By Marianne Mychaskiw
Updated Jul 24, 2017 @ 3:00 pm
Courtesy, Getty

Some compliments are so unnecessary that I'd hardly categorize them as such. Like, don't tell a woman that she's "in such good physical shape." It's creepy and disrespectful, and women don't exist for the sole purpose of being aesthetically pleasing. Don't cat-call me and say you were just trying to give me a compliment, either. It isn't one, and even the term "cat call" is misleading—I mean, I wish actual cats would call me. I'm obsessed with cats. "Idiot screeching in the street," or "dude shouting an opinion absolutely none of us asked for" are more accurate descriptions.

When someone compliments my cat-eye or fragrance choices, however, I'm all for it. Instead of the whole "your appearance is pleasing to me, good job," vibe, they're appreciating the skill that went into shaping a wing so sharp, it just might stab a man, or acknowledging the way each specific note in your signature scent reacts with the chemistry of your skin. I'm big on fragrances to begin with, so the appreciation is nice, especially since I'm one of those brats who switches her scent out regularly and is very particular about it. Currently, TokyoMilk's 20,000 Flowers Under the Sea ($42; has my heart, and apparently, the hearts of those in my scent trail.

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Even before I actually smelled the fragrance, it was already appealing to me. The bottle, in all of its octopus-themed glory, was so pretty on its own, and the hoarder in me wanted to keep the floral-printed box. Why I wanted to keep it or what I'd use it for is still a mystery to me, but I digress. The name of the scent was intriguing to me, as was the fact that it was part of TokyoMilk's Neptune and the Mermaid collection, which sounds like a well-illustrated story I would have been so into when I was a kid. The actual scent is just as gorgeous as its exterior—its featured notes are white lily, ylang ylang, mineral salt, and sun-kissed coral. I have no idea what sun-kissed coral is supposed to smell like (wouldn't that mean the coral is dead??), but on contact with my skin, it's a burst of the most gorgeous tropical bouquet, which I'm assuming is the ylang ylang at work. The white lily is certainly present, and the aquatic twist a la Davidoff Cool Water prevents the fragrance from veering too far into an old-school floral category. Somehow, it takes on a rich, almost pulpy aroma as it warms on your skin, and the closest thing I can equate it to is walking past the open door of a flower shop, or one of those stands in the Honolulu Airport that has fresh leis for sale.

I sprayed it on at my desk one morning, and three people passed by and asked me what I had just applied—luckily here at InStyle HQ, putting on fragrance at your desk isn't the slightest bit weird. A few more friends commented on it while we were in a meeting, and at a happy hour later in the week, my friends wouldn't shut up about how great I smelled. Are you kidding? I had just come from outside and was sweating, but apparently I didn't smell like it. When I left to go to an event after work one day, my Uber driver asked me about it. At first, I was a little thrown off, but as we talked, I learned he was pretty into fragrances himself, and actually sold them for a while. He hadn't heard of TokyoMilk, but was open to exploring the brand. "Could you write down the name of that scent for me, actually?" he asked before I hopped out of the car. "I want to get a bottle for my wife."

Here's hoping she's ready for every single one of her friends to ask what she's wearing.