Tea. Not just any tea, the sort of pretty thin and elegant tea accord you find in a proper translucent teacup. Chai, dark black tea, incense and tisanes say more “New Age, fun, cutting edge, let’s talk about things esoteric”, and that is fine in the right circumstance. But the effect a lovely green or orange pekoe has on your audience is more of an underline of propriety, and sometimes that is what’s called for.
Leather. Ever since the introduction of Cuir de Russie, leather has been a mark of upper classism. It is most probably the association of horses and the money it takes to keep them, or perhaps the notion that you have to have money to buy leather goods. In any event there are lots of leather fragrances which mimic the scent of real leather without harming any living thing.
Chypre-a glorious harmony of oakmoss, bergamot and other delights which combine to make a strong, green, perfumy but dry whole. Worn with care it does add distinction.
Sandalwood-I think we all know what basic sandalwood smells like, it’s slightly astringent, and because of this dry and woody side it makes a perfect component of your fragrance to be admired in.
VERY light florals of a single flower. Acceptable flowers would include: tobacco flower, light rose, very light violet, very light carnation. Unacceptable flowers would include: tuberose, gardenia, magnolia, honeysuckle, strong rose, lily, lily of the valley (amazingly strong and distracting), and any other big heavy floral.
“Green” fragrances. Things which smell like leaves and grass are perfect when you want to make a good impression. Pine and fir fall in this category but you might want to go very light on those, you don’t want to smell like White Cap.
Notes to stay away from if you want to project breeding would include the following:
Relentlessly sporty fragrances,the kind which make you think of clenched teeth drying in a withering social situation.
Cloying and confused bouquets of nondescript flowers.
Save the candybox for fun situations, that just screams SEX and if you want to present yourself as serious and professional, candy is a bad idea. So the fruity fragrances are in the same boat, save them for playtime with your friends. Smelling like banana during an afternoon tea with the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough isn’t the “done thing”.
Big Orientals. My mother had a friend who would come for a visit every once in a while. She was quite old fashioned and adored this huge “wooly” fragrance which was loaded with labdanum. The entire house reeked while she was there and for hours afterwords. I dreaded Mrs. G paying a call on us. She was a dear lady but her perfume would leave you gasping.
So there you have it. I hope that has given you some ideas about the projection of breeding and good taste. We live in such a varied world that there are legitimate times in our day that we want to project all sorts of persona, but good breeding still cuts across lines of activities and it’s always welcome.