What does summer smell like? Sweaty boys? Overworked garbage cans? Tired tourists? Hung-over interns? Well, yes, but also citrus and fig and cranberry and lilies.
This seasonal midpoint (somewhere between the time ghost-white legs turn to Jessica Simpson-bronze gams) has a definite aroma.
"My mother's summer perfume was always a scent by Balmain -- Vent Vert," says Cathy Newman, a National Geographic senior writer and author of "Perfume: The Art and Science of Scent." "It smelled like grass. I think that's an intrinsically summer scent -- mowing the lawn. . . . You certainly don't get that scent in the dead of winter." Newman herself switches to a lighter, more citrus-based scent. "It's like bringing out your white shoes after Memorial Day," she says.
"The fragrance of summer has to be very fresh, crisp, and at the same time warm and sweet," says Lev Glazman, co-founder of Fresh, an upscale beauty line. "Citrus scents are perfect for summer because they are so bright and refreshing." Glazman says the aroma makes him think of a specific iced tea -- Italian bergamot, Spuma Trice (Italian lemon) and mandarin oranges with a little sugar added. "To me that is the essence of summer."
Your sense of smell is very much linked to memory, says Newman. So certain scents evoke this flood of memories: "Suntan oil, the beach and pools and everything else you associate with summer," she says. Otherwise, wearing a heavier, muskier scent "is like wearing wool in July."
-- Janelle Erlichman Diamond