Friday, February 11, 2011


People who associate colors with certain numbers or letters are known as synesthetes. Synesthesia takes other forms (and you can read more about it here, on the Wikipedia). I don't think I'm a synesthete by nature, but I've been thinking for awhile that it would be fun to combine two of my favorite things--vintage clothing and perfume--in a blog post. The most obvious way was to take a few favorites from my perfume collection and find items on Etsy that evoke the scents for me.

Below is a photo of my perfume tray which holds some of my current rotation of favorites.

1. 10 Corso Como. This is a dark, smoky sandalwood. I think of it as a "serious" scent--there's nothing playful about it, though I do find it comforting and a bit cozy. This military-inspired Emanuel Ungaro dress from allencompanyinc is serious in style and cut, but there's something cozy and comforting to me about wool and about the dress' soft colors.

2. Black Cashmere by Donna Karan. Intensively spicy and woodsy scent (in an uber-cool modern-minimalist laydown bottle). Though called "cashmere," it's not soft, but rather luxuriously warming and dark--like this faux fur coat from swaneegrace.

3. Parfumerie Generale's Cadjmere 18, however, lives up to its name as a milky vanilla and woods blend with a decided note of orange peel on my skin that keeps it from being cloying. It is soft and comforting, just like this cozy cashmere sweater dress from Lolavintage.

4. Lorenzo Villoresi is probably my favorite perfumer, and his Piper Nigrum, one of my early favorites, remains at (or near) the top of my list. Though mainly a black pepper scent, it is rounded out with quite a lot of nutmeg, making it a scent at once cozy, spicy, and sparkling--just like this beaded knit outfit from DearGoldenVintage.

5. Dzing! by L'Artisan. This weird yet wonderful scent is my all-time favorite and my most-worn scent. It was inspired by the circus and smells of leather, sweetness, and a touch of animal. These great leather oxfords from dahlilafound encapsulate Dzing! for me: stylish, goes great with anything, and hardworking.

6. Balmain Ambre Gris. This is probably one of the least "me" scents of my collection. I admit (shamefacedly) that I broke the first law of perfume-buying, and bought this unsniffed, based on some online raves, the beauty of the bottle, and the fact that it was being sold at a deep discount. I was pretty sure the touch of tuberose in the notes would make it something I'd trade away immediately. Quite the opposite! This is a big, sweet, amber-spice scent, and that touch of tuberose gives it just the right dose of femininity. I love it, and wear it yearlong, but just a single spritz to the back of my neck.

This stunning Emma Domb dress from 13bees makes the same femme-but-not-too-delicate statement as Ambre Gris, I think.

7. I wish I had a better photo of my bottle of L.T. Piver Cuir de Russie, as the label has a charming illustration of a pair of Russian dancers. This is a honeyed leather scent. Actually, specifically, it smells to me of soft leather and beeswax candles, and is kind of how I imagine this wonderful leather coat from figandtwig smelling.



  1. karen! this is one of the coolest blog post ideas ever! i love it. i also find it so interesting and cool that you have an affinity for perfume, that's such a great tid-bit to know about you!

  2. Oh wow you have so many perfumes! I'm a perfume dummy to be honest, I have been using the same one for years (but I really love it). This is an awesome post, I don't know a lot about the scents but I do love your selection and descriptions :)

  3. very cool post! we have similar tastes (ha!) in scents...i'll have to check out a few, if not all, of these perfumes! you have a great collection.

  4. just love these pairings - so super clever. though before looking at the post, I was almost certain my emma domb would be coupled with l'artisan's lovely tea for two as it reminded me instantly of that scent when I found it (it is also the same color!) can't wait to try some of these out. xo

  5. lovely post, k! currently, i'm obsessed with joe malone scents. there are so many combos it will make your head spin. my fave is pomegranate noir.

  6. Zohar, the embarrassing thing is this only a small portion of my collection. Sometimes I wish I were a one-scent girl!

    M, I totally concur on Tea for Two and now feel kind of bad I didn't use it, as it's sitting right there on the tray next to the Ambre Gris! It's certainly in my top 10 favorites. Actually, there's quite a lot of similarity between Tea for Two, Dzing!, and another favorite: Bulgari Black.

  7. Oh, B, I really like Pom Noir--and Jo Malone's Black Vetyver Cafe, too!

  8. Brilliant comparisons, Karen! Such a descriptive post, I felt like I was imagining sniffing each perfume as I read through. :) I love your collection pic too, is that the entirety of it, and if not, how many more do you have? Also, really appreciate the feature, thank you! <3

  9. Jessica, there is more. And I am embarrassed to say how much more.

  10. Karen, this post is awesome! I like warmer scents, too, so I'll have to make a list of these scents next time I hit up the perfume counter. I can't wait for the next installment!

  11. What a wonderful idea. Now I want to smell all these perfumes up close. :-)
    Thank you for describing my oxfords in such a scented way.
    dahlila xo

  12. Cool post idea! Cool perfume tray, I need more room to do something like that with mine! <3 All the clothes are great, you picked from a lot of my favorite stores, which I stalk relentlessly ;-) Your vintage store is fantastic. Lovvve it!


  13. Wowzers, Karen! This is definitely one of your best posts! I love your descriptions and comparisons. Truely unique, definitely a most interesting read. Thanks for sharing.

  14. k - I also LOVE bulgari pour homme (-not- BLV) on me...and also, yum on the husband. it's lighter, great for warmer weather. I must try black, though am now pining for a bottle of dzing!

  15. I loved reading this. I love perfume, too, but don't really have a collection. I have not heard of half the ones you talked about. I'll have to try them out. I think it's lovely that you paired perfume with vintage clothes. Great idea. I'd love to see more of your perfume collection in the future.


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