I was kicking around ideas for perfumes for a dame with Angie at Now Smell This and Alyssa at Perfume-Smellin´ Things, and we decided to do a multi-blog post on the topic. I´m looking forward to seeing what they had to say on the subject, and I bet you are too, so be sure to check the links. Here are my subjective, random thoughts on the topic.
Dames are broads, but not all broads are dames. Dames are larger than life. They demand and command respect. Some dames are beautiful; some are wicked; some are wicked smart; and some are all three. Dames can stand up to men like Frank Sinatra, Clark Gable and Humphrey Bogart. Whether they´re obvious or coy about it, dames are running the show.
Perfumes for a dame are by definition big fragrances. They have sillage; they have personality; they have power. They are often classic fragrance and if not, they may have retro overtones. Perfumes for a dame may not be for everyone, but whether you´re channeling Lauren Bacall or Dame Edna, there´s probably at least one dame fragrance in your wardrobe.
Trouser Dames can wear pants, and may even wear the pants in a relationship.
Trouser dames include Marlene Dietrich, Barbara Stanwyck, Lauren Bacall, Kate Hepburn. They´re a little … bent. Love and fear them. As I type this I am wearing a lovely gift of Chanel Cuir de Russie in extrait, and there, my friends, is a fragrance for a trouser dame. How can you resist its earthy powers? Trouser dames wear: Chanel Cuir de Russie, vintage Rochas Femme, Caron Tabac Blond or Caron Narcisse Noir, Bulgari Black, Knize Ten, Vero Kern Onda. Lips: MAC Film Noir or Ruby Woo, NARS Red Lizard, or (for a neutral look) MAC Twig with Chanel nude liner. Nails: Revlon Raven Red or Sephora OPI Never Enough Shoes, or just short, buffed nails or maybe some Essie Ballet Slippers, depending.
“A dame that knows the ropes isn´t likely to get tied up.” – Mae West
Lipstick Dames are at the opposite end of the spectrum from trouser dames.
They are all about the pretty, although they´re still not to be trifled with. Mae West, Marilyn Monroe, and Ava Gardner are lipstick dames. Lipstick pretty scents conjure up dressing tables and silk robes, but they´ll throw a drink in your face and stomp you with their stiletto heels if you misbehave. Lipstick dames wear: Piguet Fracas; Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose or Iris Poudre; Fifi Chachnil; Cuir de Lancome; Patou Joy, Molinard Habanita; Guerlain Apres l´Ondee. Lips: Christian Dior in Red Premiere, MAC Bombshell, NARS Schiap. Nails: Revlon Cherries in the Snow, Zoya Morgan, NARS Schiap.
“You treat a lady like a dame, and a dame like a lady.” — Frank Sinatra
Corsage Dames love big white flowers, maximum sillage, fine champagne, and Tahitian pearls.
They are elegant but tough. Corsage dames include Billie Holiday, Rita Hayworth, Jean Harlow, and Elizabeth Taylor. Corsage dames wear: Strange Invisible Perfumes Lady Day; Frederic Malle Carnal Flower; Donna Karan Gold; Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia; Parfums de Nicolai Eclipse, Montale Jasmin Full, Christian Dior Poison, Serge Lutens Un Lys. Lips: MAC Russian Red or Brave Red, Lancome Absolute Rouge. Nails: OPIMalaga Wine or Blues for Red; Chanel Gold Fiction.
“I´m the nicest goddamn dame that ever lived.” – Bette Davis
Corset Dames wear their fragrances like a force field.
All dames wear fragrance to please themselves, not necessarily to attract those around them – and this is especially true of Corset dames.
They can be as aloof as they are beautiful; they are not everyone´s cup of tea. They can be dangerous or difficult. You may only find them alluring if you´re a bit jaded and like a challenge. Corset dames include Bette Davis, Lana Turner, Joan Crawford and Greta Garbo. Corset Dames wear: Guerlain Mitsouko; Frederic Malle Noir Epices, Musc Ravageur or Une Fleur de Cassie; Jean Desprez Bal a Versailles; Vivienne Westwood Boudoir, Mona di Orio Nuit Noire. Lips: Chanel Vamp. Nails: OPI You Don´t Know Jacques or Russian Navy, Sephora OPI Metro Chic.
I could have added dozens of perfumes to my lists, so please chime in with your additions and comments, and thanks to Louise and Musette for their thoughtful suggestions as I wrote this.