3 Men's Fragrances That Smell Great On A Woman

I’ve smelled like a guy since 2007, and I’m more of a woman for it.
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I’ve smelled like a guy since 2007, and I’m more of a woman for it.

I have always loved the smell of men. As a kid, I stole sniffs of my dad’s rich, woodsy cologne because it reminded me of cozy campfires and outdoor adventures. In high school, I consistently fell victim to The Axe Effect. But it wasn’t until after college that I considered making a more masculine scent my own.

While my overall look skews feminine, I’ve always had a hard time finding a women’s perfume that “fits” me. 

I don’t identify with the fruity, floral sweetness that many women’s perfumes are built upon (though a few have earned my devotion, like Chanel Chance Eau Tendre, which consistently makes people sniff my neck in awe).

I first tried men’s cologne on a random trip to Sephora, where one of my guy friends picked up a bottle of his signature scent, John Varvatos Classic Fragrance. He was a classy gent with great style, and suggested I try it on myself.

john varvatos classic fragrance

You never forget your first.

I was surprised at how masculine yet gentle it was--it had the warm, spicy notes I loved in men’s colognes, but without the sharp after scent. I bought a bottle and it became my own signature for the next three years.

Since then, I’ve discovered plenty of men’s colognes that blend beautifully with a woman’s body chemistry. 

I find that wearing a men’s fragrance, or layering one under a women’s fragrance, lends a subtle complexity and edge. 

The latest addition to my collection is Prada Infusion D’Homme, a fresh, powdery scent that has notes of Tunisian neroli, iris, vetiver, cedarwood, and incense. It smells like a fancy hotel room, which is especially appealing. (If you like Prada Infusion D’Homme, you might also want to try Dior Homme Eau for Men, which is similar but has a more masculine punch at the end.)

prada infusion d'homme

Because, honestly, why wouldn’t you want to smell like a $1,000/night hotel suite?

This winter, I’ve also been into smoky fragrances that remind me of sipping bourbon by a crackling fire. 

Luckily, there are a lot of great fragrances like this out there, like 09 Posala and 10 Roam from Odin New York and Maine from Portland General Store, which is a little more intense.

For a more traditionally masculine scent, I reach for Bond No. 9 New York Patchouli, which is bold at first (Bond No. 9 says it’s “a trusted aphrodisiac and chi-balancer”) but fades to a subtle je ne sais quois.

Is it weird that I want to smell like guys I’d like to date? Probably. But that doesn’t mean I’ll pass up a divine fragrance just because it was built for boys. 

  • Would you--or do you--wear men’s cologne? Why or why not?
  • If you do tend to wear more masculine fragrances (men’s or women’s), which are your favorites? 
  • Are there any other guys’ products you’ve incorporated into your own routine?