Scents can really set the tone and bring out so many emotions. Just think about it: The perfume you wore in college could make you think of nights out at your favorite dive bar. Or maybe it's the perfume you wore every day at your first job that makes you nostalgic. And a whiff of a loved one's signature scent might make you feel comforted in a way.
It's so easy to use a scent to your advantage to give off a certain vibe. For me, I don't wear fragrances that much, but when I do, I try to be deliberate with them. So if I'm having a fun summer outdoor brunch with friends, I'll go for something citrusy and fresh. And if it's wintertime and I want to feel cozy, I'll opt for a woodsy, grounded scent. And when I want to feel extra fancy, well, I go for something sophisticated and chic—not too sickly sweet but also not too heady.
One brand I absolutely adore for the times when I want to feel fancy is Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle. It was founded by Malle in 2000. The thing that sets it apart from other brands is that it's a "publishing house," so the brand sees itself as a publisher to the world's greatest perfumers and an authority in perfume making. The fragrances are created by different legendary perfume designers, so there is variety in the collection. That means there's going to be a scent for every taste, whether you like florals or fruits or musks.
My favorite is Portrait of a Lady, which is a go-to fancy fragrance for me. I always feel so grown-up and chic when I wear it. It's an intoxicating, sumptuous scent that combines the sweetness and femininity of Turkish rose with grounded and woodsy patchouli, sandalwood, and frankincense. It also has middle notes of blackcurrant, raspberry, and clove. Think of it as a total classic scent that you can wear for years as your signature fragrance. I'm obsessed with it.
Take a look at some other noteworthy Frédéric Malle fragrances below—maybe you'll find your own signature scent here.
Intoxicating and floral tuberose is combined with white mask for something fresh, a tad sweet, and warm. And of course, as the name suggests, it's a damn sexy scent.
Clean and fresh, this fragrance has notes of lemon, bergamot, neroli, orange blossom absolute, narcissus absolute, and a musk base. One reviewer wrote, "This is an incredible fragrance for a man or a woman that enjoys the better things in life. To me [it's] more of a spring and summer fragrance. When you spray this on it lasts for the whole day."
According to the fragrance's description, this scent was "designed to transport you to the hidden gardens of '30s Paris and is inspired by street photographer Robert Doisneau." It has notes of white lilac and cucumber.
This sensual and rich scent is not for the faint of heart, so wear this when you're feeling like a total boss or goddess. It's composed of bergamot, tangerine, cinnamon, vanilla, musk, and amber.
White heliotrope is the star in this fragrance. It's a soft, powdery scent. Other notes include iris, honey, and zests. It's warm, classic, and inviting.
With a name like Outrageous, this fragrance is certainly going to turn heads. It's inspired by the Brazilian caipirinha cocktail, so get ready for something carefree, festive, and sexy. It has notes of orange, bergamot, tangerine, apple, cinnamon, cedar, ambroxan, and musk.
This perfume is inspired by the fragrance of the perfumer's mother's lipstick, and it's also a take on Hollywood glamour. One reviewer wrote, "It has an old Hollywood glamour about it (the powdery, sweet rose smell of lipstick and expensive face powder) mixed with the sugared violet candy. It's not a young girl's scent. It's a modern, sophisticated ride into total femininity. It's your mother in her best dress and a wrap, kissing you on the cheek and leaving her beautiful red lipstick on your cheek as she floats out the door for a night out on the town."
If you're looking for something warm and spicy, look no further than this scent. It has top notes of pink pepper, rosemary oil, and apple accord. Middle notes include Bulgarian rose oil, Turkish rose absolute, and clove oil. And the base notes are patchouli heart, ambroxan, labdanum, cypriol heart, and castoreum.
You'll want to wear this warm and cozy scent at night. It has fresh notes of lemon, mandarin, and bergamot paired with lavender and grounding scents of patchouli, amber, and vanilla.
A new take on the classic rose scent, this fragrance is a balance of light and dark. It has a floral note for rose plus the grounding scent of cuir, which is the French word for leather.
This scent is described as "a precious wood cocktail built around a rare vetiver oil." It features notes of bergamot, pink pepper, Haitian vetiver, cedar sandalwood, oakmoss, myrrh, and musk.
Iris Poudre is a great option for those who gravitate toward soft, floral scents. The main note, iris, is balanced with grounding sandalwood and vetiver plus warm notes of tonka bean, vanilla, and musk.
I have this crisp fragrance on my wish list because it's definitely up my alley. I'm drawn to fresh, citrusy scents, and this one has bitter orange essence combined with rose, cedar, grass, and hay.
Described as "a timeless summer perfume," this one is just so happy and sensual. It has notes of Southern magnolia, Haitian vetiver, and patchouli.
Other Products to Shop from Frédéric Malle
If you're just getting introduced to Frédéric Malle, you might want to start with this sampler collection to discover your favorite one. It includes Carnal Flower Parfum, Eau de Magnolia Parfum, En Passant Parfum, Lipstick Rose, Musc Ravageur Parfum, and Portrait of a Lady Parfum.
It's my favorite Frédéric Malle scent in shower-cream form. This one is great if you don't normally like spritzing on fragrance—you can still smell amazing after your shower.
This oil comes in the sensual Musc Ravageur scent and can be applied to your hair and body.
This candle's description might be the best one I've ever read for a candle. It's described as the "ephemeral odor of the living room a few minutes after the end of a Parisian dinner when the guests have just left." How chic is that? It has notes of wood, citrus, and soft floral accords.
Your bedding and linens can smell just as good too. This scent has notes of Turkish rose essence, rose water essential, and musk. It's not overpowering, either.