Discuss: What Not to Wear

I got an email from Barney’s mentioning that the famous Bell Jars are in Manhattan. I read they’re pricey- like $275 to $300. But hey, how much is a ticket to Paris these days?

That got me to thinking. It’s been hot and unusually muggy (for LA, that is) here in the hills of Beverly. A walk to the post office after a shower makes me want another shower. I’ve been spending far too much time sitting in a Jack in the Box in Westwood drinking unsweetened iced tea and sucking up their excellent air conditioning than I should perhaps publicly admit. (Yep, that’s my glamorous life. Jealous?)

I think that, although I love them, perhaps no other house I can think of has the number of fragrances that I would say “Oh HELL to the NO” as far as wearing in the heat. Oh there are individual scents, like Angel or Fracas that I think should be only worn in heavy AC (the latter) if at all (guess). But Uncle Serge seems to have more than most. MKK on a humid summer day would just be FAR TOO MUCH. Arabie? Perhaps too literally a souk. Rahat Loukoum? Death by cherry cordial. Datura Noir? It might actually kill you. Mind you, a lot of these I would wear, to work, lightly applied when I knew I’d be in the meat locker that was my office.

But not so much without that chilly Freon Friend..

So, here’s my question for you. Which ones are the scents you would never wear in the heat, if there are any? Which ones are the scents you would wish others would retire for the summer? Let’s dish..

  • Cheryl says:

    I live in a tropical country, so it’s heat and humidity all year round. And yet I really love SL scents. But what you say is so true – they really do stifle in the heat, so I only reach for them when it rains. I think that may be another reason I dislike rose scents when everyone else seems to love them so much. Rose scents become syrupy sweet in the heat.

  • I was surprised to recently discover that heavy scents can work in warm weather if applied lightly and they can exhibit a different profile while creating an unexpected aura for me. They kind of distract me from the hot weather the way a fresh scent never can. The Lutens are particularly heavy but the entire middle eastern perfume culture (so coveted by Guerlain and other companies at the moment) is based entirely on wearing heavy scents in extremely hot weather and if you have ever been in a Eastern country you will discover that the concept does work beautifully. The whiffs of oud and rose coming from people are amazing. I personally find MKK very suitable for warm weather, because at least on my skin, it very soon becomes one with my skin scent, very fuzzy and delicate.

    • Tom says:

      I can see that, but when it’s hot out I just don’t want to be smelling that much. I want something that’s going to make me feel cooler.

      I just hate heat, I guess..

  • Mrs.Honey says:

    Ambre Russe and Youth Dew are no gos.

    I love some other heavy hitters in the summer. Miel de Bois requires the heat and humidity to really shine. I also wear Shalimar and L’Heure Bleue all year.

    • Tom says:

      I think Miel de Bois is one that’s much harsher in the cold than it is in heat. I think that’s why it might have been a flop.

  • Patricia Hall Borow/Olfacta says:

    Humidity and heavy just don’t mix for me, and since I live in the South, it’s citrus and vetiver during the day. But at night, for sleeping, it’s all good. I’ve been wearing Caron’s Montaigne a lot lately at night, Tuberose Gardenia — things that remind me of the real night bloomers.

    • Tom says:

      We’ve had very un-LA humidity (not like the south, but over 75% which is really high for us) so I am hearing you on that..

  • mariekel says:

    I would be terrified to wear several of my very favourites in this heat, namely Andy Tauer Orris, Coty Oeillet and DSH Cafe Noir. It is not about the relative heaviness of the perfume — I love ouds in the summer and think Delrae Amoureuse is an absolute sex bomb in sweltering weather. Each of these perfumes has an intensity that needs a bit of chill on them to avoid overkill. The best descriptor I can come up with (forgive what’s left of my work-weary brain) is “saturated.”

    I once made the mistake of wearing another cold-only frag in the heat — Nu- and it almost ruined it for me. Narrow escape through a dash into the bathroom to scrub it off and a splash of lime essence to erase it.

    • Tom says:

      If there’s an air-conditioned transport to an sir-conditioned destination, then I’m fine. If not Rode Hard and Put Away Wet.

  • Disteza says:

    B-b-b-b-but, there are sooo many SLs that are fantastic in the heat!?! Miel de Bois, Rousse, Mandarine-Mandarin, A la Nuit, Fleurs de Citronnier, Sarrasins…. Of course, this is from the girl who also wears Arabie and El Attarine in the heat of the day with abandon, so YMMV.

  • Aparatchick says:

    Rochas Femme. I made the mistake of wearing it once in August in Florida. How overpoweringly bad was it? Every dog in the neighborhood howled.

  • Lisa D says:

    I am a long-standing fan of Uncle Serge, but I find that the only one I can wear in the summer is Douce Amere – one of the “lighter” scents in the line. I can’t even think about Arabie when it’s 109 degrees. And Angel? Are you mad? I can hardly wear it in the deep depths of winter….

  • Eldarwen 22 says:

    I adore wear Amouage Lyric in 90 degree heat but lately, I have not been craving Lyric. I’ve been wearing a lot of A La Nuit, Sarrasins, Jasmin Full and Chanel no. 19. But from what I am reading on the Serge Lutens bell jars, I’m having a little trouble with trying to justify those kinds of prices for 2.5 ounces of perfume. But I might have to suck it up because I would love to get my grubby hands of Sarrasins or De Profundis.

  • FragrantWitch says:

    BWF’s are my bête noir. Any time of year really but especially summer. I understand the logic and desire to do so by those who love them but all when I smell them it just feels like some big-bosomed distant cousin on my father’s uncle’s side giving me a smothering hug and having the tissue she tucked in her bra tickle my nose. Ugh! And Ugh again.
    But everything else I wear in the heat except for Youth Dew Bath Oil, original Opium and original Fendi which are strictly cold-weather scents.
    Oh, and to the woman ahead of me at the Deli counter in Sainsburys the other day who had bathed in Knowing- you ruined my baguette because the miasma of your scent clung to both the bread and my nostrils for the remainder of the day. Go easy, next time those Lauders have some heft!

  • Tatiana says:

    Could absolutely, never, ever wear the original Opium unless it is the dead of winter. And since I’m in NorCal that means about 50 degrees outside.

  • Musette says:

    You’re talking to the Wrong Gal here, of course:-D I wear the hell out of my heavies in the summer. In fact, heavy-hitters like Fracas and Cuir Ottoman smell best in triple digits, imo. Ditto all the Amouage attars – especially Tribute. I find Tribute doesn’t work in the wan heat of winter. But dab that diva on in 100 degrees? Bliss.

    But I hate chocolate notes in perfume and I really, really hate them in extreme heat. So, no Angel for meeee!

    One other thing: you know what’s really irritating in the summer? Laundry detergent scents. I think the AC amplifies that skritchy-sneezy note.

    xo :Devil:

    • Occhineri says:

      I’m with you! Fracas is fantastic in the heat; I can’t wear it in cold weather at all. Chergui only works in the summer for me, too.

    • Tom says:

      If you’re in AC then all bets are off. Right now I’m not. Ugh..

  • kjanicki says:

    I’ve been avoiding my heavy amber, Ambre Sultan, and spicy perfumes I associate with the fall like Five O’Clock au Gingembre, Like This, and Omnia. Also Tobacco, woods and most incense I prefer in the fall/winter, so Fumerie Turque, Incense Rose, Avignon, Elixer, Hinoki etc haven’t been touched this summer. But big florals are ok. I’ve been addicted to Chanel No. 22 this summer.

  • rosarita says:

    Our AC went out in July just in time for the 100+ heat wave. To be honest, most of July I couldn’t wear perfume. I found that anything I wore just vanished in minutes, like my hot sweaty skin dissipated all scent. My scent of choice was Dr Bronner’s peppermint soap. Now that we have it fixed and the weather is cooler, everything smells good again. I remember once trying to wear Aja in the summer and feeling like I was being smothered by fruitcake.

    • Ann says:

      Oh, no, Rosarita! Sorry to hear about the A/C but thank heavens it’s fixed. Thanks for the smile — “smothered by fruitcake”. (Although I am one of probably about 10 people on the planet who actually likes fruitcake — just not in the summer.)

      • Barbara says:

        Ann – I’m one of the other ten fruitcake lovers! The good kind – my aunt used to make fruitcake she soaked in booze and it was just wonderful!

        Of course, I’m the also the woman inside in air conditioning and wearing lightly applied winter scents!

        • Lisa D says:

          I confess to being 3 of 10. Not so much the mail order cakes studded with itty fluorescent bits that taste of fruit punch, but those home made, rich, moist cakes with chunks of dried apricots, figs, and candied ginger. Yum.

      • Tom says:

        Count me in as one of the fruitcake lovers..

    • Poodle says:

      I like fruitcake and I like Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap. The soap came in handy when the dogs met their first skunk a few weeks ago. That and dish soap. Wow, talk about a scent that overpowers in the heat. Skunk beats all.

    • Tom says:

      Sorry about the AC breaking!

  • Ann says:

    Hi, Tom! I’m SOOO right behind you on the Angel (and to a slightly lesser degree the Fracas), but also the real suffocators like Opium, Youth Dew, etc. (not sure many people wear those too much anymore anyway, though). In the past few weeks I’ve tried Chergui and Amouage’s Lyric for Women in the heat and neither one did so well. But everyone’s different and they might be great on someone else.

  • Sherri says:

    For the most part, I don’t mind heavier perfumes–especially some of the newly released beauties like Beloved, the Guerlain Desert Trio, Oud Ispahan, etc. I can even see the appeal of big musky things like MKK and BWF’s in the heat. I actually prefer Datura Noir then!

    BUT Carons, now that’s a different story…that heavy woody rosy base is just too much in the heat! Sorry, but to me, beauties tho they may be, Carons do not belong with Summer.

  • PoodleI says:

    I have to be honest here and say that I don’t usually bother with light and fresh scents in the heat. I’d be wasting time and spritzes. I tried Eau de Hadrien over the weekend and it lasted all of 15 minutes on me. Why bother? I reach for the heavy hitters and I at least have a slight chance of still being able to smell them by the time I get to work. If I’m trying to spray to refresh then I use a body spray which is not necessarily meant to last and meant to spray with abandon. So yeah, if I had anything by Uncle Serge I’m sure I’d be wearing it in August. The only ones I might not wear are those that are heavy on the smokey notes. I don’t reach for Tea for Two too much in the summer because the smoke is a bit much but that’s about it. As far as what others are wearing, I can’t say. I rarely smell anything on my coworkers. Every now and then I catch a whiff of something but that’s it.

    • Dionne says:

      Seconding you on the smoky notes, Poodle. Reached for Tea for Two yesterday and quickly realized it was a giant mistake. Urrrgh! It’s the first time I’ve experienced a perfume that I normally love that was just so wrong in the heat.

    • Tom says:

      If I was going to work where there was heavy AC I’d do (and did the same). I’m not right now and living in the heat. So I want something icy cold. Like Reverie Au Jardin