Coming-of-age scents

Adolescence. For a lot of us (if you were already gorgeous at 13, you already know the rest of us find you exasperating), it's a strange time, when you're trying to stake your claim, bit by bit, as a more grown-up version of your kid self. Starting to wear personal fragrance is usually one of those adolescent milestones. Picking your first perfume/cologne/deodorant was a declaration. "I'm a young adult! My awkwardly developing body and I are committed to personal hygiene! I am like all my other well-groomed adult compatriots!". Looking back on it, it's cute. But it's also interesting to look at the first scents we wore and compare them to what we like now. So, let's take a stroll down Awkward Memory Lane together and dust off the time capsule of our teenage fragrances.

I'll go first. The first scent I remember being obsessed with was Coty’s Exclamation, which was one of my prized possessions in fifth grade. (I was big into pretending I was a fully grown adult when I was nine, and wearing perfume seemed like it would to hasten things somehow.) When I smell Exclamation now, it takes me back, but I can't imagine wearing it again. It's a scent that suited Fifth Grade Me, not Present Day Me.

We probably didn't realize it, but selecting our scents during the adolescent years was deeper and more symbolic than just a clumsy process of figuring out what smelled good on us. The scent we wear makes a statement about our tastes, but, at that age, it also tends to reflect our personality and aspirations. What we chose to spray on ourselves during those gangly years often times was a reflection of our own self consciousness. Because we were 1. Terrified of the prospect of "smelling bad" and 2. Desperate to fit in with our peers. That's probably why a lot of us wore the same stuff, like paranoid sheep. Seriously, look at the below lineup. Depending on when you were coming of age, there's almost sure to be at least one scent you either had, wanted to have, or knew someone who had.

But, as we grow up, we get more confident. We learn more about ourselves, we get more comfortable carving out our personal likes and dislikes. Tastes change. You become less preoccupied with fitting in. Our fragrances become the smells that define the timeline of personal evolution.

Look back on some of your beloved teenage scents now. Do you still love them, or are they just sugary, nostalgic memories of your old, awkward self? How different are they compared to what you wear now? And what sort of statement does your current scent make?


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