I would like to officially introduce you to Susan Kanoff of THE MIDLIFE FASHIONISTA.  Susan allowed me to toss some questions at her and, so, we begin with just getting to know her:
I’m a 54-year-old wardrobe stylist, style blogger and part-time
social  worker (whew!) from the Greater
Boston area.
I have two children from my first marriage, Neal, 25 and Alyssa
29 (who is married to a great guy Sean). I’ve been married to Richard for
11 years –he also has two grown kids Leah and Tuan. 
Oh and I can’t forget my grandbabies Guinness Burrito the Black
Lab and Magner Taco Bunny.
      How did
you go from social work to stylist?
Good question. When I tell people what I do, they seem to look a
bit dazed and confused! As far back as I can remember I’ve always
had a passion for clothes mixed with a love for helping others.
When I was in high school I decided that I wanted to be a hair
stylist.  However my father (who was a
Harvard graduate) wouldn’t hear of it and he strongly encouraged me to attend
college. I ended up at The University of Massachusetts where I pursued the next
best thing to the beauty world…social work.  I
graduated from college, had children, and worked for various social service
organizations, but I never lost my passion for clothes. 
About nine years ago, I dressed a friend for her brother’s
wedding and my work got noticed! People wanted to know if I would also help
them, so with my friend’s encouragement I started a business!
Within a short time, I had a clientele and was even styling for
television. I later became the Style Editor for a local magazine and have
collaborated with such stores as Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, J. Jill, Macy’s,
Lord & Taylor.  Not too shabby for a
social worker!
When I’m not in the stores or on photo shoots, I run The Family
Self-Sufficiency Program (a federal program) for a local housing authority. It’s
hard to believe that I’ve been at the same job for over 21 years, but I truly
love the work and I strongly believe in the mission of the program (moving
families out of poverty through education and employment). 
 When did
you begin blogging?
I’ve been blogging for years, but over the past several months I
stepped things up by collaborating with a photographer (who just happens to be
my best friend!). I changed the name of my blog to The Midlife Fashionista and
revamped the site to give it a cleaner and more sophisticated look.  I chose the name The Midlife Fashionista because
I want midlife women to know that we CAN rock modern and stylish clothes! The
blog is a great way for women to get fresh new ideas that they can incorporate
into their own wardrobe. I try to link to the pieces I’m wearing or give suggestions
for similar styles. I like to think of the blog as a type of online style
magazine for us “midlifers”.
I also try to make my posts relatable by infusing my own
life-experiences…we are all in this together!

  What are
your top 5 pieces of advice when working with 50+ women to make changes in
their overall style?
*Go for a professional bra fitting. Our bodies change over the
years—especially during weight shifts.  A
supportive bra makes a huge difference in the way clothes fit and can actually
take pounds off! 
*Weed your closet often. Get rid of outdated clothes that are
past their prime.  Only keep the pieces
you love, make you feel fabulous and fit well. 
I see a lot of women hanging on to clothes that are too small because
they’re hoping to shed a few pounds someday. This is emotional blackmail.  Why beat yourself up every time you look in
the closet? Plus why take up valuable closet space with clothes that no longer
fit? If you insist on keeping clothes that are too small, I recommend storing
them outside of your closet.  If you end
up losing weight, you can revisit them. However my experience is that when
women shed pounds, they want to treat themselves to a shopping spree and rarely
want to keep the old stuff!
*Know your best styles and colors and stay away from frumpy or
dated clothes. As we get older it’s even more important to dress well.
Understand your body shape and choose styles and colors that flatter you. Play
up your assets (if you have great legs, don’t cover them up) and camouflage the
areas that you’re self-conscious about (for many midlife women, including
myself, it’s the mid-section).   Choose
modern designs and cuts and avoid patterns, fabrics and styles that are
aging.  I believe, as we get older, we
should invest in quality vs. quantity. 
*Avoid the bargain trap. There are so many great sales out there
and it’s easy to fill your closet with bargain pieces that don’t get worn. I go
with the $10/$100 rule. A $10 bargain worn once (or never worn!) is no bargain.
However, $100 piece that gets worn over and over again is a great deal.  Shift your mindset from “bargain” to cost per
wear.
*Find a great tailor.  A
fabulous tailor will become your best friend. A little nip, tuck or hem can
give you the perfect fit.

 Your
favorite garment to wear to a holiday party is…

It may sound cliché, but a fabulous little black dress.  A
LBD is always so classic and chic…plus it’s versatile, easily accessorized
and can be worn just about everywhere. Depending on the event, I’ll
make it edgy with a fitted leather jacket, tights and suede boots or dress
things up with crystal chandelier earrings, heels and a statement coat. One of
my favorite black dresses is a J. Crew silk shift dress that is so simple but
always chic.
By the way, if black is not your color try navy or charcoal
gray. I’m also loving merlot this season!

Thank you, Susan for sharing a little about you…I hope everyone will visit her blog to say hello!

Have a joyful, warm Thursday!

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