Scent of the 80s
Like everything else in the 80s, perfume was also little overboard - at
least on this teenage girl it was.
Subtlety was not my middle name and a little of anything never seemed to
be enough...my signature scent was no exception.
Walk down the halls of any high school around 1987 and along with the
overpowering manly stink of Polo and Drakkar on the guys you would find
a sweet, musky mixture of these legendary brands:
That bottle! I had to have that triangle bottle! Would I choose a bright
yellow, red or blue one? I had choices. Introduced in 1986, Liz
Claiborne was the bottle to have on your dresser and on your bod back in
the day. It smelled fresh and clean, like lily, mandarin and citrus.
Very adult, like a smart 80s career woman - I remember feeling very
sassy wearing a ton of my Liz Claiborne perfume (blue bottle) paired
with my white Liz Claiborne purse. LIZ CLAIBORNE, I LOVED YOU!
Colors by Benetton
So pretty, so cool, so Benetton – another 80s staple and a must have. This
scent was born in 1987 and sold in the trendy Benetton shops that were
located in the “fancy” shopping malls. I flipped
when I got this for Christmas one year, so much so that I wrote
about getting it in my diary. I loved the feel of the stop sign shaped
bottle in my hand and the pretty smell of marigold, vanilla, and orange
blossoms. Benetton was light and a little more “fun” than La Liz.
Camp Beverly Hills
Cashing in on the OP/Panama Jack beach
vibe, if you wanted to smell like California you wore Camp Beverly
Hills perfume. I was thrilled to buy this for myself at Bealls, the
strip mall “department store” up the street from our house. I wanted it
so badly because they were running a promotion where if you got the
perfume you got a FREE Camp Beverly hills jacket in a bright shade of
pink with the perfume logo emblazoned across the back like you were in a
girl gang. I felt like I radiated sunshine, smelling of bergamot, orange
blossom and ylang-ylang. What the hell is ylang-ylang? Who cares, I
smelled like California, even though I’d never been there to know what
exactly it smelled like.
Entering serious old lady territory, I had no business wearing this heavy
80s scent that a boyfriend gave me for Valentine’s Day. Blech. Maybe his
goal was to keep all the other boys away from me with this woodsy, musky
perfume. Fendi had notes of carnation, nutmeg and patchouli and I was
drowning in it. It was also one of Phylicia Rashad's favorite perfumes.
If it was good enough for Clair Huxtable and her giant shoulder pads, it
was certainly good enough for me.
All hail the queen mother of 80s perfume! Calvin Klein introduced this
signature fragrance to the world in 1985 and it’s still going strong
today. That amber color of the perfume, the lettering on the bottle,
that musky, spicy, sandalwood, rich smell it had. Remember the bizarre
commercials for it? Black and white, people playing chess, wearing
leotards, like a weird mix of bad performance art and classical theatre?
And the tag line...”OH THE SMELL OF IT.” Kinda creepy.
I do love how fragrance can just take you back. A few weeks ago, at the
beach, I was walking through the outlet mall, and there was a Liz
Claiborne store. I spotted that triangle bottle by the register and had
to take a whiff. Suddenly I was a sophomore again, wearing a bandana in
my hair, collar popped and big belt in place, ready to conquer another
high school day.
I smiled as I put the bottle down, and secretly wished there was an outlet
Fendi store so I could smell that big stinker again.
Lori Ferraro is the author of
the website Drawn to
the 80s where the greatest hits of the 1980’s are illustrated by her
five-year-old son. Her blog
www.onceuponaproduct.com is where you can read about her obsessions
with make up, food, Mick Jagger, big hair, boys and yes...the 80's.