6 Perfumes That Smell Like Middle School


I went to Sephora recently trying to buy a new bottle of a perfume I found when I moved that I figured was too ancient to safely wear. It was BCBG GIRLS “Sexy,” which smells like syrup and oranges in the best way.

Ring any bells?


The nice sales lady told me that, unfortunately, that perfume has been discontinued. Would I like to try any others? All the other perfumes that came to mind, I realized, were ones I had loved in middle school.

“Is it tacky to wear perfumes that are popular with 13-year-old girls?” I asked her. She didn’t pass judgment, but lead me to some more grown-up choices. But since then, I can’t stop thinking about perfumes that I loved in middle school. Not only do they smell amazing, but MEMREEZ. I decided to rank my top scents of pubescence. Hope this takes you down memory lane. MASH, FRIENDS 4EVER, HAKAS, and whatnot.

1. Ralph by Ralph Lauren


This was my personal fragrance for many years. It’s spicy and sweet. I didn’t like that it was called RALPH but what can you do. I also had the HOT RALPH, which was slightly beachier.


2. Clinique Happy


This scent reminds me of sleepovers, mostly because my best friends had a lot of Clinique stuff and we probably spritzed this on at least twice every time we hung out. In retrospect, Clinique makeup is expensive and maybe it was actually their mom’s?

I got a sample of this recently and it’s very orangey and spicy. It smells even better than I remember it smelling.

3. Be Delicious by Donna Karan

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When I was 13, this perfume seemed very sophisticated. I mean it’s shaped like an apple guys, but half silver. I hate green apple as a flavor but for some reason loved this perfume. I mean it had NY in the title so it was probably very Carrie Bradshaw.

4. Ralph Lauren Romance


This was the sophisticated perfume to like in middle school. The kind you wore with your boyfriend for major hand-holding sessions rather than to the Charlotte Russe shopping spree with your friends. I remember thinking it was fancy because it seemed like something moms and daughters both like, but NOT grandmas. No way.

5. Burberry BRIT


We’re getting fancy now. This is the perfume I would feel least embarrassed to have in my adult life. If I recall, it was subtler and fresher than some of the more sickly sweet scents aimed at teenagers.

6. Tommy Girl


I really liked Tommy scents in middle school, which I couldn’t tell my mom because she (correctly) wrote him off as a racist. While I’m glad she didn’t support his products, I secretly loved Tommy T for Him and tommy girl, and their unisex paper-y citrus smells.


What was your middle school scent?