My favorite fragrance I've ever used, at the time of publication, is Lancôme's Oud Bouquet. I found it early on in my tenure here, hiding in plain sight. The obvious grabs from that season's beauty sale (our regular cleaning-out-the-beauty-closet feeding frenzy where the most normal of Glossier employees turn into crazed sample sale zombies—oh, and we donate the proceeds to charity) were the Diptyques, the Byredos, the Le Labos. All that came to mind when I thought "Lancôme fragrance" was Julia Roberts in an over-filtered TV commercial. But this is not your average "La Vie Est Belle" department store schlock. Oud Bouquet is beautiful and heady—in that warming, intimate way (vanilla, rose), with a sillage that is very, very intoxicating (oud, amber) and lasts forever. I love everything about it...except that it is strictly a winter fragrance. It really only pairs well with a cashmere turtleneck and terribly cold weather.
My summer fragrance game has no similar fidelity. One day it's neroli, the next it's tuberose, then coconut... All over the place. Which is why this summer fragrance edit is less of an edit and more of a dump—I honestly just can't decide what I want to smell like this season. So here's all of it for the moment (and a few of last season's are in rotation, still, too). Hot takes below.
Let it be known, the ITG team will never turn down a fragrance with notes of Sicilian orange. (Whole story on that here, in fact.) This version is technically from Capri, but the Mediterranean influence is geographically close enough. The spicy citrus hits you first, with ebbs and flows of sunscreen and sweat against the tableau of Hannah Bronfman's Italian honeymoon. In other words: perfection.
This one goes out to Glossier's Head of People Lynley Flanagan. About a year ago, tragedy struck. Lynley's top shelf holding all of her fragrances crashed to the bathroom floor during some neighboring apartment renovations. There were no survivors, including her very favorite Prada Heat Wave. The small silver lining: Her bathroom smelled very strongly of smooth, sweet jasmine for months.
The minds behind Buly and I are at odds. When I put on a fragrance, I really layer it on thick. If I'm going through the motions of application, then doggone it, you're gonna smell it on me. Buly, on the other hand, preaches the gospel of personal, intimate fragrance. This is why they formulate using a water (instead of alcohol) base. "Drape yourself in humility," they tell me on their website. Sounds elegant! Made more so by the tuberose scent grounded in cloves and vanilla. Wear it knowing you're pleasing yourself and not annoying anyone else.
Sick of white florals and vanilla yet? Good! Because the main note here is spearmint, which does wonders to wake up the senses after a heat-induced nap. But it's not too austere; there's still neroli, jasmine, and grapefruit in here to keep things a) interesting, b) summer appropriate, c) super complex but still less than $100.
For nighttime, I don't know that anything's sexier than leather. Or leather with incense. Or leather with incense and black pepper. It's serious and masculine—without that "guy who went to the bar bathroom and paid money for a spritz of Acqua di Gio and now smells like a magazine" deal. Your days are about to be longer—shouldn't your nights at least smell like you play harder?
Show of hands: How many of you use solid fragrance? I don't, but Derek Lam makes me anxious to start. I mean, how smart it that? A tiny little tube that can't spill, can't be taken away by TSA, and still smells good? I'm game. The solid delivery system also works particularly well with 2AM Kiss (candied, smells like lipstick). The high notes might burn off too quickly otherwise. Perfect for the people who like the sweeter things in life.
A classic! I've loved this scent since I got it as a Barneys sample when I was 13. Since then, it's become a cult favorite thanks to its tropical perfection. It is mainly gardenia, which says a lot about the seduction of single note scents. They can be complex even in their simplicity. A whiff of Kai suggests you live in Hawaii and have a two-step beauty routine: surfing in the morning to give you rock hard abs and windswept hair, followed by covering yourself in organic, cold-pressed oils that you mix yourself. Smells like a nice life.
Photographed by Tom Newton.
Summer fragrance is handled, but what about everything else? We've got your whole warm weather life covered here.