Ask Ari: The Perfume Advice Column

I am a little too excited to bring back an older Scents of Self feature: Ask Ari, the perfume advice column! First up is a very, very real submission that I definitely did not make up. If you have any perfume etiquette questions of your own, please feel free to submit them for future columns so that Kanye does not have to sue me.

Dear Ari,

I’ve been talking about launching my own fragrance since 2011, but lately I’m feeling intimidated by the success of my wife’s fragrance line. I’m afraid that I just won’t be able to keep up with the Kardashians. How can I get over my insecurities so that I can give the world the best celebrity fragrance of all time? (OF ALL TIME!!!)


Definitely Not Kanye West

Dearest DNKW,

Choosing the right fragrance manufacturer is critical in creating a fragrance worthy of Definitely Not Kanye West. Most of your celebrity counterparts choose mass-market companies like Coty or Proctor & Gamble. The end result is usually bland and boring, which is why most celebrity scents only last a season or two on department store shelves. They might make their namesake celebrity some money in the short term, but your reputation will be cheapened in the long run when they end up in the Walmart aisle.

However, we’ve been seeing some smarter, more interesting choices from a few celebrities recently. The Olsen twins made a very respectable fragrance line for their Elizabeth & James brand through a direct partnership with Sephora, and Pharrell’s fragrance for Commes des Garcons was so well-received that it was picked up by prestigious retailers like Barney’s and Luckyscent. Ask Ari recommends that you follow in their footsteps rather than in Kim’s, especially since her fragrance line was infamously dropped by Sephora after violating their exclusivity clause.

Ask Ari would also recommend that you avoid keeping up with Khloe Kardashian, at least fragrance-wise. Getting divorced a year after you and your husband released a fragrance named “Unbreakable” gives us perfume bloggers years of material!

Definitely Not An Enormous Fan,


P.S. It was surprisingly difficult to find a picture for this post. Please take more pictures of yourself holding perfume bottles.

Pharrell Williams Girl


After years of watching Anthropologie have all the fun, Sephora is finally getting in on the niche/mass-market collab game. They’ve partnered up with Commes des Garcons and the very busy Pharrell Williams to create Girl, “a stylish wood-based fragrance for girls and boys that strikes an attractive balance of masculinity and femininity”. I loved the concept of a Commes des Garcons fragrance at Sephora prices, but admit to being a little nervous about the execution. I’m happy to report that Sephora got everything right, from the juice itself (a lavender and cedar blend as smooth as Pharrell’s ever-so-slightly autotuned vocals) to the adorably whimsical bottle and perfectly-priced 10 ml option.

Much like Pharrell himself, Girl is pleasant and interesting without being overly challenging. It’s as unisex as its tagline suggests: the notes are traditionally masculine, but the cedar note is sweet enough to make most men think twice. Girl is unquestionably the best celebrity fragrance of the year, and a very good perfume by any standard. I like it much better than I thought I would from the notes list (which starts with my nemesis, orange blossom). In fact, I’ve been talking about Girl so much that Daisy bought me the 10 ml bottle just to shut me up. It’s earned a spot in my purse, and I find myself reaching for it most days.