So You're Looking For A New Winter Fragrance...


There are a few very different ways to approach the air-tight science of choosing a winter fragrance. First, you could accept that, for the foreseeable future, the air is dry, the winds are rough, and your scent should adjust accordingly. Or, just as valid, you could ignore all that and pick a perfume that screams “Summer! It's summer, right?!” in proud defiance of the windchill. Either way, getting into the habit of spritzing something, anything, on cold mornings just makes sense—'tis the season of layering after all. (Pro-tip: if you've never sprayed perfume on in lieu of deodorant, that's a bohemian adventure we'd highly recommend. Diane Kruger does it and everyone should be a little more like Diane Kruger in one way or another.)

Those discontented with winter, who refuse to invest in a proper parka or simply avoid the topic by escaping to Tulum for the majority of the season, may have the easiest go of it. Find something sweet and floral and be done with it. Better yet, use something you frequently spray in the summer and capitalize on those scent memories. Something like Jo Malone's Wood Sage & Sea Salt, which smells like a moody seashore right out of a Nicholas Sparks novel, is perfect. Beachy, but not too sunshine-y, it's more evocative of a trip to the coast in the early fall when the sand is a little damp, you're wearing a sweater, and there's no one around so you're free to run wild like Keira Knightly and James McAvoy at the end of Atonement.

Similarly escapist is Byredo Mojave Ghost. It's what sweat would smell like in an ideal world, where George Clooney is the president and hot dogs don't have calories. (Full disclosure, we've gone through several bottles of the stuff in the office...they keep disappearing into desk drawers and personal collections. We were that excited about it.) It's more floral than the Jo Malone, but also a little more unexpected. Which is exactly what you'd expect when sniffing Byredo.

But re-appropriating a summer fragrance has its downsides. Namely, that you don't get to buy something new. Should you prefer to store your Bronze Goddess for the time being, but miss the statuesque look of the bottle, try Maison Lancôme Ôud Bouquet. It too is opaque, gold, and shiny (though the similarities end there). This ôud is warm, like in front of a fireplace on a bearskin rug warm. Be prepared to want to preemptively douse all of your cable knits with this stuff. It'll make the idea of oversized knitwear sexy again.

Speaking of sexy: Tom Ford Jasmin Rouge. It's peppery. Musty, even. But because it's Tom Ford, as a collective, we look past the lingering notes of “This is what your basement apartment smells like' (that's the clary sage and spices you're noticing) and instead focus on the jasmine, which is heady and exotic. For something more straightforward, though no less enjoyable, try the recently released B. by Balenciaga. Alexander Wang's first fragrance for the house, it's crisp and elegant—floral, but not too floral, making it an appropriately mature way to incorporate a little citrus into your snowy commute.

Alternatively, stand by your man—er, scent—and maybe just upgrade the bottle. Dolce & Gabbana The One quite literally suggests you don't need any other. But their randy Collector's Edition packaging begs to differ. Maybe relegate your current bottle to a new home (your handbag, the guest bathroom, etc.) and display the shiny red lacquer version on your vanity to jazz things up in the mean time. Summer will be here soon enough.

—Emily Ferber

Photographed by Tom Newton. For more fragrance, click here.