Memory Lane: Happy Mother’s Day

motherIt’s Mother’s Day Sunday here in the States, so wishing all you moms (of two-legged, four-legged and other kids), nurturers and care-givers a very happy day. Know that you are loved and appreciated more than you know.

This spring cold of mine has segued into a spot of bronchitis, so still no sniffing for me. But how’s about a visit in the wayback machine to share what your mother (or grandmother, aunt, etc.) wore that you remember from your childhood.

My grandmother didn’t wear fragrance that I know of, or perhaps she did in her younger days. But my mother had several scents on her dresser, changing as the years went by.

First off, I recall that deep blue bottle of Evening in Paris. I’d sneak a dab now and then when I was little, but I can’t remember what it smelled like. Do they still even make it?

Later on, Lanvin’s Arpege popped up on the mirrored tray, and through the last years of her life, Carven’s Ma Griffe, in its green striped box, was the order of the day, joined by the sleek black, blue and silver metal canister of YSL’s Rive Gauche.

I tried Ma Griffe a while back but it was just a little too sharp for me. And I need to dig out my sample of Rive Gauche as soon as my sniffer returns to normal, as I remember liking that one.

So what did the significant women in your life wear? And can you wear it now or is it just too fraught with memories. I have several friends who have eventually “grown into” what their mothers wore and can now appreciate those scents, although they may not wear those fragrances very often.

Are you giving your mother a special scent to celebrate her? And what fragrance would your children or other family members remember you by?

21 Comments

  1. I don’t remember my grandmother wearing perfume, but I remember seeing White Shoulders on her dresser.

    My mom wore White Linen, Youth Dew and Cinnabar. I wear Youth Dew in the winter sometimes. The perfume that I most associate with my mom is Oscar de la Renta. I used to buy her the body lotion. Mom lost her sense of smell so she does not wear perfume any more. I do wear vintage Oscar, but I prefer the EDP or parfum, while my mother wore the EDT. I also own and wear Esprit d’Oscar.

    • Oh, yes, the Oscar line was so nice, wasn’t it? And the Esprit is lovely too. I did try the Oscar EDT on a while back and it didn’t like my skin so much. BTW, I’m so sorry your mother has lost her sense of smell.

  2. That Ri er Gauche bottle is imprinted in my memory : its smell means the parents are going out and the babysitter’s coming (an anxious memory). My mother also wore Lauren, Anais Anais, Tea Rose, and Youth Dew. I probably wouldn’t wear them because they’re not my thing but I like to smell them just for the familiarity. Happy Mother’s Day to all and for those without human children, like myself, I celebrate nurturance and love in all its forms!

    • Some great scents you’ve listed there, Elisa! It is nice to smell them for a little trip down Memory Lane even if you don’t wear them yourself. And you’re right — I meant to make note of Mother’s Day for all — will fix that ASAP!

  3. My grandmother wore Crepe de Chine. In my early childhood, my mother wore Wind Song and Emeraude, then in the 70s Aliage for awhile, and Youth Dew bath oil. But these were all brief dalliances away from the perfume she wore the most (still does), L’Air de Temps. That scent is her, to me. As I watch her falter a bit more every day, I realize how poignant it will be not long from now. In the meantime I share decants and samples from my collection and she really enjoys them 🙂

    • Hi, dear! Hope you are doing well. I don’t really remember much about Crepe de Chine, but your other scents are dinging my memory big-time, especially the Emeraude, Aliage and L’Air du Temps. I know, it is so hard to see a loved one slow down, but you are such a sweet daughter to share your fragrances with her — that is a nice bond for you both.

    • Love it! What a great, classic scent! I wore it in college and it always made me feel very sophisticated. Several of my friends were always asking me what I had on and borrowing a “spritz.”

    • I love Norell – I found a bottle just the other day in fact, one I forgot I had, and I’ve worn it several times just over the weekend. Such a gorgeous scent!

  4. Mom had Obsession, Ciara, and Georgio Red on her dresser growing up. She also had a metal owl that held all of her earrings and a trophy she won for gymnastics in the 70s.

    I don’t think my grandma wore anything, but there is *something* about Aromatics Elixir that reminds me of how her bathroom always smelled (in a pleasant way). It must’ve been a soap or powder she used.

  5. Mom never really wore perfume but had a bottle of Tabu on her dresser. I think she also had some Avon perfumes one of which was Cotillion. My grandmother had perfume or something that smelled good in her room and while I was very, very young when she died, years later when I smelled Bal a Versailles I immediately thought of her. I doubt she could have afforded the real thing but I’m happy to think that may have been her perfume and it makes me smile when I smell it.

  6. I can only remember my mum’s fragrances from the 70s – Charlie, Windsong and then Jontue and Jontue Moonlight.

    I believe losing your sense of smell is rather common in elderly people. My 82 year old mum also lost most of her sense of smell about three years ago. I’ve got my fingers crossed that it’s not genetic. Recently she realised she could pick up a few scents again, like the highly-scented roses in her garden, so for her birthday I bought her a little bottle of Joy. As well as being her name, *Joy*, it’s one of the few perfumes I wear that she tells me she can actually smell a bit.

    She was wearing it recently so I hope it does indeed bring her Joy 🙂

  7. Like you Ann and several others, I don’t remember my grandmother wearing perfume, but one time when we were visiting the cousins and I discovered a deep cobalt blue box lined with white satin that contained Evening In Paris perfume (guessing probably cologne or EDT) and bath powder. I have no memory of what it smelled like, but wish I did!

    For special occasions Mom dabs on some Chanel No 5–it’s Dad’s traditional Christmas gift to her every year.

  8. My mother’s L’air du Temps meant she was dressing up for the evening. She had a dove-topped bottle and a white cylindrical bottle, too. I loved that fragrance combined with the scent of hairspray and makeup and freshly ironed clothes. I am happy to wear it myself today from older bottles.

    My grandmother wore scents of carnation or rose. They were solid perfumes and body lotions probably from Avon. She smelled of vanilla, too, as she was our pastry chef for every birthday and family celebration.

    My children think of me when they smell citrus or lavender. I use lavender sachets and oils at home, and during the spring and summer I often spritz eau de cologne-style fragrances.

    Sighhhhh, thank you for the remembering you’ve encouraged today. 🙂

  9. My Baptist grandmother wore nothing for scent, unless a pretty soap. My maternal grandmother had Lanvin;I’m not sure if it was Arpege or My Sin or both. She also had some Evening in Paris and Lucien Lelongs on her dress or. My mother used Chanel #5,but she also favored Faberge,particularly Woodhue. She also had the Lanvins. I remember EVERY Mother’s. day getting her Chanel, an orchid cottage for church and then going out to eat.

  10. My paternal grandmother wore Bellodgia, Mary Chess and White Shoulders. My mom always had a long list of perfumes she loved and still uses. My dad always bought her a crystal bottle of Sortilege for Xmas -which is what I will always associate as my mom’s signature scent. Mom always loved Madame Rochas, but could only wear it when my dad was not around, because he hated that one perfume. She has worn Rive Gauche, all the Faberge standards, Tweed, Oscar, Volupte, and all the Coty favorites. Now that I am the scent hound, I keep her well supplied with whatever she needs.

  11. My grandmother wore Chantilly for as long as I could remember – I wonder what she wore growing up? We would get her a gift set for Christmas every year if we could find ones with solid perfume and powder.

    My mom wasn’t big on perfume – she had a tall black rectangular bottle of something Chanel on her dresser (no. 5, I suppose that was probably a gift). I don’t ever remember her wearing it – she probably kept it for special occasions, or maybe she didn’t like it – who knows! I should remember to ask her next time we talk. I vivdly remember an Avon honeysuckle solid perfume that was in a lipstick type tube with vines on the outside. I would go in her room and sneak dabs of it on my wrist. Once I started buying perfume, I would give her ones I got tired of or didn’t like. She particularly liked the fragrance that Almay used to make – it was a nice one.

  12. I don’t think either of my grandmothers wore perfume, at least not that I’m aware of. Like Becky, I sometimes have associations with Aromatics Elixir. The first time I smelled it, I wondered if my grandma had worn it at some point because I kept thinking of her. I was pretty sure she hadn’t, though. I think there is something in the drydown that reminds me of the smell of the lake house my grandparents had when I was a kid.

    My mom wore Oscar when I was a kid. She doesn’t wear it anymore, but one day at Marshall’s I found a bottle for cheap, so I decided to pick it up for nostalgia’s sake, even though I don’t love it on myself.

  13. They do indeed still make Evening in Paris, though the reformulations have been ravaged it. My mother was a fan of the original Chloe perfume, also reformulated into somethign horrible, sadly.

  14. Great post 🙂
    My grandmother wore the cologne 4711 and something called Tosca. I used to buy it for her on my trips to Austria back then. My mother wore many fragrances, but I remember in particular Private Collection by E.Lauder and the first perfume by Paloma Picasso. Well that was an amazing bottle! I remember that she told me that Fete by Molyneaux was her favourite perfume, but it was impossible to find a way to buy another bottle back than in our country, so the empty bottle stood around on the table for many years.
    I think my friends (who care about perfume) will remember me by the first Armani scent for women and for Clinique Wrappings, which I both still wear often.

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