Meet Gillian Chalmers - a girl who loves shopping for vintage so much she turned it into a business. And looking at her own vintage wardrobe you can see why it's such a success, says Jen Barton. Think Chanel and Oscar de la Renta...
Gillian Chalmers has been bringing her own blend of bold, colourful style to the lucky inhabitants of Gourock on the west coast of Scotland, since she opened the doors to her boutique Parma Vintage in 2007.
Gillian's shop is an offshoot of her enviable wardrobe, where vintage treasure from labels such as Oscar de la Renta and Chanel hang alongside quirky new designers like Freak of Nature and Timmy Woods. Sneak a peek into Gillian's candy-coloured closet below...
Describe your style in three words.
Quirky, fun and timeless.
When did you fall for vintage?
I first got hooked on vintage on my first visit to the thrift stores in NYC.
What are your top vintage-sourcing spots?
Vintage nowadays is getting so hard to find. My first three points of call would be: 1) reputable vintage store Parma Vintage - lol!; 2) remote-location charity shops (i.e. those in small towns with no universities and less competition) and boot sales and 3) elderly family and friends - you'll be amazed at what treasures they have.
How can you tell if a vintage piece is worth investing in?
I would say regardless of what your budget is, all vintage is worth investing in. They are one-off items - probably older than you! - and thinking of the life they had before you is so exciting. This, to me, is priceless. If you have a lot to spend, couture and designer pieces are worth the investment. They will hold their value and go up even more as time goes by.
What inspired you to open your shop?
Since getting hooked on vintage, it was my dream to bring my passion and collection to the public. I opened my shop Parma Vintage, in my local home town of Gourock - the name Parma Vintage is inspired by my love for the retro sweets Parma Violets.