Perfume is my thing. I love it. Some women buy shoes; some buy purses. I like to experiment with fragrance. I’ve heard that scent is the strongest sense tied to memory. I find this so true. I can recall specific time periods in my life just by imaging and remembering the scent I was wearing at that time.
My earliest scent memory is the fruity, spunky perfume I wore in middle school and even into high school. It was called Tribe, and I’ve looked for it every time I go into a perfumery. I’d love to smell that scent again, to take me back to the days of soccer games under the lights, sitting by my pool in my family’s backyard, hanging out by the bonfire at my friend’s cabin. I haven’t ever been able to find it, and I’m sure they don’t make it anymore. But there have been a handful of times in the last decade when I’ve thought I’d caught a whiff of Tribe. And it instantly brought me back to those days.
In college, I moved on from Tribe, and started wearing scents you had to buy at perfumeries, or department stores; as opposed to the local drugstore which supplied me with my perfumes before this. My first fragrance I wore with regularity as a young adult was Sarah Jessica Parker’s Lovely. And maybe I became intrigued by the idea of the fragrance from my days watching Sex and the City, but once I tried it, I was hooked. Smelling Lovely triggers memories of exciting times in college – exploring Chapel Hill, girl talks with my best friends, and nights out downtown.
Medical school found me ready to try something new, and I moved on to my next scent, which I still use intermittently today. Stella has been my go-to for maybe 7 or eight years. It’s also the scent my husband associates most with me. When I wear it, he says I smell like ‘me’. I made it a point to wear this fragrance on my wedding day and it reminds me of my husband.
I wore Valentino’s Valentina for a year or so during my residency training. It was a mysterious, heavy scent that I enjoyed, but that was relatively short lasting. My honeymoon unearthed a new brand that would become my obsession for the past year: Sisley. I wore the Eau de Sisley 3, and it is a light, airy scent that takes me back to the beaches of St Barth and newlywed bliss.
I just ran out of my bottle of Sisley and was going to buy another when I was introduced by a friend to my newest favorite: Jo Malone’s Wood Sage and Sea Salt. It’s so delicious. I’m already halfway through my bottle. It’s a bit of a deeper, more seductive scent than I usually wear, but we’ve been inseparable. And because I’ve worn it the last few months, it reminds me of my baby Leo, and will always make me smile.