Your Style: Abby Gilmore

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Abby Gilmore is the curatorial and programs associate at Rochester Art Center.

Motto:Just try to be unhappy when you're wearing turquoise.

Abby Gilmore, of Rochester, is program and curatorial associate at the Rochester Art Center — "and loving every second of it," she says.

Gilmore was born and raised in Aberdeen, S.D. "My parents instilled a love of the arts in me from a young age," she said.

She graduated from Concordia in Moorhead with a double-major in art history and French. She received a master's degree in art history from the University of St. Thomas. She and her husband, Joe, have two cats, Mango and Mitzi, and a corgi, Squash.

"I'm so grateful for how life works out," she said.


Tell us about your style.

I have two styles — the "It's Freezing Outside" and the "It's Warm Outside." When it's warm, I wear 1950s-style dresses, with clean, classic, feminine lines. I often pair these dresses with floral, kimono-style robes or long, flowing jackets. When it's cold, I love to layer neutrals and different textures. Winter Abby loves faux fur, heavy vintage jackets and leggings.


My mother is definitely my biggest style inspiration. My goodness, can that woman dress! And she certainly instilled the value of quality in me from a young age. She's always classic but with a fun twist.

How has your style changed over time?

There is a picture of young me I always think about. I was 6 or 7 and had clearly dressed myself for the yearly soccer team photo. The other girls were wearing black or blue shorts, and the team T-shirt. I had chosen to wear the most paisley leggings that ever existed, complete with giant knee patches. That's a perfect description of my younger years.

More recently, my style evolved from focusing exclusively on what I was wearing to more of an emphasis on hair and makeup. I absolutely love makeup and am seldom seen with the same hair color for more than a month or two.

The most essential component in your wardrobe?


I have this brown, faux fur scarf that I need to function. If you know me, you've seen it … it's a staple for so many of my outfits. It meets every check on my list — comfortable, classic, high quality, versatile. I mean, I could go on for days. I love the thing.

What should every well-dressed woman have in her wardrobe?

A sharp, well-made, timeless hat. I love the polish it brings to an outfit.

Anything surprising in your wardrobe?

I have numerous vintage 1950s hats, all with either feathers or flowers. I went through this phase where I just wanted as many as possible. They definitely aren't something I wear day-to-day, so they just sit in their little boxes. Poor things.

Favorite color to wear?

Turquoise is my absolute favorite, which is always odd to me considering my affinity for neutrals. I just feel like the color is so alive and vibrant … just try to be unhappy when you're wearing turquoise.

Are there fashions from an art genre you especially admire?


I particularly love Art Deco jewelry. It so often has such intricate, organic detail that seems to glow from within.

Do you have a beloved sentimental piece?

When I was younger, I found a half-carat diamond earring on the bottom of a public swimming pool. I turned it in, and it wasn't claimed, so I got to keep it. It was the first fancy thing I ever owned, but it didn't have meaning for me at first.

It became priceless that Christmas. My parents took it out of my jewelry box and to a local jeweler who surrounded it with a halo of pointed sapphires. It's a beautiful necklace now, a tiny sparkling flower I'll always cherish.

What makes it really important to me is the small book my father made to accompany it. He wrote and illustrated a story about a sea otter — my favorite animal — who always dove to the bottom of the sea while the other otters swam on the surface. One day, the otter met a mermaid, who bestowed her with a sea gem the otter turned into a necklace and always wore when she went on her adventures. I can't think about it without tearing up, and I can't say I've ever received a more meaningful gift.

Anne Murphy is a Rochester freelance writer who has been a professional journalist for more than 30 years.

Do you know somebody who's got special style? Send nominations to or call Life section editor Jeff Pieters at 507-285-7748.

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