Introduction

“I think it’s important for a man to have several fragrances because we experience several different moods in a week and fragrance is a way to feel each and every moment in a very intense way. A man should have a fragrance that’s suitable for each and every one of these moments.” So says Lacoste Design Director Christophe Pillet.

What he’s talking about is building up a fragrance wardrobe just as you would a fashion one: with a collection of fragrances to suit different situations (Lacoste itself has no less than five fragrances in its Eau de Lacoste L. 12. 12 fragrance collection).

Given that not every fragrance works well at night and some are better than others at certain times of the year, it’s an approach that makes perfect sense. After all, like fashion, fragrance is largely contextual: in the same way you wouldn’t rock up to a black tie event wearing jeans and a t-shirt, you’re probably not going to wear a clean, fresh sports fragrance on a hot date when you want to smell sexy.

With this in mind, here’s how to build your very own fragrance wardrobe so it contains, not just your own signature eau de toilette, but a scent for every situation…

Holiday Basics

Hot weather tends to have two effects on fragrances: it limits their lifespan on the skin but also intensifies them, which means heavy, musky, deeply woody scents often come across as overpowering in the heat.

Just as you wouldn’t wear a cable knit sweater on a scorching day, it’s worth having a lighter, fresher, summer fragrance on hand for when the thermometer rises.

“Fresh marine, green, herbal and citrus accords all work well in summer as they represent freshness, energy and in some cases coolness,” says acclaimed perfumer Azzi Glasser.

Wardrobe Essentials

Acqua di Parma Colonia – a wonderfully fresh and uplifting blend of Sicilian citrus fruits and Mediterranean herbs created way back in 1916 is the ultimate summer cologne. Balmain’s superbly citrusy Monsieur Balmain is perfect for warm weather, whilst Tom Ford’s sublime Neroli Portofino is practically bottled sunshine.

Alternatively, if you’re not a fan of citrus scents, why not opt for an aquatic one – like Giorgio Armani’s best-selling Acqua Di Gio or Bvlgari Acqua Marine – which captures the evocative freshness of the sea?

  • Acqua Di Parma Colonia Eau De Cologne SprayAcqua Di Parma Colonia Eau De Cologne Spray
  • Balmain Monsieur Balmain Eau De Toilette 100mlBalmain Monsieur Balmain Eau De Toilette 100ml
  • Tom Ford Neroli Portofino Eau De Parfum Spray 50mlTom Ford Neroli Portofino Eau De Parfum Spray 50ml
  • Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio Homme Eau De Toilette 100mlGiorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio Homme Eau De Toilette 100ml
  • Bvlgari Aqva Marine For MenBvlgari Aqva Marine For Men
  • Dolce&gabbana Light Blue Pour Homme Eau De ToiletteDolce&gabbana Light Blue Pour Homme Eau De Toilette
Sports Kit

Much like sports kit is designed to enhance your performance, sports fragrances are designed to invigorate the senses and work well when you work up a sweat (or just sit around contemplating it).

Often re-jigged versions of already successful signature scents, they’re characterised by a sense of energy, vitality and freshness that gives them a vibrant, ourdoorsy, generally more ‘sporty’ vibe.

Many brands add spicy, peppery or citrus notes to their existing formula to give the fragrance zing and an instant, invigorating energy rush.

Wardrobe Essentials

Top of your shopping list should be Chanel’s Allure Homme Sport. A superbly fresh, multi-award winning version of Chanel Allure Homme, this sport version – created by acclaimed perfumer Jacques Polge – combines fresh aquatic notes, zingy citrus ones and spicy black pepper to create the perfect après gym fragrance.

Cartier Roadster Sport – with its blend of citrus, herbaceous and woody notes – is another that is perfect for gym bags and comes in an uber-cool bottle.

CHANEL ALLURE HOMME SPORT Eau De Toilette Spray 50mlCARTIER Roadster Sport eau de toilette

Evening Wear

Whether we realise it or not, most of us use fragrances in the way animals use scent markers – to signal our presence, identity and territory. This probably explains why we tend to opt for stronger, more impactful fragrances when we’re dressing for dates.

Certain notes – vanilla and musk amongst them – naturally come across as being sensual but you’ll also want any evening fragrance to last all night.

With this in mind, it’s worth going for fragrances that contain notes like vetiver, oudh and amber, which are famous for their staying power. “All of these notes are usually found in the base of the fragrance and act as the main support and strength, helping give it longevity on the skin,” explains Glasser.

Wardrobe Essentials

Love it or loathe it, Paco Rabanne’s blingy 1 Million is probably the most successful men’s fragrance of the last five years, with a bottle sold every five seconds. Spicy, woody and leathery, with rose, musk, amber and tonka bean, it’s punchy, sensual and has real staying power.

Also excellent for evening wear are: Bentley For Men Intense, which is warm, leathery and long lasting; and Jean Paul Gaultier’s iconic Le Male, which is sweet and spicy with a big, creamy vanilla note.

If you want to bring your fragrance wardrobe bang up to date, why not try Reiss Black Oudh (a fantastically deep, woody and sultry fragrance with notes of oudh wood, patchouli, frankincense, amber and sequoia wood), Burberry’s slightly leathery Burberry Brit Rhythm or Tom Ford’s intensely rich and smoky Tobacco Vanille? All three are new for AW13 and perfect for the evening.

  • Paco Rabanne 1 Million Eau De Toilette Spray 50mlPaco Rabanne 1 Million Eau De Toilette Spray 50ml
  • Bentley Bentley For Men Intense Eau De Parfum 100mlBentley Bentley For Men Intense Eau De Parfum 100ml
  • Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male Eau De Toilette Spray 75mlJean Paul Gaultier Le Male Eau De Toilette Spray 75ml
  • Black Oudh By ReissBlack Oudh By Reiss
  • Burberry Brit Rhythm Eau De ToiletteBurberry Brit Rhythm Eau De Toilette
  • Tom Ford Private Blend Tobacco Vanille Edp 250mlTom Ford Private Blend Tobacco Vanille Edp 250ml
Workwear

We all know how difficult it can be choosing just the right outfit for work, and picking the correct fragrance can be just as much of a minefield. You certainly can wear fragrance in a work context – you just have to wear the right fragrance.

Big, ballsy numbers like Le Male, 1 Million or Thierry Mugler’s A*Men that have a strong sillage (scent trail) aren’t particularly appropriate in an office environment.

Instead opt for light, clean-smelling citrus scents, barely-there fragrances and herbaceous colognes that will leave you smelling great but won’t endanger the lung function of your colleagues.

Wardrobe Essentials

Clean-smelling colognes like 4711 are ideal for the office, as is Paul Smith’s latest fragrance, Portrait For Men, which is light, sherbety and based around the refreshing smell of green tea.

Also perfect for work is Commes de Garcons’ “anti-perfume” Odeur 53, which uses a raft of synthetic ingredients to create a fantastically light, ozonic fragrance that’s slightly reminiscent of that smell you get from photocopiers (but in a good way, honest).

  • 4711 Original Eau De Cologne4711 Original Eau De Cologne
  • Paul Smith Portrait For Men Eau De ToilettePaul Smith Portrait For Men Eau De Toilette
  • Odeur 53 Comme Des GarconsOdeur 53 Comme Des Garcons
Timeless classics

We all know there are certain items of clothing every man should own – a great white dress shirt, a slim pair of beige chinos and a pair of sturdy brogues immediately spring to mind. They deserve a place in a man’s wardrobe because they’re true classics that prove their versatility season after season.

Well, there are a few classic fragrances worth investing in too. They’re classics because they’ve managed to survive fads and fashions and have continued to sell year in, year out. Men keep buying them for one simple reason: they’re great.

Wardrobe Essentials

There might be a somewhat bewildering array of fragrances in the Hugo Boss portfolio but one, Boss Bottled, stands head and shoulders above the rest. Fresh and fruity to begin with but then warm, woody and sensual, more than sixty million bottles have been sold worldwide since its launch in 1998, and one is sold every eight seconds.

Aramis Classic is a sure-fire bet too. Around since the mid sixties, it’s intensely spicy, woody and leathery and like the authentic masculinity it embodies, never goes out of fashion.

If you prefer lighter citrusy fragrances you’d have to go a long way to find a better one than Christian Dior’s Eau Sauvage – forty-seven years old and still going strong (and smelling fresh).

Finally, Givenchy Gentlemen is a wonderfully warm, earthy and leathery scent, made with patchouli, vetiver and tarragon, and though often overlooked, it’s a fragrance I’d recommend all men invest in.

  • Hugo Boss Boss Bottled 30ml Eau De Toilette SprayHugo Boss Boss Bottled 30ml Eau De Toilette Spray
  • Aramis Classic Eau De ToiletteAramis Classic Eau De Toilette
  • Christian Dior Eau Sauvage Eau De Toilette Spray 50mlChristian Dior Eau Sauvage Eau De Toilette Spray 50ml
  • Givenchy Gentleman Eau De ToiletteGivenchy Gentleman Eau De Toilette
Final Word

So there you have it, the building blocks of a perfect fragrance wardrobe. Clearly, you don’t have to own every fragrance mentioned here (this list is merely a suggested menu), but it provides a few sound suggestions.

As with clothes you’ll discover what works for you by trial and error, developing your own style as you go along, and will update it each season as new fragrances are launched.

Most importantly of all, though, whatever the situation you’ll always smell absolutely spot on.

Make sure you let us know your favourite scents and what occasions they are appropriate for in the comments section below.