Party Season Looks You Haven’t Tried

I thought I’d committed to a once-a-month post, but turns out I literally couldn’t get through party season without a round-up of some current favorite going-out looks. And beings that this week I’m running the holiday party gauntlet (and you may be too), it’s the perfect opportunity to share some serious get-ready inspo. Bring on all the color, glitter, and texture!

If you’re craving a retro moment …

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While the Gucci gown is really what keeps this look centered on the 1960s (and of course we’d all love to wear it to our next party), Dakota Johnson’s hair and makeup here are the perfect inspiration for a retro beauty look. She’s probably got some extensions going on to beef up her ponytail; the outcome is glorious and something I aspire to in all my retro lounge dreams. The smokey cat-eye paired with a bare lip is textbook, as well. Hair by Mark Townsend, makeup by Mélanie Inglessis.

If you’re tired of eyeshadow but don’t want a lip-forward look …

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This look on model Woan Ni was created by Kara Yoshimoto Bua using Shiseido’s newly revamped makeup line. White eyeliner was never a look I cared for much, but I think it’s because I’ve never seen it balanced out well with the rest of the face. This look is so beautifully balanced with a good brow, a shimmery, rosy cheek and a stained, blurry lip. So natural but still so party ready, right?

If you’re feeling classic Christmas but, like, extra …

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Oh, snap! Like, Merry Christmas Batman right?!? And of course, it’s Pati Dubroff (THEE queen makeup artist) for Margot Robbie on her way to the UK premiere of Mary Queen of Scots. The Pati-Margot duo was already blowing me away last year during awards season for I, Tonya and Margot’s premiere looks for Goodbye Christopher Robin. I love just the pat of glitter on the center of the lids- so modern. Pati hasn’t listed what she used yet so everyone’s guess is as good as mine, but who cares?! Go crazy! Use whatever! Recreate your own version.

If you want to focus all your energy on makeup and just get hair over with …

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Over at IntoTheGloss, Tom Newton took some fabulous photos of EmRata featuring some quick, lovely updos by Jennifer Yepez. This one using a claw clip was my favorite; a curly/kinky version would be workable and just as romantic, if not more so. As told on ITG: “Start with a middle part. Leave a few pieces out in the front, and gather the rest into a low bun, leaving the ends out for a more modern feel. Clasp it with your clip and bobby pin as needed to prevent strays from popping out. And then make sure it stays in place all night by giving it a healthy spritz of hairspray (Jennifer used Laque Couture). If you have curls, don’t worry about straightening all of your hair. Just focus on the front pieces by blow drying them straight, followed by a quick run with a flat iron.”

If you’re still bored …

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Don’t let boredom or lack of creativity force that red lip on you (or at least, a red lip with no other interesting details)! What’s a color you’d never associate with this time of year? Got an idea in your head? Good, now find a way to wear it! Or take Katie Jane Hughes’ countless colorful, glossy, glittery looks as a treasure trove of inspo, including this stunning lavender glossed lid. This is literally lip gloss (or anywhere gloss, really) on top of eyeshadow. And how do you keep it from creasing, you ask? You don’t! That’s part of the fun. It creases; just let it. Reapply if you want but enough with the set-in-stone, gotta-last-48-hours makeup. Let texture and skin be the real showstoppers.

If you’re still stumped on the hair question …

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Space buns! Like it’s 2002! I mean, how good is this? And people just don’t really do this anymore so it’s like the cutest Spice Girls throwback and a guaranteed conversation starter. The face framing pieces on Constance provide perfect balance, but I think you could even get away without them. And bonus: this look can probably be pulled off with any hair texture. Hair by Molly Greenwald.

If you’re sick of sequined sweaters …

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This whole shoot of Taraji P. Henson for the latest issue of InStyle is genius. Rip a literal page out of this mag (on newsstands now) and go with a direct Mary Tyler Moore reference for your party outfits. Short jumpers, miniskirts, graphic prints, power suits, flared pants, silk neckties- Moore’s playbook provides the right amount of inspiration for both dressing sharp and using color creatively. Because the holidays deserve so much more than just red and black sparkly sweaters.

xo, MR

All images are screenshots from Instagram except for the image from IntoTheGloss, taken by Tom Newton. In order of appearance: @melaniemakeup, @woanster, @patidubroff, Tom Newton, @katiejanehughes, @constancewu, @instylemagazine

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Best Of The 2018 SAG Awards

Alright, the color is back in full force this round. I was most, most pleased with this red carpet. Some seriously stunning choices, and of course, I was all the more happy with the incredible hair make makeup styling at this year’s SAG Awards. The glam teams were bringing nothing less than their best work. Here we go!

 

Saoirse Ronan in custom Louis Vuitton-
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I would wear this. I would totally wear this! Such beautiful art deco inspiration I’m seeing here, and such a cheerful shade of pastel, millennial pink. And I do love a modest silhouette contrasted with two marvelous slits up the side. And Saoirse’s (pronounced SER-shuh) minimalist styling is the right choice, as I don’t believe her face is one that could take “a lot” of makeup if you know what I mean. Her features are so delicate and fairylike, and dark or harsh makeup choices would just overwhelm her. Or at least, those are my thoughts. I could proven wrong, though!

 

Mandy Moore in Ralph Lauren-
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This is the kind of look that makes me want to go on vacation. The ease of the strappy silhouette that makes you want to pack a weekend getaway bag, the dreamy shade of shimmery cobalt that makes you want to dive into a perfectly blue pool after sipping on a Mai Tai beneath your cabana …

Think I’m living in the MidWest in the middle of January? Maybe. Just maybe. Some daydreaming problems over here.

But truly, this styling is fabulous and I can’t wait for a closeup of Mandy’s makeup, too, as I’ve detected a bit of aqua on her lower lids. Oooohhh…

 

Olivia Munn in Oscar de la Renta-

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Ohhhhh sequins! Luscious luscious sequins. And beautious floral appliqués. While this is overall a safe choice- and I’ve appreciated Olivia in the past for bolder choices when it would be quite easy for her to ride on her bombshell looks- the center-parted hair that’s like a shiny black sheet combined with the glowy, rosy makeup makes this a win. It might be safe, but it’s so good that the lack of risk doesn’t matter to me. And check those metallic talon nails! Daaaayyyuuuum.

 

Lupita Nyong’O in Ralph and Russo-

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Mmmmm more metallic perfection. And feathers! Who doesn’t appreciate some good bird now? I used to think I’d know that I’ve “made it” by the fact that I was wearing a sequined dress on a red carpet somewhere, but I’ve since changed my mind. I now know that it’s when I’m wearing a dress with feathers on a red carpet somewhere that I’ll know I’ve made it. Feathers are just so extra, so Marie Antoinette. So unnecessary-but-why-wouldn’t-you.

And does Lupita’s skin have a shimmery finish?! I can’t tell, but I have to find out. It’s positively luminous.

 

Brie Larson in Gucci-

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If you’re not wearing Gucci these days, what are you even doing with your life?! I’ll tell you what you’re doing- you’re wearing knockoff Gucci. Like me. From Target. But don’t blame a girl- sequins and details and jewel-encrusted bows and so many colors and eeeeeeeverything you think of when you think of a fantasy dress- that’s Gucci. Remember Nicole Kidman’s green sequined parrot amazingness from last year’s SAG Awards? Yep, Gucci.

Also, digging the stunning shimmery blue shadows on Brie. So lovely, especially on brown eyes. In other news, Captain Marvel allegedly begins production … tomorrow!

And now, for the obvious-yet-still-too-good-to-be-ignored choice …

 

Margot Robbie in Miu Miu-

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Ladies and gentlemen, another round of applause for feathers! See? I’m telling you, they’re quite fetching and irresistible. I can’t tell at this point if this dress is white or a very light shade of blush. I’m thinking the latter when I see it against the red carpet, and oh, how I love a good rosé as my white girl self should.

I’ve noticed that each of Kate Young’s choices for Margot have all had that bit of figure skating extra-ness as a nod to I, Tonya, whether it’s a touch of sparkle or something like a ribbon and feathers to create the movement that’s so important in figure skating outfits. Makes for a fun press tour, no? But I have to note that it’s the hair and makeup team that’ve really astounded me with Margot on this tour of hers- Pati Dubroff and Bryce Scarlett have been absolute heroes with the hair and makeup game. And I don’t care how beautiful she is naturally! Having a team behind you that consistently takes you from plebeian to goddess is irreplaceable as a celebrity, even for someone as pretty as Margot.

Let me know what you think, and do tell me if you think I’ve forgotten anyone especially deserving! Cheers! xo, MR

 

Photo credits in order of appearance: Steve Granitz/WireImage, Frazer Harrison/Getty, John Shearer/Getty, John Salangsang/Shutterstock, Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty, Frazer Harrison/Getty

Best Of The Met Gala 2017

And tonight, once again, we witness Kardashian & Kompany turn out of for fashion’s most garish, most opulent night- Anna Wintour’s annual Met Gala.

Of course, we always hope to see more than just Kendall and Kylie competing for highest slit in a sequined gown, but in recent years that’s sort of what’s happened to this event.  The themes continue to remain quite highfalutin, but the guests and what they choose to wear and try to accomplish have seemed to wane in sophistication as of late.  The Met Gala used to appeal to me as the very height of fashion on parade, the epitome of bougie-ness and unattainable class.  Now it’s got more of a who’s-who-of-Snapchat flavor.  But that’s what makes a celebrity these days I guess, and the times have undeniably changed.

The theme of this year’s Met exhibit is “Rei Kawakubo/Commes des Garçons: Art of the In-Between”.  To make it clear, the exhibit is honoring revolutionary female Japanese designer and founder of Commes des Garçons, Rei Kawakubo.  Her designs are known for being high concept, visually stunning, architecturally forward, and typically weird.  And I mean really weird.  Her craft is the definition of avant-garde.  Kawakubo’s work has never seemed to be about making a flattering dress or celebrating the woman’s body as it is with some designers.  It has seemed her work is more about her.  “Pretty” isn’t what she goes for. Or at least, your definition of pretty.  Give her a rule, and she’ll break it.  The woman does what she wants, and so she has forged for herself a formidable career.  To read more about her exhibit and see more of her work (and trust me- you want to), check out this Harper’s Bazaar article.

So what can we expect with tonight’s looks?  Well, based on the theme, we can expect weird.  And that’s good!  Although, I wouldn’t have pulled a Solange Knowles and shown up in a puffer coat.  But we’ll get to see what many celebrities define as “weird” or at least a little off the wall.   A ball honoring Rei Kawakubo demands something far beyond the boundaries of a column gown.  As always, my same rules apply when choosing favorites: dress/outfit, hair, makeup, and accessories must all work beautifully in tandem.

Most This-Is-What-I-Would-Do – Rose Byrne in Ralph Lauren 

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I talk a big talk when it comes to the Met Ball, but I know I probably wouldn’t be brave enough to actually wear one of Rei Kawakubo’s designs.  Because they’re Charlie Sheen levels of crazy.  However, this I can do.  I like the wild hairdo.  I love the architectural neckline of this dress in this bright shade of true red.  I like the artsy jewelry.  And the makeup is beautiful.  This, I can do.

Most Not-On-Theme-But-Still-Fabulous – Jennifer Lopez in Valentinojennifer-lopez-met-gala-2017-ftr-1

Paging Betty Draper!  Or Meghan Draper.  Or Joan!  Or all of them at once!  Anything that makes me think of Mad Men is more than fine with me.  The powder shade of blue, the chiffon, the cape, the high neckline, the incredible jewelry, and obviously the hair and makeup made this a stunner look straight out of the sixties.  And thank you, J.Lo, for abstaining from a naked dress!

Best Model That Didn’t Try To Just Look Like A Model – Lily Aldridge in Ralph Lauren Custom Collection

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Even though none of my favorites have worn Commes des Garçons (yet…), I still appreciate models like Lily for taking a risk and clearly pushing boundaries with the intent of paying homage to the design house’s outlandish creations.  It’s interesting to see a lot of Ralph Lauren at this event; that’s a designer I would’ve guessed as too safe for the Met Gala.  But the accessories and styling of this white gown have kept it from just looking like another skin-baring dress on a model.  I love Lily’s crazy red boots (Balenciaga) and her fuchsia blush netting that she’s wearing across her face.  Her makeup is also spectacular.  I saw a lot of incredible makeup this evening regardless of what folks were wearing, with this being a particular favorite …

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Now that is eyeshadow fit for the gods.  Alright, now for my last pick …

Best Fantasy Moment – Zendaya in Dolce & Gabbana

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This woman is such a chameleon.  She wears anything she wants, and she does anything with her hair that she wants.  It’s so evident that she loves fashion, and I love watching that.  Her hair and makeup are gorgeous, and I already such a huge affinity for parrots- this is the dress of my dreams.

Most Perfectly-On-Theme-And-Still-Fabulous – Rihanna in Commes des Garçons

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Ok, finally we have someone that interprets this year’s theme literally and wears Commes des Garçons!  And of course it’s Rihanna.  I love that she’s always such a team player when it comes to the Met Ball themes.  Remember when she wore this insanity for China: Through The Looking Glass?!  That gown was the creation of a legendary Chinese designer and there was no better opportunity to wear it.  That’s what you’re supposed to do at the Met Ball.  So yes, this dress … or outfit, whatever we’re calling it … is perfect for a Met Gala dedicated to Kawakubo.  It’s one of her own creations, it’s a breathtaking-if-not-baffling work of art, it’s weird, and it’s Rihanna, who doesn’t seem to mind weird.  And be sure to search close-up shots of her makeup.  It’s incredible.  Perfect.

There’s lots to still sort through from tonight’s extravaganza, but other honorable mentions go to: Dakota Johnson in some excellent Gucci, Kate Bosworth in Tory Burch that looked dangerously similar to Dakota Johnson’s Gucci, Jennifer Connelly in Louis Vuitton (because DUH I’m obsessed with her), Elle Fanning in some very Cinderella Miu Miu, Doutzen Kroes looking natural and relaxed in Brock Collection, Ruth Negga in a very avant-garde cape thingy, and Lupita Nyong’O in a gorgeous shade of orange.

Let me know what you think, if things got weird enough for you, or if they just couldn’t get weird enough.  Anything goes at this party.  But you know who didn’t go to this party?  Taylor Swift.  xo, MR

Photo credits in order of appearance: Instagram, Rex/Shutterstock, Rex/Shutterstock, Instagram, Getty, Getty/John Shearer

Best Of The 2017 SAG Awards

Our next stop during our 2017 awards season brings us here, to the red carpet of the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards.  A glitzy red carpet feels strange and quite off at the moment considering the tumult of this past week, but I invite you to beat back against any frustration, despair, or anxiety you may be dealing with and just enjoy something frivolous and pretty.  My dad frequently quotes Willy Wonka to me- “A little bit of nonsense now and then is cherished by the wisest men.”  Let’s have some nonsense, if just a moment.

And now, to summarize- I have so, so appreciated the noticeable amount of risk-taking and weird-making during this red carpet season.  Gone are the column gowns!  Out of sight are the solids!  I am so pleased with all the sequins, patterns, appliqués, architectural designs, and animals that adorned this year’s SAG Awards’ gowns.  It’s been a good year so far (in this realm, at least).  I can’t wait for the Oscars.  Let’s get started!

Best Mix of Salty and Sweet – Taraji P. Henson in Reem Acra

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This dress is sweet.  It even has little bows!  It’s girly and femme and frothy and magical.  I love this dusty shade of mauve.  Maybe it even has some purple in it?  It’s hard to tell based on all the photos you see because the lighting is so different in nearly every one.  But what I love about this overall look is that Taraji’s hair keeps this Reem Acra dress from drowning us in sugar.  Taraji’s assymetrical bob with shaved sides is the lewk right now.  I had this haircut for about six months (sans shaved sides) and it adds salt to everything you wear, seriously.  Cookie got it done tonight.  And her eyebrows are always fiyahhhh.

Best Maternity Style – Natalie Portman in Dior Couture

The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 29 Jan 2017

In case you haven’t noticed, Natalie Portman is pregnant.  She’s actually been pregnant during both of her special awards seasons (the previous being for Black Swan in 2011, for which she won a Best Actress Academy Award), and yet I’ve loved this go-round of maternity style so much more than her first.  Of course it might be the constant Jackie O inspiration we’re seeing in her styling lately, but Natalie has looked so regal this month.  She and her stylist Kate Young have chosen gowns that are the epitome of elegance and class.  And a sidenote- statement sleeves like these are going to be major this spring, and the choice of white may have been a nod to suffragettes.

Best Use of Kingdom Animalia – Thandie Newton in Schiaparelli Fall 2016 Couture

The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - Red Carpet

What. A. Fantasy!  I would wear this dress, hands down.  I love the futuristic silhouette and the crazy amount of sparkle.  There are stars, there are birds, there are horses, there are horses that appear to have feathers on their heads (think Cinderella?), and there’s a ferris wheel!  It’s also tea length, which always seems to add a bit of whimsy.  Maybe the word “tea” just makes me feel whimsical.  But anyhow, paired with understated makeup, hair, and nails, Thandie looks incredible.  This dress is a dream.

Best Pleasant Surprise – Sofia Vergara in Zuhair Murad

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I can typically predict what Sofia Vergara will wear on the red carpet: something body-con, perhaps sequined, probably in a solid jewel tone, floor length, with lots of diamonds.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a formula that you really can’t go wrong with.  Sofia is maybe thee definition of va-va-voom, and her looks always complement that.  However, it was fun to see her in a knee length dress that felt a bit more fresh and youthful than her go-to aesthetic.  Plus, the styling is just so classic- a black tulle skirt with red lips and nails, coupled with a brilliant boustier and, of course, diamonds.

Best Call-Me-Crazy-But-I’m-Obsessed – Nicole Kidman in Gucci

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Ever since Alessandro Michele took over Gucci at the beginning of 2015, the Italian fashion house has done lost its damned mind in the best way EVARRR.  Anyone happen to keep up with the press tour for Suicide Squad?  Remember Margot Robbie’s crazy sequined unicorn dress?  Gucci.  The dress she wore with the tiger on it?  Gucci.  Jared Leto’s pink pants and kelly green coat that made him look like the captain of the Lollipop Guild?  Gucci.

And you know what?  I love it.  I looooove it.  Of course, Michele can play it fairly normal, too (think Brie Larson at last year’s Oscars, Zoe Saldana at this year’s Golden Globes), but I  never want normal on a red carpet.  Ever!  Something like Nicole Kidman’s parrot insanity here is so much more fun, so much more exciting, and so much more worth my time than any tired column dress.  Such dresses always look good- that’s never the problem- but like I’ve said, if you have access to all the fashion in all the world, why not wear parrots on your shoulders every once in a while?  But that’s just me.  xo, MR

 

Photo credits in order of appearance: Rob Latour/Rex/Shutterstock, Rob Latour/Rex/Shutterstock, Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty, Frazer Harrison/Getty Images, Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

I smell so good all the time. And no, I’m not wearing ‘Justin Bieber’s Girlfriend’.

I have used a lot of fragrances in my lifetime. Those folks that have their “signature scent” and can stick to just one fragrance … yeah, I don’t get them. I wish I could do that, but I’m a smell-aholic. Or a smell-ophrenic. Or whatever.

I remember Roxy’s Hula being the scent of ‘hot female’ in middle school. Seriously, girl walks by on campus and you smell the Hula on her … you got jealous. The guys thought she was a babe and she’d probably blazed passed all us other girls in the puberty department. In other words, she was a true woman, tube top and all. I tried wearing Hula in middle school … it just didn’t work the same. I just couldn’t understand why no one wanted me as I stood there covered in my butterfly clips and wearing my Osh-Kosh holdovers from fourth grade (yes, things fit me for a very long time) on the black-top. As I picked my nose.

And then came high school, and I don’t quite remember what scents I wore then because all I can remember as far as the olfactory sensations go is a haze of fruit. That’s when you discovered Bath and Body Works and boy, did we all go to town. We were all trying to discover our inner sexiness, and apparently ‘sexy’ in high school smells like being shoved head-first into a can of fruit cocktail laced with sugar, marinaded in sugar, and paired with … hmm, brown sugar and Fruit Loops? Heck, my senior year I even started wearing a perfume called Pink Sugar. Man, that was the stuff. That’s the first scent I remember wearing and feeling like it was mine. I wore it strictly throughout my senior year, and was thus able to associate it with all the memories that came with those days. Even when I get a whiff of that stuff these days, Aquolina Pink Sugar is a potent memory-trigger.

Throughout college and up until today, I’ve had a hard time nailing down a favorite fragrance. I can’t pick just one. If I go to Sephora, I smell twenty and I like them all. I like the weird ones, the overly-saccharine ones, the musky, masculine ones, and the lighter, clean ones. I’m just as happy to smell like a forest as I am to smell like a Funfetti cake. And so, I’ve acquired a few over the years.

The Givenchy one (pronounced zhe-von-SHEE, to the best of my description) on the right is one I fell for as a result of … shocker … advertising. Uma Thurman was the model used for the Ange ou Demon Le Secret ads, and I smelled it in a magazine and couldn’t get over it. I’d never appreciated a scent that was more founded in tea notes rather than fruit notes, as this one is. I think of a blush wine mixed with white tea; it’s unique. The gold bottle, Gucci Guilty, I can’t say I really love. It’s a floral-oriental but it’s a bit too “rich, daring, powerful woman’ for me … and I am a poor, cautious, hesitant woman.

The D&G L’Imperatrice is a friend-favorite. It’s inspired some purchasing among my acquaintances (more on that in a minute), and I will say that it is pretty delicious. It’s lighter because it’s an eau de toilette (not an eau de parfum), but it still has plenty of fruity notes such as watermelon and kiwi accord. Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gioia is my newest, and it reminds me of the water. It’s a scent that makes me fantasize about places I’ve never been, places that are misty, cool, and clean. Rather than the beach, which one may usually think of with such a zesty fragrance, I think of the fjords in Norway. No joke. Calgon take me away!!!!!!

And here, we find the fragrances I carry with me when I’m teaching at high schools. Victoria’s Secret Bombshell keeps me feeling like a sophisticated woman in an arena so devastatingly dominated by Justin Bieber Someday, and Bath and Body Works’ Secret Wonderland so I can fit in with the sixteen-year-olds just a little bit (and it makes me think of Christmas!).

And so, that wraps up the current smelling sauces I’m drenching myself in these days. I should warn you though … I don’t do well with those that wear the same fragrance as myself (which, unfortunately, could eliminate perhaps five of your options at a time). Scent is one of the heaviest identifying factors that I associate with a person, and having anyone else smell like me is a huge pet-peeve of mine. I have a friend who wore Thierry Mugler’s Angel for years, and I refuse to wear it despite the fact that I could funnel that stuff straight down into my nostrils (because it smells that good). Why? Because that’s her scent. I want you to like how I smell, but I don’t want you to buy it. And sure, I may have used five scents within the past year, but, well, that’s just too bad for you. You can’t smell like me. My dad bought my mom my same fragrance one year for Christmas because he’d liked it so much on me. Just … no.