Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Normally a Neimans Girl

There are so many choices in life that the beautiful woman has to make. Closed or peep toe for the Louboutins. Lawyer or investment banker for dinner. Cash or credit for those new jeans. Neiman Marcus or Saks for luxury purchases. Almost all her life, Ms. New Beauty has fallen squarely on the Neimans side of that last decision. Neimans has always seemed to be the younger, hipper, punky sister of the luxury family, while Saks was the old and uptight conservative one. MNB has faithfully purchased most of her handbags, DVF dresses, and elegant evening wear from Neimans since high school. She normally only ventures into Saks when accompanying someone else on a shopping trip. Ms. New Beauty always figured that anything Saks had, Neimans had better. That is until she was literally wearing Saks Fifth Avenue.

Bond No. 9 Saks Fifth Avenue

I had absolutely no intentions of buying this fragrance. None. It was a cold winter day and the wind was whipping all around me. As my mother would say, the hawk was out. I had walked all the way to Saks from Bergdorf's (which is actually only seven blocks, and not the long New York avenue blocks, the short blocks) in search of - well, actually, I don't quite remember what I was on a quest for, but just imagine me marching down 5th Avenue, bracing myself against the cold, hard wind and finding my refuge at Saks. It may not have happened that way, but hey, I'm painting a picture here.

During my obligatory course around the beauty floor, I stopped over at the Bond counter. I was planning to pick up a bottle of Bleecker Street - a unisex scent with a distinct masculine vibe. To me, Bleecker Street smells like Marlene Dietrich, wide-leg tweed menswear trousers, and the captain of Team Take No Shit all in one bottle. It's very "I'm a woman in a man's world." Given all of that, it's exactly the kind of scent I'd wear with pretty pink makeup and a flowy girly dress - I'm all about the juxtopositions. But the sales lady insisted that I smell Saks Fifth Avenue since I was, in fact, inside Saks Fifth Avenue.

Here's where you have to forgive me for my tendency to exaggerate. The sales woman sprayed Saks Fifth Avenue on the tester card since my arms were already covered in Bleecker Street. I inhaled and time stopped. It was literally the most beautiful and downright pretty scent to cross the threshold of my nostrils and reach the olfactory receptors in my brain. And, I normally don't go for the pretty scents, like I said, I love the contrasts of a pretty outfit with a fragrance that's totally unexpected. But SFA is just so pretty and so ladylike, it's my new Sunday-go-to-meeting scent. Every time I wear it, I get so many compliments and people asking me what it is. It's really just that pretty. I won't get into the base notes and top notes and such because I'm not a perfumer - I know what smells good and this definitely does.

$185, available at Saks Fifth Avenue, of course!

Stay loyal to your favorite luxury department store, but embrace the sweet smell of the competition, and don't forget that Ms. New Beauty told you!


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