You never forget your first time—using a department store fragrance, among other things. Once you've graduated from those uber-sweet body mists, you very rarely look back, and even today, just one whiff of Tommy Girl has a funny way of recalling exactly what we were doing on July 8th, 1997 at 3 PM. In celebration of National Fragrance Day, we asked our editors to tell us all about the gateway scents we knew, loved, and continue to hoard. Scroll down to see 8 of our very first "big girl" fragrances.
1. Selene Milano, Senior Beauty Editor
Like every other little girl in the '70s, my very first perfume was Love’s Baby Soft ($9; walmart.com). I can still remember the rounded white plastic cap and the powdery smell. But the first “big girl” scent I ever wore was Anais Anais. Whenever I smell it now (which is pretty rare), I’m instantly transported back to a roller rink on a Friday night with my gaggle of middle school girlfriends.
Cacharel | $62
2. Hana Asbrink, Digital News Editor
I think ck one might have been my first 'big girl' perfume, but I never really took to it. L' Eau Par Kenzo is the first time I fell hard for a fragrance. My friend introduced me to this light, refreshing scent and just a whiff of it immediately transports me to the early aughts, dancing to 'Crazy in Love' in ultra low-rise flares. I stock up on it when I pass through Duty Free and still spray it today!
Kenzo | $43
3. Marianne Mychaskiw, Associate Beauty Editor
I remember the exact moment I fell in love with Liz Claiborne's Curve. I was at my best friend Diana's house in the room she shared with her cool older sisters. The Spice Girls had just released "Wannabe," YM magazines were strewn all over the floor, and Curve's periwinkle flacon looked especially bright when lit up by the glow of her tulip lamp. The lily of the valley note is the first thing that hits you, followed by a refreshing splash of freesia. I always felt SO cool breaking out a bottle of this stuff after gym class, and fun fact, I still wear it today whenever I'm feeling nostalgic.
Liz Claiborne | $56
4. Jessica Kane, Photo Coordinator
My first fragrance was DKNY Be Delicious.When I was in middle school I was all about the fruity scents so DKNY’s Be Delicious was my everyday go-to. I remember keeping a small bottle in my locker at school so I could freshen up in-between classes!
DKNY | $70
5. Victoria Moorhouse, Digital Beauty Editor
I remember picking out this fragrance in the department store for Christmas and waiting patiently for the 25th to roll around so I could bust it out of its packaging. Up until this point, I had only been using Bath and Body Works mists, so this Ralph Lauren number was my first foray into big girl fragrances. While it wouldn’t be my first choice today, I adored it at the time because it was fruity with notes of apples and mandarin and also fresh with floral hints of magnolia. And because it wasn’t a body mist, the scent stuck around for longer than five minutes. The sea blue bottle definitely won me over, too.
Ralph Lauren | $62
6. Emily Shornick, Senior Multimedia Editor
I definitely crushed several cubes of Gap Blue in my day. In 1997, I thought the geometric packaging was the height of sophistication. The bottle was chic, plus so easy to pack on my middle school overnight to Washington DC! I still think it’s cool.
I was totally anti-fragrance until 2014, when I shared a cubicle wall with a beauty editor who accidentally sprayed B. Balenciaga all over my desk. It hadn’t even been released yet. I basically haunted her, demanding daily spritzes until it hit shelves several months later.
Balenciaga | $115
7. Ruthie Friedlander, Site Director
Angel, by Thierry Mugler, was my very first fragrance and I could not get enough of it. I loved the shape of the bottle (a delightfully heavy star) and would douse myself in the almost-too-sweet scent. I think the perfume walked into the room before I did.
Thierry Mugler | $82
8. Erin Lukas, Beauty Writer
I was in middle school in the early 2000s, and I was obsessed with the Burberry scarfs that I saw all my favorite celebs wearing. Since there was no way my mom would ever gift me one for Christmas, this fragrance was the next best thing. Although I shamelessly wanted it for the plaid bottle, I fell in love with its mix of sweet and smoky notes. It was my go-to scent until graduation.
Burberry | $84