Thursday, September 3, 2009

Choose wisely

As essential as getting dressed and brushing your hair before exiting the house to begin a day is spritzing a few mists of a fabulous perfume. Choosing a fragrance is quite similar to choosing a trademark. Both should be unique, distinctive, and revealing of something.

When one chooses a trademark for their product, the law provides strict contours to be followed. The mark must not be generic, it cannot merely describe the product to which it is applied, and most importantly, it cannot be in use by another for a similar product. A trademark that at one time was secured can lose its legal protection through overuse, when it begins to be used commonly to describe a class of products (a phenomena in the legal world called 'genericide', think 'Band Aid' and 'Kleenex'). The same principals apply when selecting a signature scent, though the law won't penalize you for missteps (but your friends will; have you ever been in an elevator and suffocated when a woman walks in, and are then left to choke on her lingering scent long after she has exited? Your scent should not precede you).

Like a trademark, your fragrance should not be overly common, or used by another in a similar vicinity (both personally or professionally). Since I was 16, I have worn Ralph Lauren's Romance in the summers. (Credit to Rebecca for always having it in her overnight bag during the thousands of sleepovers after camp we had.) Once I landed in college, I began experimenting with other more saturated scents, such as Burberry Touch. Then in my post- college, pre-law school life as a career woman, I began wearing Chanel Mademoiselle (still using Romance religiously in the summer months). Recently, with the arrival of the first month of fall, I wanted a new fragrance to celebrate the new phase of life I stand at the precipice of. After much research (involving handfuls of coffee beans and a multitude of glass bottles), I purchased a bottle of Trish McEvoy No. 9, which is a bouquet of blackberries and a hint of vanilla, but retains a clean edge rather than an overly sweet note. I had not smelled it before, and am confident it will blend and not fight in any atmosphere. So choose a new scent for fall, retain your distinctiveness, and beware of genericide!


  1. You should explain the proper pronunciation for this reader who has problems saying, "Romance."

  2. A new scent is such a great idea, I've been feeling kind of stuck in a routine, and what a great way to change things up :)

  3. And for men, I love Burberry Touch and Polo Black. Although 'Tom' might need a new frangrance as well....

  4. Though I agree that smelling good is always a nice idea, I believe that people should use perfume sparingly, especially in work or fitness settings.

  5. So funny, I just finished my bottle of Ralph Lauren Romance. Starting in high school, I used to wear Tommy Hilfiger Freedom - which I LOOOOVED. It was totally my signature scent; Not many people were familiar with it, so it truly was MINE! I've been wavering whether or not to make Vera Wang, The Frangrance, as my next purchase. It's such a commitment and I want it to be just right! I think it's the one, but as I plan to go buy it this week, I'm getting cold feet!!


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