If you’re a style-conscious lady, then you know that the moment you open the door and step out into the world it’s an opportunity to make a split-second impression on anyone walking past. Whether you’re heading out because you’re on your way to that new sushi place with friends or just starting the usual 9-5 routine, you might feel the need to appeal to the people you’re seeing that day by way of a stylish ensemble. And while it might be enough to just swipe on some mascara and slip into a cute sweater before heading out the door, perhaps a second thought as to which perfume you’re spritzing on can change people’s perceptions of you more than anything,

Recent studies have shown that scents play a huge role in determining attraction, with certain smells triggering positive associations that help fuel compatibility. But a good nose can help with more than just your love life! Knowing which scents are best suited for specific scenarios can help give off the vibe you want in a way that just dressing up alone can’t. Your blue blazer might look sharp for that big meeting, but pairing it with the musky perfume that your boyfriend can’t get enough of? Maybe not the right kind of irresistibility you were looking for at the office.

Check out our handy guide and sniff out which perfumes work best where!

On a First Date

Before heading out on a first date to some place nice with someone nice (here’s hoping), you might think it’s obvious to squirt half a bottle of your most sultry scent all over yourself, because that’s what perfume was made for, right? But before you bathe in that Black Orchid by Tom Ford, make sure your aroma isn’t strong enough to knock him off his feet before your stellar personality can. When it comes to applying perfume before spending time with a person leaning close to you, less is definitely more. Don’t spray on anything directly from the bottle; opt instead for a rollerball or a scent-soaked cotton ball that you can subtly dab on to your collarbone, wrists and backs of your ears.

And because this is a first date we’re talking about here, heavy scents that are marketed as something sensual (look for words like “dark,” “rich,” luxurious,” or inky-colored bottles) might want to be passed over in favor of something a bit more flirty. The key ingredients in sexy scents include notes like musk, vanilla and spicy florals. Versace’s Bright Crystal is perfect to pair with a lacy black shirt and chandelier earrings for a winning first date look: impressive, but not too affected. The scent has hints of both musk and amber along with a variety of floral notes, so it smells seductive, but still young and fresh.


Lunch Date With Friends

Heading out to local dim sum place for some pork buns, green tea and gossip doesn’t really seem like the place to work on your perfume game. But since you’re going into town for some fun with your girls, this is the time to get the most creative with your scent choices, and try out something a bit more playful than you’d usually wear for work. After all, that printed dress and statement silver pendant are just begging for a bold scent to complement them.

Benefit’s Something About Sofia is a solid choice, with a unique and vibrant blend of mango, lily and white caramel that we think smells totally unique from most anything else on the market. Scents with fruity bases are creative and fun, but can sometimes skew a little too young (think back to those Bonne Bell Smackers shimmer body sprays in strawberry and peach passion you would mist on before every middle school dance…yeah), so a bouquet of floral notes helps to mature things up.


Job Interview

The most important thing to convey at a job interview is a strong sense of professionalism: not the strong scents of too much perfume. Bottle up all of your fun and flirty fragrances, cause this is the time to be focused and clean. Choose a light and fresh scent that’s almost impossible to detect, like Brit Sheer by Burberry, which really is as gossamer-like as its name suggests.

Now is the time to let your confidence be the highlight of your ensemble; let your perfume act as the most subtle of background boosts. A quick dab of a scent like this on your wrists is all you need to coordinate with a crisp button-down and tailored black slacks, so there’s just enough of a fragrance lingering to show that you put in some effort toward your image without being too strong.


(Featured image via debutart.com, all other images via Sephora.com