I’ll never forget in college what one of my friends said. He was a young man who was particularly attuned to the latest trends and style. As he once claimed about his own look, he often tried to appear, “country club ready” with bright colored polos (remember the popped collars of the 2000’s?), perfectly matching belts and brown, soft leather loafers. It was his aesthetic and he happily agreed to the notion that he was indeed very, “preppy”.
But we were in that crowd. We were the “political science kids” at a private college in Pennsylvania. One of our mutual friends went to grad school at George Washington (in D.C.) for law and then found a lovely job as a tax attorney in NYC, and, her path was one of our ideal scenarios. We were all nerdy, sensitive, ambitious and a little…”preppy”.
Now, of course, I had friends who were not in that group. One of my best friends was an art history major (now a professor) and my closest friend was a nutrition major (now a nutritionist) who listened to Rammstein. But I had many best friends in my political science crowd and lots of acquaintances…
Anyway, this young man with the polos and belts decided I needed fashion help. Ha! …I was too “Midwestern” according to his tastes. And he was right, I suppose. I did dress very “Midwestern”. Although, in my defense, my dear friend (the art historian) who was from a super preppy-chic Virginia locale near UVA, insisted I also dressed a little reminiscent of how they dressed there… I still consider that a compliment.
Regardless, once, while we were clothes shopping with another of our mutual friends, he said, “You know, I always think it’s fun and nice to consider what someone of the opposite gender might like us to wear”. (Of course, this was before he came out of the closet as gay a year or two later so he likely was secretly considering the same gender as he went shopping, in all actuality.) …And I knew he was trying to subtly suggest that as a rule-of-thumb I should be following. I think he a. wanted me to be romantically happy and possibly attract the right boyfriend and b. he thought I needed to have more fun overall… Preppy? Maybe. But, regardless, I needed to dress much less conservatively, according to him. And less “Midwestern” (not necessarily the same thing).
At least, I think that’s what he meant… We never openly discussed it and looking back, I wish we had. He may have just thought I wasn’t dressing colorfully enough (literally) for all I know.
Actually though, I do find it fascinating to contemplate what other people like for us to wear. And not just for the purposes of looking “attractive” but also to simply appear…just…nice. Don’t you?
This weekend I was at an estate sale on Summit Avenue. It was held by one of the nicer companies that run estate sales and so it happened to be the sort of occasion where you generally find out what people really think of you. Even though the house was probably around 5,000 sq. ft. and the rooms were all at least fairly spacious you could smell the other people, hear them and experience their presence. When you’re wandering around elegant rooms quickly with lots of people trying to find antiques or other goodies before someone else does, yet also trying to be genuinely polite, you quickly get a sense of other people.
Anyhow, I was wearing Houbigant Orangers En Fleurs. And…people loved it!
I do consider it my alternate signature fragrance to No. 22 (which is like my soul) but…I had no idea how much people might prefer for me to wear Orangers En Fleurs over almost anything else. More than twice, I saw someone at least partially contemplating asking me what I was wearing (in a positive way) or taking a moment to linger and smell the wafts of orange blossom. I caught them, out of the corner of my eye, as they stopped and briefly smelled the air with a calm, happy and intrigued expression and I could sense they were pleased. When I entered a room people noticed for the better and they seemed to become more smiley or at ease…
The only other times I’ve elicited such a positive response have been when I’ve worn Chanel Coromandel. Intriguing.
Sadly, I’ve heard many negative or mixed comments over the years and had other unpleasant reactions from so many others I love. Indeed the likes of such beauties as Shalimar (I love it and love how it smells on me regardless), Narcisse Noir, Chamade, Mitsouko and Paloma (again, I love them all soo much) have even garnered an outright hostile comment once. But, apparently, people really like Orangers En Fleurs on my skin. A lot!
And, it tells me something about myself and how others perceive me. For one, my spring coloring (brown eyes and dark/medium blond hair) and my natural fragrance (we all have pheromones) must be a good match for Orangers En Fleurs. That’s a given. But secondly, this Houbigant must suit my style and personality in a positive way…
It’s like a truly honest personality test. And the results are that people (seemingly) desire for me to either smell of Chanel patchouli or Houbigant orange blossom (the dominant note in my skin).
What do people want you to wear? What does that say about who you are (in both good and bad ways)? It’s interesting to consider, is it not?! *smile*