Has Perfume Gone Out Of Style?

The other day I came across this article about organic perfume, and I thought the following statistic was somewhat surprising: Apparently, a recent survey revealed that 74 percent of women will at some point in their lifetime have an allergic reaction to at least one fragrance. This seems like a pretty steep percentage, no? I have to say, the only time I ever had an allergic reaction was the time in high school when I put a very concentrated essential oil on my skin, but I guess that counts. And it certainly didn’t turn me off perfume: I’m something of a fragrance schizophrenic in that I match different scents to outfits and moods–there’s Tom Ford Black Orchid for sexy, Annick Goutal Songes for demure, The Body Shop White Musk for earthy, Narciso Rodriguez for cocktail hour, and on and on it goes. But when it comes to women and our relationship with fragrance, there’s something I’ve noticed lately, and it makes me wonder how many women out there wear any perfume at all? The reason I ask is because it seems like, especially when it comes to younger women, the whole douse yourself in perfume before you leave the house thing hearkens back to another era. A lot of 20- and 30-somethings I know just don’t bother. And maybe that’s a good thing — anyone who’s ever had to sit next to the perfume whore in the office would agree. And while this observation is purely speculative, there’s also some data to back up my hypothesis: A recent NPD report showed that prestige fragrance sales in the U.S. are down 10 percent. This could just be due to the recession, but still. There’s also our generation’s obsession with individuality: Maybe we don’t all want to smell like the latest designer fragrance (or God help us, Britney Spears), and are more likely to create our own signature mixes using oils, a combination of perfumes, or are just content with our bodies’ own natural scents.

Or maybe it’s just allergies.