After you’ve met someone for the first time, what do you remember about them?
The way they dressed? Most likely.
The way they smiled? Maybe.
What they said? If it was interesting enough.
The way they smelled? Possibly not – that is until you come across the same fragrance, at which point the very core of our biology kicks in and consciously links the scent to a subconscious memory, bringing that person to the front of your mind.
How amazing! How powerful! How wonderful for the woman wishing to create a long-lasting personal brand!
The use of scents has long been used in the retail world to encourage us to buy products (who doesn’t long for a flaky, buttery croissant when they smell the rich aromas coming from the bakery in a supermarket?), and to create an emotional connection with a store (when you enter an Abercrombie & Fitch shop, you are immediately greeted by that typical woody scent – and all of your purchases exude that same scent when you get them home).
So why, as a walking, talking brand, shouldn’t a woman harness this influential power to strengthen her personal impact?
My favorite quote is from Maya Angelou - “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Perfume evokes memories and emotions (good and bad!), so if you made someone feel good, when they next get a smell of your perfume, they will remember that positive feeling and relive it. The impression you gave is prolonged and reignited without you even being present.
I invite you to consider fragrance as an invisible accessory. An essential part of your outfit. Something which you would never even think about leaving the house without applying.
My personal favorite scents (and perfume is a very personal thing) are feminine, fresh, lightly floral, and slightly sweet: Chanel Chance, Burberry Body Tender and Chloè L’eau. I also love Jo Malone French Lime Blossom and Creed fragrances.
As you can see, I don’t necessarily have a “signature” scent, rather a “signature scent palette” which allows me to ring the changes while staying “on brand”. That’s not to say that I don’t agree with wearing only one perfume, it’s just that I prefer a little variety!
How to shop for perfume
Choose a perfume that suits your personality. Bear in mind that all different scents have their own message! For example, woody, earthy smells come across clean and fresh, oriental scents are usually very sensual and perhaps distant, while fruity scents come across friendly, playful and approachable.
Never impulse shop for perfume. If you like a scent, try it on your skin, including your neck area. It takes at least 15-30 minutes for the real scent to reveal itself, so take your time.
Don’t mix different scents. Try out one perfume at a time.
Focus on how it makes you feel - uplifted, energized, happy, playful, etc.
Get an opinion. Ask others (not the sales assistant!) whether they can smell it on you, and how they like it. Not every perfume works for everyone, even if you liked the magazine sample or who it smelled on someone else.
Consider the weather/temperature. Certain scents work better in winter; others are perfect for warmer weather.
Perfumes “go off”, just as food and makeup do, they lose their colour and their smell changes. Store your perfume in a cool dark place away from direct sunlight.
Do not wear too much! An overpowering perfume is off-putting. Lightly mist the fragrance over your skin, or spritz a “cloud” and walk through it for a really light touch.
Applying perfume to recently moisturized skin will help to prolong the scent.
Always put on your jewelry after you have applied your fragrance. Perfume can damage precious metals, pearls and stones such as opal.
Coco Chanel once said, “A woman who doesn't wear perfume has no future”. When I first read this quote, I thought it seemed a strange thing to say. However, the more I think about it, what I think Chanel actually meant was that without perfume, a woman has no future because she loses her power to be remembered.
Of course, your personal brand relies on so much more than just how you smell, however, what else can make someone else recall you, without meaning to, without wanting to, more unexpectedly, than the scent of your perfume?
I think, perhaps, Christian Dior summed it up better when he said, "Perfume is the indispensable complement to the personality of women, the finishing touch on a dress."
If you’d like to find out more about how you can create your own powerful personal brand, book a complimentary Image Evaluation with me. You’ll find out exactly what it’s like to work with me and how my expertise can help to transform your wardrobe and your life.
Veronika Nemeth is a Personal Branding & (Life)Style Coach, based in Milan, Italy. Her mission is to inspire and empower women to live their own truth and become the best version of themselves inside and outside.
She works with women who are ready to step into their power, break free of old limitations and create a life and an image that is true to them.