Susan Kanoff, 60: Encouraging Women to Own Their Power Through Fashion

Trending fashion styles are often presented on the svelt figures of people in their 20s and 30s, leading those in older age groups to dismiss a look that could amp up their wardrobe and overall presence. The lack of inclusion of older models in mainstream media wearing the latest style pieces can make you rethink your clothing choices when reaching midlife and beyond. What does that look like anyway? Fashion creates confidence. It is a form of self-expression, and wanting to redefine your sense of style doesn’t mean you must sacrifice what makes you feel great for dated rules made up by antiquated social gatherings. 

Style shouldn’t become less important as you age. Fashion and beauty Influencer, Susan Kanoff, brings the knowledge and styling tips you need to hear.  Susan encourages women to own their power through fashion. She is also the Founder of Uncommon Threads and Co-Founder of Kicking Cancer in Heels, a passionate and supportive community for women impacted by cancer.

Q: What makes you Timeless

A: My strength, courage, and determination.  The older I get, the bolder I become. At age 55, I left my social work job of over twenty years to start a nonprofit called Uncommon Threads. My leukemia diagnosis (at age 56) was the catalyst to co-found a national support group, @KickingCancerinHeels, an Instagram community for women impacted by cancer.  And now, at age 60, I’m modeling clothes and posting my journey on Instagram. Would I have done any of these things when I was younger? Nope!

My struggles and experiences have all made me wiser and stronger. I’m a better version of myself at age 60 than I was when I was younger.

I’m also very transparent about my age – I’m 60 and proud of it!

Q: How do you feel your fashion sense has evolved throughout the years?

A: I’m more open to wearing bright colors and bold patterns. I’m not afraid to try new styles. I know what looks good on me, and I wear what I love, which may include short skirts, sleeveless tops, graphic tees, leather jackets, bling, etc. Some may say I’m too old for these styles, but I don’t listen.

There are no rules in my book.  Who made them up anyway?

Q: What are your top favorite brands at the moment?

A: My closet is a mix of just about everything – from Target to designer, but I especially love Zara (trendy), ecru (timeless), Joie, J. Crew, and Vince.

Q: You encourage women to use their power through fashion. What exactly do you mean by that?

A: As a former wardrobe stylist, I witnessed firsthand how transformative the right clothes can be, and I tapped into this power to create Uncommon Threads.

There is a scientific study called Enclothed Cognition (Northwestern University) that proves how the clothing we wear affects how we feel and our performance levels.  So, why not own our power and use fashion to our advantage?

Fashion can be a powerful tool to increase confidence and self-esteem. When you look good, you feel good, outside and inside!

Q: As a leukemia survivor, what made you mentally strong going through that?

A: Well, I’m still going through it, unfortunately.  Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia is not curable cancer.  Right now, I’m in “watch and wait” but getting close to starting treatment. For the most part, I try to have a good attitude and stay strong, but I have plenty of down days too.  The support that I get from my friends and family has helped me the most.  They are always there for me, and I’m grateful for their love.  

I also co-founded a national support group with Michele Nadeem Baker called CLL Women Strong and Kicking Cancer in Heels, a social media community for women impacted by all types of cancer.  Although Michele and I have only known each other for a few years, she has become one of my closest and dearest friends.  Because we share the same cancer bond, she “gets” it.  My support group friends have also been a huge gift in my life.  We help each other through the good and bad times. It’s a sisterhood of sorts.

Q: When women are beginning to change their wardrobe, how would you advise them to take that first initial step? 

A: The first step is to do a closet purge to get rid of anything that’s past its prime, doesn’t fit, or is just “ok.”  Then, define budget (this will determine which stores to shop at), personal style, needs (casual, professional, etc.), and body shape.

As a former wardrobe stylist, hiring an experienced stylist is an excellent investment as it can be hard to get objective opinions from friends and family. My clients told me I saved them money since they didn’t have unworn clothes in their closets. 

I also advise women to purchase what they love and what makes them feel beautiful.  It’s so easy to waste money on sale items just because they’re a “bargain.”

Q: Where do you get most of your fashion inspiration?

A: It used to be magazines, but now it’s Instagram! I love scrolling through to get style ideas from other influencers – it’s fun! 

It’s time to rebrand yourself, and if you haven’t already, make an account on Instagram to get the style inspiration you need. Follow Susan Kanoff today (@themidlifefashionista) and get all her fantastic fashion tips and own your power! 

You can also follow Susan on Facebook, Twitter, and her Blog

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Shannah Lauren

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