Perfume next to beauty in charm, says Marlene Dietrich

Essence of flowers kept in pockets works spell

Tiptoeing into Marlene Dietrich's dressing room one inquired what she considered the most alluring aid to beauty. It is pretty generally conceded Miss Dietrich is right there with the beauty and also the allure. Granted beauty, one asks, is it clothes that make -if you know what one means- the man?

"Perfume" Miss Dietrich replied with one of those inscrutable looks. Try an inscrutable Dietrich look in your mirror sometime. It isn't so easy.

"What do you mean, perfume, Miss Dietrich?"

Miss Dietrich, it appeared, meant quite a lot. Her dressing table is topped by interesting bottles with interesting smells in them.

"Next to actual beauty," she said, "I think perfume, correctly used, is the most alluring thing a woman can call to her aid. But perfume must be used correctly. Not even the wrong hat is such a mistake as the wrong perfume."

"One picks out a good, workable perfume, and then clings to it or vice versa."

Needs scent wardrobe
Miss Dietrich shook her blondish head. "Not this one," she answered, "I like several varieties of perfume. At present I am enthusiastic about a scent derived from the essence of flowers but I do not use it exclusively. Every woman needs a perfume wardrobe, if only of two scents.

"But with this difference. Women try to dress to please others and that is as it should be. But in perfume a woman should only please herself. In this way she is almost sure to select the perfume which is correct for her if she has good taste at all. Atleast no woman should use a perfume that she does not like. When a woman has chosen a perfume which she likes, ach! very very much, what then?

Must be careful
Ach! Miss Dietrich sighed, "It is that she must be careful not to waste the charm of the perfume by unintelligence. If she applies the perfume skillfully its charm is doubled. If not, it very much too bad.

"On the continent women have many little tricks about perfume," Miss Dietrich explained. "Myself for the daytime, I place a light spray of perfume on the eyebrows, the ears, wrists and finger ends. For evening with heavier perfume is placed upon the handkerchief, the lingerie and inside the handbag.

"There are so many ways to be skillful about perfume," Miss Dietrich was continuing in that husky contralto, "to keep a favorite perfume to their clothes at all times continental women wet little squares of kid or flannel with perfume and place them in hat linings, in the hems of dresses and in the pockets of coats."

© The Milwaukee Sentinel, 1931


  1. I like the idea of spraying the perfume on the lingerie and in the handbag.

    1. Yes, isn't it! I immediately tried it out!

  2. Stellar post, dear Lindsay.
    Personaly, I never chose a perfume liked by others. As a matter of fact, I have a few steps:
    step 1: first sniff - if it's bearable, it passes
    step 2: 15 minutes after "firts sniff" - the "headache test" - if my head feels heavy, if I feel dizzy or nauseus.. it's out of the box
    step 3: the "car drive" test: if it can be worn inside a moving vehicle... without me feeling sick - it's a thing to buy.
    lastly - I do have to love it. :)


    1. Those are some thoughtful steps! I like most perfume's, but definitely not those scents that smell like a bursted candy factory!

  3. Zero argument from me. I sincerely feel more "naked" without perfume than if I don't have my wig on. I'm very loyal to my scents and will stick with one for life (on and off or continually), if I fall madly in love with it.

    ♥ Jessica

    1. Yes, without perfume fee;s for me really naked, too. Perfume is definitely a part of my daily routine.

  4. Love this post Lindsay, it's so informative and intriguing! I am definitely making more of an effort to apply my scent after pursuing this article. I'm a one scent kind of gal ~ I've found my fragrance and I only wear that one, but I love the idea of using it more purposefully. ❤

    bonita of Lavender & Twill


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