Scents and sensibility

NTU civil engineering alumna-turned-Imageworks consultant Su Pei Lin sniffs out the perfect type of fragrance for every occasion

By Mabel Lee
At a freshmen orientation party... “Wear a citrusy scent, which typically carries the tanginess of zesty fruits like mandarin, lime and lemon. When you’re in a casual environment with unfamiliar faces, this light and refreshing mood-booster can lift your social game and make it easier for you to make new friends.”

FOR HER: Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue; Cheap & Chic Hippy Fizz by Moschino
FOR HIM: Versace Pour Homme; DKNY Be Delicious Picnic in the Park for Men
UNISEX: CK One by Calvin Klein; Fresh Life by Fresh; Cool Cotton by Clean, Acqua di Parma
When preparing to run a marathon... “Spritz a bit of green perfume, which may contain elements like pine and galbanum, and smells like the great outdoors and freshly-mown grass. The wearer of this fragrance type communicates energy and life. So it’s perfect for those taking part in sports competitions or high-activity events.”

FOR HER: Rosabotanica by Balenciaga
FOR HIM: T by Tommy Hilfiger; Nautica Voyage
UNISEX: Aqua Allegoria Herba Fresca by Guerlain; The Vert (Green Tea) by L’Occitane en Provence
At your first job interview... “Go for an oceanic scent. The aroma of mountain air and freshly laundered linen will give your potential employer a whiff of your ‘crisp’, professional side. Avoid fragrances with many floral notes. According to The Fragrance Foundation – an international group of fragrance professionals – heavy, sweet-smelling scents are considered less appropriate for more serious or formal occasions.”

FOR HER: Eternity Summer 2014 by Calvin Klein; Beach by Bobbi Brown; Taste of Fragrance by Thierry Mugler
FOR HIM: Davidoff Cool Water for Men; Oceans by Nautica
UNISEX: CK One Summer by Calvin Klein
On your first day of work or internship... “If you want to impress upon your co-workers that you’re a vibrant and energetic addition to the team, spray on something citrusy. It’s pleasant and not too overpowering, and hints that you’re full of life. For a foolproof option, choose an oceanic perfume, which can be worn in almost all professional settings.”

FOR HER: Grapefruit by Jo Malone; Acqua di Gioia by Giorgio Armani; Miss Dior Cherie L’eau
FOR HIM: Versace Man Eau Fraiche; Aqva Pour Homme Marine by Bvlgari
UNISEX: Acqua di Parma
On a romantic first date... “For ladies, wear a floral scent as it typically reminds people of flowers like roses, gardenias and jasmines. You’ll exude your softer, feminine side. If sweet scents don’t go with your personality, try something fruity, which is friendly without being overwhelming. Guys can wear woody fragrances built on notes like cedar, sandalwood and pine, which give off a sense of masculinity and romance.”

FOR HER: Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet; See by Chloé; Marc Jacobs Daisy Delight
FOR HIM: Terre d'Hermès; Kenzo pour Homme
UNISEX: Bottega Veneta Essence Aromatique
More scent-sible tips...
  • To avoid wearing too much perfume, apply it to your pulse points, which are the inner wrists, the base of the neck and behind the ear lobes. Alternatively, spray the scent into the air and walk into the mist.
  • People need to be standing fairly close to you before they can say: “You smell nice”. A self-test: wait five seconds after applying your scent before pressing a tissue to your pulse point. If the tissue sticks, you’re likely to have worn too much.
  • When wearing heavier scents, spritz some behind the knees to prevent the aroma from rising too quickly and overwhelming others.
  • Always pick a scent that suits not only the occasion, but also your personality. Wearing something that is a huge departure from your style or image will give an impression that something about you is amiss.
  • When in doubt, it is better to skip wearing a fragrance altogether.
The sweet smell of success

Research done at NTU has found that scented products tend to linger in the mind.

The landmark study, which was featured in The New York Times in 2009, found that we remember scented items better than non-scented ones.

“People don’t just remember a smell. They also remember its links and associations,” says Assoc Prof May Lwin, one of the study's principal investigators from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication & Information. “That’s why smelling a familiar scent can also change your mood, or trigger a past memory, such as your grandmother’s kitchen or your visit to the dentist.”

With the right scent, the sweet smell of success could be yours.