How and When to Wear Cologne

What you wear isn't the end of your style story. When you go on a date, meet coworkers, or just want to present your best self, you also need to consider how you smell. Luckily, guys have a great way to circumvent body odor, plus smell confident and classy anytime: cologne.

That said, you can’t just slap on a little cologne and call it a day. Instead, let’s break down how and where you should wear cologne to maximize its effect and benefit to your style.

When Cologne is a Classy Choice

There are times and places to wear cologne just like there are times and places to wear stylish suit jackets and tailored trousers, like Berle’s Charleston Khakis Corduroy trousers. Cologne in general is meant to be understated and subtle, never overwhelming. It should be noticed subconsciously. The best times to wear cologne include:

  • When you go on a one-on-one date
  • When you meet a few colleagues for drinks at the bar (especially if there is the potential for romance)
  • When you go to a social event, like an after-work cocktail party
  • When you visit a formal event, like a wedding

On each of these occasions and similar events, cologne enhances your masculine appeal. It should complement what you choose to wear, as well. For example, if you wear dark Worsted Wool Gabardine pants from Berle, “dark” scents with notes of wood and spice are better than later fragrances that include notes of flowers and citrus fruits.

When Cologne Should Stay Home

There are plenty of times when you should forgo cologne in favor of plain deodorant. These times include:

  • When you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors. If someone notices your cologne in the fresh air, you’ve put on too much
  • If you’ll be in confined spaces with a lot of people, such as at a convention or big business meeting
  • When you’re traveling on a bus or airplane, or in a car with several of your friends. No one wants to only be able to smell your cologne for several hours!

Good Cologne Fragrances for Men

As far as exact fragrances go, you have several options.

Refined fragrances with notes of citrus and flowers can work, provided they aren’t too sweet and feminine. These are great for workplace colognes, as they’re noticeable but gentle enough not to draw too much attention to yourself.

Social events call for more distinctive cologne fragrances, which typically include notes of citrus, lime, jasmine, and mandarin. On the other hand, you may prefer woody cologne scents mixed with certain spices, especially if you dress well for an after-work cocktail party.

More special occasions, including weddings or dates where you want to impress your significant other, call for more masculine and muskier scents. These usually include notes of tobacco, citrus, and cedarwood. They’ll make you smell like a truly masculine gentleman – and an attractive one, at that!

How to Apply Cologne Like a Pro

Choosing the right cologne fragrance is just the start. You should also learn how to apply it properly.

Wash Up First

Firstly, always take a shower before applying cologne. Some cologne fragrances can mix with your body odor and create a truly bad stench by accident. You should still wear deodorant, but do so with an unscented variety that won’t interfere with your chosen cologne.

Hold the Bottle Away From Your Body

When the time comes to apply cologne, hold the spray bottle about 6 inches away from your body and with your shirt off. This way, you won’t accidentally spray too much cologne around. When the cologne hits your body, it should start to evaporate and be absorbed by your skin almost immediately.

Apply to the Neck and Chest Before Getting Dressed

Target your cologne application around your neck and chest. Both of these areas get a lot of blood flow, especially the neck, which will help the cologne warm up and disperse more effectively. If you’re close enough to a woman that she can smell you, applying cologne to these areas will ensure she isn’t overwhelmed but still notices your chosen fragrance.

Don’t Overdo It

More than anything else, be sure not to overdo or over apply your chosen cologne. Doing this comes off as “try hard” and, even worse, can make people want to spend less time near you so they can save their sinuses.

Bottom line: Wear cologne only when it's appropriate and in the appropriate amounts. Pick your fragrances carefully so they complement your chosen wardrobe rather than overwhelm it. Good luck, gents!