What to wear: Courting Guerlain Derby

Earlier this year I asked what one would wear while on Jury Duty. Well this week I am not exactly on Jury Duty but I do have to act as semi-defendant at a hearing (more like an intervention, really) between two parties, one of whom signs my paycheck. The whole thing is stupid on both sides: my side is being stubborn and the other is being intractable (and padding and prevaricating in a way that is easily proven, never a good move in front of someone sitting in judgement) and I get to be the one sitting in the little room they will use to hash this out. I know exactly how it will turn out- neither side will get exactly what it wants but will get what they would have gotten if they’d just acted properly in the first place. But no. it has to be a pi$$ing contest, and I get to sit there holding the umbrella.

So the question of what to wear comes to mind. Not clothes- that’s going to be khakis and a polo shirt. Jeans and a t-shirt (even one from St. Jude, virtue signaling) are too casual and even a sport coat is trying to hard- it’s an informal/formal hearing, not “Twelve Angry Men.” It will be in a small conference room (Yes, I have been there before) so anything Gardenia-gassy or tuberose-truculent would not be a good idea. I don’t want to smell like (and do not own) any of the department store ones that in discrete quantities say “Boardroom” and when overapplied shriek “Mail Room.”

Bullocks Wilshire how we miss you

FM French Lover is a good candidate: it has that trustworthy vetiver base but also has the musky, green “je ne sais quoi” the angelica brings. But that may be a bit come-hither. There are all the old standards: Dior Eau Sauvage, Guerlain Habit Rouge, or Hermes D’Orange Vert, all of which are perfectly nice choices, but I am feeling like I need something.. more. Something a little “F-U” around the edges. Miller Harris’ Fleurs de Sel is wonderful but doesn’t have enough “F-U” while her l’air de rien has a bit too much.

So I think I have decided on Derby. I have a bottle of the reissue that I bought in a fit of madness (hey, who needs to eat, right?) back in the aughts after spending the day in NYC with my scent twin, the late and keenly lamented Gaia. I don’t remember if it was at Saks or Bergdorfs (I know it wasn’t Barneys) but we tried both Derby and Sous le Vent and I ordered both upon my return to LA (shipping. It’s a wonderful thing..) Sous le Vent might be a little much in a small boardroom, at least because I am pretty much unable to stop myself from applying Just A Little Too Much. Which I might have to do this evening. Or right now.

Joan Crawford, Patron Saint of Shoulder Pads

Derby is a reissue of the 1985 classic by Guerlain and is I think discontinued again and that’s a shame. There are a few things that came around in the 80’s that were and are good things: sun-dried tomatoes, Prince, and the fall of the Berlin wall come to mind. It wasn’t all acid-washed jeans and deep-fried spiral perms. Derby is a classic men’s scent with bergamot and leather but the spices and spicy carnation give a Tenaxed-twist to it that’s a little 80’s, but being Guerlain this comes across as coolly chic-  a touch of Grace Jones in a Citroen commercial. I wish, and think it’s just about time for Guerlain to reintroduce this one. Shoulder pads, Ray-Bans, and nouvelle cuisine seem to have popped back up every 20 years since the 80’s and before, why not this? C-mon Guerlain!

So I will be reading responses before going into this little fun-fest- if you have suggestions please chime in. Or even if you have no suggestions- I do love reading comments. Surrender to Chance should have samps of the mentioned frags.

Images: Pexels and Wikimedia Commons.

  • March says:

    Ha! I hope you’ve survived and are contemplating the end of the day and a cosmo (slice of cake?) If you wore Derby, you smelled fabulous, but all were good options.

    • Tom says:

      Actually, I ordered a pizza. It’s raining out (again) and I just felt like delivery.

  • Maggiecat says:

    Wear a modest amount of whatever comforts and strengthens you – and good luck!

  • Portia says:

    Tom, you are hilarious. Good luck holding the umbrella.
    Derby is nice, you will smell perfect.
    Portia xx

    • Tom says:

      Thanks kiddo. I think I smelled fabulous. Now I am hitting the Mitsouko, or as I sometimes like to think of it, the Mitfukyou..

      • Maya says:

        Ooooh, I like that!

        • Tom says:

          My coworker (who had to suffer through it too) asked what I was wearing and she mentioned that she loves Shalimar. She never spends a dime on herself so I think I’ll get her a little bottle from Guerlain.com. They have the cute Fwehnch packaging and samples.

          • Maya says:

            That’s a great and kind idea. Getting a very Fwehnch (hehe) Shalimar should make her day. It’s certainly making me smile.

          • Tom says:

            Well she’s one of those people who never does anything for herself and I know she’d love it. And at this point it’s the cost of a few delivery pizzas.

  • cinnamon says:

    Hope things were less arduous than expected. Guerlain always helps though. Very curious about Sous le Vent.

    • Tom says:

      It could have been worse, but having someone lie in your face is always annoying. It’s to be hoped that the lie shown through.

      I love when people say “no hard feelings” after they’ve just taken a big dump on your head. No, sorry bub. There are hard feelings a plenty..

  • Dina C. says:

    Derby sounds like a great choice. Tom! Sorry you got dragged into these shenanigans! Hope it concludes quickly for your sake.

    • Tom says:

      Oh I’m sure it’ll be done fast. The whole thing is just silly. I’m just going to enjoy smelling nice.

  • alityke says:

    Sous le Vent. Aka the gaping hole in my collection.
    It sounds like you’ll be holding back many sighs & tuts during your sitting. It’s hell keeping on top of the non verbals. Good luck

    • Tom says:

      Sous Le Vent was one I bought on a whim (and lived on ramen to pay for it) and I’m glad I did. Guerlain is silly not to release it again. Foil those eBay people selling at Cocaine prices..

  • Maya says:

    Well, it doesn’t sound like you’re going to be having a particularly fun time. I think your choice of outfit is good and I’ll trust you on the perfume. I don’t think I’ve ever sniffed Derby.
    You did catch my interest when you mentioned Guerlain Sous le Vent. This perfume has been popping up seemingly out of nowhere here and there for a while now. And, it seems it’s discontinued and samples are priced breathtakingly high.

    • Tom says:

      Yes I think it made a brief appearance for a while then went away. Guerlain could make a mint if they released it again.

  • Tara C says:

    I have heard rumors on facebook that Derby is back, or will be back soon, but haven’t confirmed with the mothership at 68 Champs-Élysées. We can only hope!