10 Fragrance Mistakes Menswear Experts Avoid

Adding cologne can make or break an outfit, and these are the ten fragrance mistakes that menswear experts are sure to sniff out.

Fragrance Mistakes Menswear Expert Avoid

1. Miscalculating Your Body Chemistry

One of our writers bought an expensive bottle of Tom Ford Vanille; only to discover that, when he wore it, the tobacco notes were almost non-existent on him because of how the fragrance interacted with his natural musk.

Menswear experts know that a fragrance can smell fantastic in the bottle or on the testing strip, but may not smell as great on you. Your body chemistry alters the fragrance, changing both in the process. So, when shopping for fragrances, be sure to wear any product for an extended period of time before buying. This is the benefit a fragrance is sold in sampler sets, to give you plenty of time to determine how a fragrance mingles with your personal scent.

But our story has a happy ending; our writer loves the smell of vanilla so it worked out.

2. Settling for Standard Scents

Particular smells are closely associated with classic masculinity. Bergamont, cedar wood, tobacco—these are all great scents and there’s nothing wrong with favoring them. Think of them like an olfactory navy blazer or a red and blue regimental tie, but menswear experts would never make the mistake of having their entire wardrobe or fragrance collection consist of only basic elements.

Experimenting with uncommon scents will unlock new sensations that will make your fragrances more memorable to others and more pleasing to yourself. In particular, don’t restrict yourself to conventionally masculine scent families. Herbal, floral notes, fougère, and gourmand scents can all be worn by men and have been for centuries.

He saw that there was no mood of the mind that had not its counterpart in the sensuous life and set himself to discover their true relations, wondering what there was in frankincense that made one mystical, and in ambergris that stirred one’s passions, and in violets that woke the memory of dead romances, and in musk that troubled the brain and, in champak that stained the imagination.”

The Picture of Dorian Gray

So, when building your fragrance collection don’t shy away from unique, niche scents that expand your scent horizons. Like a rust brown sport coat, it pays to go beyond basics.

3. Readily Recognizable

In addition to partaking in niche scents, menswear experts also avoid wearing immediately recognizable scents all the time. If you are wearing a Quotidian fragrance, when you encounter someone, they might immediately recognize the scents and also the name of the fragrance. “Oh! You’re wearing Obsession.” Suddenly, their thoughts aren’t about how the sent is integrating with your outfit, they’re thinking about Mr. Calvin Klein.

It is very important to try first your chosen fragrance to know if it would last long on you
It is nice to explore less famous scents but will surely compliment your personality and style.

Popular fragrances are popular for a reason, and it isn’t wrong to wear them if you enjoy them and they complement your style, but seeking out less readily available fragrances will allow you to find a scent that others identify with you as a signature scent with unexpected olfactory mixtures and complexities.

Like a statement piece garment, its value comes from the fact that you worked to find it and make it work especially well with your style. Then, that particular array of of top notes middle notes and base notes is associated to you, and not some name brand.

Photo of Roberto Ugolini Blue Suede Shoes Bottle and Box

Roberto Ugolini – Blue Suede Shoes facts

Top Notes: Bergamot, Lavender, Anise, Pepper

Heart Notes: Patchouli, Ambergris, Cedarwood, Sandalwood

Base Notes: Vetiver, Tonka Bean, Labdanum

Need a refresher on what scent notes are? I’ll make it clear in our video on “Why Fragrances Can Be Confusing?”

4. Suspect Seasonality

Menswear experts understand that fragrances have seasonality just like clothes. An orange tie with forest green corduroys doesn’t really complement summer vibes, in the same way that a smoky and oriental fragrance would be a little overripe on a hot day. Essentially, the moods and associations most people have with the fragrance are incongruous with the season.

How do you determine scent seasonality? It can be somewhat subjective. Many people associate citrus smells like bergamot with hot weather. But, as a viewer noted, cloves and orange are considered holiday scents in some countries. More often than not, it is easier to find a scent that is out of season, rather than in. Like wearing an extremely woody, creamy scent in the middle of summer, which can come off as clawing or heavy, but most versatile scents will function well half or three-quarters of of the year.

Gentleman's Gazette viewer comment on a video about fragrances
Gentlemans Gazette viewer comment on a video about fragrances

In our fragrance assessments, we always share our views on seasonality, but again, feel free to wear whatever fragrance puts you in the mood seasonally. While gourmand scents are not usually associated with hot weather, the Roberto Ugolini scent Azzurro is described by its creator as “a wearable ice cream.” Because what’s better when it’s hot than the scent memory of refreshing ice-cold ice cream?

Employing a variety of scents through the year will also encourage you to rotate scents, bringing a new savor to each season.

5. Oblivious Occasions

Like seasonality, many fragrances have occasions as well, which are simply times and events for which the fragrance is well suited. Most versatile fragrances will serve you well in a variety of situations, but menswear experts avoid the mistake of assuming that all fragrances work equally well together in all circumstances. For instance, an intoxicating and musky scent is well suited for a romantic evening what could prove distracting and inappropriate in an office setting.

In the fragrance section of our online store, we tried to illustrate our impressions of correct occasions for our Roberto Ugolini scents with fun and exciting examples. No, we’re not saying that you can only wear this fragrance when visiting Florence or accepting a promotion, but we are trying to capture the circumstances under which the particular moods and feelings of this particular fragrance would be most beneficial, that you might find comparable occasions in your own life. Furthermore, it can be difficult to convey how a fragrance actually smells, so describing occasions can give you a better idea of what it’s like to wear a fragrance.

Understanding how best to employ individual fragrances is an exceptional way to control the mood and atmosphere of your overall look. Let us know in the comments if you’d like a full video and how to best determine correct scent occasion.

Fragrances have formalities, too!
Fragrances have formalities, too!

6. Laxity with Layering

You’re likely wearing a variety of products with scents like lotions. But when all of those scents are on top of each other, they can become jumbled in what is sometimes called “scent confusion.”

Beginners avoid scent confusion by simply wearing scentless products (other than the fragrance, of course.) But, experts avoid the mistake of scent confusion by artfully layering a variety of scents for a totally unique olfactory experience, which I’m happy to explain in this dedicated video.

scent confusion

7. Stuck on Synthetics

To ensure consistency from batch-to-batch and to reduce overall costs. Natural ingredients are becoming increasingly rare in the fragrance world and almost every fragrance maker employs some synthetic ingredients, but there’s a lot of value to paying a little bit more for natural ingredients when possible. Your fragrance would have that underlying tinge of a chemical under smell. There are likely to be fewer negative skin reactions and side effects, and you’ll enjoy an overall deeper, richer, and more genuine scent experience.

Did you know that it’s possible to break down natural ingredients on the molecular level? To source exactly the desired smell, Herbert StrickerHerbert Stricker, developer of the Roberto Ugolini line, explains more in this conversation with our friend Mark Gebauer.

Herbert Stricker by exclusive

Herbert Stricker

Herbert Stricker is one of the biggest names in the contemporary niche-fragrance industry in Europe. He makes his living producing, and distributing high-end perfumes and colognes, which affords him many opportunities to travel the world and collaborate with the finest craftsmen of our time. 

8. Forgetting Functionality

Beyond the older dab method, aerosolized sprays are the most common way to apply fragrances today. and menswear experts would never settle for inferior applications that compromise the wearing experience.

A well-made atomizer will spritz its fragrance without clogging or guming up from the oils and such in the fragrance. If you can’t spray the fragrance from the bottle, it’s not of much use to you.

Quality atomizers will also release a variable volume, relative to the force applied when pressing the atomizer. This allows you to strategically release more or less scent, all to suit your desired effect. When going to a business lunch, you might prefer a lighter application as compared to a larger dose when the night is spent out dancing. These sprays from the atomizer should also be consistent.

Atomizers allow you to take & wear your perfume anywhere without carrying a full-size bottle or wasting a considerable amount of product. 

If you determine that you like the sillage of a particular fragrance, apply with one medium mist to two pulse points. You need to know that the amount dispensed from the atomizer is consistent each time. Otherwise, your dosing of the fragrance will be off. By the way, if you don’t know what sillage or pulse points are, check out our guide to fragrances.

Menswear experts know that a quality atomizer is essential to a dependable fragrance experience and favor brands that offer a favorable, repeatable, and equitable experience inn application and enjoyment.

9. Neglecting Aesthetics

Obviously, what’s in the bottle matters more than how a fragrance bottle looks. But, considering that your bottle of fragrance is likely to feature prominently in your bedroom or dressing room or with your docket when you’re traveling, menswear experts never make the mistake of completely ignoring the aesthetic effect of what a fragrance bottle or flacon has.

Photo of Roberto Ugolini collection on white shelf

Don’t get us wrong, we can appreciate the kitschy charm a crystal skull, a human fist, or a bottle of Windex. I suppose that’s what Outcast meant by “so fresh and so clean, clean.” But, for moments when you’re unpacking in front of a colleague on a business trip or inviting someone into your private chambers, a timelessly elegant bottle with a more charming and classic appearance might be more in keeping with the image of a classic gentleman.

Whatever kind of bottle your prized fragrance is in, be sure to properly store it—away from direct sunlight and fluctuations in humidity and temperature. So, away from the windows and out of the bathroom.

Proper Storage of Fragrances

10. Treating Your Personal Scent Like An Afterthought

Or something that doesn’t really matter. The best, most expertly crafted ensembles are a feast for the senses. From the shine of a silk tie to the feel of a cashmere sleeve to the crinkle of a crisp shirt, scent also has an important role to play in your outfit.

Establishing mood, stimulating emotional and memory responses, and creating one more memorable facet to your look. Many men feel obligated to wear a particular fragrance because it is what they’ve always worn. It is something that they have on hand or it was free, but settling for something that is just good enough will never profit the best results.

Consistency is the key when you are wearing your perfume.

When it comes to crafting a distinct, memorable ensemble with a fragrance element,  making a protracted effort to research, test, and experiment with scents will allow you to reap the full benefit of your fragrance. Just like menswear experts do.


Thank you for joining us today at the Gentleman’s Gazette. Let us know if we’ve missed any mistakes menswear experts make when wearing fragrances. I certainly kept all of our advice in mind when crafting today’s outfit.

Outfit Rundown

So, today, I’m wearing a navy jacket with a red and white striped shirt, gray trousers, brown dress shoes with Fort Belvedere socks, and today, I’m wearing Roberto Ugolini. The scent is called “Oxford.”

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