The Perfumes Real Women Wear When They Want to Feel Powerful

best fragrances
Lolita Says So

Note is a rather befitting word for the layers of scents in a fragrance. A blend works much like a symphony, the head, heart, and base notes working together harmoniously (and in some cases, clashing intentionally) in minor and major keys, evoking emotions and telling a story. The wearer acts as the conductor, artfully selecting the scent that speaks to their current mood, to the mood they wish to feel. In fact, scientifically speaking, certain scents are proven to make individuals feel more confident, especially if it triggers a memory, which our olfactory system can do better than even images can. In a sense, a fragrance alone is a power suit—pants and jackets, be damned.

We at Byrdie HQ have our own individual power fragrances (mine is Byredo Unnamed for its sultry top notes of gin and pink pepper and brawny base of fir and oakmoss), so we thought we'd pose the question to the members of our secret Facebook group, The Beauty Line (want to join? DM us at @byrdiebeauty, and we'll send you an invitation): Which fragrance makes you feel powerful, strong, and confident? Their answers, below.

Frédéric Malle Music for a While $225

"It solicits all of the compliments, and the first time I wore was the day I got promoted. All of the strong, powerful vibes." — Emily

Nemat Amber Eau de Parfum $50

"Such a sexy, sultry smell. I always feel a little more mysterious and desirable when I'm wearing it." — Amy

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle $105

"It reminds me of my grandma who always wore Chanel No. 5, and she was the very definition of a lady. When I wear Mademoiselle, it makes me feel elegant, poised, and feminine, just like my Grandma!" — Maddy

Dior Poison $62

"It is deep, passionate, and resonating. It makes me feel like nothing can stop me. My mom wore it as I was growing up, and anytime I smell it, I think of memories with her, and watching her kick ass in a male-dominated career. She's my muse, and anytime I wear that scent, I feel like I am channeling her strength, her wit, and her inner girl boss." — Emily

Hermès Kelly Calèche $168

"The leather makes me feel like I've got it covered, while the floral notes soften the edge." — Brett

Cowboy Perfume
Mondo Mondo Cowboy Perfume $150

"Mondo Mondo Cowboy makes me feel like a free spirit and no woman ever has such a masculine and earthy smell. I usually contour with narcissus oil." — Mary

YSL Black Opium $74

"It smells amazing and makes me feel important and good!" — Cara

"It's sexy and feminine but still elegant." — Kelsey

Glossier You $60

"It isn't too feminine or masculine; it goes with every mood I'm in and is season-less. It makes me feel like I can take over the world and smell really good doing so." — Jordan

Killian Kissing $135

"The top notes are feminine and floral but the base notes are warm and spicy and sexy. It lasts on my skin for hours and I feel like it's a memorable fragrance." — Carla

Tory Burch Love Relentlessly $120

"This always makes me feel prettier, because when you smell pretty, you look pretty. It gives me that little boost of confidence!" — Lisa

Calvin Klein Obsessed for Him $66

"There's still something about wearing a men's cologne instead that's more daring and bold, unexpected, and unique." — Jesse

Armani Privé Bleu Lazuli Eau de Parfum $310

"It makes you feel five centimeters taller and invincible." — Annika

Women's Carnal Flower Eau De Parfum 50ml
Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower Eau de Parfum $265

"A radiant, buttery white floral blend that is both intoxicating and inviting. I feel like an Old Hollywood femme fatale when I wear this masterpiece of a fragrance." — Laura

Velvet Orchid Lumiere 1.7 oz/ 50 mL Eau de Parfum Spray
Tom Ford Velvet Orchid Lumiere $125

"Tom Ford Velvet Orchid was my first adult fragrance. It made me feel sensual and warm. I wore it through some very hard times and it always picked me up and inspired me just by the smell." — Hailey

'REPLICA' Jazz Club 3.4 oz/ 100 mL Eau de Toilette Spray
Maison Margiela Replica Jazz Club $126

"I fell in love with it immediately and bought it without realizing it was a man's fragrance. It is seductive and intoxicating and I feel like an absolute badass when I wear it." — Paige 

Quotes have been edited for content.

Next: The best fall fragrances, according to Byrdie editors.

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