French Girl Style, Lesson 1: The Jeans

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Welcome, friends, to our first official French lesson together! I hope you’re the teacher — because I’m certainly not. Taking these pictures was the hardest thing I’ve done since surviving 2020. Up until two hours ago, I would literally stand on my toilet to get a full-length view of my outfits in my bathroom mirror. But, like I said, this is a journey.

If you missed the intro course to French Style 101, visit it here.

As a reminder, my qualifications to deliver this knowledge to you includes extensive French girl TikTok research, French articles about French things translated via Google Translate (take that French “secrets”), and also a self-diagnosed disorder that requires me to obsess over things at an Inappropriateness Level 10.

Moving on.

Exploring French Girl Style: A Lesson On Effortless Denim

Today, we’re starting with quite possibly THE most important French girl wardrobe piece: denim. Don’t let these sneaky-peaky French girls trick you — it only looks like they don’t put any effort into their choice of jeans. I promise you, they do. Like, a lot.

Let’s take a look at our inspiration photos:

Let's kick off French Girl Style 101 with THE main piece: jeans. We're learning how to get that effortlessly chic look with some nice denim, ft. Levi's, Madewell & Everlane.
Image Credits: Adenorah | Aude Julie | Claire Most

Here’s what I notice:

Classic Silhouettes: Straight, sort of loose, sort of skinny, sort of wide. Nothing is too much of anything. It’s all sort of in the middle.

Washes: Besides that random black pair, they are all pretty basic and, again, classic washes. Nothing extreme. All sort of in the middle….hmmm.

Distressing: Minimal. Some fading here and there, but no obvious rips, holes, etc.

Trend: I’m going to go out on a limb and say that they WANT us to think they’re not following any trends, but this look in itself IS a trend. The “I just found this on the floor of my boyfriend’s room and threw it on” look is the trend. We see you, French girls. You can’t fool us.

So, this is what we’re going to look for when we try on jeans. I found an article written — maybe in Vogue? I don’t remember. See? I’m the worst teacher — about top French Girl jeans. So I bought them, and I tried them.

Before we get into these photos, please remember that I am not a fashion blogger. I have not mastered the art of not making a weird face and avoiding double-chin-selfie-neck. This is real life, you guys.

A little about me for fit and comparison:

  • I’m 5’2’’
  • 117 pounds exactly as of today
  • Longer torso and shorter legs
  • Sagittarius
  • Loves cats

1. Everlane Way-High Jean

The first recommendation was the Everlane Way-High Jean.

OK, I get why these were recommended. They’re ugly in a cute way. Like this definitely looks like I could have picked it up off of someone’s floor because I’m so cool and I just don’t care, and that’s what I think this is all about.

Anyway, so far, I still care. I do not wish my legs to look like balloon-animal legs. But that’s just me.

The rise on these Everlane Way-High jeans is VERY high, at 12 1/8". I'm usually OK with a high rise, but this was so high that it created a food poochie. Not cute.

Size 27 | 27.5’’ Inseam | Folsom Blue Wash

The rise on these felt VERY high. I am usually OK with a high rise, but this was so high that I actually felt like it created a food poochie. Not cute. I just checked the website, and the rise is 12 ⅛ inches.

Positives? Wash is great; length is ideal for a shortie.

Oh — also, I put all of this with a belt and matchie sandals because…French. We will discuss this more in our accessories lesson.

Positives about the Everlane Way-High jeans? Wash is great; length is ideal for a shortie.

Shirt | Sandals | Belt | Glasses

On a scale of 1 to 10, I rate these a personal 5 and a French 7. Next.


2. Madewell Petite Perfect Vintage Straight Jean

Usually when I order jeans in a petite length, they’re still long. These Madewell jeans are actually cropped. My ankles literally don’t know what to make of this. I worry that if these were shrunken at all, they would become long shorts.

The waist isn’t quite as high as the Everlanes, and I’m much more comfortable in these. I like that there’s a teensy amount of distressing, but not enough to throw us off of our French girl track.

The waist of the Madewell Petite Perfect Vintage Straight jeans isn’t quite as high as the Everlanes, & I’m much comfier in these. I like that there's a teensy amount of distressing.

Size 27 | Montville Wash

The color of the wash is great. I think if I ordered them again, I’d order the regular and not the petite length. BECAUSE I’M JUST SO TALL. (I never ever thought I would say that).

The color of the wash is great. I think if I ordered the Madewell Perfect Vintage Straight jeans again, I’d order the regular, not the petite length.

Shirt | Sandals | Belt | Glasses

On a scale of 1 to 10, I rate these a personal 7 and a French 6.


3. Levi’s 501 Original Fit Jeans

You can tell by my smirk that I get it. These Levi’s Original Fit jeans are the French girl’s No. 1 draft pick. Oh, the irony of them being the most American thing after hot dogs and loss of human rights.

The denim of the Levi's Original Fit jeans feels heavy but not too heavy. The fabric just lays well, & I like this length better than the previous pairs. The wash is OG perfection.

27 Waist | 30 Length | Indigo Wash

So many denim aficionados say that the “new” Levi’s aren’t as good as the vintage stuff. As an owner of authentic vintage Levi’s in many cuts and colors, I disagree. I think they’re awesome. The denim feels heavy but not too heavy. The fabric just lays well, and I like this length better than the previous pairs. The wash is OG perfection. And….AND??? As of this post, they’re currently on sale. I know.

Many denim aficionados say that the “new” Levi’s jeans aren’t as good as the vintage stuff. As an owner of authentic vintage Levi’s in many cuts + colors, I disagree. I think they're awesome.

Shirt | Sandals | Belt | Glasses

On a scale of 1 to 10, I rate these a personal 9 and a French 9.5.


4. Levi’s Wedgie Straight Fit Jeans

Next up on the French list was the Levi’s Wedgie cut jeans. I just can’t imagine a French gal running around talking about her Wedgie jeans. But what do I know? (Apparently not how to focus my phone in reverse.)

I opted for the shorter length in these, and I wish I would have gone a bit longer, but we’re all learning here. These were flattering in the tummy area, and I felt like they sucked me in a bit.

I opted for the shorter length in these Levi's Wedgie Straight Fit jeans, but I would recommend that you go a bit longer.

Waist 27 | Length 28 | Jive Sound Wash

When I saw my butt, I literally did a double take because there was an actual wedgie. Not sure what it says about me that I didn’t feel it in my butt…but here we are.

The wash was French girl perfection.

When I saw my butt in these Levi's Wedgie Straight Fit jeans, I literally did a double take because there was an actual wedgie.

Shirt | Sandals | Belt | Glasses

On a scale of 1 to 10, I rate these a personal 7.5 and a French 8.


5. Levi’s 501 Skinny Jeans

Gen Z made me nervous to buy anything called “skinny,” but my French Girl resources told me otherwise. So, this was a trust-the-process sort of thing. I’m glad I did. I wouldn’t ever call these Levi’s 501s “skinny jeans.” These are most definitely slim straight.

I knew that French women often have a more polished look in their denim and less of a musty-dusty-crusty (as my 9-year-old daughter says) look. This was giving me those polished vibes, and I was on board.

Despite the name, I wouldn't call these “skinny jeans.” These Levi's 501s are most definitely slim straight.

Waist 28 | Length 28 | Jive Ship Wash

Again, I wish I would have gone, like, 1 inch longer in length, but the wash is great, the rise is high/mid perfection, the butt is good, and overall they’re a pretty nice pair of denim.

I wish I would have gone 1 inch longer in length, but the wash is great, the rise is high/mid perfection, & the butt is good.

Shirt | Sandals | Belt | Glasses

On a scale of 1 to 10, I rate these a personal 8 and a French 9.5.


So, what have I learned through our first lesson?

1. Do not order a mirror from Wayfair and realize it’s broken — TWICE — and look at it and have a panic attack that you now have TWENTY years of bad luck.
2. Fix your face before you take a selfie.
3. When your husband asks what you are doing, say ANYTHING besides, “Being French.”
4. French women are really good at secrets and acting. This shit is hard and NOT “Oh, I just threw this on.” I call a big BS on that one.

Oh, the jeans. Right.

My Frenchiest pair of jeans that I think I’m going to keep is…

The OG Levi’s 501.

What do you think? Do you have a pair that meet these qualifications that I missed? Do you think I picked the right ones?

Stay tuned for our next lesson….

Xo

Amanda

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After multiple existential crises, I've been an interior designer, a store window designer, a personal stylist (when I want to say something fancier than friend who went to the mall with another friend to "help"), a teacher, an author and illustrator, a graphic designer, NFT creator, a t-shirt designer and cat and Broadway enthusiast. But NOT Cats on Broadway. Just cats, the animals. What have I learned through all of my careers? You can really do a thing and then call yourself whatever you want. No one will check. But before all of this, in the year 2008, I was a blogger. And now I'm back with my favorite blog of all time. Let's go.