to lift my spirits I reach for green or citrus, but the idea that I should wear citrus in summer just seems arbitrary.

    Good question! I’m thinking about all the bottles, decants, and samples that I have, and I’m not sure that I’d completely swear off anything. Application method is obviously very important—those dense orientals get dabbed behind my knees in summer, but not on my neck or wrists. So… the waft is more manageable!!

    🙂 Another fun poll by Birgit!

    • Olfactoria says:

      You are sooooo right about the attars, I never thought of it like that. We are so trained to think heavy and dense means winter only.

      • Tara says:

        Totally agree, after reading Dee’s post it does make perfect sense to wear attars in the Summer. You’d only need a tiny amount and they would bloom beautifully. Maybe an Amouage attar could be a worthwhile buy for me afterall. A revalation! Nice one, Dee 🙂

  5. Marla says:

    I think I may be one of the few that loves Chergui in hot, dry weather! Love it! But a close friend of mine gets a headache if I wear it on such days. Ah well. In general, I prefer light and citrusy, or tropically floral, or green and mean, in humid heat, and save the spicy orientals, vintage gems (heavy on the aldehydes), and boozy scents for Europe or other places in northern latitudes. Hormonal cycles, haven’t thought of that before, must do some research!

    • Olfactoria says:

      It must be hard to go from the Alps to such a tropical climate, as you did! I am glad to have seasons. 🙂
      Interesting about hormonal changes resulting in different perfume cravings, it sounds quite logical.

  6. Tarleisio says:

    I’d say…yes, I do change, and I’m a total classicist in that respect. Orientals and woods in winter (with one exception, and that would be Chêne, which is green enough and bracing enough to work for warm weather, and smoky and woody enough to work in winter), florals are what I crave in spring, and summer is when my inner Green Fiend comes out to play. For heat, I wear…Silences, Ivoire, Bvlgari The Verte Extrème, Un Jardin Sur le Nil – they’re all great when the heat is on, and so is Dior’s Escale à Portofino, as well as Atelier’s Grand Neroli (which is VERY…grand, and I adore it!). And one of these days, if I can remember, I need to do an experiment on a warm day…wear Ambre Sultan, just to see what would happen…;-)

    I promise, I’ll apply very, very carefully…:-D

  7. Tara says:

    I say wear what you like, when you like but for me it’s part of the fun to add or subtract fragrances with the seasons. I can’t imagine myself wearing Cuir de Russie, Shalimar or Ambre Narguile in the Summer and really just wouldn’t fancy wearing a light summery fragrance in the depths of Winter. I think the year-rounders in my collection would be 31 Rue Cambon, possibly Une Rose and my latest love, Kyoto. Now I just have to work out which OJ to purchase for the Summer months. It’s definitely between Champaca and Osmanthus (a surprise late favourite). Maybe I should do the Perfume Portrait to help me decide or else go for broke and buy both. Who’d have thought I’d fall for 2 white florals? Not me!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Interesting that you mention Kyoto. Incense is so very wintery to me, but it should be interesting in the heat. I will try that. I am so glad you love the OJ’s so much. I’d go for the portrait and then buy both anyway! But I am a hedonist, obviously! 😉

  8. lady jane grey says:

    Most probably it’s given by the heat that I’m less in a mood for heavy and creamy, when it’s hot outside and rather long for effervescent citrus, or watery transparence. So in late spring I start to reach for my Jo Malones (Grapefruit, Lime-Basil-Mandarine, Figue, Blue Agave, Nectarine Blossom), or my beloved Bigarade from F.M. Christiano Fissore’s Cashmere, Montale’s White Oud and even my Dzonghka will remain untouched until next autumn. The heaviest I take in summer might be LeLabo’s Oud… Though my new favorite heat scent is Un Jardin en Mediterranee.

  9. Alice C says:

    I’m still out there exploring something new (to me) every day. I admit that I have been drawn more to try florals and aquatics as Spring is in full bloom here in South Arkansas. We live in air conditioning during the Summer, so, unless I will be outside, the season is almost irrelevant.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I feel my mood an the seasons are on the same page most of the time, but if not, I don’t care, mood wins! 😉

      I remember the strangeness of living in heavily climate controlled areas from my travels through the South and Southwest of the US, the heat hits you like a shovel once you venture outside.

  10. Undina says:

    Ask me this time next year! 🙂
    I’m positive I have weather-related preferences (even though seasons are almost non-existent in the area where I live) but I cannot pinpoint them yet since my testes changed a little (when I went into heavy experimenting phase late last year). I’m recording my observations so in a year I’ll know myself much better (perfume-wise).

  11. annemariec says:

    Thanks for the post. I am strongly seasonal in my choices. Just yesterday I packed away the summer fragrances. It was out with the Philosykos and in with the L’Heure Bleue. It has to be cold, and preferably wet, for me to wear L’HB. If the conditions are arctic, I’ll get out the Opium.

    But, damn it, the mini of Un Jardin sur le Nil that I ordered ages ago – while you were reviewing the Jardins, I think it was – has still not turned up, and it’s almost too late to wear it. I got it cheap at a discounter that offers free shipping. Only problem is that I suspect the shipping is literally by ship, and a slow one at that. Stops in at every port.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Oh, I am sorry your Nil is taking the scenic route. Maybe there are a few warm days still in store for you. But I also enjoy such a mood lifting perfume in the dead of Winter, maybe you’ll like it too for a little light in the cold.
      Rain and L’Heure Bleue is a perfect combination indeed.

  12. Joan says:

    I would have said no, but I’m not actually as much of an iconoclast as I want to believe. I don’t anticipate wearing heavy, velvety scents like Bois de Violette much over the summer, nor will I wear enormous oriental florals like Amouage Gold.

    I will probably stick with crisp scents, like Tommy Girl, or tuberose florals like Juicy Couture.

    Good question!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Gold could be potentially lethal in the worst heat of summer! 😉
      I think most of us gravitate towards lighter, sprightlier scents in the heat automatically.

  13. Αλεξάνδρα says:

    I change my perfumes according to the mood, which is also influenced by the sunlight and the occasion I am wearing the fragrance, because I would like to have the appropriate circumstances for the particular perfume to flourish and reveal its true potential … Also, according to the effect I would like to create with my sillage!
    I have got morning perfumes eg Eau de Charlotte, Ce soir ou Jamais, Eau de Lierre, or others that I would like to feel sexy like L’Ombre Dans L Eue, L’Heure Bleue…
    But sometimes, I go mad, and wear the most supposedly “inappropriate” fragrance, just because I would like to feel eccentric! I was wearing Petite Cherie the other day with totally black gothic clothes…

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hello Alexandra, welcome! 🙂
      Your approach is great, I like to wear perfume fitting the circumstances as well (at least, like you, most of the time 😉 )
      Eau de Lierre is a great morning scent, thank you for reminding me of it!

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