I wear David Beckham aftershave…

OK I feel better now I’ve come clean. It’s been playing on my mind for a while; there’s something about the scent you wear that says a lot, and this is my dirty secret.

The idea of wearing a personal brand scent fills me with horror, especially when it’s from a football player who made his name for United. This isn’t just a male issue either, I suspect women will find the concept of wearing “Britney Spears” a polarising one… some will think fab others would rather bathe in a stagnant pond.

Yet it’s worth thinking about it before going to the shops (and if you are buying then see the Cheap perfume guide and the new perfume comparison in the mega-shopbot.)

How it happened

For years, I’ve safely had Chanel Sport pour homme in my cupboard for the moments I need to smell. Yet early this year I went to a TV show (I think it was An audience with…) and as I left, I got a goodie bag which included a bottle of the Beckham aftershave. And for a while it lingered in the bathroom cabinet, as lonely as Victoria on matchday.

Then one day, I felt compelled to try my freebie. It smelled perfectly reasonable so I splashed it all over. Rather shockingly, I started to receive some decent feedback. The MSF, and many of my female friends kept saying “what’s that you’re wearing; it smells lovely?” My reply: “just something I picked up.”

And ever since, I’ve worn it occasionally, not completely replacing the Chanel, but as an option, and it continues to garner positive nasal feedback.

Fragrance is all about the brand

It does go to prove that most of the smelly market is about branding. After all, you can’t really see it or hear it, so pictures and TV ads don’t convey any of its real qualities. That’s why we get the ridiculously pretentious TV ads for perfume, the ones with 17 glamourous women, pouting about the essence of life.

The link with celebrity isn’t new, many have been used to promote brands in the past, but actually naming a perfume after them seems to be very noughties. Of course, it’s hard to believe Beckham or Britney actually designed their scents, rather just put their name on the bottle. And as with all brands, there are some that’ll be attracted and others who’ll be repulsed by the concept of wearing a celeb scent.

Yet if you go beneath that and just check out what smells nice, there are of course some great bargains to be had. Still, it’s a hell of a mouthful to explain that when people ask “what’s that nice smell?” I seem to find myself coughing and never quite saying the words…

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