Birthday Goals


Evening dress, by Madame Grès, 1984, from Metropolitan Museum of Art

Today is my birthday. I’m 30. I feel like I’ve been looking forward to this birthday for a long time. Some people might dread 30 or feel like they have to accomplish a whole list of things before the year rolls around. But I’ve always viewed 30 differently.

My 20s were focused on education and getting stable jobs in my field. Now I have my masters and a great job at Columbia College Chicago running the Fashion Study Collection. I’m proud of the last 10 years. Of course they haven’t been perfect. I’ve taken some detours and made a handful of mistakes, but I’ve ended up in a really good place.

So looking to my 30s, I see the next decade as a period to challenge and push myself. No complacency here, I need to keep growing, learning, and putting experimentation first. It’s time to pursue new research paths and then get published. I want to do more curatorial work in my collection and, perhaps, independently propose exhibitions at other institutions. After my experience co-organizing the Midwest Costume Society of America symposium this past fall, I’d like to start a symposium series. None of those goals will be easy, but I’m ready to take them on. Time to get to work.

Friday File

I can’t believe we’re already more than halfway through January. This month is rushing past. If you follow my Instagram account, you saw that I was in Southern California for the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day, and then promptly came down with influenza when I got home. It was a bad flu, the kind with a fever and hallucinating dreams, and I was housebound throughout the so-called polar vortex. I missed a few days of work, so this was my first full week back to work.

Here are the links for the past couple weeks:


I love stories about apartments or offices that have remained untouched for decades. AnOther Magazine recently ran a post on Madame de Florian’s Paris apartment that wasn’t disturbed for 68 years and held secrets about the painter Giovanni Boldini’s lover, Marthe de Florian.

Have you read the “Do What You Love” column on Jacobin that’s been circulating social media? It’s an excellent take down of the DWYL myth — how it can be used to exploit workers and the fact that it is a very classist concept. A must read.

The current state of the American textile industry is recorded in photos and an essay, with a personal look at the factories still in production, in this NY Times piece.

Michelle Obama’s 2013 inauguration gown will be on display at the Smithsonian Museum of American History for one year. No word yet if the gown will become part of the museum’s First Ladies collection permanently.

I rarely buy Vogue anymore, but I’m psyched about Lena Dunham’s cover. I might just go out and pick it up for myself.

Friday File

One of the cool parts of my job is going to vintage fashion auctions. A few weeks ago I bid at Augusta Auctions in New York by telephone and won a stunning 1916 dress for my fashion study collection. My heart was beating so hard and fast, especially when my telephone proxy said I won. It’s a euphoric high. Yesterday, I went to a local auction, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, and was not as lucky. You win some, you lose some I guess.

Here’s a few links from the week:

Did you hear that Pantone’s 2014 “Color of the Year” is radiant orchid? Christina Brinkley of The Wall Street Journal explains how Pantone comes up with their color of the year.

Fall in love with a Charles James’ Hipster dress in the Met’s preview video for the Costume Institute exhibition this summer.

Do you know when to use historic vs. historical? I’ll be honest, I didn’t know there was a difference until I read this.

I can’t wait to read this biography/memoir of Vivienne Westwood. “Vivienne is wonderfully candid. I sat there with my jaw on the table for a lot of it. Especially about what went on in the 1970s, ” Ian Kelly, the book’s co-author, said.

Have a great weekend! And don’t forget to enter my Laurel Denise 2014 planner giveaway!

Photo Shoot Today

Busy, busy, busy. Work is hectic, and then I come home and either crash or do more work. So as you have probably already guessed, this week is light on posting.

evening dress by Charles Frederick Worth, c. 1885, from Phoenix Art Museum, photographed by Ken Howie

The above Charles Frederick Worth gown was acquired and photographed for the Phoenix Art Museum while I was an intern there. I can still vividly remember assisting on that photo shoot.

Today, I am running a photo shoot of garments from the fashion study collection where I work. Hoping my own shoot goes as well as the first one I worked on in Phoenix. Wish me luck!

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas everyone!

I’m enjoying a week off of work and resting. I’ll also be working behind the scenes to make The Hourglass Files even better. I’ll be back on Thursday for an Exhibition File post and then back to normal next week.

Also, I have an exciting announcement that you may have seen on Twitter last week. I have just joined Design for Mankind as Research Editor. Erin Loechner started the art and design blog back in 2006, and I have admired it for a long time. She is taking a new more thoughtful and purposeful direction in the new year with more richly researched posts. Erin calls it Slow Blogging. I’m thrilled to be part of it!

I hope you all have great holiday!

Moving to the Windy City

photo by Travis Haughton

Today I’m so excited to share some really big news. I have accepted a new job in Chicago, and Travis and I will be moving there near the end of the month!

The position is very similar to what I do now — I will be managing a fashion studies collection at a college there, and I start before the month is out. It’s a very fast transition, but I couldn’t be happier.

I will miss the people I’ve worked with and met in North Dakota. We’ve lived here for two years, and, while it took awhile to feel settled, we were starting to develop great relationships and get involved in the community. It is hard to say goodbye.

But this opportunity will help both of us in our careers, return us to a city we used to live in and that we love, and get us closer to friends and family we’ve been so far from.

As you may have noticed from this week already, posting will be a little lighter during the next few weeks as we move, get settled, and I learn the ropes of my new job. Hope you forgive me.

And now, onward to Chicago!

photo by Travis Haughton – Wasabi Photography

Style File – Career Blazers

I’ve been dreaming about my ideal career wardrobe a lot. If I had limitless funds, it’d be filled with interesting blazers and jackets.

Improvd Ramona Belted Wrap Blazer from Gilt

Miha Metal Embellished Zipper Blazer from Gilt

Theyskens' Theory Jutah Cropped Wool Blazer from Gilt

Wish I had been able to get all these from Gilt, my favorite flash sale site, when they were available.

What’s in your fantasy career wardrobe?