How Balanced is Your Perfume Wardrobe?

The other day I was reading through Bois de Jasmin incredible six-part Perfume Wardrobe Guide, in which she offers guidelines on “creat[ing] a perfume wardrobe full of diverse scents suitable to different moods and situations”. I chuckled knowingly to myself at that line (but, you know, in a non-weird way). My perfume collection literally could not be any less diverse. I buy the same type of perfume over and over, because I am a deeply boring person who craves routine and shuns change. Left to my own devices, I would happily wear and eat the same thing every single day. (Pink sheath dresses and Japanese food, respectively.) For your amusement, I decided to demonstrate just how uniform my perfume wardrobe really is by grouping my perfumes according to their Michael Edwards classifications.

My full perfume wardrobe, which contains 24 perfumes and one cat. From here, my collection breaks down into:

14 Oriental perfumes (58% of the total collection). This category can be further broken down into:

5 just plain Oriental perfumes (20.8%);

6 Woody Oriental perfumes (25%);

and 3 Floral Oriental perfumes (12.5%).

The non-Oriental part of my collection consists of:

5 Floral perfumes (20.8%);

2 Woods perfumes (8%);

1 Citrus perfume (4%);

and 2 unclassified perfumes (8%).

Now it’s your turn: how balanced (or unbalanced!) is your perfume wardrobe? Is it biased towards any particular perfume genre, and if so, how strongly is it biased? Do you think that your collection could use a little variety, or are you happy with it just the way it is?

  • Rena says:

    I mostly skew to orientals, sweet perfumes and carnations. I recently bought a big lot of vintage off ebay which has now interested me in greens–Inoui and Imprevu were immediate hits. Judging by my to-buy list, my gaps are big white florals (Rubj extrait, Central Paek West and I Love NY Earth Day) and leathers (Mythique, Costume National 21, L’ Hetre Reve and Cuir d’Iris) as well as more things that already fit my favorite categories(31 Rue Cambon, Ambre Nue, L’ Heure Convoitee)

  • Thanks Ari! I counted all on my shelves and realized:

    A. I now have 115 (!) bottles! How did that happen?! I thought I only had about 100 about a month ago! Either they are breeding like rabbits while I’m asleep or I am spending too much time on ebay! Oh, and there were all those GWP promo last month. ‘Splains that!

    B. Over 50% are florals–no surprise there. Favored Houses: 28/115, Over one quarter are Guerlains. 11/115, are Goutals. After the florals, gourmands and orientals tie for second. I don’t have many woodsy or incense fragrances, or many fruity florals.

    C. I apparently like to own multiple bottles of some fragrances such as Shalimar (4 bottles and none smell good on me but gotta keep trying; it’s a classic you know and I do love some of the bottles! 🙂 ); Chanel No. 5 (ditto), and some I adore like vintage Le Dix and my faithful standby of Lady Primrose Tryst and modern and vintage versions of Vol de Nuit and Femme

    D. When I look at my current wish list: (La Tulipe, Mona Di Orio Musc, Nanadebary Pink, Mon Precieux Nektar) they are pretty much the same as what I already own. Oh well, as Janice says “diversity is highly over-rated!” 🙂

    Thanks for a fun article and also love your cat! I have a 13 year old Siamese I adore!

  • Sam says:

    I meant to add: what a gorgeous cat! Is he/she a lynx-point Siamese? I have two, and they look exactly like your kitty. Gorgeous! (As they would be the first to say…)

  • Sam says:

    Oh, my, I have so perfumes I just can’t organize–let alone categorize–them. But I’ve noticed recently that a fair number are turning, so I’m going to have to do something…they’ll probably end up in the fridge (where many already reside). But then where will the food go? I guess who cares about food as long as the perfumes are safe…

    Thanks for the fun review of your perfume groupings. Reminds me of my lipstick collection: 90% are all variations on pink/brown/mauve. And still I buy more!

  • reglisse says:

    ORIENTALS. I have a big fat bias for them, partly because I have skin that seems to destroy and weirdify a lot of florals and citrus. I don’t get bored, I’m just happy to smell good for more than 30 minutes.

  • Mrs.Honey says:

    I tend to like Orientals (Shalimar, Lolita Lempicka, LL Minuit, Fleur Oriental, Youth Dew, Ambre Russe, l’Heure Bleu) and also have a few chyres (Mitsouko, Aromatics Elixer, Miss Dior) and aldehydic florals (Chanel No. 5, Bill Blass Nude, My Sin).

    The real surprise is that I am branching into florals and green fragrances.

    Over time, I have become more willing to try things that either would have intimated me before or were unknown to me. Do enough sampling and even if you hate 95% of it, you will still end up with a diverse selection.

  • Ines says:

    This is fun! 🙂
    I have a list of all my perfumes so now that I checked (before checking I was pretty sure orientals ruled) here is the situation in percentage:
    Orientals 33%
    Floral (mostly tuberose and rose) 19%
    Green/chypre 13%
    Citrus/fruity 11%
    Uncategorized 14%
    Woody 10%

    So, I’m an oriental girl but I knew that – the good thing is it’s not as bad as I thought it might be. 🙂

  • Portia says:

    Now organise your samples in the same way and photograph them for us Arielle. I bet you’d need more than that little table. He He
    I enjoyed reading this immensely and hope you enjoy your break.
    Portia xx

  • Julie says:

    Mine are mostly orientals, with woody orientals predominating, followed by woody scents, incense, leathers, and the odd chypre in there. Very few floral, citrus, or greens. I know it’s unbalanced, but that’s what I like.

  • Janice says:

    My collection is, I think, even less diverse than yours (and also includes one cat). I was well along in buying the same type of thing over and over before I was even aware of Michael Edwards’ classifications, but about a year ago I decided to do exactly what you’ve done and try to group what I own. Overwhelmingly, they fall into the Woody Oriental category (with a few in the Soft Oriental, Soft Floral, and Woods categories). I thought about—and made a couple of purchases toward—expanding into other areas—Greens, Florals—but I find those are the ones I don’t often wear. I like the rut I am in, and I’m very much enjoying exploring all the minor variations and nuances of that sameness. Balance is overrated!

    Btw, I love many of the perfumes in your collection, but my favorite thing pictured here is the kitty—gorgeous!

  • DinaC says:

    I am also very polarized. I gravitate to all things Green, so I’ve got green florals, green tea scents, green woody scents, green chypres, green orientals, with an emphasis on Iris and Galbanum and Vetiver and Sandalwood. I have no gourmands, aquatics, heavy/heady florals, super-sweet scents or sillage monsters.

  • FragrantWitch says:

    I love this idea and will have to try it out this weekend. Obviously I don’t know that exact breakdown but of the 25 bottles I have, the vast majority are orientals/woods/incense. If I used Annie A’s two tray system as well, my Vaguely Summer tray would look a little forlorn with just L’air du Temps, Safari, O de Lancôme,Eau Dynamisante, and Hove Creole Days over there. Vaguely Winter would be having a party on their tray, with more revellers on their way!

    • OhLily says:

      Fresh alert! It’s on the ‘bay and it’s powder – I don’t know how you feel about that, but I wanted to let you know just in case! 🙂

  • Nina Z says:

    Having just bought my very first pink sheath dress, what I really want to know about is your pink sheath dress collection!

    • Ari says:

      Only the T-Mobile girl has more pink sheath dresses than me. Pink looks good with all hair colors, so it’s ideal for someone who hates their natural hair color as much as me! 😉 How are you liking that very first pink sheath??

      • Musette says:

        My dress wardrobe used to look like a 60s baby shower gone bad (I wear pink and aqua tones (not together) because they are most flattering to my skin tones). Tons of sheath dresses. When I finish losing the belly I mysteriously grew these past 4 years I will wear them again!!

        xo :Devil:

  • Perfumista8 says:

    What a great article and great idea for a way to analyze your collection. I’m going to try it this weekend. I think the stats will be quite similar to what you found, Arielle. That’s easy for me to determine because I have so many of the exact same perfumes as you.

  • Teri says:

    As of 1:30 pm today (when the Fed Ex man arrived at my workplace), my collection consists of 102 fragrances and 1 cat. I swore I was going to stop at 100, but then my friend sent me back of Nina Ricci Capricci and Farouche which you can apparently still get made fresh at their Paris boutiques. I’m in happy 1960s heaven this afternoon.

    My collection ranges from the ridiculous (some horror called “Bitchiest” that smells exactly like an acetylene torch in use, Star Trek themed ‘Pon Farr’) to the Sublime (quite literally – Jean Patou’s Sublime). What you won’t find in my collection are scents heavy on the lavender, celery, peach or any of the heavy hitter marine scents with a big wallop of calone.

    I describe the cat as an oud – he can smell rather strongly on first encounter, but once you spend some time with him, he dries down to something quite warm and cuddly. 🙂

    • Ari says:

      I seriously worship you for owning Pon Farr. I’ve been considering a purchase of Shirtless Kirk, myself!

      • Teri says:

        Go for it! You should. Really. Sometimes we take our pefume just a little bit too seriously. It’s fun to buy some things occasionally just for the cute bottle or evocative name.

  • AnnieA says:

    I have two mirrored trays with categories: Vaguely Summery and Vaguely Wintery. Just got a bottle of Dark amber and gingerlily, which will be put on the winter tray…AA

  • Alnysie says:

    I love categorizing so I had to count too. Of the 24 bottles I actually wear, 11 (46%!) are classified as woods. Then it’s floral (5 bottles), oriental (4), citrus (3), and only one green — and here I thought I was mostly into greens! But honestly I’m quite satisfied in my collection’s diversity right now — it started very gourmand and then diversified quite a bit in a few months. But I only have one non-gourmand oriental (Tolu), I think these statistics can help me justify to myself a future purchase of Bijou Romantique… 🙂

    • Arielle says:

      What funny insights your categorization produced! To further justify your purchase, I must tell you that I LOVE my bottle of Bijou Romantique. It is just gorgeous!

  • Jennifer says:

    I tried to sort my wardrobe by how I thought it smelled (Aquatic;Incence;Classic Floral;Delicate Floral;Greens;Citrus; Roses;Leather..) it takes awhile.Especially if you have 6 shelves full.

    • Arielle says:

      LOL! Take your time, Jennifer! Oh, how I dream of the day when my perfume collection will reach 6 shelves…