Classic, timeless, beautiful, feminine, unique…a fragrance made in a different era and made in America around 1945. Now, 73 years later, it is still around the most under priced fragrance ever.
White Shoulders was the first perfume that I loved. I discovered it when I was around 7 years old, on my grandmother’s dresser. My mother almost always wore Chanel No 5 and a couple of others that I don’t recall the names of. None particularly thrilled me. One day at my grandmother’s house I put on her White Shoulders and I was in love. That is the fragrance that started my love of fragrances. To this day, many, MANY years later, I still love it. I found an article online about the history of it and I will post it after my review.
I have a bottle of the vintage White Shoulders, the square bottle with the pink cap. They can be found on ebay at decent prices sometimes. I have also tried the Perfume International version that came after Evyan and before Elizabeth Arden took it over and I actually prefer the current Elizabeth Arden to that one.
Note in the original are:
Top- Neroli, Tuberose, Aldehydes
Middle- Gardenia, Jasmine, Orris, LOTV, Rose, Lilac
Base- Sandalwood, Amber, Musk, Oakmoss, Civet, Benzion
Yes, there is a difference in the vintage Evyan and the new Elizabeth Arden but there is no way anyone would mistake that it smells very similar to the original. The original is more complex for sure but I find the Elizabeth Arden just as nice, just different. For me, the EA is easier to wear on hot summer days and I smell a lot more lilac than I do in the original. I like that I can spray it all over and it’s never over powering. I can’t do that with the original. It is sweeter, more complex, more potent and I smell a lot more of the white florals and much less lilac and I love lilac. One thing I do not like about the original is that after a few hours sometimes it almost has a stale smell to it, that does not occur with the newer EA, it just softly fades away. I love both, but they are a bit different and it just depends what you like.
The current EA is so cheap, around 15.00 for 4.5 ounces, but honestly if this were at Aedes or Luckyscents, made in Paris and had a 250.00 price tag on it, I would feel the same way about it and that it was worth the price. No …I do not think it smells like an old lady fragrance, I never did. If anything , to me it smells like a young girls fragrance, My daughter loves it also and a bottle always sits amongst her expensive fragrances. I notice her White Shoulders is always well used and replaced when empty as is mine. It is so inexpensive that I like to spray some into my bath water. Just a couple sprays leaves me and the bathroom smelling heavenly.It never gives me headache, is never overpowering and I have never had anyone say it bothers them, even people that are sensitive to perfumes It is not long lasting and disappears after 3-4 hours so does haveto be reapplied. I don’t find any difference in longevity between the original and the current. It may not be for everyone, but I am never without a bottle and it is and always will be one of my top 5 fragrances ever.
Below is an article I found online from the perfume vault a while ago and saved. I thought it was interesting and was not sure if links were allowed so I will post it here:
WHITE SHOULDERS was launched by the design house of Evyan sometime in 1940s (dates vary from 1943 to 1949!). Very early on the Evyan company was apparently called by another name, albeit briefly- Hartnell. And so some of the older most original White Shoulders presentations are bottled under a Hartnell label. But soon enough the company was called Lady Evyan (and later, just Evyan) = Evelyn Diane Westall, the wife of company owner Dr Walter Langer. Evyan boasted at the time that White Shoulders (and their other perfumes) were prime examples of fine American perfumery. Everything, so it was told, was strictly produced in USA. So White Shoulders was meant to be the perfume to show that Americans could compete with the best of what was being produced in Europe (and specifically, in France). Now this was happening during the years of American involvement in WWII, feelings of patriotism were running high. Americans of the day wanted (and needed) to spend their luxury dollars at home. Indeed it is worth noting that prices for White Shoulders were initially set rather high- beginning around $3 at a time when many "fine" perfumes of that day offered products priced beginning at around $1.
Over time White Shoulders has remained very popular; it's seen in both vintage and new formulations in thrift shops, antiques markets, modern drugstores and of course everywhere on-line. Although the perfume has changed hands from Hartnell/Evyan to Elizabeth Arden, the packaging- peach and lace, and later with a lovely feminine silhouette- has remained and is familiar to most American women. And there isn't any mistake about why its become and stayed so successful- White Shoulders is an iconic fragrance. Actually, it is probably the iconic American fragrance. Classified as a Floral Aldehyde, it is: beautiful, sweet, sexy, powdery, radiant, maternal, refined, approachable, fresh, gracious and warm but at it's core- very "night"...
The original presentation of White Shoulders was packaged in round peach satin and cream lace powder style boxes. The bottles were square, decorated with vertically cut pinstripes alternating with plain glass stripes and topped by a stout round stopper.