Tom Ford said it best when he was asked what every man should; coming in at #5 “a good cologne that becomes a signature.”

He’s damn right. A signature scent is an important piece of your overall aesthetic. It leaves a lasting impression when done properly.

A scent can bring on memories and even affect your mood. The science behind this phenomenon is that the olfactory bulb (transmits smells to the brain) is part of the brain’s limbic system, which is closely associated with memory and feeling.*(

When meeting someone initially, it is usually one of the first things they notice, so you better make sure you bring your A-game. Everyone’s skin reacts differently to colognes so you need to try them out and find the one (or a small handful to rotate with) that synchronizes with you well.

One of my personal favorites that I continue to stock up on is Rochas (the design of the bottle is something they should probably work on as it looks like a suppository). With a signature scent, people will start to remember you more frequently and they will think of you whenever they encounter that scent. Once you find the right one, you need to master the application.

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You don’t want to be undetectable but you also don’t want someone to be able to smell you from across the room. Typically, the best time to apply cologne would be right after a hot shower, as your pores are open and will absorb the scents of the cologne. At the end of the day, you may want to have at least two scents for seasonal wear.

apply-cologne-03 *image from GQ

Frank Keefe
NYC based style consultant/blogger.