Kelly Olson holds a PhD from the University of Chicago, and is currently an Associate Professor in the Dept. of Classical Studies at the University of Western Ontario, with cross-appointments in the Faculty of Law and the Dept. of Women’s Studies and Feminist Research. Her research focuses on Roman society, sexuality, and appearance, as well as fashion history more generally.
She is the author of several articles on clothing in Roman antiquity, published in Mouseion, Fashion Theory, The American Journal of Ancient History, Classical World, and The Journal of the History of Sexuality. She has recent chapters and articles on gender and appearance in publications from Oxford University Press, Blackwell, Routledge, and Berg. Her first book, Dress and the Roman Woman: Self-Presentation and Society, was published by Routledge in 2008. Masculinity and Dress in Roman Antiquity was published by Routledge in 2017. She was named a Faculty Scholar in the Faculty of Arts & Humanities at the University of Western Ontario for the period 2011-2013.
A self-identified shoe-a-holic who owns 120 pairs of footwear, she is often teased by her colleagues for having emergency pairs of shoes in her office; for wearing one pair of shoes to walk in and another to look ornamental in; and wearing extremely high heels. Currently, her three favorite pairs of shoes are her high block-heeled leopard-print Steve Maddens; the black Mary Janes from Berlin with the bright red heels; and black platform pumps she bought at the Goodwill for $6. She is opposed on principle to sensible shoes, because shoes are, after all, candy for one’s feet, and dreams of one day owning a pair of ‘Elizabeth’ Fluevogs.