Style Icon: Valentine’s Edition

Style 1

On Judge French: Tahari dress, X-Appeal shoes, jewelry from Belk. On Courtney: Samuelsohn blazer, Pants by Rashan Michel for Thompson Bespoke Clothiers, Ralph Lauren shirt, Ferragamo belt and shoes, Rolex Submariner watch.

Judge Elisabeth and Courtney French

Written and styled by Tracy James 

Photographed by Chuck St. John


A “power couple” if there ever was one, Elisabeth and Courtney met at Cumberland School of Law. This was after Courtney attended Birmingham-Southern College, and after a volleyball scholarship took Elisabeth to the University of Montevallo…before the former became a name partner at his law firm and the latter a Circuit Court judge in the Jefferson County civil division. The attorney and judge currently live with their three children in the Hollywood area of Homewood.

For both professionals, their careers influence their styles. Judge French admires First Lady Michelle Obama’s style, but for the courthouse feels it appropriate to add a jacket or cardigan when not wearing her robes. A very methodical and organized person, the Judge considers her outward appearance as merely one aspect of her overall responsibilities. With a busy husband, three children, and a full-time elected position, organization is key. “I think of fashion as an enhancement to being prepared for whatever I’m doing or wherever I’m going,” she says. “If you look like you don’t care about or respect yourself, it’s harder for others to do it.” Husband Courtney is a fan of his wife’s style, calling it “a manifestation of who she is on the inside, someone who’s sophisticated and fun.” He raves, “My wife wears many hats: mother, wife, judge, team mom for the children’s sporting activities, and community and civic leader. Her style is as versatile as the hats she wears.”

Fresh out of law school, Courtney dressed like other young attorneys—blue or black suit, white shirt, solid tie, and black shoes, a.k.a. “The Lawyer’s Uniform.” Now that he has been  practicing law for more than 16 years, all of that is out the window. While Courtney still respects the formality and traditionalism of the court of law, he is not afraid to add his own contemporary flair, whether via a pop of color in a tie or pocket square, or with a patterned suit. Locally, Courtney shops at the usual suspects for stylish gentlemen: Remon’s, Shaia’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and new favorite Baer’s Den, which opened in Cahaba Village by Whole Foods in October 2013. Many of his suits, shirts, and ties, he acquires from Atlanta-based Thompson Bespoke Clothiers, whose client list reads like a veritable NFL all-stars roster, but also includes local power players such as Mayor William Bell. The custom design firm is owned by Birmingham native and former NCAA/NBA official-turned-designer Rashan Michel. However, Courtney admits that recently acquired client Birmingham-Jefferson Transit Authority has kept him so busy that his clothing purchases as of late have been geared toward stress-release and R&R. The men’s collection at Lululemon keeps him perfectly attired for both endeavors.

Judge French is less of a shopper than her husband, and for the sake of convenience, would love to find one place for the entirety of her professional wardrobe needs and another for casual, but alas, she’s still looking. Fortunately, she has a friend who loves fashion and has time to shop who regularly shares pictures of and links to clothing suggestions.

Favoring quality pieces that fit well, as a general rule the Judge doesn’t get hung up on high-end designer labels. However, she will sometimes treat herself to a sturdy handbag, her favorite being those made by Louis Vuitton. And because all women are allowed a few exceptions to their own rules, Christian Louboutin basic black pumps are on her “dream big wish list.” Courtney, sounds like a perfect Valentine’s Day gift!

3 Responses to “Style Icon: Valentine’s Edition”

  1. Kimberly Tift says:

    Just as I have always known them to be! You could not have picked a more fitting couple for this Valentine’s Day Article. Congratulations to The Honorable Elisabeth and Courtney French. Happy Valentine’s Day 2015!

  2. Bettina says:

    Lovely article.

  3. Sabrina Engram says:

    What a lovely couple! I have known Courtney pretty much all of my life, and I met his wife Elisabeth when they were dating and he played the music at my wedding. He has ALWAYS been down to earth and very humble, just like his parents. A very nice choice for your Valentine’s Edition if I must say so myself!

Leave a Reply for Kimberly Tift