Allyson Rowen Taylor,
– as told to The Silver Women
Women who inspired you as a young girl?
I was very inspired by my mother which is not unusual for a little girl. However, my mother was also a career woman and very successful in her field. She was an Interior Designer, and I used to see her get dressed for work wearing full makeup, hat, and gloves. She wore a pixie cut when bouffants were in style and was adept at the cat eye. I remember being intrigued with her Mr. Blackwell cocktail dress and Mr. John and Adolpho hats. When she would go out to dinner, I would invade her makeup drawer and play with her clothes. Her sense of style was my aspiration, and I remember growing up with Harpers Bazaar on our coffee table. I was also intrigued by Jacqueline Kennedy, and my dream was to wear a duchess satin gown like her. I still to this day find her so chic and timeless.
Women who inspire you now?
Queen Elizabeth…dignity beyond words.
Jane Goodall for her love and dedication.
Benazir Bhutto, former Prime Minister of Pakistan. A strong woman who tried to make strides for women in a male-dominated society.
And as I am a lover of fashion, I currently admire Giovanna Battista’s style. I think she has great taste and a flawless elegance. She looks chic in a tee or a gown. I also love Tilda Swinton, she has a strong individual style and seems to live unafraid to experiment or make a mistake. And of course, Diana Vreeland.
Most valuable lesson taught by your Mother or any other women growing up?
To be independent, to have a career and believe I could do anything I aspired to be. My mother is a very strong woman.
Do you think older women are valued or celebrated enough?
NO WAY! We are just coming into our full understanding of who we are. We appreciate everything from a fine wine to a great tailored suit. We have lived life and have experienced ups and downs and gained strength from them. Have learned from our mistakes and became more sensual, more understanding and more capable of being passionate and compassionate And at this time we become a bit invisible…
But things are beginning to shift, and I feel that some people in the younger generation are beginning to see we have value. They are starting to get into their 30’s and see that many things we taught them, that they dismissed, are in fact true. We are also becoming an important group of consumers for brands that dismissed us.
“I am happy to walk with my head high as I feel a self-confidence I lacked in my youth. It’s very empowering !”
Have you made career changes over the years?
Many! Stylist, interior designer, non-profits, retail sales, painter and now I’m going into acting. Why not!
Through the decades!
20’s: I wish I finished college. Instead, I fell in love and married. Big mistake.
30’s: I married again to my husband of 33 years. We had two amazing kids and I have no regrets except not losing the baby weight I gained and kept on for 10 years. A great decade.
40’s: I was beginning to feel like my life was fleeting. My kids were getting older and I noticed my self-worth was tied to my feeling of being stuck in a routine. I was yearning for adventure. I was conflicted. I then started becoming more respective and appreciative of what I had, instead of what I felt I did not have.
50’s: Menopause, literally on my birthday. I could not read the movie listing in the paper. I felt thrilled to never have to buy a ‘feminine product’ ever again, or fear the dreaded leak in my white pants but I noticed a drop in my sex drive. I had to try to feel that I was not ‘used goods’. I also noticed the grey in my hair and the trips twice a month to the salon to cover up the dreaded roots. It became a game of maintenance. I lost 80 pounds. I used collagen and started to get my mojo back but it was a transition getting used to hearing I was half a century old!
60’s: I feel so liberated. I started to understand all the lessons and cliches I grew up with.”Youth is wasted on the young” took on a special meaning to me and realizing that there was no forever and now is the moment. My 60’s has been my time to feel the earth between my toes. I felt it was not a time to let myself go, but a time to let myself grow and glow. I took classes, I started painting and got into a gallery. I have sold my art and got commissions! I finally realized my style and embraced it. I have let my hair grow out to its natural color. I have saved HOURS not sitting in the salon. I wear lots of bangles on both arms and do not care if I show up at a BBQ with jeans and a sequin jacket. I have found a happy place and decided to look forward and embrace my past but not mourn my youth. I will use the lessons to enjoy what’s next.
What have been your greatest challenges? Balancing my checkbook and sticking to a budget.
“I am grateful for still having my brain power and being healthy.
I have lost many special people in my life, and NO amount of money could save them.
I am happy to wake up, not feel pain and speak to my kids and family and friends. And I love my dog HANK …he gets me!”
Thoughts on aging? Well not wearing my high heels anymore is sad. They are so beautiful, but they hurt! Seeing my body change is a bit difficult. The texture of my skin, age spots. Seeing my grandmother in myself. But what’s the alternative? So, I am just becoming more accepting.
The downside: All the frigging mess and vitamins I have to take. I hate it. Looking at my face on a selfie app at a bad angle and realizing this is really me! And the feeling of not having enough time.
The upside: All the lessons I have learned along the way. ( I survived the 1970s with all limbs intact.) Not caring as much what other people think and being comfortable with my decisions. Though I do have regrets, I have so many more things I am thankful for.
Your advice to young women of today?
Do everything you can and explore the world as complicated as it is. Try to meet all kinds of people and don’t judge by their shoes, clothes or superficial things. My hubby wore damn jelly shoes when I met him. I was able to change that but changing a man’s character is impossible. Taste it all, dance, sing and fly. Try not to let social media dictate your life. Keep good friends close. Try to read as much as you can, see art films, listen to the birds. All these things make your life feel more complete.
-Allyson Rowen Taylor xoxo
Images courtesy Allyson Rowen Taylor unless credited otherwise.
FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. Play it as it Lays by Joan Didion
Film: Cinema Paradiso, A Clockwork Orange, Rashomon
Flower: Calla Lily
Scent: Portrait of a Lady by Frederic Malle
City/place: Wherever I am at the time
Food/Meal/Cuisine: Italian, Mexican and Japanese
Song: The low spark of high heeled boys by Traffic
Lasting art/memory on a wall with the little tools they had.
Style Icon: Audrey Hepburn
Skincare product you can’t live without:
Lipstick color or Makeup product you can’t live without:
Cle de Peau foundation in Ivory