Sunday, 24 February 2013

Palimpsest Pashminas? Patchwork Quilts? Textiles & The Tricky Business Of Collateral Scenting

I love my new house.  There are a few things wrong with it still, notably the idiosyncratic Edwardian plumbing, which delivers mostly tepid - and very occasionally scalding - hot water.  Only about once a month will you hear me use the terms "wallow" and "bath" in the same sentence.   The other main problem with Bonkers Towers II is the cold.  The price you pay for period features such as original sash windows, exposed floorboards and open fireplaces is Wuthering Heights levels of draughtiness.  Or do I mean Macbeth levels, for it is like living on a blasted heath.  "Blasted" in every sense indeed, as it is jolly annoying at times.  The draughts seem to come at you from every direction - if I believed in ghosts, I could well believe that these weird cold spots were the work of supernatural forces.   The truth of the matter is, I probably just need double glazing and fitted carpets.

To counteract the cold, I have taken to wearing scarves indoors all the time.  And of course I do mostly wear a different perfume every day.  You can see where this is going, I'm sure.  Yes, I am starting to get concerned about all the involuntary fragrance layering that is going on on my various scarves.  One of my favourites smells of an amalgam of Séville à l’aube, Guerlain Angélique Noire and Encens Mythique d'Orient - I wore these three scents on consecutive days last week.  I have put the scarf away for now, as the blended result was rather overpowering.  And in case you were wondering, I am not actually spraying perfume directly on the scarf, nor am I wearing it at the time of applying my perfume.  It just rubs off on the fabric during the course of the day.

Another favourite scarf (pictured above) smells of Serge Lutens Santal Majuscule, Damien Bash Lucifer No 3 and Etro Etra.  With that one, I consciously tried to keep a woody theme going, in the hope that the ensuing palimpsest of scents would be a more congenial one.

I  used to have the same problem with duvet covers, but that was when I used to wear perfume to bed, which I rarely do now.  At the old house I would snuggle under the bedclothes and regularly catch a whiff of the veritable patchwork quilt of scents on the portion of duvet I pulled up under my chin.  It wasn't always a pleasant experience, you see.  Maybe I should have stuck to a "signature bedtime scent", and quietened the cacophony a bit.

So I solved that one by not putting on perfume close to bedtime, but am still musing as to what is to be done about the scarves.  A policy of only wearing a particular fragrance with each scarf would do it, but it seems a trifle restrictive and likely to lead to option anxiety, as with Travalos.  Choosing perfumes to commit to a Travalo is a high stress task which I have already addressed in a post here.

I will therefore open the debate to the floor:

Do you wear scarves indoors (either for decorative or thermal reasons!)?  

For those who do, have you experienced this collateral scenting phenomenon, and if so, have you thought of ways to circumvent it?  Or does a bit of random layering not faze you?

There again, maybe you just wash your clothes more often...which I might do, if the washing machine wasn't so knackered, and half the plug sockets in the utility room out of action.  Ah, there's the third thing wrong with Bonkers Towers.  But I do love it still.  : - )


Carol said...

Bonks, I love the photos, and esp the one of you!!

I wear scarves and hats in the house all the time in the winter.

And I do love the co-mingling of scents. Makes me smile. ( Though honestly I haven't been wearing a lot of perfume lately, which is probably evident by the lack of posts on my blog! )

olenska said...

Ditto Miss Frida: I wear scarves often indoors (and hats if Frida's knitted them! :D) With dystonia, I often experience neck spasms and "jerks" which seem to be ameliorated by pressure and warmth. As a result, my scarves pick up quite an accumulation of scents, which I actually have grown to like quite a lot. Occasionally I pitch them all in the washing machine, but only if the accumulation has picked up a jarring element. Nothing acts like a fox in the henhouse more than a sharp eaux among soft ambers, for instance, or a hearty spice among boneless florals. :)

Kafka said...

LOVE the post, the consonance, the alliteration and the photo of you! The comment about Wuthering Heights also brought a smile. Alas, I can't help much with your problem since I live in a place where humidity and heat are the problem, not draughts. (I would give anything for greater coldness and for, you know, SEASONS.)

I do get perfume transfer on my duvet covers, though, but there never seems to be a cacophony. Somehow, there only seems to be one at a time. It's probably because so little actually remains *on me* by the time I eventually drag myself to bed.

I will ponder your dilemma but I know I will be useless. The last time I wore a scarf was 2 years ago and I had to go to Northern Scandanavia to do it! :D

Ines said...

I don't wear scarves indoors, but I wear them regularly outdoors (as it's still cold enough to require the warm ones here).
I personally adore the amalgam of perfume that my scarves feature. It usually combines into a warm- woody smell during wintter and sometimes I just take my scarf any sniff it, enjoying what my different perfumes produced.

Olfactoria's Travels said...

While I adore the phrase Palimpsest Pashmina (genius!), your post has me thinking...
I love to wear scarves in winter, in- and outdoors, but this season saw a particular surge in my scarf-wearing and scarf-purchasing habits and maybe this has - at least in part - brought on my new perfume restrictiveness. I don't want to mix smells on my more delicate things, so I've stuck with one scent per scarf (and find it infinitely less stressfull than the travalo dilemma, I must say.)
Hmm, intriguing thought... has my newly inflamed love for silk and cashmere thwarted my love for perfume diversity?

Vanessa said...

Hi Carol,

Why, of course you do! You are pretty much the pioneer of indoor hat- and scarf-wearing indeed, and you have some very fine hats in particular!

I am glad that on the occasions you do still wear perfume, the co-mingling of different scents is a happy one. : - )

Vanessa said...

Hi Olenska,

Sorry to hear about your dystonia, a condition with which I must admit to not being familiar, though I have now rectified that on Wikipedia.

I am glad that you get some relief from indoor scarf-wearing, and that you are broadly happy with the random accumulation of scents your scarves pick up. And as you say, when it gets out of hand, there is always the washing machine!

Vanessa said...

Hi Kafka,

Thanks! I had to look up "consonance". : - ) It is very prominent in the lyrics of hip hop music apparently, and I am chuffed to think there are elements of it in my post titles. What a turn up!

And I am not at all surprised to learn that your scarf-wearing is confined to foreign travel. The hottest I have ever been in my life was in your city, when the temperature hit 110F. It gave the lie to that old adage that ladies don't sweat, they merely "perspire".

Vanessa said...

Hi Ines,

I am happy to hear you are pleased with your particular scent amalgams. I must say that the combo I mentioned of Seville a l'aube, Angelique Noire and Encens Mythique does improve with time. And my other hotchpotch could well be described as a "warm-woody smell". Maybe I should just let my scarves do their own thing and enjoy it...

Vanessa said...

Hi Olfactoria,

Pleased you like "palimpsest". You know what I am like with my crowd-pleasing titles... ; - ) And it's a word that doesn't get out nearly enough.

Now it has not escaped my notice that your own scarf-wearing habit has escalated of late - you yourself note "a particular surge" - and I quite understand your reluctance to commit to more than one fragrance on such delicate fabrics. Limiting diversity strikes me as the safe option in your case. That means your Hermes scarf will be forever Unspoken, right? I am sure Mr Dove would approve!

Tara said...

Lovely pic of you!

I don't normally notice perfume on my scarves which is a shame really as I think I'd quite like it. I guess it's because I don't wear scarves indoors and mostly spray on my wrist. The nice thing about scented scarves is they hang on to the base notes which is usually my favourite part. I guess a combination might not be so pleasant though. I wouldn't be organised enough or have enough scarves for dedicated usage, though it's a nice idea.

Vanessa said...

Hi Tara,

That's a very good point you make about the base notes clinging to the fabric of scarves. That is also my favourite part of a perfume's development as a rule.

I don't think I am organised enough either to dedicate a scarf to a particular scent - well, I would have to wash / dry clean a bunch of them first and take it from there. Plus I am not that with it in the mornings and tend to just grab a scarf that vaguely goes with my outfit after already committing to my SOTD!

Anonymous said...

Hello Bonks,

If the draughts are in part caused by open fireplaces, Chimney balloons are a very good thing because they let you seal off the chimney draughts whenever you wish.

Our previous home had serious problems with the cold - the wind whistling up one chimney would very nearly suck innocent bystanders up with it! - but a bit of faffing around with chimney balloons made a huge difference.

I am not pulling your frozen leg; I commend them to the Bonkers House as a Good Investment.

cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh (indoors wearing a long lightweight unperfumed linen scarf)

Hazel said...

Or even the humble newspaper. Though they tend to fall out years later along with half a ton of rubble, soot and squirrel bedding.

I've had to parcel tape the cupboard door in this room because of its connection to the trapdoor into the roof space.

You might write sometime on deliberately impregnating fabric with scent. I have a new, woolish jacket which has that strong, rather acetone smell.

Vanessa said...

Hi Anna,

I do remember your chimney balloon tip, but in truth only one fireplace is accessible, and it is the one I use for an open fire - or would if I ever went in there for long enough to warrant lighting one. It would have been handy if the previous owner had inserted said balloons prior to boarding up the fireplaces...

Your scarf sounds nice, even completely unfragranced!

Vanessa said...

Hi Hazel,

I can see me getting so disturbed by the 360 degree draughts here at some point that I start parcel taping every crack in sight. I may never leave the house again if I get really carried away with the front door, for example.

And you have made me even more nervous of lighting a fire, for fear of causing up- or down- draughts and heaping squirrel bedding and assorted detritus on my head.

Deliberate fragrancing to mask an unpleasant smell? Hmm, yes, I don't believe I have blogged about that, other than a cursory reference to the impromptu use of reject perfume as bathroom freshener.

Kafka said...

110 degrees? Aah, then you *have* experienced one of the horrors of this place. Lucky for you, you missed the summer two years ago when it hit 116 F or about 46 C, day after day, after DAY!! The hottest summer in 30 years. One afternoon, it was actually 118 F or 48 Celsius and I fainted in the parking lot while making the 2 minute trip from my car to the store. If it happens again this summer, please expect a sudden, unannounced visitor to Bonks Tower II. ;)

Vanessa said...

Hi Kafka,

I have yet to faint in the heat, but in temperatures of 104F once in Charleston I did develop a migraine more vicious than any that have ever assailed me before or since. That was also famously the only occasion in my professional life when the person I was visiting actually encouraged me to "slip into something more comfortable" to wear to our meeting. Something "cool and floaty" may have been his exact words...

Vanessa said...

PS It goes without saying that you would be a very welcome visitor at Bonkers Towers, announced or otherwise!

Natalie said...

Great photo! I do indeed wear scarves indoors, and I have a similar problem with hating for my perfume to rub off on my coats. For the moment, I am solving this by carrying small sprayers of my chosen perfume in my purse, and applying once I arrive at my destination. It seems like there must be some better solutions, though. As for the scarves, I just wash them way more than they want to be washed.

Anonymous said...

My partner Jin calls scarves "mufflers" and I have started to now also. On our recent holiday we went from Australian summer to European winter and we wore them EVERYWHERE, even in bed and they did become slightly fragrant with a concatenation of perfumes. I liked it a lot.
Portia xx

Unknown said...

I am rather fond of scarves and wear them in the house as well as outdoors - though I sometimes actually end up putting on an outdoor scarf over my indoor scarf.
I had exactly this problem the other day - I suffer from it with sweaters too - and had to make a snap decision on which perfume I'd been wearing when I last sported that fetching stripy number so I could wear it again. Thank goodness I'm generally in a chypre mood at the moment, so I'm not forced to wear a massive aldehyde or a musk bomb when I'm in the mood for gentle woods.

Undina said...

Even though I do notwear scarves indoor, I'm familiar with the problem with the outdoor scarves and wool coats. But I just decided that I do not care any longer: any combination of my perfumes smells good enough for me.

Vanessa said...

Hi Natalie,

Very careful application may be one way round the problem - or frequent washing, as you say. But of course that is not idea for many fabrics, and dry cleaning costs would quickly mount up. I just paid about £7 to have a scarf dry cleaned that had got drenched in a downpour recently, and totally lost its shape.

Vanessa said...

Hi Portia!

I love your use of "concatenation" and must try and work it into my conversations some time. : - )

And I also like Jin's use of "mufflers", which we Brits also use, but only for outdoor scarves of a fairly woolly and warm nature. Of course in the USA, "mufflers" mean something else entirely ("exhausts")!

Vanessa said...

Hi Birdie,

Wow! You are attired in a palimpsest *of scarves*, not just perfumes on same. : - )

Yes, I have tried casting my mind back to recollect which perfume I wore with what, but it doesn't always work! I agree that it is best to choose scents from the same broad families to avoid undue clashing. After all, it seems inevitable that perfume will adhere to garments!

Vanessa said...

Hi Undina,

I am glad that you have given in to collateral scenting, and are happy with the resulting blends. : - )

Martha said...

Hee. I was just talking about this, sort of, on Ines' perfume application post. My preferred perfume application location, when I don't want traces to rub off on non-washing-machine clothing, is my stomach. Even then, I have to wait for the perfume to dry (just to the point of being not-shiny), or it will sneak through the shirt and onto the sweater.

Vanessa said...

Hi Martha,

You are never far from my mind when I think of scarves, scented or otherwise, as it was your original toe dip - or neck dip, rather - into fashion, if I am not mistaken.

Stomach, wow, there's an inventive spot, and I commend the precautions you take to prevent clothing contagion!