“Do women ever wear this [men’s] fragrance or is it too man-funky for us?” Every once in a while I receive a question that goes along these lines. Usually it comes from a customer looking for something off the beaten track, wondering if there is something unusual she can try. On occasion, guys, too, ask me for my opinion and are willing to try lighter, sweeter, more carefree scents. But why are fragrances usually classed as men’s and women’s in the first place, and what does it all mean?
You might be surprised to find out that all this dividing fragrances into men’s and women’s ones is nothing but convention. Perfume dates back thousands of years, with the first evidence of its use found in Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and Cyprus. For most of its history there was little to no separation of fragrances into two main classes – one for men and one for women. What is considered ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ in terms of scent has always been subject to change and interpretation. Take Old Spice for example: this fragrance, supposedly smelling like freedom and outdoors, is firmly associated with being for men only. Yet when it was first created in 1937 by William Schultz, he based it on the notes of his mother’s potpourri, such as rose, spices and herbs. It was swiftly re-released a year later as a scent for men but still smelled pretty close to the original.
So why is today’s perfume industry dividing the fragrances into men’s and women’s ones? Mostly, this is just for convenience of marketing, but it’s also something we all came to expect from perfumes and colognes. Convention tells us that just like blue is for baby boys and pink is for baby http://www.mindanews.com/buy-inderal/ girls, perfumes are fragrances meant for women and colognes are to be worn by men. That in itself is an inaccuracy aimed at helping men feel less cautious about wearing a fragrance; the term ‘eau de cologne’ was mainly used to determine the strength of a fragrance rather than make it sound manly, but since then the word ‘cologne’ has firmly established in our collective psyche as ‘a fragrance for men’.
Do fragrances really have a gender? Are there some intrinsic qualities that make them ideally suited for men or for women only? You guessed it – they don’t. What you decide to wear as a scent is completely up to you. More so, many big perfume houses now also make fragrances ‘to share’. Those are unisex scents that are ambiguous and work equally well on anyone, regardless of whether they are male, female, or prefer to identify themselves differently. Gender-neutral fragrances are something that is emerging as a market response to our changing societal norms. Our range also includes four unisex fragrances, inspired by teas. All fragrances I make can be worn by a person of any gender, and while I do offer a range of women’s and men’s literary scents, they are only tentative guidelines – after all, rules are meant to be broken.
When it comes to choosing a fragrance – be it by Ravenscourt Apothecary or any other company – my only advice to you is, if it sounds interesting to you, try it out. Get a sample, wear it and decide for yourself if it goes well with your personality. If you do happen to like fragrance styled for the opposite gender, wear it with confidence!
Have you ever experimented with wearing a scent meant for the opposite gender? Have you ever owned or tried a unisex fragrance? I’d love to hear your thoughts!