Here’s the deal – Wear any perfume you like. It doesn’t matter how it is marketed. Wear what you love.
Saying that, I often get asked by men starting out in the world of perfume, “Can a guy wear this?” I wish they’d stop asking me that. My response is usually “A guy can wear anything.” I don’t say that to be snarky or rude. I mean it. However, I understand that it is intimidating. We live in a culture that still emphasizes gender norms. I know that when a guy asks me that question that they aren’t asking for my permission, they just want to be reassured that it is OK to experiment with perfume. What they mean to ask is “Is this ‘safe’ for a man to wear based on our society’s gender norms?”
I’ve put together this list of 15 perfumes of my favorite feminines for masculines. I have excluded those perfumes that are marketed as unisex (this means that I’ve excluded Chanel Les Exclusifs and most niche houses). This is my list of those that you’ll find in the “women’s” section of the store or have “woman” in the name. A man should experiment with more from those sections, but I’ve put together the “safest” feminines for masculines. Honestly most of these could have had “Homme” attached to their name and would have been commercial successes.
1. Tom Ford Black Orchid EDP – The “darkness” in this seems to work very well on men’s skin. It’s a great moody floral. It has sillage and longevity. And I think the bottle is appropriate for guys. It has a wonderful deco look. Here’s my review. Retails for $105 at Sephora.
2. Ormonde Jayne Woman EDP – It seems that most men prefer Ormonde Jayne Woman over Man! It’s dry, foresty and smells great on a guy. Retails for $126 at Ormonde Jayne.
3. Thierry Mugler Angel EDP – Sure, you guys have A*Men but have you tried Angel? If you like sweet fragrances, you can pull this fruity cocoa patchouli off. Retails for $119 at Sephora.(If you find this bottle too feminine, buy the refill and put into any bottle you like.)
4. Prada Amber EDP – This is the “original” amber patchouli with orange blossom lift. Warm and woodsy. Retails for $82 at Sephora.
5. Donna Karan Black Cashmere – This is a woodsy, spicy fragrance with saffron, carnation and exotic woods. It’s beautiful in the winter. And the packaging is masculine. This one is getting harder and harder to find. It’s still on the Donna Karan website retailing for $120.
6. ELdO Jasmin et Cigarettes – I wasn’t going to include this one since Etat Libre d’Orange is niche. However, this is my list and I want more men to smell like this. I think many men hear “jasmine” and run away. This is an animalic jasmine with smoky tobacco and the perfect amount of spice. Here’s my review. Retails for $80 at B-Glowing.
7. YSL Opium EDP – The feminines of the 70’s are much more masculine than the mainstream fragrances sold in the men’s section today. Opium is a spicy, smoky oriental. It retails for $85 at Nordstrom.
8. D&G Light Blue for Women – Here’s a lighter fragrance for those that like fresh citrusy scents that smell like clean laundry. It’s a nice choice for casual wear. It retails for $69 at Sephora.
9. Piguet Bandit EDP – Leather, flowers, moss. If you like Chanel Antaeus, you’ve got to try Bandit. It’s available at Nordstrom for $135.
10. Balenciaga L’Essence – This one is amazing on guys! It’s violet and vetiver – clean, green and fresh. It’s a must have for summer and warmer climates. Try it. Retails for $100 at Sephora.
11. Prescriptives Calyx – I have always thought of this one as unisex but it’s made by a makeup (now defunct) line so I don’t think many guys know about it. This is a fresh, green fragrance that reminds me of fresh from the garden bell peppers, citrus and fresh flowers. It’s a great casual summer fragrance. Retails for $52 at beauty.com.
12. Chanel Coco EDT – This is a warm floriental with a dazzling opening of citrus and licorice. Either concentration will work on a guy, but I prefer the EDT for it’s “dazzling” quality. Here’s my review. Retails for $68 at Nordstrom. (Also check out the new Coco Noir if you want something with more patchouli).
13. Malle Portrait of a Lady – A deep, dark rose with tons of patchouli and incense that smells amazing on a man. Retails for $325 at Barneys.
14. Guerlain L’Heure Bleue EDT – One of Guerlain’s many masterpieces, a gorgeous warm floral with vanilla that men will enjoy wearing. It wasn’t easy to pick just one Guerlain for this list. I advise if you like L’Heure Bleue then try the rest of the pre-1990’s Guerlain feminines. L’Heure Bleue is available at Sephora for $73.
15. Caron Parfum Sacré EDP– This is a warm spicy oriental that opens with spice and ends with smoky incense and vanilla. I love to smell this on guys. Retails for $130 at Nordstrom. As with Guerlain many of the older Caron feminines are great on guys. I suggest if you like Parfum Sacré to try others from this line (especially the pre-1940’s launches).
*I know that a few Amouage perfumes could have made this list. I’m not familiar enough with the fragrances to add those.
Which feminines do you recommend for masculines? Guys, which perfumes do you love to wear that are marketed to women?