Age is nothing but a number, but as your style evolves, so should your stable of scents. But don’t worry—that doesn't mean you’re fated to wear the same perfume as your great aunt. Fragrance expert Dara Quinlan says it’s more about your state of mind than what’s on your birth certificate. “The magic of fragrance is that it is purely subjective, where our likes and dislikes are driven by the emotional, rather than the rational part of our brains.” As the years go by, you will likely be drawn to different perfumes than when you were younger. “Our life experiences, body chemistry, environment, and specific memories all influence what we want to smell like,” explains Quinlan. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up picks for every age bracket, or should we say, every mindset.
You may have entered the real world, but that doesn’t mean you have to smell too grown-up. Flaunt your sprightly side with a scent that’s light and sunny. Look for bright top notes like mandarin and berries and sweet bottom notes such as caramel and praline, which playfully evoke your Girl Scout days. Our pick: Juicy Couture’s Viva La Juicy.
Between climbing the career ladder and taking care of your family, you’re always going full tilt. You need a scent that keeps you going. Choose one that balances energizing green notes like pear and lotus blossom with florals like peony and rose. We like Salvatore Ferragamo’s feminine Attimo L'Eau Florale.
Forties are the new twenties, or so we’ve heard. Celebrate with a boutique scent that is a little bit unexpected. Atelier Cologne’s Ambre Nue layers clean citrus over jasmine, African myrrh, and sandalwood for a deep, intriguing fragrance. It’s modern and classic at the same time, just like you.
You know what you like, and you’re not afraid to make a statement. Venture off the beaten path with a niche fragrance that’s actually calibrated to make you smell more youthful: Harvey Prince’s Ageless, which features invigorating notes of pink grapefruit and mango.
60’s and beyond
By now, you’re ready for something elegant and timeless—think more Breakfast at Tiffany’s than Breakfast Club. Look for a complex fragrance that blends classic top notes like jasmine and lily with a rich base of musk and sandalwood. You can’t go wrong with Serge Lutens’ multi-layered Nuit de Cellophane.