The fragrance diaries

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Stylist Team
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We were truly awestruck by the sheer number of fragrance stories you had to share off the back of this week’s The Healing Power Of Scent feature. So inspired we were, that the rest of the team Stylist decided they wanted to share their fragrant memories, below, and we’re asking you to do the same and become part of The Fragrance Diaries.

It’s our homage to the power of scent, so read on, and add your favourite scent recollection – whether nostalgic, laugh out loud hilarious or utterly desolate, below.

Lizzie Pook, Features Writer

White Musk will always make me think of my Mum. She used to carry a Body Shop bottle of it round in her bag when I was a child and I would sneak in little sprays here and there to feel grown up or just soak it all in from her jumper when she pulled me in close for a big hug. She’s moved on to more sophisticated scents now but I cannot step foot in Body Shop now without heading straight for the White Musk and having a comforting spritz. It makes me feel safe, in a way.

Sophie Haslett, Acting Editorial Assistant

I got it in my stocking aged 10. It came in a clouded glass bottle which faded into a deep and murky sea blue at the base. That bottle still reminds me of my home in Ireland. I felt grown up receiving perfume for Christmas, spraying it on my wrists, behind my ears, anywhere I thought my mum would spray her Chanel No 5.

I smelled Inis Moonlight the other day. Mandarin, peach and jasmine were somewhere on the Victoria line. Just like that I felt 10 years old again, drowned in scent.

Lyndsey Gilmour, Acting Entertainment Editor

Sunflowers. That saccharine, floral, soapy scent is like no other I have ever smelt. It takes me back to 1995. My younger, middle sister – age 13 at the time - wore it as did most of the teen population back then. The reason it conjures such strong memory associations is that Becky wore it around the time when she was going through a particularly rebellious stage and my parents yanked her out of the state school we both went to and put her in a very expensive and strict public school. I remember there being a lot of tension in our house and I remember how unhappy she seemed in her navy public school blazer, kilt and preppy striped tie (I never had a uniform). But, with retrospect she says that it was the best thing that ever happened to her. This potent perfume reminds me of that period of time with just a mere whiff.

Katie Grant, Sub Editor

My GCSE English teacher, Miss Gamblin, wore this really overpowering scent which we all really hated at school. We loved her though, she was a brilliant teacher, really strict sometimes and scary, but very funny and fun too. I loved her lessons.

After I left school I temped for a while, and a woman where I worked wore that same scent and I immediately thought of Miss Gamblin. I actually went to Boots and sniffed all the mature perfumes at the counter until I found hers. It was an Elizabeth Arden one, but now I actually really like it now as it reminds me of her and I will occasionally spray it when I'm passing the perfume counter, it makes me smile and feel really happy when I think of her. Thinking back we didn’t understand more sophisticated scents back then, but now we’re older it’s a different story. I'm positive everyone in my class would instantly recognise that scent too.

Amy Adams, Deputy Production Editor

Mine has to be Anaya from The Body Shop. In fact it could have been several scents from The Body Shop – Fuzzy Peach, White Musk, Pink Grapefruit, I loved them all. Friends still tease me about the selection I used to take on school trips – so we could do 'smell tests' on the coach journey. I know – they were crazy days. I'd forgotten about this until my hen do last year when one of my bridesmaids introduced the game 'Amy Smells'. Blindfolded, with a parade of heady, sweet scents being wafted under my nose, I was taken right back to being 12 years old, on a rickety coach, somewhere in the wilds of Yorkshire.

Lucy Frith, Sub Editor

Whenever I smell Clinique Happy it reminds me of getting separated from my party when I went on a school trip to New York when I was 17. I had doused myself in the said scent that morning and was marvelling at a man in a penguin suit playing the grand piano in McDonalds and when I turned around everyone had gone. It was before mobile phones came out and I remember thinking panicking was just not cool, so instead of asking for help or crying (which is what I felt like doing) I just calmly walked up and down Broadway for about an hour until I eventually stumbled on my history teacher coming out of Banana Republic. Phew.

Lucy Foster, Features Editor

My mother wears YSL Rive Gauche, and has done since she had me. It’s always been a permanent fixture on the chest of drawers in the bathroom – the sleek metal bottle the only chic and womanly item among a family mess of toiletries, such as dad’s shaving gel and decade-old bottles of Savlon.

When I was still young, I used to love watching her get ready to go out. She’d put on her blue eyeliner and blue mascara, pink lipstick and give her hair some shape with a heated curler. Then it was her favourite black dress, spiky patent heels and some huge metal beads around her neck.

To me this was the height of glamour. I now recognise this was deepest, rural Yorkshire in the late '80s, but that smell of Rive Gauche will always take me back to sitting in my pyjamas on the bathroom carpet.

Gareth Watkins, Acting Production Editor

It was the '90s. I was in a band called the New Souls – the greatest indie band never to gain any sort of record company interest whatsoever. I was working in a British Gas call centre in Leeds. I was living in a house which was equal parts brick, rising damp and leftover washing up. My trousers were by Farah, my shirts vintage (charity shop), my trainers Adidas gazelles and my signature scent Issey Miyake for men. Now the Issey Miyake was chosen by my then-girlfriend probably to mask my previous signature scent which was Marlboro Lights and cheap lager but it still encapsulate for me one of the best times of my life.

Gemma Crisp, Acting Associate Editor

Looking back, it’s quite amusing that it was called Obsession because she literally was obsessed with it. She would douse herself in Calvin Klein’s powerful juice that was insanely popular in the '90s, completely oblivious to how strong it smelled to others. “More is more,” she’d declare whenever I opened the car door ready to go out, only to be assaulted by the spicy oriental notes that had replaced all the oxygen in small enclosed space.

Fast-forward two decades and we’re now living on opposite sides of the world. As much as I despised it back then, now I’d give anything to smell the scent my twin sister used to love so much - but only because it would mean I’d be seeing her in person…

Now we want to know your thoughts – post your Fragrance Diary entry below:

Compiled by Anita Bhagwandas