Inspiring Woman on a Mission: Susan Kanoff and Uncommon Threads

women on a mission Jun 19, 2018

By combining her passion for style, and her love for empowering women, Susan Kanoff created Uncommon Threads, a nonprofit out of Lawrence, MA, that helps women build their self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth through the power of clothes.

Susan Kanoff began her journey running the Housing and Urban Development-funded Family Self-Sufficiency Program where she helped low-income families learn to be economically self-sufficient. She later transitioned into the fashion industry, which started as a side gig, where she was able to work as a wardrobe stylist. It’s what inspired her fashion blog, The Midlife Fashionista, that aims to help women feel beautiful and confident by showcasing modern styles that take frumpy dressing out-of-the-mix!   

“Clothes are inside-out and outside-in,” said Susan. “What we wear can have a huge impact on how we feel about ourselves and how others view us. My goal is to give struggling women a new look that will inspire self-confidence and boost self-esteem.”

Because of Susan’s experience as a social worker and as a style blogger, she has been successful in her mission to create a safe, supportive, and encouraging space for women to learn how to dress for their body types and learn new style tips along the way. Through this journey, Susan and her team of volunteers have been able to give confidence and self-love to women who need it most.

A lack of self-esteem can impact how women are able to reach their full potential, can influence their relationships, their ability to find and sustain jobs, their wellness, and their happiness. This is a core value at Uncommon Threads and the reason they work so hard to help women in need.

As one woman said about her experience with Uncommon Threads,

“I had no clothes for work…I think I had one outfit. This held me back. I didn’t feel confident that I could manage dressing the way I needed to for work. Uncommon Threads helped me to feel good about myself. I know I can go to work and look the way I should, and it makes me feel proud.” – Renee

Clients are referred to the program by a social service professional and include domestic violence survivors, homeless and elderly women, female veterans, women with disabilities or in recovery.  Each client receives a private styling session where they learn how to dress to reflect a positive image.

The boutique itself is warm and inviting. It’s filled with trendy and timeless high-end clothes and accessories, giving women a feeling of luxury and indulgence. During the private styling sessions, women are showered with positive reinforcement, compliments, and are pampered to a new level.

By the time women walk out of the doors of Uncommon Threads, they are equipped with new clothes, a new sense of self-worth, and the confidence to take on the world.

Uncommon Threads may only be a year-and-a-half old, but the program has already served over 500 women and has expanded services through the new Women’s Empowerment Center (WEC) that offers a variety of confidence-building programs to further help women with self-love and self-confidence.

And their first annual Dress to Impress Gala was a sold-out event. Now that’s super ‘Impressive.’

Thank you to Family Services of the Merrimack Valley for being the fiscal sponsor of Uncommon Threads.

So tell me ladies, what’s your favorite power outfit? The one that makes you stand tall with that ‘I can do anything’ kind of confidence. Please share in the comments below.

I’ll start – it’s my Diane Von Furstenberg red wrap dress with black pumps. I stand tall all day long when I have that dress on! Love it. 

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