The fragrances you wear are an extension of yourself. They communicate your mood, emotions, and personality while also evoking memories of past experiences. That’s why deciding what to wear is such an important decision, whether you’re looking for a scent to make you feel confident or to remind you of that special someone. When it comes to women perfume, there are so many options — from floral to woody to fruity to sweet. And while some scents are marketed as feminine or masculine, it’s all about what feels right on your skin.
Gender-specific fragrance stereotypes date back to 19th century Europe, when men and women were firmly cemented into distinct roles—with men working outside the home and women remaining at home, caring for the children, cooking, and arranging flowers. These societal expectations mirrored the aromas people chose to wear, with floral scents associated with femininity and woody, earthy fragrances linked to masculinity.
With the recent rise in awareness around gender equality, some of these scent stereotypes have started to fall apart and brands are rethinking how they market their perfumes. Gender-specific perfumes are still available, but they’re no longer the norm. In fact, blindfolded participants in a fragrance study revealed that there are no true olfactory hints of sex—it’s all about what each person perceives as the smell of a particular scent.
If you’re in the market for a new signature fragrance, here are some of our favorites to try.
The bestselling perfume for women, Lancome’s La Vie Est Belle is a bright floral fragrance with a rich woody base. It’s fresh and fruity with a hint of spice and is a perfect pick for a day when you want to feel energized and confident. Chanel No. 5 is a timeless scent that’s beloved for a reason, with notes of jasmine sambac and sandalwood that are both feminine and sensual. It’s a great choice for anyone who wants a classic yet modern scent that works well with any wardrobe.
A cult-favorite, the olfactory nuances of neroli and petitgrain are delicate and refreshing in this clean perfume. It’s a perfect everyday scent that also contains the benefits of Herkimer diamond crystal energized by Louisa Mita to bolster positivity and wellbeing.
One of Dior’s most recognizable scents was sung to the heavens by Charlize Theron in their iconic J’adore commercials, and it still remains the French house’s bestselling perfume today. It’s a rich, luxurious fragrance with a blend of black cherry, bitter liqueur, Turkish rose, and Arabian jasmine that’s opulent and sultry.
A sexy, sophisticated scent that’s both feminine and sultry, this is the ideal fragrance for women who want to feel strong and powerful. It’s a woody floral with hints of patchouli and frankincense that exudes confidence.