Claire Paterson, Vintage Boutique Owner

If I were to describe my style in three words it would be: mixed up, colourful and quirky. I wake up and think, “I’m feeling really 60s, or I’m feeling really 70s today” and pick out a colourful maxi dress. I like to have that edge, whether that’s by adding a vintage accessory, or pairing a dress from the 60s with a high street handbag or shoes. It’s down to how I feel that morning, and what I can pick out from my larger-than-life wardrobe.

Vintage clothes always come in interesting colours and fabrics: bright pinks, crimsons, and golds. It’s rare to find dull clothes from those periods because the past was such a colourful time. Some items are very delicate, weblike lace, or silky satins and the 50s and post-war era saw the emergence of vibrant tules.

I don’t avoid typical shops, but I find that vintage items have more thought put into them, they’re handmade and better quality than the vast quantities of fad fashions being sold on the high street today.

I found vintage shopping a sustainable and cost effective way to shop when I was a student. I studied social policy and law at Edinburgh University and worked in HR. It was a great career, but my dream was always to work in fashion. I told myself I’d work there for a year. However, 12 years passed and I was still there. The more time I spent in the corporate world, the more I wanted to work in fashion. I was made redundant which was probably the best thing to happen to me. It was the push I needed to start my fashion business and set up my own shop.

I own two shops next door to one another, Those Were The Days Vintage, and Bridal Boutiques. They’re full of clothes and accessories dating from 1920 to 1990. The vintage bridal shop is the only one in Scotland and has Edwardian clothes, veils and tiaras which date even further back. I hand-pick my stock which means travelling to LA and New York with empty suitcases to add to my ever-growing collection. I probably look like Sir Elton John travelling with all of my luggage.

As a vintage buyer, I’ve developed an eye for authenticity. Sometimes it’s the zip, or the fabrics that have been used that give it away. I’m strict with what I buy and follow the textbook definition of vintage which means all of the items I buy are 25 years or older.

My ultimate find was an Ossie Clark dress from the late 60s. He’s my favourite designer from that era, so it was my dream to get my hands on one of his dresses.There’s nothing better than when I have an event coming up and I find vintage clothes for it because I know no one will be wearing the same outfit.

Through my love for vintage, I’ve met incredible people from all over the world. I love listening to customer’s stories, styling them and helping them shop, whether that’s for their wedding day or everyday vintage wear. Fashion has always been a huge passion of mine and now I get to do what I love for a living – shop.