When a nose is treated with a fragrance, the smell triggers certain memories and emotions. It bypasses logic and goes straight to feeling. This is probably why when somebody is greeted with a familiar scent, most likely, it will either give them butterflies in their stomach, or, make it turn - depending on who they associate with that scent. Fragrances, perfumes and colognes wield the power of the "flashback".
This is why it is so important to find that "signature" scent. The objective is to leave the same impression to people, and not confuse them by having a whole bunch of different perfumes. It is best to pick a handful of fragrances - one for each occasion - and stick by them for...well, the rest of your life. Yes, I know that sounds like a marriage right? But then, you can always disown a fragrance if you don't quite like it at first, and keep looking until you find your perfect match. Which is what most people do nowadays anyway. Yup, I'm also referring to marriage.
For me personally, I have five "signature" scents:
1) Everyday, go-to guy
3) Night out/Clubbing/Party
The first one, the everyday signature scent, must be versatile. It must be appropriate for all occasions and be well suited for all four seasons. This is the one I pick up when I'm unsure of which one to use. Think of this as the reliable one. For me, my everday, go-to guy is L'eau D'Issey pour homme by Issey Miyake. It's quite hard to describe the scent, but it's sweet and fruity with a touch of Asian influence - kind of like a fragrant green tea with florals. Yet it also has hints of spiciness that also gives it warmth. So it's perfect for either the cooler or hotter months. It is also, I would say, an approachable scent. It draws people and it is very inviting. I've used this when out clubbing, at the beach, at work, or just going out for lunch or dinner and it worked on all instances.
The second in the list is the summer, day, outdoor. This one has to last you - rain, shine, wind or sweat. It must also be able to project really well because it's quite harder to pick up on fragrances when outside. It must also be very light, airy and fresh. My pick is Versace Eau Fraiche. It meets every requirement I've mentioned, it's got longevity, it projects really well and it smells very clean and fresh.
The third is the fragrance you pick up when going to a very social setting. This fragrance must have strength and presence without being too off-putting. It must also have a sense of fun and approachability, with a hint of sensuality. I use Paco Rabanne One Million for this as it leaves a very strong impression and is quite seductive as it has warmth. But it's also sweet. Very sweet. When I smell this I think of caramel and spices with a slight tinge of metallic and I guess, an 'urban', modern feel to it. To be honest, when I first smelt this, I wasn't fond of it. It smelled, for lack of a better word, very douchey. It smells like what people who wear Ed Hardy would use. It's very Jersey Shore-ish. But as it dries down, it changes quite dramatically and I fell in love with it. It has a sense of control without being too in control, and it gives off a beat of energy, kind of like music.
Now, for work and school, you'd want to choose a fragrance that is safe, but not boring. Something that is inoffensive and discreet. I use Prada Infusion D'Homme. This fragrance is perfect for work or school. It has a subtle scent but it has presence and will definitely leave a positive impression on people. The scent sticks very close to the skin, it doesn't have an aura, or a "scent bubble", it's more like a veil of perfume. It doesn't project very well, but that's why it's perfect in a work/school setting. People will not be repelled by this. The scent is initially very soapy, and some people don't like that because when they think of a soap scent, they think of something generic. But the beauty with this fragrance is that is has a complexity to it that adds a touch of elegance. This is an incredibly refined and classy fragrance. It may smell "soapy" but think of an expensive soap you won't see in grocery stores, only boutiques. I imagine of morning showers and a crisp, freshly laundered and just-ironed white shirt. This would probably be Donald Draper's signature scent.
Now for the final one. The nighttime/winter/romantic perfume. This one has to be dark, seductive and mysterious. I chose aptly named The Dreamer by Versace. This literally smells like stars. It's very strong at first. I pick up a punch of something minty, something menthol. But then it dries down into this "starry" scent (running out of adjectives here!) But it's definitely unique and indescribable and a guaranteed "flashback" inducer.
So these are just some ideas to get you started with. But shop around, get samples, and try it on your skin and leave it on for a couple of hours before deciding. I don't recommend blind-buying online as scents are very subjective so it will be hard to know what you want unless you smell it for yourself.
Also a final word of advice. Don't put on too much. For really strong fragrances two to three squirts would be adequate, while for the more subtle ones four or five is plenty. Don't overdo it, please. Also know where in your body to put it on. The best is in your pulse points as these are the warmest areas and therefore will allow for maximum projection. I usually put them either on my wrists or the insides of my elbows (what's the proper name for that area? Where you get your blood drawn?) Also the pulse point on the neck is a good place and sometimes I get a little bit on my finger from my wrists and dab behind my ear.
Note: All photographs were taken by yours truly. I would appreciate it if you inform me if you intend to use any of it. See my contacts for details. Thanks