One Size Fits Some


Fall 2013

Really, I had the best of intentions.  Armed with the knowledge that I needed to put a post up for today, I wandered over to our flagship downtown Macy’s, which I’ve spent very little time in. Now that I work nearby I figured I’d case the joint and (with any luck) find some inspiration.

That Macy’s is weird.  It’s nice enough on the ground floor, and big enough, but it has a jumbled, disjointed feel where I wonder if anyone’s coordinating the displays or the sale signs or whatever.  It looks like part Sephora – standup displays with mini sample-size skincare and rollerball-size scents – hard up against their luxury section, which is next to their sneakers – but nobody asked me for my opinion on store layouts.  Anyhow it was delightfully air conditioned and kind of empty (DC in July!) so I was getting the attention of the makeup-counter SAs.  I dawdled at Shiseido, primarily because I don’t often see their wares at the counter.  After some pleasantries I took up the offer of the sweet young girl who worked there to find a good foundation match.  Ah, yes, the old game of “what color am I?”  I don’t imagine that my skin tone is out of the ordinary, and man, is it a struggle. I’m on the pale side with ruddy undertones.  Not too beige, not too ochre.  She came up with what she believed to be the closest match; I thanked her and made a mental note to remember to wash my face when I got back to the office, lest someone think I’d developed jaundice at lunch.

And so I wandered, sniffing this and eyeballing that.  At one point I found myself in front of their cheap-classics line of jewelry (it’s a big market here for conservative faux pearls and CZ studs).  They had a bunch of cocktail rings, and without much thought I slipped one on – and then realized why it had caught my eye.   It was strikingly similar to my long-ago engagement ring, a quirky, asymmetrical jumble of diamonds I adored, from a man I adored. I stood there staring at the CZ version, thinking it was as authentic as my marriage turned out to be, and that I don’t even know where my engagement ring is. A drawer somewhere, probably.

I moved on again, a bit sad, to the ladies’ fragrance corner holding the scents that aren’t part of a larger cosmetics counter. I was staring at all the flankers, mulling, when the SA appeared and asked if I’d like to try something new.  Sure, why not?  She spritzed a card with Donna Karan Liquid Cashmere and handed it over.

Standing there amidst the scented sea of overly-sweet and much-too-pink, it got me thinking:  maybe I needed that much contrast to appreciate the subtlety of the Cashmere oeuvre.  (Liquid Cashmere notes: orange blossom, cyclamen, lily-of-the-valley; sandalwood, ylang-ylang, labdanum, jasmine, benzoin, tonka bean, white amber, suede and musk.)

Liquid Cashmere smelled vaguely familiar, and it is – anyone else remember DK Cashmere Liquid Nude LE, circa 2011ish? Now being flogged by resellers for ridiculous prices? The notes listed are almost identical, a detail DK fans may already have figured out. Liquid Cashmere is awfully pretty. The florals only stick around for a few minutes of fluffy-orange-blossom sweetness and then it’s all about that base – benzoin, tonka, sandalwood, suede, musk. The drydown is warm and polished without (surprisingly) being too much in the heat; underneath is a hint of what made the original Black Cashmere such a stunner.  In terms of comparison, Liquid Cashmere bears more of a resemblance to Black Cashmere – the summer version? – than to the original Cashmere Mist.

While I’m on here, I’m ready to admit I’ve had a complete change of heart about Cashmere Mist. It’s a fragrance I often admired on others and never wanted for myself.  It seemed too chic and sleek, something for thin blondes in ivory wool suits.  You know what?  I’m an idiot.  How did I never realize how delightful it is?  Am I just now (July 2015) becoming aware of its true dimensions?

Cashmere Mist has been around forever (okay, the nineties, I think) and has no doubt seen a couple of tweaks over time. (Here’s a plausible list: lily of the valley, suede notes, bergamot, ylang ylang, jasmine, sandalwood, orris, amber, vanilla, cedarwood, patchouli, musk). It’s most assertive at the top, a flash of green, tart floral. It settles quickly into a skin scent people describe as powdery and which I (a powder-hater) am going to argue with. It’s a slightly woody, barely floral musk. It’s the kind of skin scent that is hard to identify as perfume, while still being non-generic and interesting enough that I’d never confuse it with laundry soap. It’s the kind of scent I want to lean into and breathe; it’s tenacious but not annoying. I imagine someone saying: I don’t know what it was about her, she just always smelled amazing.

Feel free to name a scent you’ve had a total change of heart about and learned to love, and what you think changed to make that happen if you have any theories.



  • jen says:

    Sure, I used to be bored by Chanel # 5 and now I appreciate it. A lot. And I must tell you, I was worried you accidentally kept that ring on and were stopped by security…

  • Mrs. Honey says:

    So here is the thing about Cashmere Mist: It is very popular here and people wear a lot of it. It is one of those things I smell in public (along with Angel, Youth Dew and Aromatics Elixer). Back before I became a perfumista, I almost bought it. It really is more musk than floral.

    What I changed my mind on was Angel. The first few times I tried it, it fell apart on my skin. On paper, it was gorgeous. I kept having samples pressed on me and finally it works. It is not overly sweet on my skin, but I still don’t wear Angel in the heat.

  • eldarwen22 says:

    My biggest change of heart scent was Theorema. At first, I didn’t care for the citrus but I don’t know what happened to make me love it so.

  • Sun Mi says:

    I dunno about change of heart scents, but I’ve seen cashmere mist edp in my local Marshalls, and I’m in MD. So if you like it, you might be able to snag it at a discount!

  • Portia says:

    How fun that you are near a big department store at work and can wander the halls. I never really tried any of the cashmere line March but I love Chaos and there’s another in the line that I can’t remember the name of, citrussy stuff, very nice.
    Portia xx

    • March says:

      Hey honey! I was just thinking about you…. I so hope to see you again in the US, that would be so much fun.

  • caseymaureen says:

    Andy Tauer’s Zeta – as a big Andy fan I got at sample and loathed it, thought it was awful. I don’t know why I responded the way I did on that day could have been my mood, the weather or that it wasn’t what I was expecting but for some time I resolutely shunned the vile potion! Then I smelled it accidentally and really liked it, was very taken aback to see what it was. Then I started to love it and crave it and buy decants and put it on my birthday list! Of course sometimes it’s the same with people, I think we should always pay attention to strong reactions and go back for another look/smell/consideration wether it’s fragrances or people!!

    • March says:

      Zeta! What an interesting scent. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I feel like my strong reactions are similar.

  • KimB says:

    Chanel No 19 and Bottega Veneta.
    I think with No 19, maybe I just wasn’t ready for all that green – I have never had a problem with a good bitter, biting chypre.
    But No 19 just never sat well until a few years ago and then I completely fell for it in the extrait version.
    Bottega Veneta is another one – when it first came out I didn’t get what all the fuss was about and frankly didn’t like it. Then a few weeks ago, all of a sudden – bam! It was wonderful.
    Not sure if all of this is changing chemistry as I get older / menopausal but that is my operating theory 😉

    • March says:

      Chanel no 19 can be a toughie! I felt that way about no 22… Bottega Veneta is a summer delight here. Isn’t it funny the way things change?