Kids These Days

Justin Bieber’s debut fragrance, “Someday”, was the top-selling perfume of 2011. 2/3 of the Kardashians have their own perfume line. Suri Cruise will probably have her own fragrance before her 8th birthday. It would be natural to respond to such news with despair for Today’s Youth and their perfume-buying habits. But before you give into that despair and start vandalizing those awkwardly prepubescent “Someday” ads with Sharpie mustaches, take a look at this highly scientific poll. By “highly scientific”, of course, I mean that I asked my Pi Phi sisters about their perfume preferences on Facebook. Their responses were surprisingly encouraging, and may prevent you from being charged with public vandalism.

Though Lord knows I wouldn’t judge you. 

No surprises here: fruity-florals and light, clean fragrances were by far the most popular with the Pi Phis. There were two mentions of Coach Poppy, several Ralph Lauren fragrances (Romance, Cool, and Hot), shoutouts to Marc Jacobs Lola and Armani Code, and the eternally successful D&G Light Blue. However, only one confessed to wearing a celebrity fragrance (Britney Spears Fantasy, which I’ve always felt is one of Brit’s better ones).

A few sisters also listed scents that I consider to be on the outer limits of “department store” fragrances, such as Hermes Kelly Caleche and Jo Malone Sweet Milk. Our chapter president expressed her desire for Prada Candy, which has been well-received by perfume lovers. Finally, one terribly elegant sister prefers niche fragrances. She buys her Monyette Paris on LuckyScent.

I was very pleased to find that for the most part, my fellow Pi Phis have not been buying into the current infantilization of the perfume industry. I am forced to conclude that it must be the other sororities that are keeping Justin Bieber and co. in business. Which perfumes are popular with the young whippersnappers in your neck of the woods? Are you a fan of their choices, or do you wish they would just get off your lawn?

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12 thoughts on “Kids These Days

  1. My whippersnapper intelligence is limited, and garnered partly from the tastes of friends’ daughters and partly my own past work as an associate of The Perfume Studio, helping people create their own fragrances from a “kit” of blends, I would always start with a fact find of current preferences, and funnily enough Fantasy also got a few mentions amongst the younger clients.

    Otherwise, a more resolutely mainstream picture than your own scientific survey of sorority mates: Light Blue is ubiquitous, also Ralph Lauren Romance, Euphoria and Lola. Benefit Maybe Baby also comes to mind, Armani Code and others my memory has probably suppressed,

    If I look round my own circle of friends (most of whom were students once), you can add in a couple of more dignified mainstream scents like of Aromatics Elixir and No 5, but Jo Malone is as “out there” as you’ll find.

    1. Ahh, you bring a very interesting perspective to the table! So did your clients generally want fragrances that smelled pretty much like their old favorites but was more personal to them, or did they ever venture outside of their comfort zone?

      1. Mostly the former – the last young client wanted to replicate J’Adore, for example, and I also had to help another attempt a copy of Midnight Fantasy – but as you say, in a personal way. (Not that the kit would have permitted a close dupe anyway, but rather more of a stylistic nod.) There was only the one young theatre student, who was into vintage clothes and about to go and live in Italy, who wanted to make something unlike anything she owned. She surprised herself – and me! – by making a fabulous woody rose chypre with a clear hint of oakmoss.

  2. Well, I, er, live with a whippersnapper… and she has friends, of course. And I’ve spent several weekends lately on a school bus with thirty or so of Bookworm’s marching band compatriots, some of whom smell.

    And from that perspective, it’s a mixed bag.

    There’s the third-year senior who doesn’t bathe often. But then, Jon is autistic and lives with only his dad, who may or may not be monitoring his 19-year-old son’s bathing habits.

    There are the three girls from the color guard who have managed to alienate the other two girls on the color guard, by being Queen Bee and Us Too of the BoobsRUs Co. Alex, Kasey, and Holley smell, respectively, of B&BW Sensual Amber, Warm Brown Sugar, and something peachy I can’t identify. (Look, they can’t help having boobs. But they certainly can help displaying them so blatantly, with such a “We’re sexy, and you’re not” attitude.)

    There is the senior baritone horn section leader, who wears a discreet spritz of that chocolate Axe… Dark Temptation, I think it’s called… and, SURPRISE! he actually smells nice. And you know what I think about chocolate-smelling anything: bleargh, except on James.

    Drum major Charlotte – a particular friend of Bookworm’s, and an honor student – lightly wafts some raspberry-vanilla body spray, probably a Victoria’s Secret thingy. She’s a cuddly-yet-brainy girl, with big brown eyes.

    Bookworm’s sweetie wears True Religion, an aromatic fougere. (Classic Guy Smell, if you ask me: pleasant, quiet, reliable, friendly. And it encourages hugs.) “Who smells so good?” comments tend to follow him around. Bookworm is wont to sniff the shoulders of her shirts, after she’s had PETBoy’s arm around them.

    Bookworm herself still loves her Donna Karan Gold and her Hanae Mori. Yes, HM is a raspberry vanilla sundae, a guilty pleasure if there ever was one.

    I never smell Light Blue on the bus. I do occasionally smell fragrance that might be a waft of Coach, or RL Romance, or some lightweight peony thing or other. But not Beyonce Heat, Jessica Simpson Fancy, Katy Perry Purr (gah), or the Biebster’s concoction (eh, it could have been much, much worse, I say). Luckily for me, I have put all memory of the Britney fragrances our of my mind, so I couldn’t say whether I smell them on the high school crowd or not.

    OH yes! One of the cheerleaders passed me in the stands after the football game last weekend, going to meet her parents, and she smelled like Tocade, of all things: ashy rose/smoky vanilla. At least, I think it was Tocade. Maybe it’s Stella, and she smokes on the sly.

    1. Ahh, the BoobsRUs co. Never quite as exclusive a club as its members seem to think. I agree that Bieb’s perfume was actually inoffensive, and that Katy Perry’s was much worse. I know a lot of people liked the bottle, but I didn’t even like that. It was terrifying! Like a possessed cat!

      I still need to try Tocade. My boyfriend’s mother wears it, but he doesn’t actually know what it smells like, so it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

    2. (Whoa, long comment. And I’m adding to it, even.)

      I would point out that we don’t have great local access to stuff most perfumistas would call “department store” scents, and I sure don’t smell that kind of thing on the high schoolers. I might smell TM Angel on a mom (okay, it was the excessively-bleached one wearing a denim jacket AND a denim miniskirt with sandals that laced up her calves), and lots of Light Blue on women in their 30s at the grocery store. Or even Sunflowers at the doctor’s office.

      But at the school? No Coco Mlle, no Flowerbomb, no Miss Dior Cherie. No Opium or No. 5. No J’Adore, even. For the girls, at least, it’s strictly downmarket sugary or fruity body sprays.

      I do smell Coco Mlle on female college students at church or on campus where The CEO teaches, or sometimes I think I might be smelling Chloe (the new one). Of course, I’m not hitting the Blacksburg bars at night, so that might be a totally different environment.

  3. Hi, I’m a Pi Phi perfumista too!!!!! Virginia Theta, actually!

    I remember the sorority house as being VERY fragrant on Friday & Saturday nights. Having trouble remembering the specific scents my sisters wore. I know one of my friends wore Gucci Rush.

    1. Oh my goodness, how exciting!!!! Our Hopkins chapter just got our charter last year, so no house yet. I’ve never tried Gucci Rush (turned off by the bottle, because I am shallow), but it seems to be widely praised.

  4. I mentor teens, so I’ve been asking around since you published this post. So far, when I’ve asked what they’re wearing, the poll results have been along the lines of “Britney Spears something” (an 8th grade girl), “some kind of Victoria’s Secret” (another 8th grade girl), and “Axe” (a 10th grade guy who didn’t know which Axe fragrance he was wearing).

    I think the most interesting thing is the lack of knowledge about what they’re wearing! As long as they smell sweet and it’s a brand that’s affiliated with being attractive to the opposite sex, they’re sold!

    ~Michelle for Primal Mist perfumes

    1. What a cool job, Michelle! I definitely have heard a lot of the same lack of concern about the perfume the whippersnappers are wearing. I was actually surprised to hear that Britney’s line is still popular! I would have thought she had less cache these days. Good for Brit-Brit!

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