Sheerly Beautiful

I've grown weary of new fragrances that try too hard to be modern and different. They'll mix an odd combination of notes, taking something traditional like florals and blending them with something "edgy", like black pepper, or tobacco, or hemp. The result is the same: a not-unpleasant but instantly forgettable fragrance that smells like every other new fragrance out there. I'm talking to you, Rock 'n Rose by Valentino, or anything by Calvin Klein. But I'm always willing to try out a new fragrance just the same, in case there's an exception to the rule that pleasantly surprises me.

When the original Stella fragrance by Stella McCartney debuted a few years ago, I spritzed myself with some at my local Sephora and decided I didn't care for it. It was too heavy on the amber. I prefer lighter fragrances to those exotic, "sensual" ones. As a result of this experience, I never bothered with the subsequent Stella McCartney fragrances. And what did I miss as a result of my perfume pickiness?

I think I must be the last woman in the world to try Sheer Stella by Stella McCartney. I recently bought some at Sephora.com when I saw it was a new offering. The Sheer Stella eau de toilette is a lighter, more "floral-y" (not a word, I know) version of the original Stella. Sheer Stella's notes are lemon, green apple, celestial rose, and lastly, the amber which features so much more prominently in the original Stella fragrance (which is why I didn't like it). But I am loving the Sheer Stella. It's a bit strong at first, but it fades to a lovely soft citrusy-floral fragrance that is delicate and romantic. Sometimes I detect the fruity notes, which remind me of a green tea perfume I bought years ago at Barney's, even though there are no green tea notes in Sheer Stella. Other times, I detect the rose, which reminds me of the rose notes in the long-discontinued Laura Ashley No. 1 perfume, which I still miss twenty years later. Coming from such a modern young designer, Sheer Stella is surprisingly traditional, but not stuffy. And in my book, traditional has a better chance of becoming a classic than edgy does.

Being a new convert to Sheer Stella, I also didn't realize that the perfume is a limited edition. Each year around springtime Stella McCartney perfumes releases the scent in a different bottle. This year's bottle is of clear pink glass with a delicate floral design in gold. The bottle is as exquisite as the perfume. And, oddly enough, Sheer Stella has become somewhat of a panacea for me. I sometimes suffer from insomnia, and I've found that if I spritz myself with Sheer Stella about a half an hour before bedtime, it dries down to such a calming and relaxing fragrance that I fall asleep sooner. And at $52 for 3.4 ounces, it's more cost-effective than Ambien, without those pesky sleep-driving or sleep-binge-eating side effects.

I still haven't tried any of the other Stella McCartney fragrances, but I'm sure as heck going to the next time I'm in Sephora.

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