digging (into) vintage: Estée Lauder White Linen, 1978

(image, Mick ricking white linen)

I enjoy White Linen for the fact that it is cheapness done well.  Conceptually so downmarket (soap) yet executed so brashly (1 part aldehyde, 1 part laundry detergent musk, one part whatever your notion of a bar of “floral” soap is.)  This is the olfactory equivalent of holding a large tuning fork to your skull, but for hours.  I can imagine for many women this might just seem simple, oldish in style and unsubtle, but on a man, it’s a great alternative (sparkly) to so many current men’s fragrances (fresh.)  The camp of wearing a squeaky clean girly fragrance is added enticement.

But I have one particular use for White Linen.  I’m an RN and work in a hospital.  Search the blogs and you’ll find plenty of discussions about inflicting fragrance on those around you, the hospital being the ultimate battleground for this argument.  I have a few scents that I wear to work, each with a different strategy as to why it works.  White Linen is easily my favorite, since it’s akin to being in drag in scrubs.  On a man I think this simply reads as so-clean-you-still-have-soap-on-you clean.  The only comments I’ve gotten from my patient are, literally, “You smell so clean!”  I imagine if were a woman wearing this she might be accused of wearing too much or too strong a fragrance.  It’s fun screwing with gender assumptions in general.  With perfume, it’s a delight.