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.
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)
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
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Woody Wooderson, Dazed and Confused
Alright, alright, alright. Need we say more?
Fresh Cannabis Santal ($48)
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)
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