I Really Think We Should Give Floral Perfume a Second Chance

Updated 03/07/18
best floral perfumes: Lucy Williams photograph of roses
Fashion Me Now

I know they're not traditionally cool, but I'm really into floral perfumes right now. I mean, if you prune away the layers of fuddy-duddy, old-fashioned reputation laid upon them by our grandmothers' generation, and if you weed out the powdery overbearing blends giving the genre a bad name, I'd go as far as to say that floral fragrances are actually rather chic. Trendy, in fact.

Yes, it's far cooler to stake your fragrance taste claim on something less "pretty" like heady, opiate-style fumes, or swear you'd only wear one of those barely-there unisex waifs of a scent. I get it. I used to feel the same way.

But recently I've opened up my décolletage to a flurry of roses, bunches of poppies and handfuls of tulips. My wrists have been swiped with droplets of hibiscus pollen and rubbed with lilacs. And you know what? I'm really digging it.

No longer do these floral fragrances smell prim, like the olfactory equivalent of a scalloped-hem blouse. No, the new guard of floral perfumes have much more gusto than that. They have backbone and bravado, magic and mystique. And they just smell bloody delicious.

Below, you'll see I've picked the new (and not so new) floral fragrances that have perked up my nostrils lately. If you can give up your perfume ego, I'm almost certain you'll find some joy at this end of the note spectrum too.

best floral perfumes: Aerin Beauty Hibiscus Palm Eau de Parfum
Aerin Beauty Hibiscus Palm Eau de Parfum $140
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A wish-you-were-here postcard in liquid form, Aerin's scent has all the greenery of a lush, dripping jungle canopy with the pungent hit of sun-bleached hibiscus. There's a slight powdery feel to the dry down, but it's soft, not soapy.

best floral perfumes: Byredo La Tulipe
Byredo La Tulipe $95
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I found a little travel-sized vial of this scent at the back of my bathroom cabinet and packed it for my recent trip to Amsterdam—it is the city of tulips, after all. It smells so dreamy it's almost edible, with notes of tongue-slapping rhubarb and nose-tickling freesia. It's floral but not too fancy.

best floral perfumes: Vilhelm Parfumerie A Lilac Day Eau de Parfum
Vilhelm Parfumerie A Lilac Day Eau de Parfum $155
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I may only just be thawing out from The Beast From the East, but spring starts at the first spritz of this bottle. Unlike your childhood bedroom, the perfume version of lilacs aren't sickly or prim. In fact, this one is anchored by the greenery of the stems, too, making it super fresh and subconsciously addictive.

best floral perfumes: Miu Miu L'Eau Rosée eau de toilette
Miu Miu L'Eau Rosée eau de toilette $40
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Rose perfumes usually make me gag (sorry, TMI), but this one comes topped with wedges of lemon and lime, and is weighted by musk and sandalwood. So at first sniff, you wouldn't get this was a floral scent at all. It's divine.

best floral perfumes: Atelier Bloem Nieuw Amsterdam Eau de Parfum
Atelier Bloem Nieuw Amsterdam Eau de Parfum $160
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Like the paint colour, magnolia's tend to come up a bit lacklustre in scents but not here. It's probably thanks to the bucketloads of amber and musks, but this magnolia feels creamy and grounding, like the first wrap of a warm fluffy towel.

best floral perfumes: Floral Street London Poppy
Floral Street London Poppy $55
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Sunflowers are (IMHO) one of the most underutilized flowers in the entire perfume world. They hold all the joy of the Great British summer with none of the unwarranted downpours, and while this perfume may have poppy in the name, it's the sunflower that's really being celebrated here. I wear this one to pretend I live a life not surrounded by concrete.

best floral perfumes: Gucci Bloom Acqua di Fiori
Gucci Bloom Acqua di Fiori $62
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There's something very drinkable about Gucci's new flanker to the Bloom collection. It kinda smells like a tall gin and tonic—it has that kind of herby finish to it. The floral at play here is jasmine, which can all too often fall into Persil Liquitab territory, but notes of musk and light galbanum leaf claw it back. I love it.

What do you say—ready to give it another shot?

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