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 floral. 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 floral amber 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 scent 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?
25 thoughts on “EauMG’s Favorite Feminines for Masculines”
Nice list! (though for some of them I want to ask: are you sure a _woman_ can wear these? ;-p )
Undina recently posted..Entertaining Statistics: February, 2013
Haha, I know! Some of these are soo masculine that I’m surprised that women ever wore them. There’s something to the marketing…
this is an awesome list – lots of stuff I clearly need to pay closer attention to 😉
oh – I’d also probably add Hypnotic Poison to this list.
A lot should be added. I tried my best to keep it to 15. But, yes, I would recommend Hypnotic Poison and probably even Addict.
Love Calyx on man skin! Great piece! 🙂
Calyx is a great fragrance. I remember there used to a body oil. It was divine.
I love Balenciaga L’essence. I’ve also worn Coco a number of times and I’ve just bought bottles of ELdO Bijou Romantique and Keiko Mecheri Loukhoum. I also love Chanel Coromandel, which seems pretty widely regarded as unisex, despite that I’ve usually seen it classified as feminine.
When I was younger I wore Poison, but I’m not sure I would wear it today, and I don’t have much experience with any of the flankers.
It sounds like I need to check out Caron Parfum Sacre the next time I’m at Nordstrom!
ricky blue recently posted..Isle of Disenchantment
Balenciaga L’Essence is gorgeous. Ended up wearing it today, all the talk made me want to wear it again.
EldO Bijou Romantique is lovely (as is Loukhoum). I’ve smelled both on guys and they work.
That’s how I feel about Poison, lol.
Caron Parfum Sacre is awesome. Goes all smoky and wonderful on the skin.
I love your ‘favorite’ posts. This is a great one! Are you going to do the flip side?
I’m working on it 😉
This is the best list! I guess I love all of the more masculine fragrances, so I, too, am excited to see the flip side list 😉
I’m going through my collection. I have more masculines that I thought I did…
Good for you…that’s the kind of collection that I aspire to have! Any articles that mention Ormonde Jayne Woman and Black Cashmere in the same post make me feel all warm and fuzzy..two of my very favorites 😀
As you can imagine – given my year long adventures in the world of female fragrance – this list is a boon for me.
Most I have tried and would entirely concur with you on.
I also find the comment about women daring to wear some of these amusing – do many women wear Black Orchid anymore? Certainly the pitch seems to be towards men and Europe in the Middle East!
The point which I most wanted to raise my hand in support of was the older perfumes of Guerlain and especially Caron – these are hugely wearable and distinctly beautiful perfumes.
Any man should feel happy in Mitsouko, Tabac Blond or En Avion and any with a hint of adventure should be seduced by Shalimar, Narcisse Noir and my own p[ersonal favourite Nuit de Noel.
Just one final thought – chypres and leathers! So out of fashion in the mainstream of female fragrance (though that may be changing) that i say they’re fair game.
More power to your elbow.
The Perfumed Dandy
theperfumeddandy recently posted..Pure poetry… L’Encens Mythique D’Orient by Guerlain A Special Guest Review by The Collector
I know! Undida’s comment made me laugh. Do women wear Black Orchid anymore?
Your blog is a wonderful resource for any gent wanting to venture on over to the women’s section of the department store. Reading this guys? Go over to The Perfume Dandy.
Chypres always fail in focus groups, very “old-fashioned” but I feel with the Internet connecting perfume lovers and indies, that chypres are coming back. We have indie perfumers (JoAnne Bassett, DSH, Tommi Sooni) reviving that genre of perfume. I think mainstream will follow, I don’t know when, but I’m sure they will.
I’m a Caron advocate. One of my favorite houses.
currently own and love 1-5; Sali Oguri gave me 6; 7 is stepmom’s signature; gave my 8 to my mom when she visited; own 9, 12, 14 & 15; 10, 11 & 13 are on my “want list”…
ome other faves: Lalique Le Parfum; Dune; Rabanne La Nuit; DK Chaos; Biagiotti Roma; YSL Saharienne…
Marlen recently posted..Alexa Baiano, Florida Collegiate Honoree
So, what you’re saying is that you have great tastes, lol.
Dune – I thought about that one and didn’t put it on (trying to stick to 15). The only other that I’ve tried is Chaos and I agree that it is unisex.
[…] Give Ormonde Jayne Woman a try if you like woodsy fragrances or if you like perfumes like Ormonde Jayne Man, Sonoma Scent Studio Forest Walk, Guerlain L’Heure Bleue, By Kilian Incense Oud and/or Parfumerie Generale Bois Blond. It may say “woman” but this perfume is completely unisex. I talk about that in this post. […]
On my recent trip to Singapore, I made a mistake of packing Malle’s French Lover and Germanium Pour M. High humidity made my picks too cloying and heavy, so I started to look around for alternatives, and found it in my Fiancé’s bag – Acqua Fiorentina. Sweet floral top notes lit up my skin, and bergamot in the middle had a calming effect… loved it.
My best feminine’s for men -Guerlain Nahema, Juliette has a Gun, and PDN Rose Pivoine.
I love when guys wear rose focused scents!
I hope that you guys had a great trip in Singapore. Some high humidity and heat sounds good to me right now.
Thanks, we had an awesome trip.
I agree with you, Seattle is painfully cold… The cold is only fun, if I dont have to work.
Yeah, the cold isn’t bad if you don’t have to leave your house!
[…] already done a feature, Feminines for Masculines so I had to do Masculines for Feminines. This is a look at perfumes that I recommend for feminine […]
[…] Give Balenciaga L’Essence a try if you like green florals or vetiver. Try it if you like Prada Infusion d’Iris EDP, Ulrich Lang Lightscape, Estee Lauder White Linen, Etat Libre d’Orange Delicious Closet Queen and/or The Different Company Bois d’Iris. L’essence is unisex. I featured it in my “Favorite Feminines for Masculines”. […]
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