The MAN-over

A Fine Gibson

Airdrie makeover

Gibson Cole

In the last issue of airdrielife we put out a call for women to nominate their man for a makeover. Or, as it became coined … a “man-over.”

Tracy Cole wrote to us about her hard-working hubby, Gibson Cole. Describing him like a hero she wrote, “My husband is constantly helping with the cooking, cleaning, yard work and car maintenance … you name it … even after working a 10-hour shift outside on his feet all day.”

As an Air Canada luggage attendant Gibson works long, hard shifts in sometimes-extreme weather conditions. With no requirement to dress up for work (unless he is taking an Air Canada flight) he has maintained a frugal stance on buying clothes and on his personal grooming.

Gibson often shops at secondhand stores, wears hand-me-downs and shaves his own head. An avid snowboarder in the winter, he tends to grow a long, fuzzy, warm beard to keep his face shielded at work or at play. Then, in the summer, he shaves it all off to stay cool while skateboarding.

In fact, Gibson hadn’t had a proper haircut in four years when he grew his hair for the Oneball Fundraiser in support of patients with testicular cancer. It is a cause very dear to his heart, since he had testicular cancer himself five years ago. Although he is now considered cancer free, after having surgery, his diagnosis and still-yearly checks never let him take his health for granted.

I could have never asked for a better man-over candidate. I met Gibson at CrossIron Mills and immediately knew he was perfect. Not only did he have long locks and a beard, helping to make for a dramatic transformation, but he had a very sweet demeanor, and was open minded and willing to try something new.

Airdrie makeoverOne of the things I wanted him to do was let Wendy at The Hair Lounge work her magic on his tresses, leaving him with a clean-cut coif. Gibson also parted with the long shaggy beard and proved his wife right when she said, “Underneath all that hair, my husband is so handsome.”

When it came time to add clothes to the new look, I headed straight to Sully’s at CrossIron Mills, though they also have an Airdrie location. I wanted to find pieces in which Gibson would feel comfortable, but that would elevate his style of dressing. The first combination was a tailored blue button-down with short sleeves and a dark-brown khaki pant.

Since Gibson plans to attend an upcoming wedding in Mexico, I showed him that dressing well could still mean being comfortable and within his style genre. I added flip-flops for footwear to ensure this combination would easily work in Mexico, too.

Airdrie makeoverOnce I found this fun, canoe-paddle-print shirt, I had to incorporate it into our wardrobe plans. Especially after Gibson and I spoke about him camping and going to music festivals with his wife and two children, I knew it would work. The shorts and runners make this style a little crisper and functional; he could even take a flight in this, while adding another element to his casual wardrobe.

Finally it was time to get Gibson into a few jackets. After all, what is a man-over without a sports jacket? Both options give Gibson that well-groomed, well-dressed-man look. The lighter jacket, from Banana Republic, is a light cotton suitable for summer or warmer weather. The black jacket, from Sully’s, is a European design made with soft hoodie material, but crafted into a blazer. That makes it feel like you are wearing a hoodie while you look more made to measure.

Airdrie makeoverI paired both jackets with these amazing dark-wash Volcom jeans with enough comfort and stretch to do deep squats on a skateboard. I completed the look with a tailored, long-sleeve shirt with a polka-dot detail. I am a big believer that men should have a shirt with a feminine detail to soften their look and show a modern edge.

It is not like Gibson is without an edge in his daily life, anyway. This loving father of two toddlers likes to have fun and is young at heart. That’s why he has a requirement that most of his clothes work at the skate park, too, since he could be stopping by for a skate with his son.

Gibson’s very passionate about skateboarding; he loves the camaraderie and enjoys the freedom it brings. With the growing population, he hopes Airdrie builds another skate park. Gibson thinks it’s a much-needed gathering spot and provides healthy connection among kids, teens and adults within their community.

Airdrie makeoverThere is a well-known saying that reads “clothes don’t make the man” … but they sure help! A new style and clothes help give you confidence and make sure people notice you and your hard work.

Our man-over winner is already doing an amazing job as a father, husband and contributor to the community. Having a team of professionals to re-style him was a lot of fun and helps put a spotlight on him.

I hope Gibson can embrace the changes and use them to his advantage, even if it’s only until winter!

Seline Badel-Wong is a personal stylist at

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