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The Myth of Gender-Specific Fragrance

bus stop on rainy day with perfume advertisement showing woman in golden dress

Are fragrances gender-specific?  We get this question a lot. 

Many (most) fine fragrances today are marketed and sold with the idea that they are for either a man or woman.  In fact, fragrance started as a genderless craft and the idea of men/women's fragrances came to be as a marketing tactic to increase sales.  The bottom line is that a great fragrance is a great fragrance, and anyone can/should wear it.  

While we see a lot of gender-defining in fine fragrance (see our other article on types of perfumery here), we often don't in many other categories such as laundry, candles, shampoo, body wash and hand soaps.  So what's the difference?  For us, there isn't one.  Any fragrance can be loved by anyone.

But what about scents that are traditionally assigned to a gender such as floral (women) and woody (men)?  A complex, well-rounded fragrances will incorporate many different notes to compose an overall olfactive character, much the same way a painter will use many different colors to create a complete picture.  Inasmuch that pink and blue hues are only for girls and boys respectively, this designation doesn't make sense when viewing a complete picture.  The same holds true for fragrance -facets of traditionally defined notes are often working together to create an overall effect. In our opinion, that is the mark of a great fragrance - when the complexity of a perfume allows every nose to smell something unique and appealing.

The good news is that we are seeing a trend away from gender-specific fragrances and a broader appeal for a more wide ranging olfactive palette.  Who knows, maybe one day we'll actually get back to where we started.  

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