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Fragrance elevates your personal style.
Fragrance elevates your personal style. / Inga Ivanova / Getty Images

Wearing a signature scent “is a subtle way to leave a lasting impression,” says Mary Ellen Lapsansky, vice president at The Fragrance Foundation. Here are ways to sniff out a scent that is uniquely you:

Think about your lifestyle. “Asking the right questions and offering specific information at the fragrance counter will help the specialist direct you to the best fit,” says Lapsansky. To make the process a breeze, Think about your lifestyle and personality. Are you looking to make a bold statement or find a subtle scent for the workplace? At a fragrance counter, be ready to describe your signature scent as sporty, casual, elegant, modern or fresh.

Test it yourself. “It’s important to first test a fragrance on yourself rather than buy one just because it smells fabulous on your best friend,” says Lapsansky. “Scents smell differently on everyone,” Lapsansky says. Body chemistry, skin type, diet and medications all affect how a perfume blends with your natural scent.

Whiff ... and wait. Never test more than three scents at once, Lapsansky says. And see how the scent transforms over time: “A scent can change as it dries and interacts with your unique chemistry.”

Use scent to convey emotion. The part of our brain that processes smell is also strongly linked to emotion. “A certain note in a perfume may remind you of a particular person or time in your life,” says Lapsansky. For example, Chanel No. 5 may make you reminiscent of your grandmother or a period in your childhood. Use scent’s power to evoke emotion by thinking about the feelings or qualities you’d like to convey. A spicy oriental perfume may signal mystery; citrus notes could exude playfulness; florals give off an air of romance.

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