Monday, April 03, 2006

Perfumes For the Young and Old

One of the best pieces of advice I got when I first joined a perfume forum was to not let the older ladies on the board bully me into wearing only the vintage classics. This (older) poster thought young(er) members should feel free to like and wear newer perfumes which many of the older members couldn't get into (citing low quality as their main gripe--I can see it's hard to go ultra-synthetic once you're used to real essential oils in perfume). I appreciated her vote of support because even though I'm not so young, I tend to like "younger" scents, which to me means they're light or aqueous or whatever the term means to me at the moment--all in all, it means they don't smell "retro", like something that launched decades ago. Perfumes often smell like the eras they came out of--that is a reality, like music can sound dated. Fortunately for me, as a musician, music is music, not fashion, and I only care about the quality. Newness means nothing to me without good execution of solid musical ideas.

I don't want to villify the older people now. I think younger people need to stop calling scents "old ladyish", a term I only use in context here because I agree it's impolite to objectify/generalize women in this way (you don't say Oriental perfumes smell like Asian people, do you?). Perfumes can smell mature, and it could be that the scents remind us of an era or people we know, or it could be that the richer, base-heavier blends (amber, woods, heavy florals, spices, leather) are generally perceived as being more sophisticated and mature. Maybe that's because younger people tend to prefer lighter blends, but here again, I'm only generalizing, and my line of thinking excludes many (maybe millions of) young people who love perfumes with depth and substance.

I just know that I have always detested age-casting. I detest marketing music by demographics. I refuse to wear age-appropriate clothes. I have always worn whatever I liked, clothing or perfumewise, and I've kept likeminded friends in my life. I couldn't imagine telling someone that their perfume choice was too old or young for them.

However, I do speak my mind when I think a perfume smells young or mature. I hope no one is offended by that, but you never know.