My Fragrance MO Is Intoxicating But Subdued, so I Curated the Ultimate Lineup

I love a bold, heady fragrance more than anyone, but in my day-to-day life, I know it’s unrealistic to wear a showstopping fragrance everywhere. Everyone at the grocery store would hate me. 

For this reason, I normally opt for fragrances on the softer side on a typical day. The thing I’ve learned about softer scents is that they don’t have to be boring. In fact, many lighter fragrances are actually more interesting since it requires a certain amount of measured restraint to make a soft scent. Below, check out some of my favorite soft perfumes to add to your everyday life.

1. Atelier Cologne Lemon Island Cologne Absolue

Key notes: jasmine, lemon, vanilla

This is my favorite perfume to wear when I'm not really doing anything and I want to smell good but not like I'm trying. Consider it a Sunday-brunch perfume—it won't overpower, but everyone at the table will tell you you smell good.

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2. Boy Smells Rose Load Genderful Fine Fragrance

Key notes: rhubarb, cardamom, pink peppercorn, rose, raspberry, papyrus, agarwood, sandalwood

If you like the smell of fresh-cut roses but tend to shy away from rose-scented perfumes, this is the scent for you. Unlike many rose perfumes, which tend to lean powdery or cloying, this one smells like catching a whiff of the flower from a bouquet at the farmers market.

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Key notes: pear, pink peppercorn, nectarine, cinnamon, rose centifolia, jasmine, magnolia, ambrox, musk, cedar

3. Ellis Brooklyn Super Amber Eau de Parfum

Key notes: amber, cedar, vanilla

Misting on this perfume feels like being wrapped in a plaid blanket in front of a fire pit. It's light and airy but still feels cozy. Plus, every time I've worn it, I've consistently been complimented on how I smell.

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4. Clean Classic Warm Cotton Eau de Parfum

Key notes: mandarin, cotton, amber

There’s no better crisp, fresh smell than cotton. With a spritz of this fragrance, you can smell like freshly washed clothes, all the time. It's subdued but refreshing.

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5. Parfums de Marly Oriana Eau de Parfum

Key notes: mandarin, bergamot, grapefruit, orange blossom, blackcurrant, raspberry, marshmallow, ambrette, chantilly cream, musk

The iconic perfume house describes this scent as “a delicate and airy fragrance like a muslin dress,” and we couldn’t agree more. It smells like something you might imagine a royal family member wearing—elegant, soft, and entrancing.

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Key notes: red currant, bulgarian rose, white flowers, plum accord, mimosa absolute, plumeria, petalia, sandalwood, tonka bean, vanilla

6. Maison Margiela Replica Springtime in a Park Fragrance

Key notes: pear, lily of the valley, musk

If the month of April were to be liquified and put in a bottle, it would be Springtime in a Park. This fragrance is an intoxicating but soft mix of florals and fruits that are reminiscent of, well, walking through a park in the spring. Wear it whenever you want a dash of optimism.

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Key notes: bergamot, pink pepper, lemon, neroli, ylang-ylang, transluzone, heliotrope, coconut milk, musk, cedarwood, benzoin

7. Diptyque Do Son Eau de Toilette

Key notes: tuberose, orange blossom, jasmine, marine accord

Fresh and slightly zingy, this floral fragrance is bursting with tuberose. Even if you’re one for softer scents, it’s the kind of perfume that you want to spritz all over, so that a trail of airy white florals follows you around.

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Key notes: wisteria, honeysuckle, jasmine, narcissus

8. Hermès Un Jardin sur le Toit Eau de Toilette

Key notes: apple, pear magnolia

One spray of this light, sparkling fragrance will transport you to a peak-bloom secret garden. 

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9. Skylar Pink Canyon Eau de Parfum

Key notes: lemon, grapefruit, sage, magnolia, lily of the valley, tiare petals, amber, salt, cedar, musk

Citrusy, salty, floral, and woodsy, this fragrance is basically a dreamscape for driving through Laurel Canyon at sunset in a top-down, cherry-red convertible, hair whipping in the wind while the sky turns shades of peach.

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Key notes: bergamot, sea salt, seaweed, cotton blossom, water lily, cyclamen, driftwood, vanilla, musk

10. Ralph Lauren Romance Parfum

Key notes: blackcurrant, rose Damascena, patchouli

Consider this a love potion in a bottle. Perfect for first dates, anniversaries, or just a cozy night in, this fragrance is made to encapsulate modern romance. Warm floral notes are captivating enough to make your cheeks flush.

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Key notes: raspberry coulis, mandarin, bergamot, rose, jasmine, lily of the valley, vanilla, cashmeran, white musk

Next, When I Wear This Perfume Brand, I Might as Well Be on the Amalfi Coast