Dear Shopping Savage,
I'm a 22-year old guy, fresh out of college and I just landed my first job in the real world. I want to start wearing cologne but I'm not sure how to go about choosing one. Do you have any suggestions?
There's a system I created when I was faced with your very same olfactory predicament. First, you'll need to see what scents are out there. If you aren't subscribed to a men's fashion magazine (horror of horrors!) I suggest taking a quick trip to the nearest store to grab a few.
Use the cologne ad samples as a guide to see what you're drawn to. (The price, generally listed in fine print, may also help narrow your choices.) Now take the memory of your top five scents, as well as a close friend, to the nearest department store's cologne counters and test them out in person. Ask the sales associate to show you fragrances similar to what you like if they believe there is something else you should test out.
Take home fresh-from-the-bottle samples of your top three and wait till you get there to give them another sniff. (After sampling so many fragrances at once this'll give your nose a little time to reboot.)
Out of those three, purchase your two favorites. A man should alternate his fragrance throughout the season from day to night or from work week to weekend. (Traditionally, lighter fragrances are for day wear and heavier, muskier scents for evening activities.)
Repeat these steps twice a year and only keep a fragrance for a year. You don't want to start a collection of half-empty bottles; besides, a bottle of cologne starts to lose its aroma six months to a year into its use. Irregardless, you want your smell to be in a constant state of evolution, just like you!
Follow these steps and you're sure to come out on the other end smelling like roses...or whatever scent you decide on.