Open-Thread Thursday: The Sweet Smell of Detroit, and No Sales

it smells like girl... by badjonni.From The Detroit News via Associated Press:

Detroit city workers being warned to go scentless

(AP) – 2 days ago

DETROIT — Change is in the air for Detroit city workers.

City employees will be urged not to wear perfume, cologne or aftershave as a result of a settlement in a federal lawsuit.

Officials plan to place warning placards in three city buildings. The signs will warn workers to avoid “wearing scented products, including … colognes, aftershave lotions, perfumes, deodorants, body/face lotions … (and) the use of scented candles, perfume samples from magazines, spray or solid air fresheners.”

The employee handbook and Americans with Disabilities Act training also will bear warnings.

The Detroit News reports the move stems from a $100,000 settlement in a federal lawsuit filed in 2008 by a city employee who said a colleague’s perfume made it challenging for her to do her job.

Fox News adds the following:

Susan McBride is the employee who helped create the new policy. Working in Detroit’s Planning Department, she repeatedly asked a fellow employee to stop wearing strong perfume and to get rid of a plug-in air freshener.

When she felt the city did not act quickly enough to stop it, she sued. They settled for $100,000.

“To have it be perfume, to have it be a plug-in scent, and to have the parties be unable to work it out really is kind of unprecedented,” [attorney John] Holmquist said.

It’s just a matter of time, Holmquist said, before other people start smelling a lawsuit in their offices, too. The case represents a first for employers, but likely not a last.

“Certainly when it comes to fragrances and odors, I think most employers should say, ‘Look. We’re all adults. Why can’t we use a rule of reason.’ That would seem to be the best way,” said Holmquist.

Now, employees will have to wear deodorants and soaps that are lightly scented or with no scent at all and nix the colognes and perfumes altogether, but who makes sense of which fragrances are fuming and which ones are fair?

“It’s in the nose of the beholder, really,” Holmquist said.

Now, look. I agree that when you’re in a shared space, it’s rude to take up more than your fair share of that space, whether that’s by hogging both armrests in the movie theatre, sitting with your legs wide in an airplane row (which, when guys do it — and let’s face it, that’s most of the time — is sometimes referred to on the interwebz as Giant Invisible Schlong Syndrome, because surely they must need to spread their legs that far apart to accommodate some massive he-man-organ that we just cannot see), or, yes, by invading other people’s airspace with your fragrance. Yes, if the plug-in air freshener was causing problems, it should certainly be removed. That one isn’t really rocket surgery. And asking a coworker to reduce the amount of perfume she wears is perfectly within the bounds of reasonable, rational, grownup behavior. If you wear fragrance (and I do, every day), you are responsible for being respectful of shared space.

However — suing over it? Come on.

Being allergic to something is one thing. Merely disliking it is something else. What’s next? Can I sue if I can’t concentrate on my job because my coworker has halitosis? Eats too much Indian food? Smokes, even if it’s not in the workplace?

Perhaps the people of Detroit should just err on the safe side and not bathe at all for the next few weeks, so that they will not run the risk of using a scented soap or shampoo. I’m sure that would solve the problem.

Meanwhile: Sales!

Er, nothin’ new to see here – we went from feast to famine in the sale department. HauteLook will have Three Custom Color on Monday 3/22 starting at 11 am Eastern/8 am Pacific.

As usual, if something new comes off the wire, I’ll post it post-hastily.

Photo: / CC BY-SA 2.0

Open-Thread Thursday: Journal of the Obvious, Sales

David Heinemeier Handsome - The new fragrance for women by Juice10.I apologize. I am especially snarky this week. (Did I mention the bit about work eating me alive? I have no time for niceness.)

We continue to get breaking fragrance news from the Journal of the Obvious (via

“New research points to the fact that women often buy fragrances that represent what they want to be rather than one than representing what they are about, research suggests.”


Quoth fragrance expert David Prybus: “No one buys a perfume called ‘ugly’.”

Huh. You don’t say.

“The survey results pointed to the fact that women tend to buy fragrance more on the name, package design and the marketing concept behind the product, rather than the actual fragrance itself.”

Wow! What a strange coincidence — that seems to be exactly the strategy of the perfume advertising industry. Who knew? I wonder where consumers would get the idea to buy fragrance because it represents an alluring and unrealistic ideal they hope to attain. Could it be the outrageous print and TV ads in which nearly-naked women writhe with unadulterated sensuality, perfect brides pose with perfect flower girls and perfect grooms on a perfect beach on a perfect day, Elizabeth Taylor throws her diamond earrings in the pot at a poker game, and Charlize Theron walks through her house ripping off her jewels and ballgown in a devil-may-care display of bold, hedonistic nudity? Frankly, I’m convinced that most women are much less excited about the raw sexuality and much more excited about the idea that Charlize Theron gets to just throw her stuff on the floor and she doesn’t have to be the one to pick it up again. I’ve tried this, you know. Flinging your clothes and jewelry on the floor doesn’t particularly contribute to your sense of sensual power when you know you’re just going to have to pick it up again. Also, my house is considerably smaller than Charlize Theron’s, so I have to keep walking around in circles in my living room until I’ve gotten everything off. In summer, this is OK, but in winter, what with the scarves and the earmuffs and the mittens, it’s a definite buzzkill.

If you want to capitalize on this trend, and you fancy yourself something of a J. Peterman of perfume catalogs, you might want to try your hand at the 2010 Prix Eau Faux contest going on over at perfume blog Now Smell This. According to, “Entrants for the 2010 competition are asked to submit up to 175 words of copy comprising no more than 8 sentences, while the judges will be looking for entries that are ‘funny and pretentious’ while also being ‘at least vaguely plausible’.” Prize: A $150 gift certificate from BeautyHabitat. Entries due the end of March.

OK, let’s talk about something less snarky: Sales!

Hey, it’s a good week! Reminds me of those halcyon days before Christmas.

HauteLook has BORBA today! starting at 11 am Eastern, 8 am Pacific, and Vincent Longo on Friday.

Korres is offering 30% off through 3/15 with code OAKNIGHT. Shipping is free with a $50 or more order.

Tarte is also offering 30% off (end date unknown) with code GGAD. Shipping free with a $40 or more order. (Their sales tend to end without warning, so if there’s something you’re craving from Tarte [cheek stain in Tipsy, I’m looking at you], I’d hop on it right away rather than waiting.)

Let it never be said that I do not advertise the sales of lines whose products don’t suit me. philosophy is offering 15% off skincare through 3/12 (Friday) with code SKINCARE15. (Also, I confess that since I like All Things Pink, I am mightily tempted by their new spring makeup offerings, which are pink, pink, and more pink. Anyone tried their cosmetics?)

If you’re craving a cheap online drugstore makeup fix, CherryCulture is offering 20% off through 3/15 with code MMM2010. (The “MMM” in the code is for March Makeup Madness — seasonal insanity is apparently not just for basketball anymore.)

Uh, I don’t have a Q of the W this W, mostly because I haven’t had time to think about any Qs. How about you? Want to submit some Qs to be used in future Ws? That would be great; I’d love to know what you want to know about each other!

(Ack! Forgot the photo credit! Here it is: / CC BY-SA 2.0 )

Open-Thread Thursday: No, Really?, Q of the W, and Sales

Is there anyone, anyone out there who was still under the impression that the “secret” of “Victoria’s Secret” was, maybe, that Victoria’s hair color wasn’t natural, that she told a white lie about her age, or that one day she accidentally wore brown socks with black shoes? Well, for those of you who raised your hands, I apologize, but I must disillusion you and tell you that Victoria’s Secret is about sex. You probably couldn’t tell, what with being distracted by the nearly-naked models and the pouty lips and all, but it’s true.

In case you need to be hit over the head some more, Victoria’s Secret has just come out with a new collection of fragrance products, which are called “Victoria’s Secret Sexual Secrets.” Um, as opposed to, say, “Victoria’s Secret Algebra Secrets”? Designed by Michel Germain, the collection has four scents: Sexual Blush, Sexual Secret, and Sexual Star, for women, and Sexual Secret Man for — well, you guess. Sexual Blush and Sexual Star even come with an accessory: a small, bullet-shaped, purse-sized, personal … spray. And Sexual Blush comes with a “lip-smacking Blush lip gloss.” Because when I hear about Sexual Blush, the first phrase that comes to mind is “lip-smacking.”

Have I managed to put you off this line yet?

Q of the W

Related to the above: I’m thinking of other PG-13-rated product names like NARS’ Orgasm blush (and associated products) and Smashbox’s O-Glow, which refers to the same kind of O as the NARS product. (And for those of you who are Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab fragrance fans, we won’t even talk about those scent names, although for some reason those never make me feel skeevy.) Do innuendos or explicitly sexual language in a product’s name have any role in whether you will or won’t purchase it?


Tarte is offering 30% off its Fall Fashion Week collection (yes, this is New York Fashion Week for Fall ’10 collections; try not to think about it) through 2/28 with code FWFALL.

SkinStore has 20% off on over 450 “customer favorite” products with code GOLD20. I don’t have an expiration date on this one, and the website isn’t the easiest to navigate in terms of what is and is not on sale. But if there’s something you’re looking for, it might be worth cruising by and seeing if it’s on sale.

Previously announced sales still in progress:

BeautyTicket: 20% off through 2/28 with code INSTYLE20 • TheCosmeticMarket: 20% off through 2/28 with code ALLURE

Photo from Victoria’s Secret website