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Perfume Etiquette


Perfume bottle on a black background with the words "Perfume Etiguette"

Work-Appropriate Perfume: Your Guide to Balancing Fragrance and Professionalism

Author: Ashley Vukovich


For those of us who enjoy wearing perfume or cologne, finding the perfect scent for work can be exciting and also a little bit stressful. You want to smell nice, but you don’t want it to be overpowering where it is affecting your colleagues in their place of work.


The question of the propriety of perfume at work can be compared to determining if wearing pantyhose for women, or cuff links for men is still a necessity in todays workforce. While everyone should be allowed to express themselves freely, there is also a time and place for everything.


I’m going to list a few ways you can be accommodating to your colleagues at work, while still expressing yourself.


  1. Consider the ‘Two Feet’ rule. Your colleagues and employers shouldn’t be able to smell your perfume across the cubicles of office, they should be within about two feet of range before they smell the scent you picked out for the day. The brands Philosophy and Pacifica are great brands for light perfumes. They’re sold at Ulta and Target for under $50.

  2. If you constantly work in close-quarters with others, thinking about opting for a lightly scented body lotion instead. I like Hempz Body Lotion. It’s sold at Ulta and places like Marshall’s & TJ Maxx for under $25.

  3. Don’t reapply a fragrance in public, and be mindful that the person wearing the perfume stops smelling it long before others do.

  4. Lastly, If someone tells you they can smell your strong perfume, believe them! Less is more.


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