Put the Final Touches on Any Look with the Right Cologne Application

The image that we project every day is an amalgam of things: appearance, behavior, and communication all come into play to craft the person that people perceive when interacting with us. Grooming certainly falls into the “appearance” category, and how you smell is directly related to your grooming practices.

Nothing brings together a stylish appearance like a good fragrance. Not only will it make you feel more confident and put you in a good mood, but it can make people remember you for the right reasons, as smell is the sense most closely linked with memory.

The world of fragrances is just that: a whole world. Our friends at Bespoke Unit have created an unbelievably detailed guide to fragrances, but we’ll get you started with some basic concepts on fragrance strength and some typical “notes” (read: things that make up a scent) that you find on the market. Without further ado…

Fragrance Distinctions

Men have been adorning themselves with scents for generations. In that time, various classifications have emerged that tell us the ratio of water to perfume oil, and thus how strong and long-lasting (and expensive) a scent will be.

Aftershave & Eau Fraiche

Aftershave used to be used as an antiseptic to soothe shaving cuts, and eau fraiche was typically used during or just after bathing to more or less enhance the experience and refresh the skin. At less than 3% fragrance concentration, it’s not particularly useful as an all-day fragrance.

Eau de Cologne

Clocking in at 3% to 8% perfume oil, eau de cologne will last a couple of hours and is relatively inexpensive. If you put it on in the morning, expect the scent to wear off in a couple of hours.

Eau de Toilette

No, this does not translate to “toilet water.” EDT refers to a fragrance with 5-15% fragrance concentration and represents one of the most common fragrance distinctions on the market, not to mention a best-selling one. Expect the scent to last about 3-4 hours.

Eau de Parfum

With a fragrance concentration of 15-20%, eaux de parfum tend to last an entire day, or about eight hours. While somewhat expensive up front, the increased scent longevity makes it a great value.


A rare find nowadays due to its expense and association of the word “perfume” with ladies’ fragrances, parfums are typically in the 20-30% concentration range.

How To Apply Fragrance

Make sure to apply the fragrance to the warmest areas of the body, such as the neck, wrists, inner elbow, or behind the ears, to better activate the scent. Applying immediately after exiting the shower and drying off is best. When spraying inside the wrists, don’t rub them together, as this compromises the scent’s potency and longevity. Instead, simply let it dry on its own, which will only take about 45 seconds.

Pro Tip: One spray of cologne on dry skin is usually enough for goldilocks sillage (how long fragrance lingers after you).

Applying the Right Fragrance 

Now it’s time to select the scent! While there are eight olfactive families (aromatic, chypre, citrus, floral, fougere, leather, oriental, and woody) and many subfamilies underneath those, there are two that we at the shop feel put forth a confident, masculine image:


Smokey and distinctive woodsy scents like cedarwood, roasted oak, and toasted tobacco are supremely masculine and pleasing when mixed with other sweeter scents and applied properly. Dunhill Icon and L’Homme by Yves St. Laurent are easily purchased examples of woody fragrances.


Characterized by herb and plant notes that are paired with citrus and spicy notes, these fragrances are very popular for men, but not very much so for women. Jean-Paul Gaultier Le Male is a good example, as is the collegiate favorite, Drakkar.

These two categories are trending this year, and they will absolutely bring together the right autumn outfit. For more information on fragrance choice or application or to set up an appointment for made-to-measure clothing in Philadelphia, call the experienced image consultants at Henry A. Davidsen today.

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