Editors' Picks: The Fragrances We Wear for Seducing

Updated 05/15/19

Scent is a powerful element in the laws of attraction. There are our pheromones, for one thing; our natural "essence," as it were, that many scientists believe can influence the way we're drawn to some people more than others, among other things. But while research on the subject is less than definitive, here's one thing we know for sure: When we're heading out to meet a special someone—or just have a feeling we might run into someone of interest—there's nothing that bolsters our confidence and sets the mood like a great date night perfume.

S Eau de Parfum 5.1 oz Eau de Parfum Spray
Giorgio Armani $92
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"My boyfriend gifted me this scent either for Christmas or my birthday, and although I was kind of ambivalent about it at first, it's oddly become such a man magnet. From the random doorman to my Uber driver to my guy friends, men are always commenting on my perfume and asking me what it is. It's so strange but also a bit flattering."

— Lindsey, associate editor

Vilhem Parfumerie Smoke Show $245
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"It says it right on the bottle: This fragrance is smoldering and spicy, with an opulent, festive feel—it's very Gatsby. The slight hint of rose is a nice feminine touch to round out all the smoke and leather. I love spritzing this on before a night out—it never fails to put just a little swagger into my step."

— Victoria, associate editor

Dior Pure Poison $100
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"It's either a throwback or classic, depending on how you look at things. Either way, there's no denying it belongs in the sultry category. It makes me feel powerful, like a woman who commands attention. The blend of florals with amber and musk is the perfect balance of femininity and masculinity."

— Deven, beauty director

Gucci Guilty $78
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"Some might call this scent the definition of 'basic,' and I don't disagree—but that doesn't make me love it less. The heady mix of oriental and floral notes instantly makes me feel more seductive—as it should, because this is literally the perfume I wore when I was seducing an ex-boyfriend (so much so that he still says whenever he smells it nowadays, he instantly thinks of me, which is always nice, no?). Plus, Lindsay Lohan wears it, and we could all benefit from channeling our inner LiLo every so often."

— Faith, editorial director

Krigler Lovely Patchouli 55 Classic $365
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"I never thought I was a fan of patchouli until I met this iconic fragrance from the (equally iconic) Krigler Perfume House. Last year I had the amazing opportunity to sit down with Ben Krigler himself, and as we sat at the cafe of the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills (where the brand has their one and only west-coast location), I lived everyone's best daydream, sampling and sniffing the entirety of Krigler scents. However, it was #55, a warm, sweet and spicy melding of patchouli, vanilla, amber, musk, and red fruits, that stole my heart almost instantaneously.

It was love at first sight, and if you have a weakness for Old Hollywood glamour, you'll also appreciate that it was Jackie Onassis's signature. It's a bit intense for daytime, but it's perfect come nightfall."

— Erin, assistant editor

Tom Ford Santal Blush $230
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"I'm quite partial to warm, woody scents with a little bit of spice. I think they're inherently sexy in a makeout-by-the-fire kind of way. This one is special because it's all those things (sandalwood and such) with a hint of floral for added flirtiness."

— Hallie, senior editor 

Stella Eau de Toilette 3.3 oz/ 100 mL Eau de Toilette Spray
Stella McCartney Stella Eau de Toilette Spray $90
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"Of all the scents I've worn over the years (and trust me, the number is at least in the hundreds), I have never gotten more compliments than when I wear this Stella McCartney classic—an Uber driver once made me type the fragrance into his phone so he could get it for his wife's birthday. I'm obsessed with rose scents, and this fragrance use notes of Bulgarian rose, peony, and amber for that perfect balance of floral and warm. It's sophisticated and it really empowers me to feel my sexiest (and best)."

— Audrey, associate editor

Comme Des Garcons Floriental Eau De Parfum
Comme des Garçons Floriental Eau De Parfum $145
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"I like to call this spicy bottle my little magic trick. Anytime I'm out with this on—one whiff of its heavy notes of abdanum, sandalwood, vetiver, incense, pink pepper, and plum liqueur captivates nearly everyone I come in contact with. It's one of those scents I have to prepare myself to wear because people flock when I have this on."

— Maya, assistant editor

Women's Molecule 01 Eau de Toilette 100ml
Escentric Molecules Molecule 01 Eau de Toilette $135
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"Molecule has been my everyday fragrance for the past four years, and I admit that I don't really ever switch it up. My biggest rule with perfume is that you should be very close to the wearer to be able to smell it—I'm not a fan of fragrances that create a cloud of aroma or linger forever in a room. Molecule is discreet yet impactful and adapts to its wearer. I regularly get compliments when I wear it, though I almost always forget I have it on. It has a super-subtle sandalwood scent, so it's perfect for day to day.

For occasions when I want a little something more—say, for a date—I'll either do a few more spritzes or even layer another fragrance with it (Molecule is excellent for layering). When I wear it, I feel authentically me but enhanced, which makes me feel confident and comfortable."

— Dacy, weekend editor

Pinrose Gilded Fox $55
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"It's not sexy in an ultra-feminine way. It's not sweet or gourmand. This has much more of a dark, smoky, earthy sultriness. It's cocoa, cardamom, bittered rum, and amber. The brand describes it as a hypnotic, foxy scent meant to be worn to a Gatsby-esque party, a spiked hot chocolate in hand. I'd totally also wear it to a beach bonfire or on a date at a moody wine bar."

— Amanda, associate features editor

Maison Louis Marie Bois de Balincourt Eau de Toilette $85
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"Like Hallie, I am also drawn to woody scents—charred and smoky for nighttime flirtations (hence my other pick), but I love fresher, earthier versions of the scent for daytime. This fragrance is sexy in the way that jeans and a T-shirt are inherently sexy—the sandalwood scent is intoxicating but clean, almost like a second skin. It's the perfect fragrance for lounging in bed. I'm also so thrilled that Maison Louis Marie is launching an eau de parfum version of this scent this month, too! I'll take it in every way, shape, and form (including candle), TYVM."

— Victoria, associate editor 

Le Labo Santal 33 $175
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"Okay, so I'm sure you've heard of Le Labo's Santal concoction, but it has a cult following because it's just that good. It's unisex, which feels sexy off the bat. It's woody, it's aromatic, and it features notes like cardamom, violet, and leather. Leather! Leather is so sultry. Plus, Le Labo mixes its scents to order, so the fact that it's all my own is romantic too. I have the perfume oil, eau, and room spray; just saying."

— Hallie, senior editor 

Givenchy Ange ou Démon $87
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"This is a little bit sweet, but not overwhelmingly so—it's more of a 'can't put my finger on it' kind of sweetness. The floral notes are light, as are the musk and woody notes. Altogether, it's a delicate fragrance, one that makes people lean in a little bit closer to smell it."

— Deven, beauty director

Tom Ford Black Orchid $115
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"This perfume is the scent equivalent of a slinky black slip dress paired with a (faux) fur stole—it's what I imagine someone like Adriana Lima would wear on a night out. Black Orchid is unlike anything you've ever smelled before—it's pungent and attention-grabbing, but not obvious or obnoxious. Plus, after an hour or so, the perfume settles into your skin and leaves the faintest sweet patchouli-tinged scent trail behind. "

— Faith, editorial director

Dolce & Gabbana Pour Femme Intense $97
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"This one is similar to Tom Ford's Santal Blush in that it has those same sandalwood-y, floral notes—but, dare I say, way more intense. See what I did there? I like to wear it during the winter because it's musky in all the best, most mysterious ways, and smells of neroli, jasmine, and tuberose to boot."

— Hallie, senior editor

Stella 3.3 oz/ 100 mL Eau de Parfum Spray
Stella McCartney Stella Eau de Parfum Spray $96
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"This might sound kind of pathetic, but I first started wearing this scent years ago after I read in a magazine that it supermodel's date night go-to. So being the pretentious copycat I apparently was, I went out and got it too. Except I actually ended up falling in love with it, and it's been my signature ever since. There's something so inherently sophisticated about it, but it's not overly precious. And honestly, I've never had a guy not compliment me on how I smell when I've worn it during a date.

The brand describes it as 'sensual, intense, and feminine' (thanks to an intoxicating mix of rose, peony flower, mandarin, rose absolute, and amber) and I would have to agree."

— Erin, assistant editor

Hi-Fi 1.7 oz Eau de Parfum Spray
Derek Lam 10 Crosby Hi-Fi Eau de Parfum Spray $85
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"When I do want to play with another scent for layering, I typically turn to something from the Derek Lam 10 Crosby line. To me, every scent in the collection has a distinctively '90s appeal (think Calvin Klein Eternity or Obsession). My favorites for a night out are Hi-Fi and Blackout. Hi-Fi is playful and flirty with notes of pink peony and French narcisse. Blackout is a bit more assertive, with a sweet and spicy combo of osmanthus and chai tea—sort of darkly romantic while feeling dangerous to the right degree."

— Dacy, weekend editor

Diptyque Oud Palao Eau De Parfum
Diptyque Oud Palao Eau de Parfum $155
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"This little jewel of mine proved the fact that scents are connected to our psyche. A quick spritz of this woody scent makes me feel like the ultimate badass. After I put on my heels and touch up my red lipstick, it puts the icing on the cake for a night out. The alluring notes of oud, rose, cypriol, sandalwood, vanilla, and patchouli make me feel so womanly. It's dominant but not in an overpowering way—in a way that allows me to steal anyone's attention."

— Maya, assistant editor

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