There’s one thing I know about us fumeheads, every single one of us has defined what is too much for a perfume. We know when something becomes expensive…and then we deny it
With myself, I’ve noticed that my “expensive spectrum” changes. It changes with the standard of living. I remember back in the day, around 2005, I thought that $100 was really expensive for perfume. Anything more than that was insane and I wouldn’t even sample it. I was a student and yeah, I didn’t buy many bottles of perfume. And I rarely bought anything over $75. That would mean eating beans and rice for 4 months (hey, I was already doing that!) Now my definition is different. My “cap” has doubled, $300 is my new $150. But has my expensive changed? A little. I now have a silly “Victoria” system. I rationalize prices, determining if they are expensive: a luxury or an outrageous joke. My system can make a perfume that retails for $180 “affordable” or it can make a cheap perfume laughably expensive. And in my world “affordable” is the word, I’m looking for. Here’s a look at my “perfume economics” or my perfume price denial system:
-First, I choose my full-bottle price cap. On this date, that price is $300. I will not pay over $300 for perfume. This is a personal rule for me. I’m sure this varies from person to person. And here’s my little story of why…I won’t pay over $300 for most things for myself unless it is technology or home furnishings. I do consider perfumes ranging from $100-$300 dollars expensive, but you will see how I rationalize this. Over $300+ and they become “absurd”. I will buy perfumes ranging from $100-$150 but I think about it, try to get it with free shipping or when a generous SA is working, etc. I think long and hard about any fragrance over $150, often thinking about it for 6-12 months. To this date, I have never paid $300 for perfume, not even $200.
My economics needs examples. I will be using CB I Hate Perfume Russian Caravan Tea, which in real dollars equals $90. And Guerlain Tonka Imperiale that equals $235 real dollars.
- Lasting power & sillage: You automatically get unneeded dollars added if you don’t last. If you are a perfume that lasts, then you get dollars taken away. For example, I feel that the recent CB I Hate Perfume Russian Caravan Tea didn’t last. Therefore, I was mad and associated it with poor quality. So, it gets $50 added. The Guerlain lasts and lasts on me. For some reason, I associate this with luxury and high quality; a good value. It gets $50 taken off.
The CB I Hate Perfume is now $140.
The Guerlain is now $180.
- “Cost per use” : I’m very weird about this concept with everything I buy. I will spend much more on the staples, shoes (my 2nd weakness), and well-made “lifers” because I will use them again and again. White linen pants in Seattle? Um…no. Even if they are $25, that is not a good deal. Will I drop over $300 on a pair of boots? Yes, I will wear them forever if they are well-made and wonderful. I apply this concept to fragrance. Being a fragrance tester/blogger, I keep record of what I wear daily. I rarely ever wear citrus, “clean”, or fresh fragrances. Why because these are “summer” scents and I rarely wear summer perfumes. These are like a bathing suit or a sarong to me. So, add $50 to CB. Realistically, I would wear this like once a year. I usually wear non-edible gourmands, incense/woods scents and leather/tobacco fragrances. Why? These are winter/fall scents. In my climate, it’s always fall…and I love autumn. So, the Guerlain would get worn frequently like a good pair of boots or a cashmere cardigan.
The CB is now $190.
The Guerlain is now $130.
- Packaging – Most of the time I ignore packaging, but we are talking full bottle purchase here. The packaging now matters. If the packaging is horrible, like you know “cheap” looking I add $50. This is something I consider not luxury. I know it when I see it. There is nothing worse than picking up a fragrance that retails for over $100 and feeling how cheap the bottle is and seeing how ugly the sticker is on it. If there is an atomizer, I add $25. I love the glam look but I know they are silly/impractical and my juice will evaporate quickly. Atomizers are not a good value. If the bottle is stunning, I take away $50. It is good looking, but not stunning, I subtract $25. I’m neutral about most bottles, so usually nothing is added or subtracted.
The CB stays at $190.
The Guerlain is $155.
- Samples: If I use up the sample, I subtract $50. If I’d have a sample that is still full or half full, I need to be real. I probably won’t use the full bottle. I add $50. *There are exceptions, for example, the scent is limited edition and I know that I will love it, so I better get it now while I can. Or I hear a rumor that it is being reformulated and I better act now and keep what I have in the sample vial as a reference. If it is limited edition, hard-to-find, etc., I will subtract $50. I think of these as “investments”.
The CB is now $240.
The Guerlain is now $105.
So, for me, the Guerlain is worth buying despite its original price tag. Hey, I have now successfully justified my purchase Give me a round of applause! The CB technically meet my initial technical requirements as “affordable” since it retails for under $100, is now very “expensive” since I don’t feel it is a good value and it isn’t a good choice for me. So, yeah, that’s my sick way of justifying my habit and defining “expensive”. And I know it isn’t a fair comparison because one is a perfume I really, really want and one is a perfume that I don’t want.
So here are my questions for you:
What is your range of “expensive” for perfumes? My answer: $100-$300. These cross that “impulse” threshold. Perfumes at this price require me to wait and think.
When do you think the price crosses over into the “absurd” category? My answer: $300+
And my last question: What is the most expensive full bottle of perfume that you have ever purchased? My answer is $190. And looking back, I should have waited on that one.