We look to the stars of old Hollywood for makeup tips and style inspiration, but what about perfume scents?
Remember your first time putting on makeup and actually leaving the house with it on? Or how about wearing heels out, or attempting to curl your hair for a school dance? Most women can look back on a time when being “feminine” in this way was new to them.
As we get older, being a woman gets easier — learning what kind of eyeliner looks best on us, how to walk in heels, or the most flattering silhouette for our body becomes second nature. But if you’re anything like me, you’ve been wearing the same scent from Bath & Body Works for almost a decade.
While we put effort into learning new makeup techniques and staying on top of style trends, somewhere along the way, we forget that our signature perfume needs updating as we grow into women.
Searching for a new signature scent can be daunting — it needs to be refined yet youthful, memorable yet pleasant. It’s difficult to know where to begin, and what we even like. But since we’re always looking to our favorite old Hollywood stars to be inspired by their favorite lipstick shades and dresses, why not take a look at their favorite perfume scents?
Chanel No. 5 (Marilyn Monroe)
Few women are more iconic than Marilyn Monroe, so it makes sense that a favorite scent of hers was Chanel, arguably one of the most well-known perfume lines. In fact, she was such a diehard fan that she famously stated in an interview that she wore “5 drops of Chanel No. 5” to bed instead of pajamas. It’s hard to find a scent more timeless than this one.
What it smells like: sandalwood, jasmine, vanilla, neroli. Find it here on Sephora.
Floris Rose Geranium (Marilyn Monroe)
Marilyn couldn’t pick just one signature scent, however. While she famously loved Chanel, Marilyn also wore Floris Rose Geranium, which she had secretly delivered to her Beverly Hills Hotel room under an alias. Refreshing and summery, this scent is sure to be a hit.
What it smells like: rose, cedarwood, geranium, citronella. Find it for sale here.
Givenchy L’Interdit (Audrey Hepburn)
Ever had a scent made exclusively for you to use? Audrey has! When Givenchy L’Interdit was created by her friend in 1957, she was the only woman alive to have the scent after she jokingly forbade him to distribute it. Nowadays, however, we’re all permitted to smell like Audrey Hepburn.
What it smells like: tuberose, orange blossom, patchouli. Find it for sale here.
Creed Fleurissimo (Grace Kelly)
It’s safe to say that Creed Fleurissimo is a scent fit for a princess — after all, it was commissioned for Grace Kelly’s wedding to the Prince of Monaco, created to complement her bouquet (oh, to be Grace Kelly). Airy and springy, this scent will make you feel like royalty.
What it smells like: violet, tuberose, citrus. Find it here on Amazon.
Guerlain Vol de Nuit (Katherine Hepburn)
Katharine Hepburn was known for being fiery, spunky, and tenacious, so it’s not surprising that Guerlain Vol de Nuit, her signature scent, packs a punch the same way she did on screen. If you’re looking to make a statement, this scent is the way to go.
What it smells like: orange blossom, vanilla, spices, oakmoss. Find it here on Amazon.
Robert Piguet Fracas (Ava Gardner)
Ava did more than just wear Fracas by Robert Piguet — she was known to make up with husband Frank Sinatra after a fight by spritzing the stairway with the scent, inviting him to join her upstairs. If it’s strong enough to fix a marital quarrel, this perfume is one to try.
What it smells like: jasmine, lily of the valley, tuberose, pink geranium. Find it for sale here.
Jean Desprez Bal à Versailles (Elizabeth Taylor)
We’re all well-aware that Elizabeth Taylor was one of the most glamorous women to ever live, so it’s a no-brainer to follow her lead on this one. In fact, she loved Bal à Versailles so much, it led her to create Passion, her first fragrance. Just like Elizabeth, this scent is seductive and enduring.
What it smells like: amber, sweet spices, vanilla, musk civet. Find it here on Amazon.
Nina Ricci L’air du Temps (Ingrid Bergman)
Ingrid Bergman’s daughter says she still remembers the old Hollywood actress spritzing herself with Nina Ricci L’air du Temps so frequently that she learned from a young age the importance of picking out a signature scent — or what she referred to as a “second skin.”
What it smells like: warm spices, rose, Brazilian rosewood, peach. Find it for sale here.
Joy by Jean Patou (Jackie Kennedy)
While Jackie O wasn’t an actress, we can’t ignore her tremendous influence on women’s fashion, and her taste in perfume doesn’t disappoint. Joy was dubbed the “costliest perfume in the world” — each ounce was made up of 28 dozen roses and 10,600 jasmine flowers. Not to mention, the scent was also a favorite of old Hollywood starlet Mae West.
What it smells like: Bulgarian rose oil, jasmine, orchid. Find it for sale here.
It’s not easy to pick out a signature scent — but these ladies knew what they were doing!
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