Vintage expert and owner of Those Were The Days Vintage Bridal Boutique, Claire Paterson, talks us through the magical world of vintage bridal.
THOSE WERE THE (EARLY) DAYS
I’ve always loved fashion. As time passed, I found myself developing an interest in fabric and design which naturally led me to vintage clothing and style.
I began to collect vintage clothing and, over time, developed my knowledge until it became a full time passion for me.
I left my 9 to 5 life in 2011 and, that same year, I opened my first vintage boutique, Those Were The Days in Stockbridge, Edinburgh.
My idea was to bring beautiful, collectable and wearable collections of curated vintage clothing, jewellery and accessories to Edinburgh. Within my collections I included vintage wedding dresses.
In terms of my shop, I was inspired by many of the boutiques I had visited around the world and, in particular, my favourites in Los Angeles, New York and London.
Those Were The Days has a luxurious yet relaxed feel and, above all else, it’s easy to shop in. It’s a vintage heaven right here in Edinburgh.
WEDDING STYLE IN THE CAPITAL
Originally our bridal section was in a separate room towards the back of the shop.
We quickly became known as vintage bridalwear specialists and, after years of growing our wedding dress collection and helping lots of brides from all over the UK and overseas to find their perfect dress, I felt that the time was right to expand the business and open a stand-alone bridal boutique where we could showcase our huge collection and offer our brides a fabulous shopping experience.
After months of looking for premises, we had a stroke of luck and the shop unit next door to our shop came up for rent.
In the summer of 2017 I took the plunge and swapped our shop premises over, opening two brand new boutiques at the same time; a new vintage fashion boutique and a new vintage bridal wear boutique. It is Edinburgh’s first dedicated vintage bridal boutique.
IMAGE | Solen Photography
FINDING YOUR BRIDAL STYLE
A vintage wedding dress is a really special dress. It’s a unique piece of fashion history and comes with its own romantic story. Each dress is selected because of the high quality of design, fabric and craftsmanship.
As with our fashion collections, every item is expertly cleaned and restored before it arrives in the boutique
Our rare and evolving bridal collection is internationally sourced and spans the Edwardian era to the 1990s. They provide the perfect alternative to modern day dresses.
Choosing a vintage wedding dress doesn’t mean you have to theme your wedding or look. Instead, it allows our brides to create something unique to them.
With almost over 100 years of style, there really is something for everyone – glamourous gowns and dresses, suits, jewellery and accessories, such as veils, tiaras, hats, headpieces, handbags, fur stoles, wraps and capes.
We specialise in beautiful, easy to wear, romantic dresses you won’t find anywhere else.
With enough time, we are also able to help source dresses and accessories for brides who might have their heart set on a particular style or era.
IMAGE | Anneleen Lindsay Photography
MY FAVOURITE PICKS
Because I’ve been involved in finding and restoring all of the wedding dresses in our collection, I find it really hard to pick a favourite era or style of dress.
I love them all and they’re all really special finds to me. However, there are a couple of our recent acquisitions that I absolutely love.
One is a wonderful ivory lace, full length wedding gown dating from the 1920’s which my mum found in New York. It’s a really fabulous piece; so elegant and glamorous, but because the style is so timeless, it would be absolutely stunning on a modern bride.
I also found an amazing 1960’s bridal trouser suit in LA which is beyond fabulous. It’s made from frilly white lace with pastel colours threaded throughout and is finished with a big pink belt over the tunic top. It’s unreal. I think a real fashion girl will look amazing in this one day!
GO YOUR OWN WAY
Brides who come to Those Were The Days aren’t really looking to follow fashion trends. They’re women who want a very unique, classic, and different bridal look.
In saying that, we definitely notice trends in the range of styles brides are looking for.
When we first opened, everyone wanted 1950s wedding dresses, then when The Great Gatsby film was released it drove the 1920s flapper dress trend. Recently a lot of brides have wanted very relaxed bohemian styles from the 1960s and 1970s.
Sometimes brides come in with a definite look they are going for and often leave with something completely different. I think there is something special in having such an eclectic collection.
IMAGE | Gillian Maclean Photography
ALL IN THE EXPERIENCE
Shopping for a wedding dress is one of the most important dresses a woman will buy in her life and so it’s a very special sentimental experience.
We also understand that it can sometimes be quite a nerve-wracking experience for some brides, so at Those Were The Days it’s really important to us that our bridal appointments are relaxed and fun and that our brides feel no pressure or stress.
We love helping brides to find their wedding dress and make sure their visit to our boutique is a fun memorable one. We believe that you should wear the dress, the dress shouldn’t wear you.
We want our brides to feel amazing, relaxed and comfortable. You should be able to move around, hug people, sit down, eat and dance the night away in your dress and – most importantly – you should feel your most beautiful self when you’re wearing it.
We will help guide our brides to find their perfect dress in our relaxed, easy going and fun appointment. We will help ease any nerves and will guide and support our brides and provide honest insight so that they can find a look that is perfect for their style, their silhouette and for their wedding.
I’m definitely working my dream job right now. I love being my own boss and being involved in all aspects of the business.
My job lets me combine my love of vintage fashion with working with people and all the fun of working in such a happy, buzzing industry as the bridal industry.
A wedding is such a big moment in people’s lives, it’s an honour to play a part in a bride’s big day.
IMAGE | Ian James Vincent Photography
It’s the most amazing feeling to receive a thank you card or flowers or a photo of a bride who you’ve helped to find her wedding dress. We absolutely love seeing photos of our brides in their Those Were The Days wedding dresses.
It’s so exciting to see how they’ve styled their bridal look, and it’s the best feeling to see them look so happy and to know you’ve played a part in that.
We’ve struck up some lovely friendships with our brides and it’s even more exciting when they come back into our vintage boutique next door to visit us and share exciting news with us about new babies, new pets and houses!
LOOKING FOR A VINTAGE WEDDING DRESS IN SCOTLAND?
BOOK YOUR APPOINTMENT AT THOSE WERE THE DAYS VINTAGE BRIDAL BOUTIQUE!