RACK of STYLE

As a young gal growing up in the world of retail, I hopped on the fashion train way too early. Despite my efforts to destroy any evidence of some of my early fashion choices, hints of my styling efforts creep up every now and then. Thankfully, I have found the straight and narrow of the styling world – in other words, I know how to work a closet! Check back each week for glimpses of my favorite fabrics, colors, and go-to styling tips!

Meet Susan Kanoff of The Midlife Fashionista

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!

Susan wearing Stretch Thermal Hoodie by Cuddl Duds® and Flat Waist Leggings by National®

 

 

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.

My favorite fall staples are a great pair of black leggings, turtleneck or tee, and a fun vest or jacket for layering (that third piece really “makes” and outfit!).

 

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

 

 


Share this on social media!
Facebooktwitterpinterestmail

Compression Hosiery as a Daily Routine

I didn’t realize the importance of compression hosiery until I was flat on my back with a disc injury at the age of 22. Over the next few months, compression socks and hosiery became a game-changer for my recovery, and ultimately lead to a new understanding in energy maintenance.

 

Years later, I found myself in a job requiring 7-8 hours on my feet every day. Especially on days with large public events, I was upright from morning until night, sometimes working a 12-hour day with few breaks in between. Nowadays when traveling by air, I pack compression hosiery in my carry-on and find adjustment to new time zones much easier. My energy is sustained and that “travel lag” feeling is minimal. Needless to say, compression hosiery has remained a staple component in my wellness journey.

 

Below are four options for simplifying compression in your daily life. Whether you prefer full compression or minimal coverage, the National team has a variety of options to complement your comfort and achieve optimal support.

Compression Support Thigh-Highs by National®

Over-the-Knee-Highs by Just Comfort®

Sheer Open-Toe Knee-High by Just Comfort®

Compression Support Pantyhose by National®

Have you added compression socks or hosiery into your daily routine? Share the benefits you’ve experienced in the comments section below.

Be well and energized,

Parker


Share this on social media!
Facebooktwitterpinterestmail

Activewear Jackets

In the last week, our family has averaged two walks a day. Clearly, we are relishing this weather! Yesterday morning, a slight cold front came through Wilmington and had me grabbing a zip-up coat for our walk. Today, I am sharing a few of my favorite options for active and leisure jackets for transitional weather.

 

National’s quarter-zip is perfect for an outside tennis match or stroll in the crisp mountain air. The jacquard bomber jacket is a staple for me during this time of year – especially for a quick outing with friends. For beach days, I reach for my full zip or Promenade jacket. All of these pair easily with an UltraSofts short sleeve or sleeveless tank. If you need a bit more warmth, the sleeves have enough give for a long-sleeved undershirt.

Wic-Tech™️ 1/4 Zip Pullover by National®️

Jacquard Bomber Jacket by National®️

Full-Zip Jacket by National®️

Promenade Jacket by National®️

Which one is your favorite option for your next adventure?

 

Enjoy the outdoors,

Parker


Share this on social media!
Facebooktwitterpinterestmail

Favorite Fire Meals

This weekend, the weather will dip just low enough for us to build an outdoor fire in our brick fire pit. A quick history on the fire pit…

It was my only home purchase requirement.

Priorities, my friends. Priorities.

 

Every backyard we surveyed had to be just the right layout for a small, circular fire pit. Nowadays, there are many options for portable fire pits to elevate the ambiance (and fun factor) of your back yard – no matter the size. We opted for a brick fire pit near our outdoor grill, and it was the best decision ever for our little family.

 

Last weekend, our daughter enjoyed her first s’more (and I’m certain more of those will be on tap for the weekend). Below are a few favorite “fire meals” for you to consider from The Kitchn. Are you a fan of cooking over a fire? Share your tips with me in the comments section below!

Grilled Peppadews from thekitchn.com

Kebabs from thekitchn.com

Skillet S’mores from thekitchn.com

 

Happy Friday,

Parker


Share this on social media!
Facebooktwitterpinterestmail

3 Pieces for Layering

Fall is here, which means it is time to stock up on layering pieces for the season! I’ve included three pieces ideal for layering this time of year. Worn on its own, the Denim Printed Shirt Jacket is a great complement to dark jeans or bold, rust-colored leggings. For a soft and polished look, add the Speckled Knit Sweater and roll up the sleeves to show off gold bangles or stacked bracelets. If it gets a bit chillier than expected, make sure to grab this Stretch Twill Jacket for an afternoon out and about!

jacket

Denim Printed Shirt Jacket by National®

 

Speckled Knit Sweater by National®

 

Stretch Twill Jacket by National®

 

What are your favorite pieces for fall? Share how you love to layer in the comments section below!

 

Stay warm,

Parker


Share this on social media!
Facebooktwitterpinterestmail

Cuddling Up With Cuddl Duds

As hard as it is to believe, we had temperatures cool enough to warrant switching our thermostat from “cool” to “heat.” Admittedly, this isn’t the norm in September around here. We still find ourselves in some sweltering heat more often than not. But trust me – I am not complaining. Give me all the fuzzy tunics and cozy pants. Fall is here and I am ready.

 

A longtime brand available at National, Cuddl Duds, offers the most luxurious comfort for this time of year. The quintessential thermal is available in varied styles and prints, perfectly suited to lounging around by a fire. The best part? Most styles have a variety of color choices and patterns. Choose what’s best for you!

women's thermal top

Cuddl Duds® Stretch Thermal Henley Top – (Red Buffalo Plaid)

top

Cuddl Duds® Stretch Thermal Henley Top – (Peacock Blue Fair)

tunic

Cuddl Duds® Long Sleeve Tunic

Cuddl Duds® Lace Trim Long Sleeve Thermal Top

 

Tune in next week to read about my favorite lounge pants – I never make a mountain trip without these in my bag!

Stay cozy,

Parker


Share this on social media!
Facebooktwitterpinterestmail

Light Layers for Fall

Friends – YESTERDAY THERE WAS A 6 IN THE TEMPERATURE! All the praise hands for cooler morning weather and beautiful beach walks in September!

 

On this morning’s family walk, I had to snag a jacket before we left the house. Just the right weight for today was my National Jacquard Bomber Jacket. With a low crew neck collar and an easy zip closure, it is a staple item for me this time of year. When I’m eager to add color and vibrance to my leisure look, I opt for my bright and cheerful Zip Jacket. Another favorite – especially for mountain top mornings – is this soft and cozy Berber Fleece Vest, in Black or Caribbean Blue.

 

As temperatures continue to be kinder to us southerners, these items will be on rotation in my closet! Which one is your favorite?

Jacquard Bomber Jacket by National®

Full Zip Jacket by National®

Berber Fleece Vest by National® (Caribbean Blue)

Berber Fleece Vest by National® (Black)

Happy trails,

Parker


Share this on social media!
Facebooktwitterpinterestmail

Just a Little Extra

We’ve talked about fashion simplicity – it’s my go-to! These days, the most “flair” I add to my wardrobe is a spark of color and a little detail. My favorites from National are the perfect combination.

 

Today, I am sharing a few options that add a touch of style without sacrificing ease and comfort. (Just click on your favorite selection to learn more about the item.) Each one of my picks is constructed from our signature UltraSofts fabric. Known to hold shape and color beautifully, these items have the added bonus of UPF 50+ protection! Enjoy an afternoon stroll without concern – all while enhancing your comfort and style.

 

I lean towards cutout details with a solid jean or black legging. The side-tie shirt is a great option with a long skirt or slacks. For a more casual approach, the white shirt with sleeve detail is a number one favorite.

 

Tell me how you love to style your favorite in the comments section below!

Floral Cutout Top by UltraSofts®

Grommet Detail Knit Top by UltraSofts®

Side Tie Top by UltraSofts®

Cut-Out Sleeve Top by UltraSofts®

 

Cheers to comfort (and style),

Parker


Share this on social media!
Facebooktwitterpinterestmail

Three Must-Haves for Fall

This week marks the start of a NEW MONTH! Friends, SEPTEMBER IS HERE.

If you’re new to this blog, you may not be aware of my affinity for cold weather. Let me fill you in:

I. love. the. cold.

I got married in October, honeymooned on a snow-covered mountain range, and lived in Canada after our first year of marriage. Anytime I am given the green light for travel, I opt for cold weather destinations.

So when my calendar alerted me to the end of August – well, I gave a big “hip hip, hooray” over here! I may live by the ocean, but my heart longs for the crisp air of the mountains.

When I visit our beloved Blowing Rock, I typically pack a few lightweight options for cooler temperatures. Whether I need a fleece jacket for morning hikes, a lightweight cardigan for lunch outside, or a cozy pullover for an evening by the fire, I am covered with all selections from the ShopNational team. Below are my three must-haves for fall. Which style do you prefer?

 

Berber Fleece Jacket by National®

Duster Cardigan by Esperanza®

Stretch-Heather Hoodie by National®

 

Stay cozy,

Parker


Share this on social media!
Facebooktwitterpinterestmail

Simpler Seasonal Styles

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself reaching for the exact same shorts and boatneck shirt I have worn on repeat since June. It’s easy, mindless and efficient. And as a mom of three under three, that’s exactly what I need. Lately, I’ve found myself wanting a pick-me-up in my daily routine. I’ve found that a little change here and there can perk up my attitude and boost my energy…very needed during this wild time with littles! So, I started with a shift in my wardrobe.

 

My new standard uniform includes a comfortable cotton sheath dress and slip-on shoes. I add bold earrings or a necklace, and I feel brand new. Sure, it is simple and yep, still efficient. But it’s just enough variation from the norm and lends itself well to a change in accessories for that added pop of color.

 

I’ve hand-picked four dresses to add to your closet this fall. If you’re in a warmer part of the country, consider a lightweight denim or flowing sheath dress. Have a bit more breeze in your neck of the woods? This belted denim dress is perfect for you. And if you’re ready for some pattern, opt for stripes.

 

Which one is your favorite?

dress

Casual Denim Dress by National®

Eyelet Dress by National®

dress

Denim Belt Tie Dress by National®

dress

Overlay Side-Tie Dress by National®

 

 

Happy shopping,

Parker


Share this on social media!
Facebooktwitterpinterestmail

Subscribe to our blog