Monday, February 14, 2011

Scarves and scent

Have I ever not been aware of references to the smell of perfume on a scarf?

Have I ever not been stricken dead in my tracks, frozen as if in a bad dream, at the thought of purposely applying a scent to a scarf for purposes of imbuing it in a scent?  I mean...I love scarves.  I love them because of how they feel.  And look.  And would applying perfume change that, compromising the fabric, shortening its life, ruining dyes?  What if the perfume I wanted to wear on a day I want to wear scarf X is not the perfume I want to wear the next time I wear scarf X?

The answers used to be "not that I can remember" and "yes, always."  Until a few weeks ago.

'Twas a decant that slayed the beast.

Turns out that vintage Houbigant has a tricky trigger.  Such a wide swath of spray, that it dribbled.  Had this been a replaceable perfume, I might have felt a certain constriction of my chest, a certain sadness, but would have said "sayonara."  But this was precious vintage.  It was only going away, never coming back.

I saw the scarf.  I reached.  I wiped.

Know what?  Apercu makes a mighty nice scarf scent, in a classic perfume way.  Not too heavy, enough flowers to say "perfume," enough lift to keep the flowers from smothering, enough other elements to keep it from being boring.  And, to tell you the truth, I'd rather my scarf smell like that than like sebum.

Go figure.

The damage was done, fiber & dye-wise.  If any were to be done.  I found myself going off in search of a few other scarves...after all, there were more perfumes to be decanted.  There might be other accidents.  One should always be prepared, after all.

Turns out I had two more accidents.  Which probably require those quote marks in the air -- I'm raising and curling my two fingers on each hand, drawing them down and saying "accidents."

I consoled my not-so-shaken but not-so-certain cautious self with the reminder that I could always hand wash.  Sure, even the silk.  Sort of.

This sent me on a pleasant rumination about how one could go about assigned scent to scarves.  Of course, there is Tradition.  Which means signature scent:  "Her scarf was all she still smelled like...her."  In my brain, "smelling like her" has more to do with smelling like sebum and onions and such than perfume, but hey, I came to perfume later in life.  It works for some.  Especially if they have a trademark perfume.  In my world, the line would be something more like "Her scarf was all she left still smelled like she did on a sunny day in early spring when she felt like a chypre but still snuck in a spritz of hay."

Obviously, I needed a different system, scarf-wise.

The first step was easy, I thought.  Sort scarves by season.  Oops, not so fast; certain scarves carry over.  Only the thick chunky woolens and the very sheer gauzy veils end up ghettoized by the weather.  The rest can move up and down in the batting order.   Okay, change tack.  Texture.  That's it.  That's good.  Texture and thickness.

But then I started thinking about that, and my blue and green nubby scarf seems like it could handle a fresher scent than the maroon with flecks of gold.  Shoot.

At this point, I had completely bought into the idea.  So I was bound and determined to scent a couple of scarves on purpose.  But I was lost in the woods with no compass.  How to get out of here?

Kabonk.  Match one scent to a scarf, or find one scarf to match a scent.  Which meant pick two or three scents I wouldn't mind being imbued in a fabric I had about my neck.  And then see if I had a scarf that "looked like" that fragrance.

Now the game was fun.  And seemed manageable.  Though, truth be told, it was a heckuva a lot easier to just toss responsibility in the air and do things "accident" style.

Which is Aperçu?
Besides the Aperçu, my conscious decision scents were Amouage Epic, and Magie Noire.  I already have an "outer scarf" that wafts L'Accord -- pretty wonderful, and works well with the cozy depths of the scarf, but must admit that was incidental, which makes it accidental.  I picked Epic because it is one of my occasion scents, something I wear when I want to smell fabulous and yes want the smell to not take backstage.  Figured it would be interesting to see how it behaved on a scarf, since the Aperçu did smooth out and focus at the same time on fabric.  The Magie Noire, well...that was because it is a favorite of the other lodger on the Ledge.  Add in the fact that I like it, and it easily becomes a something I wouldn't mind too much if that was the recognizable "me" on a scarf I left behind.  That part of me, at least.

Did I choose well?  I chose in winter.  I'll probably try a couple of other things with lighter scarves.  Will I fall into the habit?  I doubt it.  I'm still a little nervous about damaging the scarves.  And, truth be told, about commitment.  Remember, with perfumes, I'm Big Love.  And I like to have my options at the start of any given day.

Speaking of options...did I tell you about the scented hankies?  No?  Ah.  They are small.  They are plentiful.  They can be found for a song second hand.  And, if you were really particular, you could sew the initials of the perfume you assign to a given hankie and have handy to toss in a bag...

...but we were talking scarves.  And scents for them.  So many possibilities.  So impossible to choose just one.

first photo, scarves akimbo, author's own
photo of Grace Kelly in scarf from The Gloss
photo of Alan Cumming from Broadway World


Bloody Frida said...

Im usually happily reminded of another day's scent when putting on a scarf (I wear scarves nearly every day). That is 'usually' - sometimes I'm put off by the scent that still lingers.

I am too daft to match scarves to scent - as it is, I HAVE to match the scarf to the outfit and my lipstick, and to worry about perfume too I'm be a nervous wreck. I also get very upset with myself in my underwear doesn't match my outer outfit. Sigh! The stress I put on myself!

In my early 20s, I had a friend that would ask to sniff my scarf because he said it helped him stay in a good mood! Thanks for bringing that pleasant memory back to me!

Vanessa said...

I love your scarf/scent assigment musings, and the notion of embroidering the initial of a scent on its designated hankie is inspired!

I can bring to the table accidentally perfumed duvet covers - the bit just tucked under my nose. The dominant accord is Agent Provocateur, because that is what I wear to bed, but over the course of the week until the linen is changed, the vestiges of daytime scents create a palimpsest of smells.

But on the subject of scarves, I am way behind you, for like Bloody Frida, I am already racked with indecision about outfit matching issues. Not to mention my recurring angst on the correct way to TIE a scarf of any given design. There'a a whole science behind this, apparently. I don't know what the science is, but I do know there is one.

: - )

ScentScelf said...

BF, I laughed and laughed again at the stressing out when trying to match underwear. I mean, not that it struck a chord or anything...but...sometimes it's easier to stick with solid colors. Cuts down on clashing issues, if you know what I mean.

Oh, the outfit comes first. Always first. And the perfume, for me, often is chosen with the outfit in mind. Or vice versa. So this scent a scarf in advance thing is really stepping out on a limb, as far as I am concerned. But out I I thought I should chronicle it.

I'm not going to be on that particular part of the tree very often. ;)

I am pleased to hear that the post raised a pleasant memory, and not just anxiety. That is very brought a little more joy to my day, too.

ScentScelf said...

Vanessa, dear heavens...did you mention *tying* a scarf? I've had to figure it out for EACH ONE. Between different weights of fabric, different sizes, different patterns...ay yi yi. I will say this: I have discovered why those crazy scarf disc thingies came into being. And if you can get over putting holes in the fabric (something I am not necessarily capable of myself), a pin, a-hem, brooch, serves well to anchor things in their desired drape pattern when there is not a knot to fit.

Someday I might just monogram those hankies. EdTV, PdT. Might actually spritz more than two, as the project was initially envisioned. ;) Kind of chuckling at your hypothetical Tauer hankie; it would bear the rather lengthy initials "LADDM," right?

Hooray!!! "Palimpsest of scent!!" Ah, the return of a favorite but too long neglected word...that Agent was a Provocateur, alright...

Joan said...

You think a lot, lol. I can see how scenting silk scarves might be a problem. I'm also Big Love when it comes to perfume, so I would be irritated if a scent wouldn't come off my clothes.

I wore (a lot of) Habanita out once and it got on the detachable fake fur collar of my coat. A month later and I still smell it.

ScentScelf said...

Joan, sometimes I think I should have just called the blog "Thinking Again." ;)

Oooh hah, Habanita. On the right day, I love that stuff. On the wrong day, it could induce a headache. A fake fur collar seems like a good match for it, though.

Funny, I was just in a second hand store, trolling for perfume (or so I thought), and found myself fingering some detachable fur collars. Real ones. Pondering a number of things, like the issue of reusing/recycling and whether that is better with animal products than just throwing them away, and did I have a coat or sweater with which I could carry it off, and seriously, spring is around the corner, what mojo would I be invoking by purchasing a cold weather item now...oh, yeah. Thinking again. :)

Anonymous said...

(Re: your fur collar thoughts... been there. I only wore my new/old fur hat once this winter.)

I love scarves. Love love love them; I have, lessee, nine that I regularly wear and a couple of more-formal wrap scarves I don't wear. No, ten... not including the three plaid wool outerwear ones that I take off when I take off my coat. Also, there's the LOTR dwarf-hood-scarf thing Bookworm made for me.

Can't imagine the stress of matching fragrance to scarf to outfit. (Let alone to, I admit, underwear... not that I'm exact about it, but I can't wear red undies and a pink sweater. Or blue undies and a red sweater... though pink undies and a light green sweater are fine, particularly if I'm wearing the pink/blue/green scarf. On second thought, I don't even want to talk about it: I *have* a system, okay? I just don't want to explain it.)

Bloody Frida said...

you all help me feel all right w/the (matching-obsession)world!

Love that Joan said "Big Love" - I couldn't stop laughing about that!

brian said...

How funny. I was just commenting on my sweaters and their perfume sponge quality. Maybe I need to liberally dump on my sweater sleeves, so I can carry the smell around more extravagantly!

ScentScelf said...

:) Brian, I had just gone visiting without commenting and saw your wonderful post on sweaters, sleeves, and scent. (And dogs, or rather, your dog.) I say go for the liberal dousing. Seems to me if its worth discovering, its worth creating...though I recognize the difference in personal impact.

ScentScelf said...

Bloody F, LOL. I think that where there's smoke, there's fire...if you care enough to think hard about perfume, after all... ;)