It’ll Take More Than a Whiff to Pick Up a Scent : Fragrance: Wear a spritz of perfume for a day or two before deciding if it’s right for you, Alfred Sung says.

Alfred Sung, the Canadian fashion designer-turned-perfume mogul, advises women to slow down and smell the flowers before buying their next bottle of fragrance.

“Take a tester and wear the fragrance for a day or two,” Sung suggests. “If the scent lasts all day and still smells good when you go to bed, then go back and buy it.”

Also, hold the bottle to see if it’s comfortable. “Studies have shown that a woman won’t use a fragrance if she doesn’t like the way a bottle feels in her hand,” says Sung, who recently introduced his second fragrance, Encore, at Bullock’s Beverly Center. “Fragrance has traditionally been an impulse buy--but you end up with a dresser full of scents you don’t wear,” he adds.

While Sung was in the store, a man walked up to the Encore counter and bought 70 bottles of the $40 eau de parfum, after taking little more than a whiff. “There’s no explaining it,” Sung says with a shrug.


The heady tangerine and tuberose scent did $6,000 in sales the first day, even before the 70-bottle buyer came in, a Bullock’s executive said.

Encore is the follow-up to the 1986 scent Sung. Last year, before Christmas, the light blend of jasmine and gardenia ranked among the top five sellers in its price category.

“Buying a fragrance should be like buying a piece of clothing--it has to suit your personality,” says the designer, whose Alfred Sung and Club Monaco clothing boutiques are scattered liberally throughout North America. The formula, he says, is utterly logical. “If you’re quiet, don’t buy a fragrance that’s overpowering. You won’t wear it. If you’re the kind of person who wants to be noticed, get a strong scent and make a statement. But don’t let the spritzer girls influence you in the stores. Test. Always test.”