15 Days ’til 40: Pretentious Perfume

06 Feb


I ran out of perfume a few days ago and needed to find something new.  The perfume I have worn for years (okay, the last decade) can only be purchased in certain places that are not close to my home, so I set out to find something new – I figure it was about time.  The last time I changed perfumes was before I became a parent… my oldest is now 11.  Finding a perfume was harder than I thought it would be – there were so many choices, many of which made me gag.  I like a perfume that will not hang out in an elevator after I get out of it – something that can be smelled slightly, but is not overpowering and nauseating.  Being that I am not the type of person that is normally drawn to name brand items, I must admit that I was a bit surprised with where my perfume procuring journey landed me.  Yes, the perfume I liked the most (or tolerated the best) was made by Prada.  I definitely do NOT consider myself a Prada girl.  As if to add insult to the injury my ego had been caused by my pull towards Prada, the perfume itself was called “Candy”.  What sensible professional sprays themselves every morning before work with something called “Candy”???  Apparently, now I do.This got me thinking about name brands and non-name brands and what people gain from heading towards these labels (and what the labels mean to different people).  I must confess, while no one would ever – I mean EVER catch me in a pair of Prada shoes, I am very loyal to Uggs, Dr. Martens, Keens and Birkenstocks.  I am my own brand snob that chooses comfort and durability

Is it okay to buy fancy, expensive brand name items???

My first question is, “Can you afford it?”  My next question is, “What are you getting out of it?”

A few years ago I really wanted tall Ugg boots, but did not have the money to purchase the brand name.  I thought about these boots for over two years and instead bought fake sheepskin boots – the quality of which was not great.  I was not comfortable walking in them, they were falling apart, and eventually I gave them away as they were not what I was looking for.  Just 10 months ago I finally treated myself to the pair of Uggs I had fantasized about- they are so comfortable and amazing and I wear them as often as the weather allows.  In this case, there was a huge quality and comfort difference in buying a brand name.  There was also a long-term cost savings as the cheaper products required continual replacement, whereas, this product should last a very long time.

Fake Rolex Watches

I knew someone once who was a rather complicated being.  He had an issue with differentiating truth from reality and would often tell rather elaborate, highly embellished stories.  It seemed he needed to tell these stories in order to gain attention and feel important.  He had people believing all sorts of things about him that were not true.  When I really think about it, he must have been living a really awful life and had the self-esteem of a rock.  Anyhow, this person really wanted a Rolex watch.  He could not afford a Rolex watch, but wanted, or rather NEEDED people to think he could.  When travelling abroad, he had the opportunity to purchase a fake Rolex and he fell in love with the watch.  He told some it was not real, but also allowed many to think it was.  I felt the watch was so outwardly symbolic of who he was as a person – creating stories on the outside, but really something quite different on the inside.  (Others were less polite and said fake and shiny on the outside and cheap on the inside).  Eventually I think that he took work in a place where he was able to purchase himself a real Rolex.  I wonder if it brought him the happiness that he thought it may.  I find that happiness just does not come from things, it comes from within, understanding yourself and how you relate to the world around you.

Which brings me back to my Prada perfume.  Why do I find it okay to wear certain brands of shoes, but feel strange about Prada perfume?  Perhaps because in my mind the shoe brands I chose symbolize sensibility, durability, stability, and for some reason Prada brings something else to my mind. (Of course, the first thing is the book/ movie “The Devil Wears Prada.”)  Maybe that is the problem – the associations the media makes for me.  Any particular item or thing is not inherently good or bad, what we need to do is question the weight that we choose to give these items.  If I like Prada perfume and I can afford to buy it (disclaimer – major sale!) then why should it matter whether or not it has that name?  Why does the name need to mean anything?  If I do not give the name power, it loses its meaning, at least in my life.

Today, 15 days ’til 40, I know that in my life I really do not need or seek out fancy name brands.  What I need is family, love, belonging, an opportunity to help make this world a better place, challenges that push me to learn and grow, and a sensible, comfortable pair of shoes.



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35 responses to “15 Days ’til 40: Pretentious Perfume

  1. knitxpressions

    February 6, 2013 at 01:27

    Haa…there’s Marketing in action for you…twisting your mind and making you think of the ‘image’ you’ll be associated with IF you use that product. Amazing sometimes what the images and perceptions we tag to inanimate things can so much influence what we think of others and what we want others to think of us!

    • 400daystil40

      February 6, 2013 at 23:33

      Ah, you are one of two that called me on my issues here – you are totally right!

      • knitxpressions

        February 7, 2013 at 01:56

        It’s horrible isn’t it? But as long as you remember that you bought the perfume to serve a function, there is no need to care about the images and perceptions attached to the brand. All that is just the evil evil consumer product branding at work. If it helps, throw the box away and personify the perfume bottle 😉 For eg, you may want to wrap the bottle up in some nice fabric and make it your own…haaa…I don’t think the Prada marketing team would love me suggesting this to you!

  2. beverlydyer

    February 6, 2013 at 02:11

    I’m a soap and water kind of girl!!

  3. knittingwithheart

    February 6, 2013 at 03:32

    So good!

  4. walkwiththerabbi

    February 6, 2013 at 04:15

    You’re a blessing to me in countless ways. Hugs till next time.

  5. Lani Longshore

    February 6, 2013 at 04:24

    I think you are on to something about the images we carry around. You’re image of yourself is of a sensible, independent person – not the frivolous, self-indulgent type who would respond to advertising for pricy perfume. The key here is that you weren’t influenced by the advertising, you were influenced by the product after you did your own research.

    • 400daystil40

      February 6, 2013 at 23:30

      Ah, you completely called me on my issues here! Thanks, I needed that! 🙂

  6. behindthemaskofabuse

    February 6, 2013 at 06:56

    great point!

  7. Julie

    February 6, 2013 at 12:57


    • 400daystil40

      February 6, 2013 at 23:27

      🙂 hmm… may have to seek that one out! 😛

  8. MoiMeMoi ~ Kat

    February 6, 2013 at 16:30

    Too funny. I’m a thrift store dress with Prada ballet flats kind of girl. Oh and the Prada flats were bought used though they didn’t look it. I’ll buy cheap anything for makeup but love Chanel Gardenia perfume. I think we all like some of the nicer things in life but I’ve learned how to save money doing so. Thanks for a great post to start my day.

    • 400daystil40

      February 6, 2013 at 23:27

      This made me laugh – I LOVE it!!! 🙂

  9. iknead2knit

    February 6, 2013 at 16:48

    I, too, am a huge shoe snob and have had the same experience as you, settling for an “almost” what I really want, only to be disappointed. My mom was absolutely right, “buy cheap, get cheap” and “you get what you pay for”. Thanks for reading.

    • 400daystil40

      February 6, 2013 at 23:26

      Yes, I feel the same way as your mom!

  10. Heather

    February 6, 2013 at 17:58

    lol…loved this…so funny! I don’t wear perfume at all but I think the situation is relate-able to almost anything…I’ve never been a name hound…I wear what I like and at this stage what is comfortable is far more important… 😉

    enjoy your perfume…

    • 400daystil40

      February 6, 2013 at 23:26

      Yes, many people will relate, I think! 🙂

  11. viveka

    February 7, 2013 at 00:08

    Have done … a little post about … my favorite perfumes .. and how important they have been to me – coco channel has said that a woman that don’t wear perfume has no future. *smile – so you better get some expensive drops of. It’s not what we get out of it .. it’s all about how we feel in it and when somebody tells you – wow, you smell so good. That is very dollar is worth it. Here is the link to my post – – and I done a post about my cheap time keeper too. I tell you so long as time doesn’t go slower on an expensive watch than a cheap one .. I stick to the cheap.

    • 400daystil40

      February 7, 2013 at 23:14

      Thank you so much for the links to your posts!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  12. Another Thousand Words

    February 7, 2013 at 04:24

    It’s not the brand, 400…it’s the quality of the product! When I shop for anything new, I check the quality first, especially with clothing. That is why I still have many clothes from the 80s and 90s (back in style now, too–but called ‘Retro’, Haha!) while I chose for their quality back then, took care of them well, and (thankfully) can still wear them. I’d rather pay more than have something last for only less than a year!

    Glad you found the perfume on sale! I learned, though, many years ago, that a combo of the same brand of body lotion, with a spritz or five (different body spots) of that brand of cologne, all used just out of the shower or bath, is much less costly than buying the perfume…and softer on others’ olfactories!

    • 400daystil40

      February 7, 2013 at 23:10

      Very good points! I also love to get higher quality items that last forever. I still have and wear some clothing that I bought 15+ years ago.

  13. thelastsongiheard

    February 7, 2013 at 06:59

    Never been one for brand names really… never been a trendy one either LOL I likes what I likes LOL 😛

  14. heartflow2013

    February 7, 2013 at 07:45

    I have my dream pair of Uggs: “inside/outside” sheepskin-lined house shoes ~ they are still great 10 years later… Buy as if it were the last pair you will buy… (my wife’s motto) even if it means budgeting to be able to get them. Happy shopping! Tomas

    • 400daystil40

      February 7, 2013 at 23:07

      Yes! I have a pair of 8 year old uggs that I also love… I can’t wear them to work anymore, but I still wear them around the house – LOVE your wife’s motto!!!


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