We are so thrilled to have Susan Kanoff of The Midlife Fashionista as our #styleinfluencer for October—and Parker has gotten some wonderful perspective from yet another great interview. Read on to join in on Susan’s inspirational story, and get the scoop on some great fashion advice for the season!
Q: What first inspired your love of fashion and styling?
A: For as far back as I can remember, I’ve always been drawn to clothes. This is actually quite surprising since my mom is probably one of the least fashionable people I know! I attribute my love of clothes to my best friend’s mom, who let us kids play dress-up in her closet. What a good sport she was!
Clothes became magical to me.
Q: When selecting your outfit of the day, where do you begin/where do you find inspiration?
A: My inspiration comes from fashion magazines, social media (Instagram and Pinterest) and by following other influencers and style bloggers. Street style also fascinates me, and I can spend hours people-watching.
Many of my outfits are photographed in advance, so they may or not be what I’m actually wearing that day. I adore getting dressed up, but the reality of pandemic life is that I’ve been living in comfy clothes!
Q: For those of us a little intimidated by color and pattern, where do you begin in selecting bolder pieces?
A: Baby steps. Add in a splash of color or a subtle pattern and see how you feel. Start with accessories like a printed scarf or a fun handbag. If you’re feeling bold, choose a basic color, head to toe (for instance, black pants with a black turtleneck) and add a cardigan, blazer or coat, in a striking color or pattern. But if you’re not feeling it, that’s ok, too. Some of chicest outfits I’ve seen are monochromatic. There are no rules in fashion! Wear what you love.
Q: What are a few of your favorite trends/styles for fall?
A: On-trend are cropped blazers, chunky boots with feminine dresses, faux leather jumpsuits (on my wish list), fringe, and my all-time favorite, faux fur.
Having said this, I’m not a super-trendy dresser (although bring on the faux fur!). Each season, I incorporate a few of the trends into my wardrobe, but I usually opt for timeless, quality pieces.
Q: What was the catalyst for the launch of Uncommon Threads? And what impact have you seen for the women in your community?
A: My story is a bit unique. I was a social worker for over 20 years, running a federal program designed to move low-income families out of poverty. As a fun “side-gig,” I started a wardrobe styling business that evolved out of my love for clothes. The styling soon turned into a blog: and The Midlife Fashionista was born.
In the fall of 2016, I combined the two worlds to create Uncommon Threads, a non-profit program that empowers low-income women through clothes and image. Uncommon Threads is different from other clothing programs as work is not a requirement for services. Our focus is building self esteem through an outside-in, inside-out approach—so we can dress a woman for any occasion, such as a job interview, birthday party, church, or for everyday life. We serve women of all ages, including domestic violence survivors, cancer patients, women in recovery, female veterans, the unemployed/underemployed, and the homeless. Our philosophy is that every woman deserves to look and feel beautiful and empowered.
The impact has exceeded my expectations. In three years, we’ve served thousands of women with dignity and respect and have over 350 local social workers who refer clients for services. The program has been featured on local (Boston) and national press and television including WCVB Boston, WGBH, The Boston Globe, and Woman’s World Magazine. We also opened a small social enterprise called Uncommon Closet that sells designer items to the public and even has an online presence! All proceeds support Uncommon Threads.
I am grateful to National® for partnering with Uncommon Threads and for donating boxes of beautiful new clothes. Kindness matters.
“I left with a great level of confidence. Beautiful! As a survivor, I had been told otherwise.”
–Carolina, Uncommon Threads client
For more information, please visit www.uncommonthreads.org
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