There are many things that you can probably remember back from your days in high school: The mall rat moments, the woven belts worn over tank tops, the secondhand lemon cars. But the one thing that will really take you back to your teenage years is all those scents from high school circa the late '90s and early '00s. Back when braces were fashion accessories, low-rise jeans were the standard, and top knots were a status symbol, the perfumes you wore were part of your identity. Were you preppy, with your freesia and grapefruit smells? Grown-up and over it all, with your powdery and lily-of-the-valley scents? Or girly and into those shades of sickly sweet?
From Tommy Girl to fragrances by The Gap, there were so many scents to choose from, and a lot of us had more than one "signature smell." I know I had my Bath & Body Works mists that acted like deodorant, and then my Victoria's Secret bottles for group dates. There might have been a Clinique bottle decorating my dresser that came off a Christmas list, or a Juicy Couture spritz that was stolen from a sibling's room. One thing that connected all of those options? They were the smells of our awkward, happy youth. So let's take a trip down memory lane: Below are 11 perfumes from high school.
1. 41 Abercrombie & Fitch
Abercrombie & Fitch 41 Eau de Cologne, $274, amazon.com
This perfume had notes of sandalwood that would waft after you down the hallway, and was a more feminine version of the guys' cologne, with hints of floral, citrus, ocean, and spice. In other words, it was absolutely perf.
2. I Am Juicy Couture
I Am Juicy Couture Eau de Parfum Spray, $56, amazon.com
Most coveted by the popular girls sitting in the prime cafeteria table, you couldn't smell the scent of white florals for years thereafter without thinking of Coach handbags and wondrous Juicy lipgloss tubes.
3. Bath & Body Works Cucumber & Melon Mist
Cucumber Melon, $14, bathandbodyworks.com
Right after you woke up, you'd spritz, and spritz some more. Right after gym class, you'd spritz, and spritz some more. Right before entering the mall for cheese fries? Spritz, spritz, spritz.
Spritzing this stuff all day, every day.
Calvin Klein CK One, $19.50, amazon.com
With a mix of both citrus and florals, you could smell equal parts ladylike and playful on those dates your mom would drive you to. It was more mature than the Bath & Body Work mists, and made us feel so grown-up — regardless of the braces.
5. Ralph Lauren Blue
Ralph Lauren Blue, $76, amazon.com
A spritz of this made made me feel like a fresh load of laundry, which went hand in hand with that all-American, Polo-loving, khaki-wearing look of sophomore year. So sophisticated you couldn't (and still can't) help but adore it.
6. Curious By Britney Spears
Curious by Britney Spears, $22, amazon.com
A perfect way to emulate the idol that was, and is, Britney Spears? Wear her perfume. Reminiscent of low-rise jeans, scrunchy midriff-baring tops, and dark roots with blonde hair, the perfume hinted of a peculiar blend of vanilla, pear, and musk that made us feel like the pop star herself.
7. DKNY Be Delicious
DKNY Be Delicious, $22, amazon.com
With this, we could smell just like a freshly bitten apple — or dish soap. You decide. All I know is I never left the house without the bottle rolling around in my bargain-bought canvas purse.
8. Tommy Girl
Tommy Hilfiger Eau de Toilette, $24, amazon.com
You could rep the All-American girl with this scent, channeling your best denim-wearing, diner-going, possibly pompom-toting self.
9. Dream Angels Heavenly
Victoria's Secret Dream Angels HEAVENLY, $56, amazon.com
With a soapy powdery smell, the scent gave us a parent-approved reason to spend a whole bunch of time in Victoria's Secret while simultaneously admiring the pretty underwear we couldn't yet afford. Light and airy, it was the perfect offset to the musky, choking colognes of the boys in homeroom.
10. Clinique Happy
Happy by Clinique Eau de Parfum Spray, $28, amazon.com
All energy, grapefruit, and mandarin, a spritz of this was the perfect pick-me-up after a long period of pre-calculus or physics.
11. The Gap: Dream
Gapscent Dream, $28, amazon.com
Right as you shopped for your corduroys and colorful Polos, you could also pick up a bottle of perfume as you were paying at the Gap counter. It was like a one stop shop! With orange blossom and lily-of-the-valley notes, this perfume was cool enough for your older sister, but worn by you because it felt higher-end and elegant.
From pop princess-inspired scents to those that hinted of maturity, whichever perfume was your favorite, one thing is for sure: If you smell it now, you'll be thrown straight back into those years.
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Images: Britney Spears/Curious; Courtesy Brands