Style Icons: Michelle and Randy Gilbert

Cool weather wardrobe staples for the couple include, on Randy: his Patagonia puffer vest and, on Michelle: her late father’s suede fringe coat, bought together on a family trip to Montana.

Style Icon, Couples Edition

Photographer, Chuck St. John; Stylist, Tracy Robinson; Clothing from Icons’ own wardrobes. Photographed at the Gilbert family property.

February brings the annual couples edition of Style Icon, in honor of Valentine’s Day. Married within a year of meeting each other at Auburn University, now 20 years later, Michelle and Randy Gilbert are as comfortable with each other as they are in their own skins. And while they would never describe themselves as fashionistas, their ability to achieve a casual, lived–in look without appearing slouchy is exactly what makes them style icon worthy.
Michelle’s style philosophy is to choose wisely: “People need to select things because it suits their personality and lifestyle, not because it suits some trend.” Preferring to focus her wardrobe around signature pieces that are unique, “rather than trying to look like everybody else,” many of these items have sentimental value, like her charm necklace featuring the fingerprints of their 3 children, now 10, 7 and 4. As a full–time mom and part–time model, Michelle advises practicality and realism when it comes to style: “When you get older, there are other things that take your time and money other than shopping.”
Randy, with his rugged good looks, has a signature style that can be summed up in one word: jeans. “My jeans are like my family,” Randy says. Indeed, he wears—and loves—each pair until practically threadbare, then retires them to a special place in the top of the closet, reserving them for his boys. “What teenage kid doesn’t want a pair of already worn in, holey jeans?” Randy asks.
The couple agrees that “minimal” would be a good word to describe their outlook on style. “Not fussy or contrived,” Michelle says, adding, “I like to look groovy without looking like I’m trying too hard.”
While Michelle will pick up items here and there at funky boutiques or even the Atlanta Antique Market (like her unique “106” cow tag necklace), Randy shops outdoor stores like Deep South Outfitters, filling in with basics from J. Crew. His unique pieces are obtained from his mission trips around the world. Children’s causes like Forgotten Children Ministry in Honduras and Mission to the Word in Peru, are something he takes very seriously and hopes to one day make a full–time endeavor.
On the other hand, Randy still has trouble taking his Style Icon status seriously, saying with a wry smile: “I’m holding a magazine signing at the McDonald’s in Roebuck from 9 to 9:15 a.m. Bring your own pen.”

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