Well, look at you, Miss Thang. Whether you’re working a smoky eye or rocking a red lip, your fine self is looking flawless (thanks to Karen’s incredible makeup tips). All that remains is a few spritzes of a fabulous perfume. Now, this perfume must do more than simply smell good. A great perfume should be the finishing touch to your look, creating an aura that matches your makeup. It should add to your sex appeal when you’re looking slinkier than Halle Berry, or create a sense of romance when you’re having an ultra-feminine, Keira-Knightley-in-her-latest-period-piece moment. Here are a few suggestions for perfumes that lend themselves to a particular makeup style; please feel free to mix and match.
Your kohl-rimmed eyes already whisper, “Come hither”. Now take your game to the next level with a sexy scent that says, “Hey, Angelina Jolie, this isn’t amateur hour.”
1. Bvlgari Black ($74). Speaking of Ms. Jolie, this is rumored to be her signature scent. With notes of leather, musk, black tea, and vanilla, Black is what a dominatrix would wear to a very grown-up tea party.
2. Dior Hypnotic Poison ($68). From the name to the deep red bottle to the sultry blend of jasmine, vanilla, and musk, Hypnotic Poison was designed to hypnotize, Biggie-style.
3. Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur ($140). Spicy, ambery perfection. Musc Ravageur achieves what so many men do not: comes on strong, but turns cuddly by the end of the night.
Red lips and a flick of liquid liner recall the glamorous stars of 1940’s Old Hollywood. Classic perfumes of the same era will complement your vintage vibe.
1. Chanel No. 5 ($60). Golden, powdery goodness. A beautiful classic worthy of its 90-year legacy. If it was good enough for Marilyn, it’s good enough for you.
2. Guerlain Shalimar ($56). A smoky vanilla created in 1925, Shalimar is perfect for those who love sweet scents but want something a little more sophisticated than Pink Sugar.
3. Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose, $130. If your look is more inspired by Katy Perry and Dita Von Teese than Old Hollywood, you might enjoy this more modern blend of rose and violet. Lipstick Rose smells just like a Chanel lipstick, and feels retro in a gorgeously kitschy way.
Your delightfully outrageous makeup leads others to suspect that you are none other than the secret love child of Lady Gaga and David Bowie. (Don’t worry, I won’t tell.) To you, makeup is less about finding the right foundation for your skintone and more about drawing a huge lightening bolt across your face. Make the Gaga-Bowie family proud with the most unusual, creative scents the perfume world has to offer.
1. CB I Hate Perfume Black March ($80). The house of CB I Hate Perfume is run by the same man behind the Demeter fragrances, a brand famous for bottling the most bizarre of smells (Glue, Crayon, Lobster, etc.) Black March smells like damp earth, so realistic that you expect to see earthworms wriggling around.
2. Bond No 9 Andy Warhol Silver Factory ($150). Named for the artist who lived a strange and surreal life, Andy Warhol Silver Factory features a prominent incense note with a metallic edge.
3. Ormonde Jayne Ormonde Woman (about $100). With notes of black hemlock, violet and cedar, Ormonde Woman feels like being lost in a vast, forbidding forest late at night. But in a good way.
Thanks to a delightful gender double standard, women must be cautious about what perfume they wear to their workplace. Nothing too sexy, or you may suddenly find yourself the office hoochie who’s sleeping with the boss and his secretary, Janice. Elegant, sophisticated scents are a good match for your neutral-but-polished makeup.
1. Chanel No. 19 ($90). No. 19 was released at the end of Coco Chanel’s life, and it is a fascinating portrait of a woman who scraped her way to the top. Its green topnotes politely suggest that you are not to be messed with, and its note of iris speaks to the luxury you’ll be living in after your next promotion.
2. Chanel Cristalle ($70). Cristalle captures the sparkle of dew on a patch of sweet-smelling grass. This is about as good as “sophisticated” can smell.
3. Stella McCartney Stella ($50). The cleanest rose in all of perfumery, no mustiness here. Stella feels professional in that hair-pulled-severely-back kind of way.
On those days when your makeup routine consists of Chapstick, a strong perfume can feel too loud or overdramatic. Fresh, clean fragrances work well with the natural look.
1. Fresh Sugar ($75). I love this one. With notes of sugar and lemon, Sugar smells like the lemonade booth that you ran during the summer as a kid. I frequently have to remind myself not to drink this.
2. Chanel 28 La Pausa ($200). The most delicate, stunning iris scent I’ve ever encountered. Liquid sunshine on a cold morning. If the $200 price tag doesn’t appeal to you, Prada Infusion d’Iris ($56) is a more powdery alternative.
3. Marc Jacobs Rain ($65). As refreshing as a sudden summer rainstorm, Rain is the last word in “clean” fragrances. It even captures a bit of the melancholy of rainy weather.