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I, A Tacky American, Dressed Like A French Woman For A Week

After years of admiring French women, I decided to try and become one.

Charlotte Gomez / Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

Bonjour! My name is Sheridan and I'm pretty much the opposite of a chic French woman. What do I mean by this?

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1. Sometimes my makeup looks like I'm a Real Housewife at a reunion show.

2. The closest thing I eat to a cheeseboard is Lunchables.

3. Oh, and I drink wine out of plastic cups at country music festivals because 'MURRICA.

But here's the thing: I've always been obsessed with the idea of the French woman.

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And as a lover of good style since I was catwalking in the womb, French women were an obvious influence. They're frequently regarded as the most effortlessly stylish women on the planet — and for good reason.

So for one week, I decided to transform my style as much as possible, hoping to somehow soak up whatever fashion magic that French women have. Oh, and I'd have to use things from my own closet.

I ordered two books, How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are and Parisian Chic. I also started combing the internet to see who my fashion icons would be for the week.

Would my wardrobe transform me into the double-kissing Parisian woman of everyone's dreams? Découvrons-le!*

*I had to Google Translate "let's find out" so I'm already doing great.

Why I Love Them: Catherine Deneuve is still flawless, but you have to admit she did classic ’50s and ’60s style better than anyone else. Grown-up, classy, and sexy, she could elevate a button-down and pencil skirt to ~iconic~ territory. Léa Seydoux is a modern incarnation of Catherine and can pretty much wear anything she wants and make it look cool AF.
Bettmann / Bettmann Archive / Clemens Bilan / Getty Images / Charlotte Gomez / Buzzfeed

Why I Love Them: Catherine Deneuve is still flawless, but you have to admit she did classic ’50s and ’60s style better than anyone else. Grown-up, classy, and sexy, she could elevate a button-down and pencil skirt to ~iconic~ territory. Léa Seydoux is a modern incarnation of Catherine and can pretty much wear anything she wants and make it look cool AF.

After turning my bedroom into a set piece for Twister, I decided on a striped pencil skirt and a ’50s-style denim button-down that I've never worn. In Parisian Chic, author Ines de la Fressange is very adamant about which shoes go with which outfits. I went with some simple sandals because Ines says every Parisian woman must have a pair of open-toed sandals.

Here's what I wore:

Before you rip into this I need you to know that I too find this outfit to be a tragic mistake so I'm going to let you know how much I hate it. This outfit is so terrible, I would rather relive farting in front of my entire summer camp and blaming it on my best friend.So yeah, I don't feel that ~great~. And my boobs (which have areolas the size of most people's heads) are trying to break out of this chambray prison. I've accepted this outfit as a misunderstanding not to be repeated — please forgive me, Catherine Deneuve, I did not mean to bring such shame to your legacy.
Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

Before you rip into this I need you to know that I too find this outfit to be a tragic mistake so I'm going to let you know how much I hate it. This outfit is so terrible, I would rather relive farting in front of my entire summer camp and blaming it on my best friend.

So yeah, I don't feel that ~great~. And my boobs (which have areolas the size of most people's heads) are trying to break out of this chambray prison. I've accepted this outfit as a misunderstanding not to be repeated — please forgive me, Catherine Deneuve, I did not mean to bring such shame to your legacy.

Why I love them: Emmanuelle Alt is the editor of French Vogue, aka one of the best-dressed people alive. And Clémence Poésy, when not competing in the Triwizard Tournament, has nailed that whole rumply chic look. Both women look edgy, comfortable, and fashionable all at the same time. Sign me up.
Jacopo Raule / Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images / Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

Why I love them: Emmanuelle Alt is the editor of French Vogue, aka one of the best-dressed people alive. And Clémence Poésy, when not competing in the Triwizard Tournament, has nailed that whole rumply chic look. Both women look edgy, comfortable, and fashionable all at the same time. Sign me up.

While the French always look like they just "threw" something on, everything that they throw on happens to be magically chic. But there's a fine line between looking casually put-together à la The Row Olsen twins and like your out-there aunt who doesn't believe in showering à la the NYU Olsen twins. My office gets cold so I tend to wear sweaters and jackets a lot, so I thought, Why don't I put a belt over my sweater?

Here's what I wore:

OK, let's all give thanks to the fashion gods that this outfit is significantly better than day one's. I even added a red lip — but no other makeup, because according to How to Be Parisian, French women avoid using foundation, which merely "serves as a shroud and therefore trivializes." LOL.I definitely loved this outfit and though I was worried at first that it didn't look "French" enough, two of my co-workers said I looked like a "cool Parisian." One of my co-workers, however, also thinks the Backstreet Boys are better than NSYNC so really her judgment is up for debate.
Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

OK, let's all give thanks to the fashion gods that this outfit is significantly better than day one's. I even added a red lip — but no other makeup, because according to How to Be Parisian, French women avoid using foundation, which merely "serves as a shroud and therefore trivializes." LOL.

I definitely loved this outfit and though I was worried at first that it didn't look "French" enough, two of my co-workers said I looked like a "cool Parisian." One of my co-workers, however, also thinks the Backstreet Boys are better than NSYNC so really her judgment is up for debate.

Why I love them: So Jean Seberg was technically American BUT she is most known for her work in French cinema. I mean, she was in a fucking Godard film! Françoise Hardy's music is the bomb, plus she has the bangs that we all envision when we decide we need a post-breakup hair change.
Hulton Archive / Ina / Getty Images / Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

Why I love them: So Jean Seberg was technically American BUT she is most known for her work in French cinema. I mean, she was in a fucking Godard film! Françoise Hardy's music is the bomb, plus she has the bangs that we all envision when we decide we need a post-breakup hair change.

I originally walked out of my apartment with some yellow Oxfords on so I could pretend that I can actually pull off menswear. But you know when you're at work and you're like, "I definitely left the window open," and your co-worker is like, "No you didn't, you just think you did," and you spend the rest of the day thinking you'll get home and a thousand pigeons plus an ax murderer are waiting for you? Then you actually get home and there are no pigeons and no murderers but the window IS open so you know you should have just trusted your gut because next time there will most definitely be a murderer there? Wait, I've lost my train of thought.

Oh, right — so my point is, you've might have a moment where you've remembered something you should/shouldn't have done. That's what happened to me. I was walking out of my apartment and realized that in Ines' book, she says, "Navy blue is risk free, unless you wear it with yellow (in which case you are sailing dangerously close to the brand colors of a certain Swedish furniture store)." Considering the fact that my husband is Norwegian, I could not risk looking like the Swedish flag. Luckily, I had a pair of black ballet flats in the car that I changed into.

Here's what I wore:

People could not get enough of this outfit. I could not get enough of this outfit. Problem is, sometimes I wondered if I was less inspired by French fashion and more "let's dress up as a french person for Halloween." This outfit pretty much had the subtleness of a Taylor Swift breakup song.Was I comfortable? Yes. Did I feel put-together? Yes. Would I wear this again? Definitely. I don't mind looking like a walking cliché if I get to feel this ~cute~.
Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

People could not get enough of this outfit. I could not get enough of this outfit. Problem is, sometimes I wondered if I was less inspired by French fashion and more "let's dress up as a french person for Halloween." This outfit pretty much had the subtleness of a Taylor Swift breakup song.

Was I comfortable? Yes. Did I feel put-together? Yes. Would I wear this again? Definitely. I don't mind looking like a walking cliché if I get to feel this ~cute~.

Later that night, I dragged my friends to a French restaurant so that I could really get into my element. I even tried some red wine, which I hated! But at least I tried it.

Sorry — I'm a pinot grigio kind of gal.
Sheridan Watson

Sorry — I'm a pinot grigio kind of gal.

Why I love them: Adèle and Àstrid are what we call It girls. Besides killing it on the big screen, the two actors have also nailed that edgy, rocker-chic look. And just look at their names! If a thousand backward accent marks aren't super French, I don't know what is.
Jerod Harris / Francois Guillot / AFP / Getty Images / Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

Why I love them: Adèle and Àstrid are what we call It girls. Besides killing it on the big screen, the two actors have also nailed that edgy, rocker-chic look. And just look at their names! If a thousand backward accent marks aren't super French, I don't know what is.

One thing I gathered from my extensive dive into my French guides (aka reading those two books while eating a piece of cheese like a pizza slice) is that French women never want to look like they've tried too hard. Not too formal, not too casual, not too girly, not too edgy. There's a balance there. Taking notes from Adèle and Àstrid, I went for a dress–moto jacket combo.

Here's my attempt at the look:

In How to Be Parisian, the authors repeat the ubiquitous saying "less is more." On cleavage, they say, "It tries too hard, shows its hand too quickly, and betrays a certain lack of self-confidence. Like a girl who talks so incessantly there's nothing left to ask." Wow. Deep. I will say, however, I felt sexy AF in this outfit — probably because I felt good in it. And because I'm the third most important person in my life (after my dog and my Sim Aurelia, whom I have developed an unhealthy attachment to), that's all that matters. Oh, and these boots? I stole them from my husband and they're mine now. He'll understand — especially since I said, "I get the boots or you're down a wife." I'm kidding! No, I'm not.
Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

In How to Be Parisian, the authors repeat the ubiquitous saying "less is more." On cleavage, they say, "It tries too hard, shows its hand too quickly, and betrays a certain lack of self-confidence. Like a girl who talks so incessantly there's nothing left to ask." Wow. Deep. I will say, however, I felt sexy AF in this outfit — probably because I felt good in it.

And because I'm the third most important person in my life (after my dog and my Sim Aurelia, whom I have developed an unhealthy attachment to), that's all that matters. Oh, and these boots? I stole them from my husband and they're mine now. He'll understand — especially since I said, "I get the boots or you're down a wife." I'm kidding! No, I'm not.

Why I love them: Caroline de Maigret is one of the co-writers of How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are, so I consider her style to be French gospel. She's a little bit rocker, a little bit grunge, and a whole lot of chic. And do yourself a favor and google Leïla Bekhti's style. Go ahead and do it, I'll wait. If she's not a modern-day screen siren, I don't know who is.
Ben A. Pruchnie / Pascal Le Segretain / Getty ImagesCharlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

Why I love them: Caroline de Maigret is one of the co-writers of How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are, so I consider her style to be French gospel. She's a little bit rocker, a little bit grunge, and a whole lot of chic. And do yourself a favor and google Leïla Bekhti's style. Go ahead and do it, I'll wait. If she's not a modern-day screen siren, I don't know who is.

High-neck tops tend to freak me out. Growing up, my sister and I used to tickle each other's necks to torture each other so really anything that grazes that area causes me to launch into a thousand giggles. But hey, this week was about getting outside my workout leggings and sports bras comfort zone, so I made a button-down shirt my bitch.

OH, and one more thing...

I GOT BANGS!!!

That's right. I did the big snip. I went for it. After seeing photos of Françoise and Caroline, I knew that I had to at least try some bangs. Of course, I didn't really think about the fact that it's fucking summer and I live in LA so the upkeep has been...sweaty.This is a pretty dressy look for me, but I'm not going to lie, I'm digging it. This outfit makes me look like I have my shit together even though I had Panda Express for my birthday dinner last week. I tried to steal this tuxedo jacket from my husband but he made me give it back — don't worry, I've already hired a divorce lawyer.
Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

That's right. I did the big snip. I went for it. After seeing photos of Françoise and Caroline, I knew that I had to at least try some bangs. Of course, I didn't really think about the fact that it's fucking summer and I live in LA so the upkeep has been...sweaty.

This is a pretty dressy look for me, but I'm not going to lie, I'm digging it. This outfit makes me look like I have my shit together even though I had Panda Express for my birthday dinner last week. I tried to steal this tuxedo jacket from my husband but he made me give it back — don't worry, I've already hired a divorce lawyer.

BTW, here's a photo of me circa fifth grade with bangs to assure you that the sun will, in fact, come out tomorrow:

Sheridan Watson
Why I love them: Ines de la Fressange has taught me so much this week that it would be a crime not to look to her for fashion advice. She's a huge supporter of wearing evening gowns with flats so I, in turn, am a huge fan of hers. And Audrey Tautou?! One word: Amélie.
Pascal Le Segretain / Andreas Rentz / Getty Images / Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

Why I love them: Ines de la Fressange has taught me so much this week that it would be a crime not to look to her for fashion advice. She's a huge supporter of wearing evening gowns with flats so I, in turn, am a huge fan of hers. And Audrey Tautou?! One word: Amélie.

Dressing for work is one thing, but dressing for a wedding is a whole 'nother. When I was looking through my closet for a dress to wear to my cousin's wedding, I took a much longer time than usual. What would say "Wow, she looks so effortlessly glamorous, I would like to befriend her and take her to brunch"? I had bought this dress on sale and never had the chance to wear it so I paired it with some open-toed sandals, my new bangs, and a clutch.

Here's me trying to glam it up:

Not too bad, eh? I think I got that ethereal look Ines and Audrey have mastered so well. My whole goal was to not try too hard, so I hope I look like I wake up every morning in an evening gown. It was a tad weird wearing an evening gown with such casual sandals, but my feet certainly did thank me.Yep, turns out you'll enjoy a wedding 100% more if you're not complaining about your feet hurting so badly you're convinced your feet are trying to secede from the Union.
Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

Not too bad, eh? I think I got that ethereal look Ines and Audrey have mastered so well. My whole goal was to not try too hard, so I hope I look like I wake up every morning in an evening gown. It was a tad weird wearing an evening gown with such casual sandals, but my feet certainly did thank me.

Yep, turns out you'll enjoy a wedding 100% more if you're not complaining about your feet hurting so badly you're convinced your feet are trying to secede from the Union.

Why I love them: Isabelle Huppert and Charlotte Gainsbourg are two of the most accomplished actors around today, and their style is pretty amazing, too. Isabelle is classic French simplicity — trench coats, button-downs, slacks. And Charlotte, at 45, proves that style just gets better — and edgier — with age. Like, homegirl will rock a leather miniskirt.
Filippo Monteforte / AFP / Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images / Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

Why I love them: Isabelle Huppert and Charlotte Gainsbourg are two of the most accomplished actors around today, and their style is pretty amazing, too. Isabelle is classic French simplicity — trench coats, button-downs, slacks. And Charlotte, at 45, proves that style just gets better — and edgier — with age. Like, homegirl will rock a leather miniskirt.

I had to fly back from my cousin's wedding so I needed something comfortable. I also needed to find a way to wear a trench because Ines lists the trench as a basic that every woman should own. I settled on some comfy dark jeans, a striped top, and a trench coat that makes me wish it rained in LA more. In her book, Ines says she'll wear Converse on flights but since she could make a garbage bag look like couture, I wanted to wear something that would add a little more oomph so I settled on some simple ankle boots.

This is what I wore:

Comfortable! Chic! And a little heel that made me do that swish-swish thing with my hips when I walked. This outfit proves that you do not have to sacrifice comfort for style. And there's something glamorous about not wearing your pajamas on a flight. Seriously, try wearing something cute and you'll see that your Group C middle economy seat is a little less terrible.OK, I lied. Not only was I in the middle seat but I was next to the bathroom and people kept on forgetting to close the door after them. SERIOUSLY, CLOSE THE DAMN DOOR. IT SMELLS, PEOPLE.
Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

Comfortable! Chic! And a little heel that made me do that swish-swish thing with my hips when I walked. This outfit proves that you do not have to sacrifice comfort for style. And there's something glamorous about not wearing your pajamas on a flight. Seriously, try wearing something cute and you'll see that your Group C middle economy seat is a little less terrible.

OK, I lied. Not only was I in the middle seat but I was next to the bathroom and people kept on forgetting to close the door after them. SERIOUSLY, CLOSE THE DAMN DOOR. IT SMELLS, PEOPLE.

After a week of pretending to be the coolest version of myself, I realized that pretending is the very antithesis of being French.

Why are French women so cool? Because they are, for the most part, authentically themselves. They don't give a shit about what other people think, and that confidence is what's so attractive. While French women may appear to be an otherworldly species, it just seems like they're comfortable in their own skin.

So even though the only French I know is the chorus to Luann de Lesseps' jam, "Chic, C'est la Vie," I can still be the three C's: chic, classy, and confident.

Bravo

I also learned some other less-profound things:

1. When in doubt, wear ballet flats.

2. Bangs are so hot — they really make your outfit. But also, they might cause you to die of heatstroke.

3. Raid your little brother's/father's/husband's closet and you'll find some gems. If they ask for them back, threaten to cut them out of their life. When they say you're being dramatic, blame it on me.

4. Paring down your makeup routine really lets your style shine.

5. Eat lots of bread and cheese. It's good for your soul.

But honestly, what do I know? When I was 8, I once hid in a closet at my school because a kid named Chad said he was going to tell my crush that I liked him and the school ended up calling the cops and telling my parents that I'd disappeared so I've obviously made some ~questionable~ decisions in the past.

P.S. If there are any Frenchwomen who are out there laughing at me, I understand.

I've been laughing at myself since the age of 14, when I finally stopped peeing the bed regularly AND got tired of begging people to play Barbies with me. And yes, I was the coolest kid.

So with that, I bid you adieu!

Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed
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