Wrap Me in Luxury

cashmere yarnI work in downtown Washington, D.C., so the upcoming inauguration is less of an abstraction to me than it is for some other parts of the country. My job is a few blocks from the White House, inside the red zone barriers. For the past couple of weeks as I’ve gone out for my lunchtime walk I pass grandstands and pedestrian fencing being erected. I get what sun I can but it’s that time of year for me; my lowest ebb. I get through my workday fine, and I’m grateful for that. But there’s a stunning lack of motivation at home.   I remind myself that it’s really okay; as long as the kids and dogs are fed, and the bills are paid, and I’m not scaring anyone with my mood swings…. well, that’s where we are.

I sat behind a man on the Metro recently who was wearing Mitsouko. It was fabulous. He caught me sniffing at him (awkward!) and so I asked, and we had a laugh about it. He looked like the sort of dude who should be wearing, I dunno, something dull from the men’s department at Nordstrom. So it was a bit of a shock, in the most pleasant way possible.   I am Two Thumbs Up for anyone getting into perfume outside the normal zone.

I retreat into my most beloved, heavy winter standbys – things like Serge Lutens’ Feminite du Bois or Fleurs d’Oranger or Cedre. Dior Poison. MDCI Enlevement au Serail. Fendi Theorema. I want to be wrapped in their candied sweetness like a luxury stole or a mohair jacket.   No challenges, no rough edges, no intellect – just warmth and more warmth.

I used, sometimes, to be sad that my perfume obsession meant that my kids wouldn’t grow up with a “signature” scent to remind them of me. But as I move through these gray days and long nights I realize my coats and blazers and sweaters and scarves are suffused with hints of all of these. It’s just delicious.

Are you dragging a bit, or is this a good time of year for you? And how does that impact your choice of perfumes?


  • Libby says:

    Cozy, spicy, warm scents, dkny black cashmere, sjp stash I’m finding very nice, Bottega veneta edp, for rainy Seattle winter, nothing bright and shiny

  • Neva says:

    I feel you March. This part of the year is the lowest low for me. I only find comfort in perfume and eating. I know I’ll have to work hard for my beach figure again but right now I’m too depressed to care about it. And it’s all because there’s no sun outside, just gray skies and a very, very cold winter this year.
    I’m wearing Feminite du Bois, just like you, and also my dear Gucci Rush and Dzing. Hoping for some sun….

  • Nadja Sand says:

    Winter is my time of year!! At least if it’s a proper winter with sub-zero temps and snow. The beauty of it just keps me in a constant state of awe, which you can imagine makes for a very buoyant mood! 😀

    There are some perfumes that I can’t wear due to the absolute lack of humidity that sub-zero weather brings. That limitation does take some things out of the equation, there are even quite a lot of perfumes classically considered fall/winter that just can’t handle sub-zero, like some spicy orientals for example. They are just better with some humidity… But other than that I tend to wear whatever I crave for the day. I do tend to go for extra decadent perfumes in winter though. Lately I’ve been obsessed with smoky black tea and syrupy sweet red wine in perfumes. Stuff like Masque Russian Tea, Myrrhiad, Bello Rabelo, Relativamente Rosso… Definitely scents of luxury and decadence. Anything syrupy sweet will strike my fancy now more than any other season (though I like sweet scents any time of year), there is just something about winter which makes me indulge in opulent sweetness. I go for immortelle, caramel, honey, sweet hay, booze… AG Sables is a staple, so are HdP 1740, Zahd, Sova and Rume, Dior Eau Noire etc. And anything smoky in the woodsmoke way too, smelling like a fireplace! Mona di Orio Cuir is getting some wear, so are Jeke and Memoirs of a Trespasser. I also tend to crave animalics in winter more than any other time of the year… and that is kind of the olfactory equivalent of my beloved vintage fur coats. Stuff like Mamluk and Jovoy Lys Epona.

    So yeah, perfume style right now: smoky, syrupy sweet and skanky!

  • Julia C says:

    I quite like winter; it invigorates me, too. Perhaps because I grew up in the south, with its long hellish summers. The Norwegian and Scottish in me also loves the long nights and short cold, gray days. I’ll need the support of all you summer-lovers come May when it hits 90 by 10 a.m.

    I slapped some Rive Gauche on my husband once, and we both enjoyed it. He’s gotten a dose of chypre every time I wear them ever since. Mitsouko EdT is fabulous on him, but the EdP is not as nice.

  • Tatiana says:

    Actually, I’m on my way up and out of dragging. I tend to drag the most just before Christmas and between Christmas and New Years. Once I begin to realize the days are getting longer (even by a minute or two a week) my moods start to lift and I start regaining energy. I suppose it helps that it was sunny and dry all weekend long and I was able to make the two hour drive to see my retired mare.
    I love that a suit (I’m assuming he was a suit type) was wearing Mitsouko. That’s the one winter fragrance I haven’t pulled out yet this winter. Been going back Amouage Memoir and By Killian Incense Oud. The sample of Diptyque Benjoin Bohème has also been in heavy rotation.
    Here’s to lengthening days and lifting spirits.

  • maggiecat says:

    My low mood has more to do with health challenges and chronic pain than the time of year, I think. But I find perfume of any type to be therapeutic, and anything jasmine (soap, lotion, perfume) is a odd elevator. A little sunshine doesn’t hurt either!

  • HeidiC says:

    Normally, in the gray blah time of year, I would experiment more and wear a lot of my LOUD perfumes to give me a jolt of energy (Bandit, Coco, Fracas, MKK), but I’ve been so despondent over the coming apocalypse that I’ve been wearing my coziest scents — Vol de Nuit, Cuir Beluga, Fetes Persanes, Ciel de GUM, Fumerie Turque — or else my favorite vintage scents (might as well use ’em, if the world’s ending, right?), which I realized are all quite melancholy: Mitsouko, my teeny sample of Coty Chypre, Miss Dior.

  • Musette says:

    LOL! there is not enough space on the server for me to get into how crazy this time of year makes me. Let’s focus on the positive: I use a Happy UV Light, take prescription/nonprescription drugs, walk ’til my feet swell up – and wear gnashy vintage aldehydes like No5, Arpege and Amouage Gold (from the minaret bottle)

    and I stay FAR AWAY from people as often as I can. Dog Only.


  • zelda1947 says:

    I’ve been on a black pepper tear for a few weeks now. Discovered Erbario Toscana Black Pepper in a shower gel at Marshall’s one day, sniffed it, and I was hooked. Now I have the body lotion and the travel spritz, which is mostly gone. I also am loving Comme des Garcons Black Pepper, and I’ve also been using a lot of my incense fragrances; Montale Incense Full being the most glorious among them. Amber is also in heavy rotation as well; this is the time of year when anything amber is very comforting. Tauerville Amber Flash is my current obsession in the amber department.
    Spicy rose fragrances are also high on the list; I finally broke down and ordered a full bottle of Serge’s La Fille de Berlin. And In terms of fragrance, this may be my favorite time of year (although I detest gray winter and can’t wait for it to get light earlier and see the trees beginning to green up.) Drowning myself in spicy fragrances helps a great deal!

  • rosarita313 says:

    January is normally one of my favorite months full of deep snow and cold and beautiful shifting shadows blah blah, to be followed by the desperation of February that feels choking and endless. Well this year we’re not having January and I’m afraid it’s been rescheduled for March but that means bleak, gray foggy days that give new meaning to the word dreary; my February funk has arrived early. My sister is coming next week to give me some respite from caretaking our parents which is something to look forward to. I’m all over the place perfume wise – lots of winter comfort but new samples, too. Barbara Bui is getting lots of wear, and I learned about it from you, March, on the Posse years ago so thank you. Can’t wait till this weekend is behind us.

    • Musette says:

      Rosarita! and here I thought I knew you! lol! January? REALLY? well, to each her own, I guess 😉 January/February are months I try to stay out of, usually in much warmer climes, if I can.

      I’m SO happy you are getting a break from caregiving – it’s essential that you take time for YOU! lest you become unable to care for them, let alone yourself (been there – and watched my sister waste away until we got some help in there for our parents). I hope you do something fun – and away – that week.


    • malsnano86 says:

      I agree with you on January AND February (one’s lovely, one’s dreary beyond belief).

  • Leslie says:

    I generally find January to be a pretty tough go. This year has been a little different, but I haven’t pinned down the how and why of it. It’s the first January of empty-nesting, so that’s a change. Anyway, I try to remind myself that I’m not actually a semi-hibernating animal, and that it’s a better idea to engage. I’m making an effort to watch documentaries this month, because perhaps poking my brain with new-to-me stories might be stimulating. ‘Iris’ was a good choice. I may or may not be consuming more coffee…

    Anyway, as to perfume, I’m caught between clamping down on the perpetual novelty chase and sitting back to enjoy what I already have. I kind of want to be the latter person, but that doesn’t much activate the brain…so, chasing. I was ThisClose to ordering Hermes L’ambre des Merveilles, but went for a decant instead. In summer, I got Play-Doh from this, and no thanks. But for now Play-Doh took a hike, and it’s all good. I’m a bit of a sucker for a good amber, but as always, finding the Goldilocks Edition can take some doing. I spent the holiday season in beachy fragrances from Lucy B, and kind of wore that concept out, but I maybe I will revisit after a break.

    • Katherine says:

      Hi Leslie! I’m also a first time empty nester. It’s been challenging for me. I tend to become a workaholic when I’m stressed or sad or I go the complete opposite and have trouble getting out of bed on my days off. My friend told me to watch old episodes of the office and modern family which have made me laugh. I’m wearing the heck out Hermes L’ambre des Merveilles and the Elixir which seem to be helping. I’ve been burning incense and spicy candles which are helping. Scent is a funny thing. I think the spicy smells are comforting to me because they remind me of my childhood with my grandma.

      • Leslie says:

        Hi, Katherine! Empty nesting is weird, isn’t it? I know it will all be fine; for now, it’s just a matter of moving through the weird to get to the other side. Your friend’s point about seeking out some comedy is a great one; humor helps with pretty much everything. I’m kind of fascinated that you, too, are in the Land of Merveilles…I never really thought of this line as being ‘comfort’, exactly, but they really work in some unexpected way.

    • Sylvia says:

      Hi Leslie!,
      Hope it’s ok to butt in and agree with you and Katherine about the Le Ambre Des Merivilles. Scent is a funny thing! Aren’t they just wonderfully comforting scents?! ?
      Working into the empty nest here also. :/ It is harder than I expected ladies.
      I’m not a helicopter mom but I have thouroughly enjoyed being a mom, so I guess it’s a grieving.
      It still bothers me some days, but i’m begining to see it will be good, just different;
      that we still have relationship and now some new good memories are being built. Hope that it will be ok-if that makes sense. ? Enjoy the day and the pretty perfumes all!

      • Leslie says:

        I think it will absolutely be good! Change isn’t always a piece of cake, but it’s not supposed to be. Having the kids off in college is utterly and completely a good thing, and we’re very, very lucky to have them busy and engaged with their lives and schools.

        I must have conveyed more dismay than I intended, so my apologies for that!

  • Miriam says:

    I’ve been getting into poofy comfort perfumes– vanillas, loukhoums, ambers….Warm soft and sweet. Theorema is a great idea! Oddly enough though it is because of winter, I don’t feel bleak and grey inside, I feel reinvigorated, like part of myself that was dormant is waking up.

  • Portia says:

    Hey March,
    It’s hot as anything here. 41C today and HIGH humidity. I quite like it during the day but it’s pretty uncomfortable at night when I’m in drag working.
    Frags? Everything seems to be getting a workout this season. From cool iris to thick ambers.
    Portia xx

  • solanace says:

    Who is the fiend in charge of our Matrix? Is the guy on meth? Heck, these days I’ve been wearing perfume for comfort, comfort and comfort. It’s summer here, but I don’t care: a lot of Shalimar Cologne AND Ode à la Vanille, Hypnotic Poison, LL, Fumerie Turque and other heavy hitters are on rotation along with some more reasonable figs… Yep, wrap me in luxury as I try to hold my tears over so much craziness is a good way to put it.

  • cinnamon says:

    and, weirdly, the blog has altered my name to Cinnam — it was cinnamon… hmmm…

  • cinnam says:

    Definitely not my favourite time of the year, but at least we’re on the up path now (to light, that is). January is such a twitchy month — a tiny bit lighter each day. Hard to be patient. I’m doing Serge Arabie that a friend sent for Xmas and Jazmin Sarai Solar 1 (from a sample — need one of their small bottles). Will you be on the march on Saturday? I’ve lived outside the US for 20 years now and am horrified (and frankly scared) by the election result.

    • Meredith says:

      I’ve living outside the US now for 18 years and I completely understand you! It feels like a foreign country now.

  • Eldarwen22 says:

    Right now I have a case of dragging butt. I think part of it is the really early mornings when I have to be at work at 5 am. Throws everything in my life out of balance. I am kind of avoiding the news and Internet due to nonstop yapping about Trump.

    • Katherine says:

      Hi Eldarwen22, I told my family that I’m on a news break for the last two weeks. Dr. Weil suggests doing this no matter what is going on every so often especially during times of low Serotonin levels due to lack of sunshine. Studies suggest over 5mg of Melatonin at night whether you have sleeping problems or not is a safe way to increase Serotonin levels. I’ve been trying to remember to take it at night and vitamin D as a way to help with the biological effects of winter. Also perfume oils are helping.

      • Alison says:

        I second the melatonin and vitamin D! I have been officially diagosed with SAD, the light boxes don’t work for me, but enough sleep and 2-4k of vitamin D a day work wonders. Interestingly my perfume choices are not affected by season.

    • eldarwen22 says:

      I forgot to add some of my favorite comfort scents. They are Theorema, Epic women, Shalimar and vintage Bal.

  • jen says:

    I live in AZ, so its sunny here and no dragging allowed. But thx for reminding me I love Mitsouko, Im digging out my bottle.

  • Sylvia says:

    Yes- wearing clouds of Santal Majuscule comfort against the Awful Grey weather here. I finally faced I need to take extra care of myself in winter. I find planing a garden and enjoying flower catalogs helps with the winter doldrums. I bake for the grandbabies and order samples of perfumes to try that sound like spring..The spice and roses are comforting and remind me rose season will come. 🙂 I look forward to several perfume samples from DSH coming this week.
    I’ve also started exercising and noticed it has helped, as has taking a couple hours a week to talk with an encouraging friend.
    Hang in there and give yourself permission to take care of yourself. 🙂

  • Troy says:

    I didn’t think that I was dragging. But I keep hearing that this is the time of year evvverybody drags. So I guess I am, a liitle. Im making “to do” lists, which I never do. Hopefully this is a sign to getting things accomplished.
    I tend to go for the heavy, rich, and heady with depth this time of year. Poison, Mitsouko, Opium, Chanel no 22, and Aromatics Elixir.*all vintage incarnations*. I am reaching for the modern version of Yatagan a lot too.

  • Paige W says:

    According to a dubious Twitter source, today is ‘Blue Monday’, the bleakest day of the year as generated by an equally dubious algorithm. Hang in there! I’ve been wearing Diptyque’s Do Son – I need a tuberose-laden reminder that Spring is just around the corner!