How to find your signature scent

10 March 2022
By Amberley Colby

On the hunt for a new fragrance? Here's what you need to know.

Photography: Belinda Merrie. As seen in Fashion Quarterly Spring 2021.

Finding a new fragrance can be daunting, but finding a signature scent can be even more of a challenge, especially when there are so many distinctive ones on the market. A signature scent embodies your unique style and scent preferences and is one that you will reach for again and again. Here are four tips for finding the perfect go-to scent for you. 

1. Know your fragrance families

Understanding the fragrance families is crucial to discovering what scents you prefer. The more you familiarise yourself with the different families, the easier you’ll recognise the fragrance notes you love. 

There are four primary fragrance families within the fragrance wheel – floral, woody, fresh, and oriental. Thanks to the modern development of fragrance, families such as gourmand, chypre and citrus have also emerged. 

Different fragrance families are often associated with distinct seasons. Floral and fruity notes are typically more feminine and lighter to wear, making them perfect for summer months or daytime wear. Oriental and spicy notes tend to be warmer and heavier to wear, making them suitable for nighttime or cool weather. Woody notes typically add a sophisticated, masculine touch to a fragrance, and fresh, aromatic notes are trans-seasonal. 

Notable examples of perfumes and the families they belong to include Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb (floral), Glasshouse Fragrances A Tahaa Affair (gourmand), Le Labo Santal 33 (woody), and Tom Ford Rose Prick (chypre). 

2. Try before you buy

Never blind buy a fragrance without taking the time to test it over some time. Testing ensures that a scent works with your unique skin pH — while a fragrance may smell great on a friend, it might not work for you. Further, fragrances can smell differently on the skin or a perfume card. It’s essential to spray the perfume on your skin and let it settle in — and over time, you’ll be able to appreciate the different notes. You can also identify the fragrance’s longevity and sillage (the trail it leaves in the air). 

3. Consider what you want your fragrance to say about you

Before purchasing your newfound scent, think about what you want it to represent. If you’re after a bold fragrance that turns heads when you walk into the room, try Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille. And if you’re after something a little more subtle and intimate, you may be drawn to Jo Malone Wood Sage and Sea Salt.

4. Take your time

There are so many fragrances out there. Finding your signature scent may take time, and practising patience is crucial. The more fragrances you try, the more you’ll recognise particular notes or fragrance families that call to you (and those that don’t!). You may also prefer a different scent for work and going out, or find one that carries you from day to night no matter what. 

We recommend seeking guidance from a fragrance expert at your local department or beauty store or booking a personalised fragrance consultation with a Mecca Fragrance Specialist

Feeling inspired to make a scent your own? Here are five feel-good fragrances guaranteed to boost your mood


Sign up & Join
FQ Insider

Unlock exclusive content, behind-the-scenes insights, and special offers by becoming an FQ Insider.

Fashion Quarterly Winter 2023 Cover
Fashion Quarterly Winter 2023 Cover

Sign up & Join
FQ Insider

Unlock exclusive content, behind-the-scenes insights, and special offers by becoming an FQ Insider.

Sign up to the Fashion Quarterly newsletter.

*Ts&Cs apply.
Find out more at