Photo by Isaac Harrell
The strongest sense attached to memory is smell, which is why scents evoke different emotions for each person. It's no surprise, then, that summer perfumes are generally lighter, vibrant and more fun. Whether they remind you of running barefoot through newly cut grass, holding a bouquet of roses, sipping fresh-squeezed lemonade or breathing in brisk sea air, this season's fragrances recall the carefree days of summer.
Richmond summers can be intense, which is why your fragrance shouldn't be. Because heat accentuates scent, fragrance specialists recommend opting for a lighter perfume or eau de toilette.
Amy George, owner of Modern Atelier ( modernatelier.net ), finds inspiration in Richmond's honeysuckle, wisteria, magnolias and gardenias for the warm-weather scents she creates out of her North Side home. Her summer specialties include Botanical Garden, which contains lemon verbena and mint — "It smells just like being in the [Lewis Ginter] Botanical Garden," she says — and Farmers Market, made with tomato leaves and a hint of basil. Another summer fragrance, Kuba Kuba, was inspired by the Fan district restaurant of the same name; it smells like pineapple, sugar-cane rum and mint. George also adapts some of her year-round scents to the summer season: "I lighten up on the rich base notes and add more floral and citrusy notes."
Here are some popular seasonal fragrances from national brands, according to staffers at Nordstrom and Sephora: for women — Balenciaga, Lolita Lempicka's Si Lolita, Marc Jacobs' Daisy Eau So Fresh, Coach's Poppy, Coco Mademoiselle and Chloé's Rosebud. For men — Gucci's Guilty Pour Homme, Acqua Di Giò by Giorgio Armani, Bleu de Chanel, 1 Million by Paco Rabanne and Jean Paul Gaultier's Le Male Summer.
Perfumes can evaporate faster in warm weather when mixed with perspiration or applied to drier skin types. Applying a light, unscented lotion before perfume will increase the fragrance's longevity. Surprisingly, another way to extend the fragrance is to avoid rubbing it in, which bruises the notes and makes it wear off faster.
And before choosing a summer scent, remember that what you smell in the bottle will be slightly different when applied to your skin. Your own body chemistry is the last note to your fragrance, and this fluctuates with each person and the temperature.