Obviously the easiest thing to consider when buying a fragrance for anyone is what scents do they already own? However, you may not know what she specifically has, and even if you do, might not be sure what she likes about it. So let's work blind here. When you're together, what comments does she make about scent? In a cafe, does she mention how good her espresso smells or when you see a certain celebrity has she ever mentioned that it seems like he/she would smell good? (Don't laugh! I think this all the time! Lindsey Lohan probably smells like cigarettes, no matter how much perfume she wears.)
You might have to dig. Ask what scents evoke favorite memories, or what perfume her mom wore when she was a girl. Use these hints to make an educated guess. For instance, if her mom wore Chanel your friend might like the fun and sexy Coco Mademoiselle. Or perhaps the opposite - she may have tastes that sway totally different, so you could stay away from scents that may too closely resemble those. You can always come full out and ask her what perfume she likes. I'm more of the nosy type to snoop in a bedroom while she was elsewhere, but the direct approach is always good. As a friend, no matter what, make sure you encourage her to let you know how your choice was, so if you decide to try again in the future, you'll have more information to go on!
Shalott recommends: I already mentioned it, but in my opinion it is hard to go wrong with Coco Mademoiselle for your friends. It's a sexy, fresh oriental that is beloved by nearly everyone. Included is the luxury of owning a Chanel scent, and displaying it on her vanity. Buy it here.
Do not get me wrong, you can use these tips if you are buying for a platonic male friend as well, but some off them are a little more specific to a significant other. Such as - I think the majority of our male better halves are more than willing to smell however their partner prefers. In my experience, men just don't link to smell the way women do, so cologne doesn't hold as much meaning to them. That is not to say NO man EVER had specific tastes, just that, in general, they are easier to buy for than women when it come to scent.
That said, if you need some help figuring out what he likes, here's the quick and dirty. Check his deodorant. He'll probably buy in deodorant what he likes in cologne. And now for the ultimate, even quicker and dirtier, secret: DON'T buy a cologne that smells like deodorant. Got that? Good. Let me help. If he likes "fresh" (names with fresh, snow, alpine, chill, et cetera)? Go with a citrus scent. Likes "sport" (sport, active, extreme)? Go for green or possibly oceanic scents. Likes "classic" (classic)? Go for an oriental. Likes a "powdery" scent (oh, hell, I don't know... No man's deodorant has powder in the name. Look for something like "lightly scented" or that would indicate a woody scent)? Try a wood or musk cologne. This isn't going to be an exact science all the time, every time, to get a scent he loves, but it will get you closer. If your man prefers unscented deodorant, you might verify with him that he can actually wear a scented product.
Actually that reminds me of something which I will add below. Carry on.
Shalott recommends: Prada Luna Rossa. This is an amazingly fresh, yet at the same time sensual fragrance. I think Prada has done a stellar job with this scent, especially since fragrance isn't something I normally associate with the House of Prada. I don't imagine most men (or women) disliking this scent, and the gift set has a nice price tag. Buy it here.
Listen, outside of coming straight out and asking your boss what type of fragrance he or she wears, there is no easy way to hint around to them the idea of scents. If you are looking to buy your boss a fragrance gift this year (Good for you! Look at you, you little climber! You'll get that promotion in 2015, I'm sure of it.) your best bet is going to be to ask them what they already wear ("Hey, love your cologne, what are you wearing?" "This is my natural scent." "Shit.") then take that information to Fragrantica.com or a similar site, and see what others who like that scent also like.
You can also pull up the notes, or the fragrance accords, and see what other scents are similar in that fashion. If you go this route, I'd try not to be too similar. The point is to try something new, not just give them another of what they already have, although that is an option, as well.
Shalott recommends: For a woman, a Sephora perfume gift set.. For a man, a Sephora cologne gift set. Oh my god it's cheating!!!
... Nah. This is the best of all possible worlds. They get to try a whole bunch of scents, then redeem the included voucher for a full size of their favorite, a no extra cost,and you don't get fired. It's a win/win. Buy his here. Buy hers here. Or here. Or here. But the first "hers" is best.
Moms can be a little tricky. Whether it is mom or step-mom, mom-in-law or surrogate mom, older women we are close to have a tendency to want to be the nurturers, and by giving a gift that can pamper her, we are able to give some of that back. So we want to make sure our choice is really special, and something that is really meaningful to her.
One possibility would be to surprise her with the gift of a fragrance she has worn in the past, or perhaps an updated version of her signature scent. This is even more meaningful if her favorite perfume is a luxury she wouldn't normally purchase herself. I think most moms have a bottle of Christian Dior's Passion, or Elizabeth Taylor's White Diamonds that were well-meaning gifts from loving children but why not give her a scent she will use, and love, and always think about you when she wears it? Pick a fragrance that reminds you of a favorite vacation with her, or find out where she went on her first date with her significant other and choose a scent that will evoke those memories. The wearing will become special in a two-fold way, and you'll have a gift like no other.
Shalott recommends: Amarige by Givenchy. Although this scent was created to evoke the bloom of love, I much prefer it's soft beauty as something a woman of any age could wear either for special occasions or as an every day scent. With fruits, florals and a soft woody base, it has an elegant composition I think strikes the right cord with most women. Buy it here.
Ha ha, look, you all be crazy if you think I know what teenage girls want. I used to be a teenaged girl, and that doesn't help. So, drawing on that (quite recent, yes) time of my life I am going to propose the following. Your teenager wants to 1. Be an adult and 2. Be well liked. Nothing that can be achieved through fragrance alone, but I do have some suggestions.
The first is easy. If she wants to feel like an adult, stay away from those Hello Kitty themed bottles, no matter how good they smell. There is NOTHING wrong with Hello Kitty for anyone, by the way, and if your giftee likes Sanrio, then go for it. Otherwise, pick something mature, but not too mature. A youthful scent by brand with name recognition will make her feel special. It will also, potentially, help with number two. Everyone is going to show off what they got for the Winter holidays, so being able to name drop that coveted item is going to make your teen feel very special, and will put you in that top dog position.
Shalott recommends: Flowerbomb by Viktor&Rolf. This is a candy-sweet scent, but it won't give you a toothache. Anchored by notes of patchouli and musk this scent is perfect for a young lady transitioning to womanhood. The luxurious price tag and internet popularity of the scent ensure that any young lady will be excited to open this gift. Good pickens, you! Buy it here.
Okay here is the caveat.I hate to have one, when we're all so excited about the upcoming Holidays, but please remember. Always, always, always make sure your giftee doesn't have any allergies or fragrance sensitivities. A migraine, or heaven forfend, trip to the ER would really ruin the Holiday season, so make sure you get the info BEFORE you get the gift. And if she or he doesn't like it, don't feel bad. Fragrance is a really personal thing, and hard to get right, especially if you don't know someone well.
Next week I will talk about some of the more commonly used terminology that you will hear while fragrance shopping, and what that REALLY means when you put it on your skin. Until then, don't forget to check out Tuesday's episode (tentatively) titled Are We Calling it Yule Now, Or... (A Haus of Gloi RecommendView). Plus, as a bonus I will have the posting schedule for November 22-30 up in a jif. Until then, pleasant journeys~