Sunday, February 8, 2015

Wear Perfume, Make Memories

The smell of salty air and sunscreen make me dream of summer days, while the scent of pine and sugar cookies have me longing for winter. I know this isn't unusual. Most people have certain scents that can instantly transport them back to a specific time and place. Smell is the sense most closely linked with memory, but often the associations we form are unconscious. A few years ago, I started thinking about what it would be like to consciously form these associations. 
The thought occurred to me when I found an old bottle of perfume while sorting through my vanity. 
It was With Love by Hilary Duff (no need to explain why that the height of cool years ago) and it smelled exactly like high school. It was actually a little unnerving how much it reminded me of my freshman year of high school. It was amazing and I wanted to do this with more perfumes. So, that's what I did. Beach by Bobbi Brown now reminds me of (what else?) summers spent at the beach in Avalon, NJ. Brown Sugar by Fresh reminds me of my semester abroad in London, and Sugar Lychee by Fresh reminds me of this past summer I spent interning in New York. It's like I have my own collection of little bottled memories and it was super easy to do.

If you're interested in trying this with you're own fragrances, it's really very simple. Here's exactly how I do it:

1. I buy a completely new fragrance that I've never worn before or have any associations with at all. 

2. I wear that perfume exclusively for some predetermined extended period of time. For example, a vacation, season, holiday or event. I find that, the longer the time, the better the association. 

3. After the time period, I put the perfume away for a while. Again, the longer, the better. 

And, that's really it. You don't even have to consciously try to form the association. Just remember to wear the perfume and I promise your brain will do the rest. When you finally take it back out, wear it as much as you want and the scent should always transport you right back to the place and time you wanted to remember. It's similar to how, when you reread a great book, you immediately think of the place where you read it for the very first time. 
Every time I'm feeling a little nostalgic, I just pick out a memory and wear it around for the day. 
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  1. I love this. I remember Barbie mentioned it before and I thought it was the best idea!

    1. Really? I didn't know that! I seriously love doing it.

  2. What a charming idea, Natalie - great post!

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