perfume shopping

If you have dropped the ball in your holiday shopping this year, there’s no reason to beat yourself up. But before you do your Hail Mary run to the mall, it’s key that you come armed with a list of what you plan to purchase. The time to search sales and bargain like a bloodhound has come and gone.

Fragrances are perennial favorite holiday gifts for good reason. They come in all price points and everyone wants to smell good. What smelling good varies according to personal preference; what smells wonderful to one person may send someone else running for the hills.

The most important thing when buying a perfume for another person is to know what type of scents they enjoy. Most people gravitate towards a certain type of fragrance. For example, some people absolutely love fresh florals while others are obsessed with fragrances in the Oriental or Chypre family. There are some people who enjoy fragrances of many different types but I’ve found that this is the exception.

If your gift recipient always wears a specific fragrance, such as Tom Ford Jasmine Rouge or Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb, your job is quite easy. Just buy them what you know they love and maybe throw in a bath gel or body lotion of that scent for good measure.

Never, ever make the mistake of buying someone else something that you find amazing without thinking about what your gift recipient might like or you run the risk of completely getting it wrong! Perfume is highly personal and perfume smells differently on each wearer depending on their body chemistry.

Choose wisely and your gift will not only delight but it will also be a reminder of you every time it’s worn.

If you know that the lucky beneficiary of your gift really does love to experiment with new scents and would be thrilled to receive something she’s never worn before, here are a few suggestions:

Michael Kors – Wonderlust

A captivating blend of luxurious blossoms mixed with spicy notes awakens the senses with fresh Italian bergamot, pink pepper and creamy almond milk. The heart notes include jasmine sambac absolute, heliotrope, dianthus which melt into warm, exotic woods. The words best used to describe this scent are sexy and bold. A 3.4 oz. bottle is $96.

Chloe – Eau de Parfum

If you know she goes wild for powdery florals, it’s a good bet that she’ll appreciate this one. The main notes are rose, magnolia and peony which transport themselves to a honey, cedarwood base. The perfume comes in a cute little bottle with a bow on top to spread the holiday cheer. This gives off a fresh, free-spirited and feminine vibe and has been a best-seller since 2008 for a reason. A 2.5 oz. bottle is $70.

Chanel – Chance

A Chypre floral scent, this is subtle yet intoxicating. Its notes include lemon, pineapple, jasmine, patchouli, musk, vetiver, musk, vanilla. The wave of fruity top notes meet with the flowery notes and end with a spicy sensual composition. This is a fragrance that flirts with your senses and creates a magical bubble around you. Every woman needs at least one bottle of Chanel in her arsenal. A 3.4 oz. bottle costs $100.

Elizabeth and James – Nirvana Black

An alluring blend of  violet, sandalwood and creamy vanilla create a unique fragrance that is somewhat androgynous. There’s a mysterious yet warm element here that’s utterly captivating. I recently gifted this to my sister-in-law and she’s in love with it. She was a huge fan of the now discontinued Anne Klein II perfume, another dark and sultry creation, so I wasn’t surprised. A 3.4 oz. bottle is $110.

Lancome – La Vie Est Belle

The meaning of the name “Life is Beautiful” in French is fitting for this light and happy fragrance. Floral notes of iris,  jasmine sambac and Tunisian orange blossom elegantly fold into the strength of patchouli and sweetness of praline. There is a slight sweetness to it which isn’t overwhelming. If you’re looking for a light Gourmand fragrance look no more. A 3.4 oz bottle is $85.

Toccca – Simone

I love many Tocca fragrances but this is my current favorite. Simone is a scent that evokes waves cresting along the white sands of Sydney’s Bondi Beach, as the sea fills with swimmers and surfers. Imagine sunkissed hair and bronzed skin mixing with the salty air. The notes are apple, watermelon, lemon, frangipani, yang-ylang, rose petals, freesia, blonde woods, musk and amber. The mood it strikes is breezy, playful and sparkling. A 1.7 oz. bottle is $68.

I’m stopping here. You have shopping to do and I don’t need to remind you that the clock is ticking. Drive safely and don’t forget to pick up wrapping paper on your way home:)

Until the next time,


  1. dasger124 says:

    I wish I had seen your site before I did my Christmas shopping. I had no idea what to get my wife. I never realized the differences in perfumes. I thought they were all just different types of flowers etc. I wish I had kept closer tabs on what my wife wore so your article would have made more sense to me.

    I do have a question though. What would be a good entry level scent? I know there are specialties like the oriental vs the floral type like you described. Is there one or 2 particular types that would be used by an early 20’s year old for example. My daughter’s birthday is coming up.

    Great looking site though and thanks for all the information.

    • Erica says:

      Hi Dasger,

      I’ve found that most young women prefer light floral scents, something that they can wear to work or class that isn’t overpowering. Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue or Katy Perry Killer Queen are a couple of options. If she likes a fruitier scent Victoria Secret Supermodel is a nice one.

      By the way, after Christmas and before Valentines Day is a great time to find reduced prices on perfumes.

      Happy hunting and thanks for dropping by!


      Leave a Reply