The 12 Best Affordable Fragrances That Smell Expensive


I always knew that I liked perfume, but it wasn’t until my last house move when my fragrances required an entire packing box that I realised how much I truly love it. Sure, I was able to part with a couple out-of-date bottles, but most of my stash felt too precious to cull. The thing about perfume is that it’s so personal. Scent is linked so closely to memory that even if you’ve only worn a fragrance a few times, you can evoke a past time and place with just one spritz.

The problem? Perfume is expensive. Of all the products I’ve collected over the years, my fragrances are worth the most, and unfortunately, I have expensive taste in scents. Byredo, Tom Ford, Maison Margiela… Most of my favourite perfume brands will set you back around £100 for a bottle. Trust me—I know how ridiculous that sounds, especially as someone who spent her early teenage years buying knockoff bottles of Thierry Mugler Angel, and CK One from the market, dousing herself in Impulse Thrill, and circling J.Lo Glow in the Boots Christmas catalogue.

That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of fantastic, affordable options out there, though. There are. In fact, with Byredo’s founder Ben Gorham working with & Other Stories on its fragrance offering and Jo Loves founder Jo Malone CBE working with Zara, there are plenty of purse-friendly scents to rival my more expensive favourites—you just need to know where to look.



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