Scents and Sensibility: How to Pick the Right Cologne for Your Dude

Scents and Sensibility: How to Pick the Right Cologne for Your Dude

Picking the right cologne for a man is even more difficult than finding your own signature fragrance. It’s an intimate decision—one that could leave him smelling too sweet, too strong, or all wrong. So how do you make the right choice? We’ve paired some of our favorite scents with the TV and film characters we think might wear them best—from Jordan Catalano to Tim Riggins—for a handy guide to gifting a fitting cologne to your main man.

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    PHOTO: Paramount

    Jordan Belfort, Wolf of Wall Street

    When Belfort wasn’t smelling like dolla dolla bills, we guess he used Gucci Guilty (pun intended) to cover up the debauchery. The scent, which launched in 2012, features top notes of lemon and lavender with a punch of pink pepper.

    Gucci Guilty Pour Homme ($62)


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    PHOTO: Mark Seliger/HBO

    Adam Sackler, Girls

    Hannah fell for the right guy, one who transcends hipsterdom and is just as comfortable in Brooklyn as he’d be chopping down trees in the woods of Vermont. Also, one who’d easily wear this heady mix of patchouli, leather, and black pepper.

    Byredo Parfum ($145) in Baudelaire

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    PHOTO: Universal Pictures

    Troy Dyer, Reality Bites

    Insulting (“You look like a doily”), charming, and dirty hot, this guy sort of found himself at the end of Reality Bites, but it was much sweeter when he finally found Lelaina (Winona Ryder). Hopefully she found him this mix of amber, jasmine, and patchouli.

    D.S. & Durga Sir Cologne ($106)

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    PHOTO: Jennifer Clasen/FOX

    Schmidt, New Girl

    Though they’ve eliminated the Douchebag Jar, Schmidt still rides the fine line between good guy and, well, douchey guy. We, however, remain fans of his meticulous metrosexual style and like to imagine he’d have multiple bottles of this peppery citrus scent on hand. 

    Le Labo Vetiver 46 ($240)

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    Jordan Catalano, My So-Called Life

    Angela Chase (a teenage Claire Danes) fell for this man of few words and many makeout sessions. He might not have had Odin on hand in the ‘90s, but we bet he smelled of spicy musk mixed with earthy vetiver and black iris.

    Odin Petrana ($125)

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    Lloyd Dobler, Say Anything

    Anyone who’s going to hold up a boombox in your front yard to win your love is sensitive enough to rock this slightly floral scent—but man enough to win you back and rock its rich vanilla musk.

    Baxter of California Bravado 2 ($80)

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    Mr. Big, Sex and the City

    We imagine that every time Carrie got in Big’s town car, she left smelling like this warm Hermes scent of amber and pinewood—and cigars.

    Hermes Rocabar ($123)

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    Detective Chief Inspector John Luther, Luther

    With all the drama, deceit, and darkness, DCI John Luther should look like he fell out of bed; instead he effortlessly pulls it together—at least sartorially. This scent’s middle notes of gunflower accord (“how the air smells after fireworks") were practically made for him. (Other notes include green pepper, smoke, and white musk).

    Comme des Garçons Amazingreen Cologne ($195)

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    PHOTO: Jay Maidment

    Thor, Thor: The Dark World

    Because who’s got more swagger than a guy who swings a hammer for a living (who also happens to be a Hemsworth)? We think Jay would be thrilled if the superhero wore this mix of myrrh, ginger, wood, and bourbon vanilla to fight his battles.

    Jay Z Gold ($55)

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    Tim Riggins, Friday Night Lights

    Riggins would wear this spicy scent of cedarwood, tobacco, and citrus with little else—because Lyla bought it for him. #33Forever

    Dolce & Gabbana The One for Men ($42)

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    PHOTO: Deanna Newcomb/Summit Entertainment

    Edward Cullen, The Twilight Saga

    Edward may have been attracted to the smell of Bella’s blood (yuck), but we imagine he smelled of vanilla and the woods, just like this scent. (Maybe because of that impossibly white skin?)

    Bois 1920 ($200)

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    PHOTO: Gramercy Pictures

    Woody Wooderson, Dazed and Confused

    Alright, alright, alright. Need we say more?

    Fresh Cannabis Santal ($48)

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    PHOTO: Paramount Pictures

    Ferris Bueller, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

    There’s a guy in your life who refuses to grow up. You may as well reward his commitment to youth with this iconic scent from his youth. Even if he doesn’t recognize the symbolism, he’ll love the fruity fresh scent anchored in a masculine blend of nutmeg and musk.

    Calvin Klein CK One ($44)

    For more Valentine's Day stories, gift ideas, and giveaways, click here.



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    Baxer of California Bravado 2 ($145)

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    Bois 1920 ($200)

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    Fresh Cannabis Santal ($48)

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    Gucci Guilty Pour Homme ($62)

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    Hermes Rocabar ($123)

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    Le Labo Vetiver 46 ($240)

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    Byredo Baudelaire ($145)

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    Calvin Klein CK One ($44)

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    Comme des Garçons Amazingreen ($95)

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    D.S. & Durga Sir ($106)

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    Jay Z Gold ($55)

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    Odin Petrana ($125)

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    Dolce & Gabbana The One for Men ($62)

EXPLORE: Baxer of California, Dolce & Gabbana, Hermes, Gucci, Odin, Fresh, Calvin Klein, Jay Z, Commes des Garcons, Baxter of California, Byredo, D.S. & Durga, Bois, Le Labo, Comme des Garçons, Jordan Catalano, Big, Lloyd Dobbler, Tim Riggins, John Luther, Jordan Belfort, Leonardo DiCaprio, Taylor Kitsch, Idris Elba, Jared Leto, John Cusack, Chris Noth, Adam Sackler, Ethan Hawke, Adam Driver, Max Greenfield, Winona Ryder, Sarah Jessica Parker, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Pattinson, Edward Cullen, Ferris Bueller, Matthew Broderick, Matthew Mcconaughey, Fragrance, Sex and the City, My So-Called Life, Reality Bites, Girls, Dazed & Confused, The Wolf of Wall Street, New Girl, Luther, Say Anything, Twilight, Ferris Bueller's Day Off


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