This week I explore the best boutiques, design shops and independent retailers in Dunfermline.
Dunfermline may be the old royal capital, with St Margaret's Cave, the body of Robert the Bruce buried within the Abbey and a connection to philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, but it's also a victim of the lack of spending going into town centres.
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I'd heard of a place called the Whistlestop Café, a tearoom that also sold vintage clothing, but disappointingly it was all boarded up and with no sign of life. Similarly the promising sounding Lula Boudoir on Maygate had also closed down.
But Fife has a thriving arts scene and there are quite a few places in Dunfermline that sell homegrown crafts and jewellery. Take some time to wander the narrow cobbled streets that slope into town and you'll find a few hidden gems. Maygate, which overlooks Dunfermline Abbey, has a number of independent stores including a tattoo parlour and a comic store called Little Shop of Heroes.
The interesting Fire Station project should also be completed later this year, which sees the old Art Deco Dunfermline Fire Station being transformed into an arts centre and creative hub.
Here are my style picks for Dunfermline
Maggie's Farm, 23 New Row Street
It's worth visiting to Dunfermline just to pay a visit to Maggie' Farm. With floral playsuits, Barbarella-style shimmering mini-dresses, platforms and laser cut leather shorts, it has a definite retro late 60s/70s vibe which goes with it's name from a Bob Dylan song. There's also an in-demand beauty salon attached, offering advice on make-up and how to completely transform your look.
Lavande, 10 Maygate
Selling classic pieces rather than high fashion, independent boutique Lavande has a good line in coats and leather boots, and with some nice costume jewellery, particularly the little bird cage necklaces.
Upfront Lingerie, 17 New Row
Providing an extensive selection of lingerie and swimwear that caters for all sizes, with very friendly service, and brands including Elle McPherson, Triumph and Freya, it's a good choice when updating your undie drawer.
Miss Pauley's, 42 Chalmers Street
Combining a gift centre, an art gallery and a workshop space that hosts creative classes such as lampshade making, Miss Pauley's showcases work by Fife artists. There's jewellery by Jenny and Grace, Paper Hat and Audrey at Dawa Designs, including bronze 'map of Scotland' necklaces, and colourful make-up bags by Yellow Monkey.
The Art Boutique, 2a Chalmers Street
Located up a flight of stairs is an unobtrusive little space next to a skater shop called Wheel Base, is a boutique selling vintage and retro clothing, jewellery and graphic art resembling psychedelic fairytales. Local designers include Zombie Pussy, Crail Morton, and jewellery by Limekiln's Tartan Hearts - with little necklaces inspired by Bertie Bassett and Doctor Who.
And for after…
The Bruery, 25 Canmore Street
Just to prove you don't solely have to drink cocktails if you are into fashion, this new brewery bar in Dunfermline serves its own beer, de Brus, which is made right on the premises. There's an Indian pale ale, blonde, nut brown ale and raspberry cider, it's located in B-Listed Victorian villa and they have a good food menu designed to complement their drinks.