By Karen Carruth

Buying vintage is a style choice. You are investing in a really special dress, a unique piece of fashion history which comes with its own story. Vintage wedding dresses are rare and often unique and provide a perfect alternative to modern day wedding dresses. Choosing a vintage wedding dress doesn’t mean you have to theme your wedding or look a certain way. Instead it allows brides to create a style unique to them. With more than 100 years of styles available there really is something for everyone – glamorous gowns and dresses, suits, jewellery and accessories such as veils, tiaras, hats, headpieces and handbags, and fur stoles, wraps and capes. 

Those Were The Days is a vintage bridal boutique in Edinburgh and Claire Paterson, owner of the shop, is proud of the range of dresses that she has collected over the years. In general, the shop has around 175 dresses on offer so there is always something to delight every bride.

Claire says: “At Those Were The Days we specialise in beautiful, easy to wear, romantic dresses you won’t find anywhere else. When you choose a vintage wedding dress you can set yourself apart from the crowd and showcase your individual style. You can rest assured it is a truly unique piece and that you will never see anyone with the same dress.

“Vintage bridal fashion is of a very high quality compared to a lot of today’s fast fashion bridal styles. Vintage items were made to last with high quality fabrics and were made lovingly and expertly by hand. This is why they’ve survived in such good condition for so long. Each dress in our rare bridal collection is internationally sourced and spans the Edwardian era to the 1990s and is chosen by us because of the high quality of design, fabric and craftsmanship. All the dresses in our collection are also expertly cleaned and restored before they arrive in the boutique.

“Vintage wedding dresses are also often lower in price than many modern wedding dresses. Our collection ranges in price from £300 to £950, with a few rarer and very special pieces priced above that up to £1500. Shopping vintage can be a budget friendly option for brides. A beautiful vintage wedding dress will save you money and make you feel like a million dollars.”

Trends in wedding dresses are a strong indicator of the era when it was created and Claire finds it hard to specify a particular era that she loves most. She continues: “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 1920s 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 ask whether brides have an idea of what will suit them before they arrive? Claire says: “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. 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, and 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.”

Claire loves the experience of helping women find that perfect dress. Claire continues: “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.”


Those Were The Days Vintage Bridal boutique is at 26 St. Stephen Street, Stockbridge, Edinburgh, EH3 5AL.  The bridal boutique is open Tuesday to Saturday and appointments are required to visit it.  It is recommended that you book a few weeks in advance. 

Those Were The Days Vintage Fashion boutique is right next door to the bridal shop at 28 St. Stephen Street and stocks vintage bridesmaid dresses as well as a full range of vintage fashion.  It is open from 11:00am to 5:30pm Tuesday to Saturday.