Common decency tends to prevent us from letting people know when they're on the nose. Especially when it comes to telling a colleague, companion, or just your mate that their go-to cologne isn't working for them.
You might think you're exuding a mysterious aura of luxury but the itching eyes and non-stop sneezing of your workmate two desks down tells another story.
"You don't wear the same outfit for work, special events, or weekends," says Nick Smart, founder and director of niche fragrance importer Agence de Parfum.
Smart has made it his business to make sure that men and women aren't just smelling good, but are making informed decisions on what it is they're spraying.
"Fragrances coordinate with the setting you are in, what you are wearing, and obviously, the season."
In other words, what you wear on a date at a bar isn't what you should wear to the office. These two very different scenarios require two very different scents.
Back to school
It's this re-education on cologne and parfum (yes, men wear parfum too – it simply signifies the concentration of ingredients) that Smart and fellow experts such as Jacob Stanley – head of education at Mecca – are striving to impart to the average gent when they're looking to make an addition to their bathroom cabinet.
"Having a range of fragrances to choose from each day is a way of adding an extra layer of dynamism to your lifestyle," explains Stanley.
"It's like putting a new filter on your world each day... And just as we choose our clothing to express ourselves, our to suit our mood, there's a lot of joy in being able to choose a fragrance each day to influence the way you feel or to make a statement of some sort."
Breaking bad habits
Yet men are creatures of habit – we find something we like, and we stick to it. This goes a long way in explaining why there are some gents still working a can of Lynx well into their 30s. Getting them to break away from what they know and try something new is the hardest part.
Having a signature cologne, that go to you that makes you feel good when you put it on, is all well and good but as the cliche goes –variety is the spice of life. So prepare to add a few new ones.
Enclosed spaces, dodgy air conditioning and the precarious preciousness of coworkers senses can make wearing fragrance on the job more of a chore than clearing your inbox.
"When it comes to the workplace, it's important to be considerate of your colleagues of course," advises Stanley.
"I'd recommend something with a subtle sillage that your co-workers can't smell unless they're sitting right next to you. You'd never want to impose a strong, powerful fragrance on the whole office, so I'd steer clear of the bold, highly concentrated oriental (particularly Oud based) scents that enter a room before you do."
Comme des Garcons' Amazingreen, or Lubin's new Vetiris are the perfect personal scents that convey both professionalism and sophistication without overpowering your colleagues.
Possibly even more than work, how you smell on a date could be a make or break your success on the night.
This is when you can bust out those deeper, richer fragrances with notes of cedar, patchouli, oud, and even rose. Some good examples of these include Penhaligon's new Marylebone Wood, Oud 27 by LeLabo and the classic M7 by YSL.
But a word of warning – by nature these kinds of fragrances are meant to be stronger, with more projection, than your day-to-day choice so a little goes a long way.
A seat at the table
Got some dinner plans and don't want to overshadow the chef's work? Gourmand and wood fragrances or anything with a trace of vanilla are great and won't interfere with the aromas of the food.
Tom Ford's Tobacco Vanille, Jo Malone Myrrh and Tonka or even Boss Bottle by Hugo Boss are ideal.
Ready for the weekend
Anything goes for the weekend and this is really where having the chance to play with a library of fragrances has its benefits: you're not beholden to just the one and you can bust out a bottle to match the moment.
Hitting the beach for a day of saltwater and time on the boat? Christian Dior's new Balade Sauvage literally lists sunshine as a note.
Just kicking it indoors with nothing more on your mind than several hours of Netflix and genuine chill? Aesop's Tacit smells like you've just stepped out of the shower for the whole day.
Check out the gallery above to see the best men's fragrances to match to every occasion.