Style Icon: Icons Revisited


A look at past Style Icons.

Written and styled by Tracy James

Photographed by Chuck St. John

 

This year marks the fifth anniversary of B-Metro magazine and of my Style Icon column. That’s more than 60 stylish Birminghamians gracing these pages. So this month, as we kick off another year, I thought it would be interesting to revisit three features from our very first year to see how their personal styles may have changed in the past five years.

Style mentor Tim Gunn commented in his latest book, “What is a closet, really, but a catalogue of the different personas we have auditioned and discarded? Hanging there in our closets are reminders, both good and bad, of who we are, who we’ve been, and who we’ve hoped to be.” Not only do fashion trends change, but also our own senses of style evolve. The three Style Icons I’ve revisited this month have experienced profound life changes since their features: one took on a dream job, one became a wife and mother, and the third hit puberty.

 

Kristen & Nicole Jebeles

Eighth graders at Liberty Park Middle School

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“Back when I was younger, everything had to be pink!” says 14-year old Kristen Jebeles. Nodding in agreement, twin sister Nicole adds, “Now we like neutrals and earth tones.” When we photographed them at age 9, the girls were without braces and decked out in brightly colored duds from Soca Girl in Homewood. Now they are customers of the store’s sister boutique for grown-ups across the street. Other favorite places to shop include Serendipity in Cahaba Heights and Tula J in Trussville. Truth be told, if Kristen and Nicole had their way, they would wear the athletic fashions from Lululemon and Athleta all the time. Tennis is their passion, not to mention talent, and the girls have been competing in both southern and national tournaments for years.

 

Pamela Reed Phipps

Executive director of Grace House Ministries

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Our very first Style Icon in November of 2009, Pamela Reed Phipps has since married and had a child. That statement alone could sum up her style evolvement—mothers reading this are chorusing, “Say no more.” With the arrival of her son, Reed, now 2 years old, Phipps drastically simplified the pieces in her wardrobe. Scarves have replaced the necklaces that tempt little hands, and diamond studs are usually her one and only jewelry piece. Outfits now revolve around comfortable basics that don’t require dry cleaning. That said, Phipps is also now the executive director of a nonprofit, Grace House Ministries, so she has to be able to transition into her role as businesswoman. Classic work dresses and separates from the likes of Banana Republic and Ann Taylor work well for business meetings, but, along with Anthropologie, they are also good resources for the business casual attire most often required at Phipps’ workplace. Impressively, the working mother manages to look fresh and polished with this simplified formula.

 

Robby Melvin

Southern Living test kitchen director

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When we last visited chef Robby Melvin, he had moved on from the tutelage of Frank Stitt to start his own catering company, SALT. In the spring 2013, Melvin accepted the prestigious position of test kitchen director at Southern Living. He has taken a long look back to the classics, like Oxford button downs, chambray, and old-school plaids. “Kind of a less-is-more attitude,” he says. His closet contains a few timeless pieces: shirts, jeans, and jackets to pair with vintage-inspired tennis shoes or Vans. “And always funky socks to keep it modern,” Melvin adds. J. Crew is a go-to shopping destination, but he also loves the look and feel of Billy Reid’s clothes, noting that “His Kswiss are brilliant.” Melvin turns to hip Nashville boutique Imogene + Willie for his jeans, but Levi’s 501s are still a favorite.

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