Back in the day when I was learning to cook, the bright red-orange Betty Crocker cookbook was a go-to volume. Its good recipe basics, some handy instruction on various cooking techniques and substitute tips suited me well. I must admit that I did better in the cooking portion of Home Ec than the sewing portion, but that’s not saying a whole lot. 🙂 Case in point: One morning as class started, I was sitting at my ninth-grade classroom sewing machine, rolling along, stitching a side seam on the cream muslin yoked blouse for which I had grand cross-stitch/embroidery plans. My teacher, Mrs. C., came up behind me, gently touched me on the shoulder and said (trying gamely to contain her mirth), “Ann, dear, your enthusiasm is admirable, but it helps to have a needle in the machine and a threaded bobbin.” So there you go. The spirit is willing but oh, the mind . . . Anyway, I’m sure she got a chuckle through the years remembering that girl zipping merrily along on her project with the empty Singer in front of her. Somehow I muddled through the class and beyond, but as I got older, if there was something I wanted from a pattern, I saved myself a lot of “Lucy” moments and got a professional to make it.
But back to the cookbook. There was a page in Betty Crocker that I thought was so handy. In fact, I made a copy of it and had it laminated. It was “Emergency Substitutes.” One example: Need 1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch? Use 1 tablespoon of flour.
Well, recently I was craving the polished, crisp, white-cotton shirt chic of Serge Lutens’ Bas de Soie and pulled out my little bit of it. Push, push, push went the sprayer but nothing came out. Oh, no, it can’t be empty already -– wahhhh! But then I started thinking creatively on how to scratch this particular fragrant itch and find a substitute, so into the perfume drawers I dove. When I surfaced, I was clutching my sample spray of Tom Ford’s Ombre Hyacinth. Not quite an exact match, but enough of what I was craving to hit the spot. Which, of course, got me thinking of other scents that could stand in as a substitute for something else.
I love Givenchy’s Ysatis but have also found Divine’s Divine edp to be close. Also, Annick Goutal’s Encens Flamboyant and Serge Lutens’ La Fille Anguilles smell somewhat similar on my skin, so if I can’t put my hands on one, I know I can satisfy my craving with the other. When I applied Donna Karan’s Iris a while back, I got the impression that it could be Gucci Envy’s little sister. A little more delicate, a little less intensely green, but definitely a sibling, and one that could get me through nicely if no Envy was close at hand. I know there are others that might work as a substitute, but I just can’t think of them at the moment.
So what fragrances do you have that can substitute for scents that happen to be out of stock or misplaced? If the jones strikes you for deep, dark roses, and you’re out of, say, Amouage Lyric Woman, to what do you turn?