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Fragrance and fashion​

How to Dress and Smell Like a Badass

An individual’s outfit is the main point of self-expression in everyday life. It usually can give away where the person is coming from or where they are going. Whether they are affluent or not. More importantly, it can tell you a million and one personality traits for that person. 

Photo of a man holding a camera, wearing rings and a flannel
Photographed by Justin Main

Picture this: An older, refined gentleman hops off of his Harley-Davidson. As he steps off of the bike, you notice that he’s wearing raven black, leather boots from a gentleman’s shop. Except they are scuffed and look like they have been worn through the toughest points of his life.

Once he takes his leg up, and around the seat, you can see his dark-washed jeans. The pants appear to almost crack as his body contorts around the bike. As he stands up, he firmly grips the collar of his jacket and fixes it accordingly. As he is doing so, the material bends and you can tell that the jacket in question is genuine leather. 

He then approaches you, walking confidently with his head up, whilst not staring in intimidation. As he passes, you notice the sun shining off of his rings that have been designed with images of snakes, skulls and miscellaneous underworld imagery. He garners a mug, yet looks full of life. As he passes you, the sillage of his scent follows. As you practically run behind him in order to catch up to the smell … Wait, is that Invictus?

Now that’s a mood killer! The power of fragrance is that it can complete an outfit and a look. Just as the perfect outfit is complemented by a necklace, bracelet, earrings or rings, it can be rounded off with an accompanying scent. 

The gentleman in question is a badass certainly. As such, his fragrance should accompany and compliment that persona. Whilst Paco Rabanne Invictus is a great, bubblegum fragrance, it is certainly not fitting for the look of this man. 

The look of this gentleman’s clothing is dark, deep and appears to have more going on the closer and closer you look. The same should apply to the fragrance. Fragrances that are considered to be rough and badass tend to have notes that are thick and make up 90% of the emitted smell. Notes such as Leather, Oud, Tobacco and Wood complete this role perfectly. 

Man wearing a black, leather jacket, shirt and jeans on a street
Photographed by Ryan Snaadt

They offer the ability to stabilize other notes and allow them to work harmoniously to project the best aspects of each other. Take my current favourite scent, Tobacco Vanille by Tom Ford.

This classic by Mr.Ford features the obvious notes of Vanilla and Tobacco, whilst being complemented by Woods, Tonka Bean and Dried fruits. All of these work jointly to give off a trail that is thick and plentiful yet allowing the sweetness of Vanilla to intermingle itself in the missing aspects of the Tobacco. If the fragrance was made up of too many of those rugged notes, the fragrance would become unbearably thick and pungent. 

The beauty of these rugged notes is that they allow the perfumer to experiment with whatever sweet, citrus or green notes they would like. When Alberto Morillas curated Man in Black for Bulgari, he utilized a lot of the notes listed above. 

He chose Tobacco, Rum, Leather and Tonka in order to give off a badass and successful yet mysterious feel to the fragrance. Upon further smell, you begin to understand that this cologne features a softer side. The use of Iris pushes powder thickness and suede into an already powerful lineup of notes. 

This Iris note helps the fragrance breathe and not suffocate the wearer with thick, manly notes. Many other scents in this category will feature sweet or floral notes as they perfectly fit in with the powerful, badass notes. 

If you are a gentleman who appreciates their leather jackets and tends to dress on the side of a more reckless, menace to society, a fragrance with the notes mentioned above will most definitely suit your needs. It will fulfill the final touches of your outfit, and ultimately help you become more memorable. 

At the end of the day, your scent can tell someone just as much as your hair, outfit, vocabulary and financial status will. Your scent will undoubtedly leave a lasting effect on the people who interact with you during the day. So make sure that fragrance is perfect, and choose something badass. 

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