The 10 Best New Fragrances of Spring 2011

If you're a girlie girl at heart, you'll swoon over these pretty new scents.
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Michelle Villett
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If you're a girlie girl at heart, you'll swoon over these pretty new scents.
Natalie-Portman-Miss-Dior-Cherie

I don't know what happened in the '00s—I suppose the inexplicable rise of Paris Hilton had a lot to do with it—but these days, it's no longer de rigueur to wear baby-doll dresses, head-to-toe pale pink or more than one bow on your person. Thank goodness. In fact, dressing like Elle Woods is now pretty much a fashion crime. And for that I'm not complaining. I like neutrals! And black! And things like zippers and studs and shoe-booties!

HOWEVER. As much as I've embraced the toughness of the '10s (so far), my inner 5-year-old still squealed a bit when I saw all of the new perfumes that are coming out this spring. Think flowers and ribbons and bows. And pink... lots and lots of pink.

Honestly? It's better this way. With fragrances, we can all indulge the girlie girl within, without looking ridiculous and infantile and like we raided Osh Kosh B'Gosh. Here are the 10 prettiest new scents to try:

IF YOU'RE... A die-hard royal watcher

TRY... Vera Wang Preppy Princess

Vera-Wang-Preppy-Princess

Okay, it's not like the "princess" part is a new thing for Vera—before this limited-edition flanker, there was Flower Princess, Rock Princess and Glam Princess. But since Kate Middleton sort of defines modern preppy (I think the Brits use the term "Sloane Ranger"), wearing this scent could really get one in the mood for a royal wedding, non? The notes are mainly fruity (red berries, apple, tangerine) and woody ("sensual woods" and coconut).

IF YOU'RE... A closet Hello Kitty fan (who isn't?)

TRY... Hello Kitty for Sephora

Hello-Kitty-fragrance

You might recall that I'm having a bit of a moment with the Hello Kitty lip gloss (which is really more like a balm). The fragrance is the real highlight in the collection though, just because it's so freakin' cute and has that old-fashioned atomizer thingie, a feature that makes me automatically love any scent. Let's face it: this is something you buy for the packaging alone. With the scent itself, your mileage may vary. Notes are green apple, Japanese fruits, vanilla, musk, cassis sorbet, mandarin, magnolia, freesia, orange blossom and tonka bean.

IF YOU'RE... Under 25 (or just act like it)

TRY...Coach Poppy

Coach-Poppy-fragrance

Coach introduced its Poppy line of accessories a while back, focusing on fun, punchy colours and a slightly lower price point. The fragrance is totes in the same vein—a fresh fruity-floral that one could describe with the adjectives "youthful," "spirited" or "playful." You get my drift. Notes include mandarin, freesia, jasmine, water lily, gardenia, crème brûlée, cedarwood, sandalwood, vanilla and marshmallow.

IF YOU'RE... A total romantic

TRY...Chloé Rose Edition

Chloe-Rose-Edition

It's no secret that I adore all things Chloé, and this limited-edition bottle is no exception. No, it's not a brand new scent—it's the same rose-focused juice as the original—but dressed up with a jaunty bright pink ribbon (adorbs!). Besides rose, the scent is rounded out by other notes of magnolia, lily of the valley, amber and cedar wood. VERY floral. VERY feminine.

IF YOU'RE... An art-lover and all-around sophisticated type

Prada-Infusion-de-Rose

TRY...Prada Infusion de Rose

Unlike the Chloé, this one really IS a new scent, and it's a rather powdery blend of fresh rose petals, tea, honey and mint leaves. (Like the other Prada Infusions, such as Iris, the intent is a modern take on a single, natural ingredient.) It's also a mini work of art. Not only is the bottle a triumph of simplicity and beauty in that signature Prada way, but the outer packaging was created by Taiwanese-American artist James Jean. (Description? "Manga and comic art meets art nouveau fairies.")

IF YOU'RE... A lover of loud fashion and loud fragrances

Jimmy-Choo-fragrance

TRY...Jimmy Choo

Who is the Jimmy Choo woman? I imagine someone far more glamorous than I am, who enjoys super-short hemlines, snakeskin and of course, sky-high stiletto heels. You need to be the confident sort to wear this one (the first fragrance from the brand), a fruity chypre with notes of pear, citrus, tiger orchid, toffee and—wait for it—patchouli. Reminds me very much of Flowerbomb.

IF YOU'RE... Nevah, evah going to be caught wearing pink anything

Banana-Republic-Wildbloom

TRY...Banana Republic Wildbloom

Like you might expect from Banana Republic—friend to corporate office women everywhere—this new scent is feminine but in an understated sort of way. The bottle features a suede flower in peach (not pink!) and inside, the scent is quite fresh and fruity: notes include pink grapefruit, kumquat, guava, pear, blue orchid, hydrangea, patchouli, musk, sandalwood, tonka bean and suede. Perfect for the office, obvs.

IF YOU'RE... Maybe a little bit "wild"... if "wild" means wearing fuchsia lipstick, for example

TRY...Estée Lauder Wild Elixir

Estee-Lauder-Wild-Elixir

Okay, so you don't normally see the words "wild" and "Estée Lauder" used in one sentence. But things are changing! (Remember my new favourite nail polish, an editor's pick?) With its fabulous bright pink bottle, this limited-edition scent is supposed to be a bit more dramatic than what we're used to from EL. Notes include mandarin, marigold, freesia, violet, gardenia, jasmine, water lily, amberwood, musk and sandalwood. Quite floral, but also quite seksi.

IF YOU'RE... Itchin' to take off on your summer vacay (or staycay)

Calvin-Klein-Eternity-for-women-summer-2011

TRY...Calvin Klein Eternity Summer

Every year, Calvin releases a new version of this classic, and while previous ones have been much beachier and waterier (I know, not a word), this one is très femme. Think lily of the valley, violet, gardenia, jasmine, lotus, musk, mimosa, fig tree and just to warn you, coriander. (Is any ingredient more polarizing? Okay, maybe patchouli.) Still, the green dampers the floral, so it ends up being quite fresh, which is fitting because the inspiration was gentle breezes and meadows of wild flowers. Le sigh.

IF YOU'RE... A Natalie Portman fan or obsessed with anything vintage

Dior-Miss-Dior-Cherie-2011

TRY...Dior Miss Dior Cherie

This bottle rivals the Chloé for me in terms of pure covet-ability. What's new here—to go with the brand new ad you may have seen featuring Miss Portman—are a few tweaks to the packaging, including the gorgeous vintage-style label. As well, the scent inside is a bit more sophisticated than the 2005 version. Gone is the popcorn note, and instead there's mandarin, rose, jasmine, patchouli, vetiver, sandalwood, amber and moss.

Have you spotted any of these new scents yet?
Do you consider yourself a girlie girl at heart?
What's your current "signature scent"?