What Did Your Grandmother Wear?

lauermar

Well-known member
Jul 8, 2004
My grandma Anna wore Tabu and when I was 10 she used to buy me a tiny bottle and some dusting powder as a gift. She was sweet! She also used to keep small plastic toys in the pantry she'd give us when we grandkids came to visit.

Grandma Helen used to wear Chanel 5 and she would give me those black cartridges that had a little left in them to play with. She also kept a jar of spice drops in the hall pantry and bottled 7 up for us in the refrigerator when we kids came to visit.

Aren't grandmas great? When I become one I will do the same.
 

Oviatt

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 30, 2007
I totally get this. My nanny smelled of Ponds cold cream--it it such a strong fragrance memory to me and my siblings that if I go into a pharmacy and open a jar and smell it, I am instantly six again and getting into trouble for something or other. No idea what "cold cream" is actually used for, but boy, did she smell of it. Loved her, so love the smell.
Nivea Cream and nivea lotion! I don't know what or if she wore actual fragrance. However she would have likely enjoyed L'eau d'hiver a lot if she ever got to smell it, which is a scent that for reasons including Nivea remind me of my mother's mother. It's probably the additional fact that she liked to drink warm honeyed water that L'eau d'hiver has this association of her for me. Pretty sure she didn't spend any significant money on fragrance and rarely used any.
 

Primrose

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
May 22, 2009
I can't say what my grandmother wore, but my mother wore Chanel No. 5 and Chanel No. 19. Always a Chanel gal. The scent of No. 5--whether I wear it or on someone else--brings back memories of her.
 

tatetatebaby

Well-known member
Feb 19, 2019
My mom's mother wore some perfume I can't remember that barely smelled of anything, just something slightly powdery. However, I associate her with Dior Poison since she gave it as a gift to my mother before I was born. Every time I smell it now, I'm reminded of that and her.

My dad's mother never wore perfume.
 

LadyDragonFire

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jul 21, 2011
My grandmother wears "White Shoulders" by Evyan. :) My mother's mother, that is. :) Not sure if my father's mother ever had a signature scent..I think maybe not, although she may wear something now.
 

Adonna

Well-known member
May 20, 2010
My Maternal Grandmother wore Joy - and Yardley English lavender hand cream. And the smell of love and devotion.
My last Step Fathers Mother I believe it was... White Shoulders. And always a sweet giggle.
A~~x
 

Pseudo

Member
Mar 9, 2019
Maternal Grandmother, Chanel No. 5
Paternal Grandmother, Jovan Musk :) i keep bottle to spray when I am missing her.
 

Devon

Well-known member
Feb 18, 2019
Ah yeah, Nana Jean was a strictly Shalimar, occasionally Dioressence kinda gal.
And then Grandmother Helen was No. 5 and 1000.
 

theladymay

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Feb 6, 2015
Maternal grandmother wore Jean Nate and Coty face powder which is the scent equivalent of L'Aimant. My paternal grandmother, who raised me until I was around 12, had Tabu, Evyan White Shoulders, Youth Dew cologne, Ambush, Avon Cotillion, Arpege, a houndstooth Miss Dior cologne, Coty L'Origan, Monteil Royal Secret & Fleur Sauvage, Houbigant Chantilly, Corday Toujours Moi, a Tuvache that I think was Sumatra but might have been Tuvara, Replique and a huge Watch bottle of L'Heure Bleue cologne on her dresser along with an array of dusting powders in the bathroom. She was deserted by my genetic grandfather when my father and eldest aunt were babies and got by selling jams, fruits, vegetables and the like from a roadside stand in Nowhere, North New Jersey which led somehow to also "selling" antiques that were initially on the screened-in front porch of the house (shack) they lived in, and later were everywhere. She also gave piano and organ lessons to local children and played the organ every Sunday at a Lutheran church in Hackettstown even though we were Catholics. My Sin was the church perfume all year long. She had a Sunday only fur coat that I loved to snuggle into whenever possible because of its civetty musky fragrance, though you didn't have to get close to it to catch the scent of course. The family's financial status until she met and married my dear (step but we never used that term) Grandpa when my Daddy was in high school was dirt poor. My 2 younger aunts came along just a few years before my sisters and I did, and she took the 3 of us in after my father died so there was no doubt she was under the poverty level her whole life but she was resourceful and I never really knew just how poor we were until I was much older. She always smelled wonderful and is definitely where my love for perfume was born.
 

Devon

Well-known member
Feb 18, 2019
Maternal grandmother wore Jean Nate and Coty face powder which is the scent equivalent of L'Aimant. My paternal grandmother, who raised me until I was around 12, had Tabu, Evyan White Shoulders, Youth Dew cologne, Ambush, Avon Cotillion, Arpege, a houndstooth Miss Dior cologne, Coty L'Origan, Monteil Royal Secret & Fleur Sauvage, Houbigant Chantilly, Corday Toujours Moi, a Tuvache that I think was Sumatra but might have been Tuvara, Replique and a huge Watch bottle of L'Heure Bleue cologne on her dresser along with an array of dusting powders in the bathroom. She was deserted by my genetic grandfather when my father and eldest aunt were babies and got by selling jams, fruits, vegetables and the like from a roadside stand in Nowhere, North New Jersey which led somehow to also "selling" antiques that were initially on the screened-in front porch of the house (shack) they lived in, and later were everywhere. She also gave piano and organ lessons to local children and played the organ every Sunday at a Lutheran church in Hackettstown even though we were Catholics. My Sin was the church perfume all year long. She had a Sunday only fur coat that I loved to snuggle into whenever possible because of its civetty musky fragrance, though you didn't have to get close to it to catch the scent of course. The family's financial status until she met and married my dear (step but we never used that term) Grandpa when my Daddy was in high school was dirt poor. My 2 younger aunts came along just a few years before my sisters and I did, and she took the 3 of us in after my father died so there was no doubt she was under the poverty level her whole life but she was resourceful and I never really knew just how poor we were until I was much older. She always smelled wonderful and is definitely where my love for perfume was born.

This was so wonderfully touching to read, theladymay - thank you for it!
Your paternal grandmother sounds like an amazing, extraordinary woman, the kind one's lucky to have met.
(Ah, and what child doesn't love to snuggle in a big fur that belongs to someone they admire...)
 

PeachieOs

Well-known member
Mar 6, 2019
Maternal grandmother’s signature scent was Wind Song, usually from the green crown bottles. She also had a bottle of Crown Jewel she only wore on special occasions. Paternal grandmother always had a bottle of White Shoulders sitting on her dresser, although she rarely wore it.
 

Schubertian

Active member
Apr 8, 2021
Sadly, nothing as far as I know.

I do recall my maternal grandmother having some 4711. I've no idea if my paternal grandmother wore any perfume.

My mother did not wear anything. When I was in my late teens or around 20, I tried; I bought her some Chanel no.5. This was the 90s, but I don't think she ever wore it. :(

I grew up in a Nordic country. I have a hunch perfume was regarded as a bit of an unnecessary "vanity", a bit like beautiful clothes. Lutheranism has a lot to blame for... maybe; who knows. I suspect that in my mother's family they were simply not well off, being working class and my mother being the only girl with lots of brothers, so she probably had other things to worry about than perfume. In my dad's family they were certainly not poor, but kind of aloof and distant, and also to some extent suffering from the same "Lutheran" culture of "modesty" (in quote marks for a very good reason imo)...

It's possible that my grandmother had a favourite perfume, but I don't know if she had, and what it might have been. (I only found out too late in life that my late grandfather, who was a pig farmer, also wrote poetry. Mindblowing.)

It's a pity, and a bit sad. I would love to have a fragrance memory of my granmother(s) and my mother. Alas.
 

Red Hawk

Well-known member
Dec 4, 2019
My grandmother is like the one person in my family who wore perfume before I got into wearing cologne lol. Currently she wears Jean Patou Joy, Donna Karan Cashmere Mist, and Yves Saint Laurent Opium (the original).
 
Jan 6, 2021
Thank you, OP, for starting this thread! I work in hospice care and a lot of my patients have Alzheimer's. I'm always on ebay hunting for affordable vintage perfumes to wear to work so I smell familiar (and therefore comforting). There are several perfumes mentioned repeatedly here that I've never come across in my research. Thank you everyone for sharing! ❤️ this topic!
 
Jul 20, 2006
Both my grandmas were quite poor,but had 4711 in their bedrooms. My fathers mom always longed to own a bottle of Chanel No5, but could not afford it, she was given a bottle of Patra instead by my grandpa. Patra was made by the same company as 4711. (it is not included in the basenotes directory, probably because it was only marketed in Germany)
 

OldSchoolScents

Well-known member
Jun 7, 2019
My maternal grandmother, my Oma, is still with us today and wears Chanel No 5 when she's going somewhere nice and Eternity around the house or picking up groceries.

My paternal grandmother is no longer with us but she wore Opium, Youth Dew and I presume she wore Aromatics Elixir because my bottle of Aramis 900 reminds me of her.
 
Mar 30, 2020
My whole family mother and father side were dirt poor and I mean poor :( Never did any of them even think about perfumes and when someone would ask they would mouth off how they have no time or money for such frivolous things.

My maternal great grandmother she was a farmer hard worker lady who came from another country to california, was a booze hound and a smoker. She called tequila, whiskey, vodka and rum her medicine, lmao crazy old bat. My maternal grandma never ever wore perfume, she was a tough, mean and just evil. She never cared how she smelled or how she looked but she did love her bingo. They all had really hard lives so I don't blame them. Paternal ones nothing, immigrants as well and worked in dirt all day long never smelled of any perfumes. Lotions maybe, like those cheap ones you got from longs or kmart. Mostly my memories smelled of bleach and pine sol tbh, always cleaning the house everyday.. just like my fate.

My mom wore perfume when she would go out, vanilla fields and eternity but that was when I was a teenager and she was newly single again.

I envy people here who remember nivea, jergens, ponds etc. fondly from their childhoods.
 

purecaramel

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Nov 9, 2013
My whole family mother and father side were dirt poor and I mean poor :( Never did any of them even think about perfumes and when someone would ask they would mouth off how they have no time or money for such frivolous things.

My maternal great grandmother she was a farmer hard worker lady who came from another country to california, was a booze hound and a smoker. She called tequila, whiskey, vodka and rum her medicine, lmao crazy old bat. My maternal grandma never ever wore perfume, she was a tough, mean and just evil. She never cared how she smelled or how she looked but she did love her bingo. They all had really hard lives so I don't blame them. Paternal ones nothing, immigrants as well and worked in dirt all day long never smelled of any perfumes. Lotions maybe, like those cheap ones you got from longs or kmart. Mostly my memories smelled of bleach and pine sol tbh, always cleaning the house everyday.. just like my fate.

My mom wore perfume when she would go out, vanilla fields and eternity but that was when I was a teenager and she was newly single again.

I envy people here who remember nivea, jergens, ponds etc. fondly from their childhoods.
I love this story!
Look at you wearing beautiful Amouage Attars!
Good on you!
 

_E__F

New member
Sep 1, 2021
Thank you, OP, for starting this thread! I work in hospice care and a lot of my patients have Alzheimer's. I'm always on ebay hunting for affordable vintage perfumes to wear to work so I smell familiar (and therefore comforting). There are several perfumes mentioned repeatedly here that I've never come across in my research. Thank you everyone for sharing! ❤️ this topic!
What a heartwarming gesture! Your patients are lucky to have you.
 

Margot1

Well-known member
Sep 12, 2021
My Babcia always said a lady never leaves the house without perfume and lipstick, I’m a bit late to that party but I remember she gave me two small samples of Avon perfume when I was little which I still have, Unspoken and Emprise. Always thought they smelled awful but that’s probably why she gave them to me😏
 

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