Finding the best summertime fragrances

I’m back again with a fragrance recommendation list because my vanilla perfumes post was surprisingly a hit! Anyway, I first got into perfumes the first summer of the pandemic. Because no one was actively smelling me up, it was truly a hobby for my own pleasure to freshen up my personal bubble. The sweats and stinks are common around summertime for me; I live in a fairly hot microclimate in California. With the addition of three dogs this year, I’m especially keen to minimize any lingering musty (yeasty?) odors. Plus, fragrances are a great way to play up my personality for quick errands without having to deal with makeup or clothes. 

Even when masked these days, I do like to do a few spritzes on my clothes and wrists. Heavy gourmand and floral scents are borderline headache-inducing in my local weather (think, consistently between 90 and 105°F), so I tend to pick up light, easy-going scents this time of year. Here are a few of my favorite summertime fragrances, including my go-to citrus and floral perfumes. 

Chloe love story

Best floral summertime fragrance: Love Story by Chloé

Imagine this: You’re Julia Roberts lying casually on a bench on a beautiful flower garden on a cloudless spring day in Notting Hill. I’ve had this baby (purchased from Costco, of all places) for almost two years, and it’s honestly my signature warm weather smell. 

I find floral perfumes to be overwhelming, if not nauseating, most of the time, but Love Story hits just right with three spritzes. It’s a soft, citrusy white floral scent that dries down musky and woody. It’s easy-going and youthful — a classic floral perfume, really. The atomizer also never gives me trouble. It lasts me throughout the day, too, especially if I spray it on my clothes. Like Taylor Swift sang, it’s a love story, baby just say YES (to this perfume). 

Daisy by Marc Jacobs

Best fruity summertime fragrance: Daisy by Marc Jacobs

Feels like strawberries on a summer evening. I know you might be thinking that I’m basic, but sometimes, you’ve got to have your basics, right? Daisy is a light fruity floral that’s so easy to throw on, and you can almost always find it on sale at places like Nordstrom Rack — it’s exorbitantly priced at retail cost, but it can be a fairly affordable summer perfume if you know where to look.

I have a $10 rollerball that’s lasted me for years — it’s not the cute flower bottle, but it gets the job done! I keep it in my purse to layer on if I’m outside for a long time. (A rarity, but not altogether an impossibility.) You get that initial burst of violets, strawberries, and citrus, and then it dries down into a musky, vanilla scent. TBH it’s not very long lasting (you get maybe two or three hours with it), but it’s decent for layering with your other fruity florals. 

Sexy Sunset by Michael Kors

Best gourmand summertime fragrance: Sexy Sunset by Michael Kors

My fave dupe of Daisy by Marc Jacobs is Sexy Sunset by Michael Kors. I think this fragrance might be discontinued, but I’ve seen it again and again at discount stores such as T.J. Maxx and Ross for under $20. It’s a cute little vial of pink liquid, and it *smells* pink. This is what I imagine Summer Roberts from The O.C. smells like — like a blend of roses and peonies and vanilla and amber. It’s almost like a warm, sugary version of Daisy that lasts a bit longer, about five to six hours. 

Versense by Versace

Best citrus summertime fragrance: Versense by Versace 

Versace Versense is my favorite fragrance at the moment. This lovely citrus perfume is actually a new addition to my collection, so it might just be availability bias. But it just feels like me in fragrance form: a tad playful, subtle, mild mannered. It’s citrusy, but not too sharp or sweet — you’ve got a waft of lime mixed with musk, wood, and an inkling of florals. It doesn’t last very long on me, just about three or four hours. I still love it to bits, though. Unfortunately, it seems to be discontinued, but you could track it down online or at a T.J. Maxx or Burlington Coat Factory. (I think I got mine on Amazon or eBay.) One fragrance that I think it goes well with is Coconut Lime by Bath and Body Works — the BBW mist scent is a bit more juvenile, but the woody base notes in the Versace perfume anchors it down.

Tangerine Squeeze by Mix:Bar

Best affordable summertime fragrance: Tangerine Squeeze by Mix:Bar

Yes, Mix:Bar is a Target girlie brand, but I found this at a discount spot clearanced off. It’s not a very complex smell, but it’ll keep you fresh. It’s essentially like spraying on a sparkling orange mimosa. The fragrance dissipates in an hour or two, but for six bucks, I’m not mad at it. It comes in a 1.7 fluid ounce bottle, so you could stash it in your bag to touch up throughout the day. 

I’m a lot more conservative about adding perfumes to my collection these days, but I’m very happy to have these in my possession. During those musty, icky afternoon slumps in the summer, a spray of a light, easy-going perfume can really brighten up my mood. And don’t we just need to seize joy whenever we can these days?

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