As I left my teenage years behind, the sporty and saccharine scents were replaced with more sensual ones. I embraced my 20s with the warm scents of patchouli, sandalwood and musk found in Gucci Rush, Hugo Boss Hugo Deep Red and Armani Code. At the time, I was earning frequent-flirting miles, and the oriental fragrances I was drawn to reflected this new stage. After a few attempts at love, finally came marriage. I can still remember the moment I chose the fragrance for my wedding day. Stella in Two Peony, a feminine floral with a hint of sexy musk, was a natural extension of my elegant Chantilly-lace wedding dress with its unexpected deep-V in the back. Perhaps all brides plan their special scent with as much gush as I did, but the ritual spritz from my growing fragrance wardrobe became the stepping stone to accessorizing for every occasion. Now, armed with new-found knowledge and life experiences, it’s becoming easier to make matches. For get-togethers with my mum, I’ll wear a Peter Pan collar and one of my favourite florals–Chloé or Stella McCartney Stella. When I borrow my husband’s dress shirt for a lazy Sunday brunch, I’ll put on the crisp Prada Infusion d’Iris. My beach scent is Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue; its citrus-meets-floral-meets-woody element is the sheer heaven that sunny vacations are made of. If I’m going to New York, I always reach for Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb, a great gourmand that smells like adventure. But my nearest and dearest is J’Adore by Dior. It brings me back to Paris, where I wore it for 10 long but delightful days. I may be a fragrance hoarder, ahem, collector, but I’m a practical one. My perfume is chosen with purpose—like shoes or a handbag are—when the mood or occasion calls for it. I like to keep my memories accessible and tangible, stowed in front of me for when I need them most. Am I a dreamer who prefers a romanticized version of my recollections through the rose-coloured lens that only a waft of fragrance provides? Yes. Will my desire to keep my memories close—with a new bottle here, a sniff there—wane? Not in this lifetime.
Photography by Natasha V
Tania Kwong is Glow's beauty editor. Obsessiveness is clearly intrinsic to her personality: She also describes herself as a "magazine hoarder" stretching back to when she devoured every issue of Bop and Sassy as a teenager.