How and when to wear cologne

Written by Marc | 04/08/2016




There are countless blogs and articles out there telling you how to dress, how to match your shirts and ties, or what shoes to wear to certain events. But there’s very little information to clue men in on using cologne. When to wear it, how much to wear, or how to use it.

Well, Mainline Menswear has got the solution. Here’s our guide to wearing cologne, matching it to certain occasions and how to most effectively apply it. So you’ll never walk into a crowded elevator again and choke everyone out with your overpowering scent.


How to apply cologne

The first thing to know about applying cologne is how much to use. Unfortunately, when we apply a new fragrance, our nasal receptors become rapidly desensitized to new odours. This means that we sometimes can’t even smell the cologne we’ve just put on!

This means we can over-do it with the amount of cologne we apply. So generally stick to two sprays, or three as an absolute maximum. When spraying cologne, hold the bottle at least six inches away from yourself. This allows the fragrance to disperse more, and not just create one puddle on your skin.

Cologne is generally best applied to the neck and chest area. A good trick is to apply it to your chest or biceps before getting dressed. This will trap the fragrance between your skin and clothing, meaning it lasts much longer. What you should never do, is spray cologne directly onto your clothes. Certain sprays can stain and damage materials, so stick to using cologne on just your skin.

One last rule is never use cologne to try and mask another smell. Often when cologne mixes with body odour, it has a bad reaction and combines to create an even worse smell. Applying more than usual doesn’t work either. It becomes too obvious you’re trying to hide something, and the overpowering cologne smell isn’t very pleasant.

When to wear cologne

Knowing when to wear cologne and when not to is another part of learning about everything fragrance. There are certain odours more suited to certain environments, and there’s a time to have a strong cologne, a time for a subtle one, and a time for no cologne at all.

Times when you should wear no cologne at all are for certain outdoor activities, or in confined spaces with a lot of people. When you’re at the beach or a swimming pool for example, you can definitely leave the cologne in the bottle. Another massive no is on an airplane. No one wants to be trapped in what’s effectively a closed off box with an overwhelming cologne stinking out the place!

For work, you should keep your cologne understated and subtle. You don’t want to be the person in the office who everyone avoids because of their intense aroma, so go for something refined. Citrus and floral scents are ideal for work. Although they tend to diminish quicker than other fragrances, they’re the perfect mix of a delicate sweet smell, without being too feminine.

At social events, whether after work or over the weekend you can go for a more distinctive scent. You can still work with citrus fragrances, like mandarin, lime and jasmine. Or go for something a little more aromatic. Woody colognes mixed with spices are often associated with Italian gentlemen, so this will make you smell like a man who knows how to wear his cologne.

For more special occasions, like a wedding or a date you want to look your best, so you should smell your best too. In these situations, you are allowed to truly be yourself, so you can experiment a bit more with your cologne – just don’t go too strong if it’s a first date! Go for a muskier scent with subtle undertones of citrus or tobacco. This will make you smell like a proper gentleman, but one who can still let their hair down and have fun.

Mainline Menswear Top Picks

Polo Red by Ralph Lauren – citrus: grapefruit, lemon, cranberry, saffron and sage

Versus cologne for men by Versace – woody notes combined with spices and musk

Tommy by Tommy Hilfiger – refreshing yet spicy; hint of apple and cinnamon

Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gio – citrus scents including orange, lime and mandarin


Although Mainline Menswear doesn’t stock any colognes itself, we can provide you with a sharp outfit to pair your new smell with. Visit our website here to browse our clothing, footwear and accessories, so you can complete your outfit and look and smell great.

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