Photography: Ben Alsop1 of 7
Staffer: Kristen Flanagan, assistant editor
Signature Scent: Ralph Lauren Romance, at department stores
Why She Loves It: “It’s light and not overpowering. I’ve been wearing it since my mom gave it to me when I was 15.”
Our Advice: Since Romance balances rose, lotus flower, and lily with white musk, you’ll enjoy another scent that tempers sweetness with earthy notes.
We Recommended: Calvin Klein Beauty (at department stores), which draws on lily and jasmine but is grounded with warm, earthy cedar. “I’d definitely add it to the mix,” Kristen says. “It’s fresh and understated, which is what I look for in a perfume.”
Photography: Ben Alsop2 of 7
Staffer: Melise Senaydin, art assistant
Signature Scent: Yves Saint Laurent Opium, yslbeautyus.com
Why She Loves It: “When I was 16, my best friend, Cassie, wore Opium. It was so sophisticated. To this day, we both still wear it.”
Our Advice: Opium blends myrrh, a tree resin, with spicy carnation and sambac jasmine, which is native to Southeast Asia. You’ll like other voluptuous, exotic scents.
We Recommended: Trish McAvoy Black Rose Oud (bloomingdales.com); it brings the Far East to mind with oud, resin from a tree that’s also indigenous to Southeast Asia. “ It’s a more peppery version of what I normally wear,” Melise says. “It would be perfect for a cold winter night.”
Photography: Ben Alsop3 of 7
Staffer: Jenn Andrlik, online editor
Signature Scent: Dior J’Adore, dior.com
Why She Loves It: “I first bought it for my wedding -- I wanted something for the big day that I could wear forever.”
Our Advice: Perfumers often blend fruit fragrances with florals; J’adore plays mandarin and plum off rose and orchid, so you’ll like other fruit-floral combinations.
We Recommended: Betsey Johnson Too Too (sephora.com); it also employs mandarin and rose, along with ginger and strawberry. The roll-on makes it easy to use on the go. “It’s fruity but still subtle, and I love that it fits in my purse,” Jenn says.
Photography: Ben Alsop4 of 7
Staffer: Nicolette Berthelot, art director
Signature Scent: Hermes Eau des Merveilles, at department stores
Why She Loves It: “After smelling it on a coworker in 2004, I bought it and have worn it every day since. It’s sexy and feminine, but edgier and less saccharine than a floral.”
Our Advice: Merveilles blends amber (think Cognac and leather-bound books) with pepper for a little heat; you should go for similar warm, sensual scents.
We Recommended: Bond No. 9 New York Amber (bondno9.com); it mixes amber, musk, and sandalwood with white peppercorn. “I like the more intense muskiness. It’s good for date night,” Nicolette says.
Photography: Ben Alsop5 of 7
Staffer: Meesha Haddad, general manager, editorial operations
Signature Scent: Les Exclusifs de Chanel Coromandel, chanel.com
Why She Loves It: “This time of year, I love spicy, warmer scents -- this one feels like putting on a warm, toasty sweater.”
Our Advice: This exotic scent mixes amber, wood, and frankincense (from tree resin), so opt for other earthy aromas.
We Recommended: Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum (bottegaveneta.com); the mix of bergamot, patchouli, and oak moss evokes the sensuality of the leather-goods company. “It smells like suede and is a little less sweet -- which is nice,” Meesha says.
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Photography: Ben Alsop6 of 7
Staffer: Adia Benson, editorial assistant
Signature Scent: Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Eau de Toilette, at department stores
Why She Loves It: “It’s a nice balance between feminine and sporty. My boyfriend’s family put it in my Christmas stocking last year, so wearing it reminds me of spending the holidays with loved ones.”
Our Advice: Light Blue blends Granny Smith apple and bluebell, so you’ll like the freshness of citrus combined with a floral.
We Recommended: Laugh Often by Reese Witherspoon for Avon (avon.com), which offers notes of mandarin, freesia, and rose.“It’s similar to Light Blue, but lighter and a little more romantic,” Adia says.
Photography: Ben Alsop7 of 7
Sensitive to Perfumes?
No need to go bare. Try a scent from an all-natural fragrance line, such as Lavanila Laboratories. Made from pure essential oils, it won’t irritate touchy skin, and it comes in several enticing blends.
Lavanila Laboratories, The Healthy Fragrance, lavanila.com.