Very few shows can hack my brain’s serotonin production and Netflix’s “Emily in Paris” is one of them.

I felt almost giddy watching the series, which tells a fish-out-of-water tale of Emily Cooper (played by Lily Collins), a quirky, spunky 20-something marketing whiz from Chicago who, unexpectedly, must relocate to Paris for work. While I’ve heard it’s not an accurate representation of Paris or the marketing industry, it was created by Darren Starr, the mind behind “Sex and the City” so it’s not supposed to be accurate — it’s just for fun.

Aside from shocking twists, gorgeous food (and gorgeous French men), “Emily in Paris” has tons of great beauty moments. One in particular involves fragrance as Emily’s new firm represents an exclusive perfume brand and its “nose” aka the person who creates the fragrance. It got me thinking about how powerful fragrance is and how we can match scent to mood, season or occasion.

With the colder weather upon us, I thought it would be fun to tell you about my favorite winter scents and the vibe of each — because the perfect fragrance is as intoxicating as campy TV.

Pinrose Gilded Fox


During the beginning of the fall, I was on the hunt for a spicy, warm and inviting fragrance. Then, I stumbled upon this beautiful sultry and sweet gourmand, which means it contains scents related to food — in this case, cocoa spice, coffee, caramel and buttered rum. There’s also some neroli, jasmine and rose in its heart with vetiver, cedar, musk and amber in its drydown. I found this by taking Pinrose’s scent personality quiz, which uses an algorithm based on synesthesia, which is a neurological condition where a person will smell colors or hear numbers. Basically, the quiz gives you a choice of two photos and you pick which one you like best. At the end of the quiz, Pinrose shows you your top three scents based on your results. It’s pretty cool and definitely worked as Gilded Fox has become one of my new classic scents.

Hollister Malaia


This was my signature scent in high school along with Hollister’s other flagship fragrance August. Both were discontinued for a few years, though Malaia reappeared in stores in 2014. I will forever mourn the loss of August (Hollister, if you can hear me, please bring it back.) but I can fill the hole in my heart with gorgeous Malaia. Hollister’s description is pretty vague noting it has, “feminine notes of soft petals and sheer woods.” Fragrance authority Fragrantica conferred it’s fresh, spicy and herbal with strong notes of basil, lavender and vanilla. While Hollister as a brand is made to invoke a beachy state of mind, this fragrance has always felt too heavy for hot weather. Maybe it’s the way it begins as a floral and dries down into a warm, hypnotic scent, but I love catching a whiff of this fragrance while breathing in the crisp, cold air.

Ouai Melrose Place


“Florals. For spring? Groundbreaking,” Meryl Streep’s Miranda Priestly deadpans as the cold editor-in-chief of fashion magazine during another fish-out-of-water film “The Devil Wears Prada.” I have to say, however, I prefer a floral scent in the wintertime — especially this one. I think it has less to do with the floral of it all (notes of rose, peony and jasmine) and more to do with the velvety richness of the white musk, cedarwood and sandalwood. There’s also a hint of sparkle from notes of champagne and pink peppercorn that remind me of holiday lights and celebrations. The best part is haircare brand Ouai (pronounced “way”) created this eau de parfum after fans raved about the gorgeous scent of its hair products. To envelop myself in this ultra feminine scent from head to toe, I apply Ouai Rose Hair and Body oil to my skin after I shower and immediately spritz on the perfume. Oilier skin retains fragrance longer.

Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black

It feels kind of unfair for me to list this scent given its TBD status, but it’s such a staple of mine that I couldn’t leave it out. Nirvana Black is woody, warm and spicy with notes of violet, sandalwood and vanilla, and feels as comfortable and luxurious as a cashmere sweater. The only problem is I have no idea if it’s discontinued or not. The Olsen Twins, who created E&J, announced in spring 2019 that the brand would sell clothing and accessories exclusively through Kohl’s, while fragrances would continue to be sold at retailers such as Sephora, Macy’s, Nordstrom, etc. However, Nirvana Black is sold out everywhere. Even E&J’s site redirects to where Nirvana Black is out of stock. (Other versions such as Nirvana White and Nirvana Rose are available yet heavily discounted.) The fragrance is available on third-party retailers like eBay and Amazon, but I don’t trust beauty that’s not from the brand itself, only because counterfeit beauty products are very real and very dangerous. (Hi, rashes and flesh-eating bacteria!) I’ve scoured Reddit threads and stalked social media, but can’t seem to find a definitive answer on the status of Nirvana Black. In the meantime, however I’ve heard The 7 Virtues Vanilla Woods as well as cult-favorite Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium are suitable substitutes for this coveted scent.