Get your glad rags on…

Latvians are the best-dressed people in the world. Ask any Latvian.

And if ‘best-dressed’ means donning as much fur, gold lamé, leopard print and jewellery as humanly possible then they might be right. It’s the only country in the world where you can feel under-dressed in your local supermarket, where it’s not unusual to see women in what would commonly be considered cocktail dresses teetering around the aisles at 11am on a Tuesday morning2013-02-12 12.56.25.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m certainly not claiming that the Irish are the most fashion forward people in the world. I can imagine the first Latvians’ shock upon moving to Ireland and making their shopping début in what is supposedly a ‘rich’ country. Dressed in their finery so as not to stand out as a foreigner, they must have been a little surprised to find themselves surrounded by middle-aged harridans in their pyjamas and slippers.

This Latvian tendency to overdress can make shopping for ‘normal’ clothes here tricky. For instance, not long after I moved here, I wanted to buy a plain black hoodie for slobbing about my flat. After rifling through enough glitter, sparkles and sequins to make Dolly Parton wince, I finally found one. I pulled it out and tried it on. It fit. Then, on impulse, I decided to pull up the hood. It had ears. Ears. Maybe you can think of a reason why any grown woman in her right mind would want to wear a hoodie with ears on it. I couldn’t.

Unfortunately for me, I also failed to think of a reason why my Latvian friend shouldn’t do my make-up. We’d agreed to meet at my place to start the evening with a bottle of wine before hitting the town. As far as I was concerned, I was good to go. After much tut-tutting and comments about how Irish girls didn’t know how to put on eye make-up, I finally agreed to let her ‘fix’ it. She proceeded to attack eye number one with all the brushes, sponges and colours I had in my possession.

Meanwhile, I flailed around trying to reach my glass in a vain attempt to slug away the indignity of it all. With one eye weeping in protest and half-closed under the weight of eye shadow, I staggered off to the bathroom to check the results. I cheerfully declared myself very happy with that eye but told her that that was enough – the fact that I looked like a tearful, lop-sided drag queen would be an interesting ice-breaker in the pub. But there was no stopping her at this stage. She pinned me to the sofa by my neck and set upon the other eye. By the time she’d finished, I had tears streaming down my cheeks and really didn’t want to go out any more.

Lesson learned. I now meet her in the safety of a bar, where she can tut all she likes but can’t inflict any real damage. Except, of course, to my ego – but luckily, that’s far less sensitive than my eyes.

Advertisements

About BerLinda

Adjusting to life in Germany, after living in Latvia for four years. Should be easy, right?
This entry was posted in Travel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Get your glad rags on…

  1. Anna says:

    This is basically the post I was going to write about Russian fashions, except you beat me to it!

  2. I must say though, as having Latvian parents and all, Riga is pretty much 90% Russians. And they love gold, fur and all that classy stuff. Find it so unfair that Latvian people get judged based on Russians, especially seeing that they are so different.

    • Expat Eye says:

      I read about 60% were Russian but that may be out of date. I’ve seen some pretty normal looking Russians and some pretty dodgy looking Latvians and vice versa but on the whole, I’d have to agree that the Russians are more OTT when it comes to fashion!

  3. Inga says:

    “It’s the only country in the world where you can feel under-dressed in your local supermarket, where it’s not unusual to see women in what would commonly be considered cocktail dresses teetering around the aisles at 11am on a Tuesday morning” – hell yeah!!!! You ALWAYS have to look your best because you never know who you are going to meet – maybe your future husband (the best scenario) or that bitch from the school/evil relative or ex boyfriend. This also applies to looking your best with a plastic garbage bag on your way to the trash bin because we all know the story of that one girl who met her husband on her way back:D

    I have a suggestion to look into Latvian superstitions my foreign coworkers are always amused by 🙂

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha ha, hadn’t heard the story about taking out the rubbish! Guess that’s why I haven’t met my future husband yet – clearly 5 lat ‘uggs’ and tracksuit bottoms don’t go down very well here!! 🙂

  4. Mareks says:

    “gold lamé, leopard print and jewellery as humanly possible “- hmm, I thing you were talking about russian girls ,
    ” It’s the only country in the world where you can feel under-dressed in your local supermarket, where it’s not unusual to see women in what would commonly be considered cocktail dresses teetering around the aisles at 11am on a Tuesday morning.” – the same , it is about russian girls.
    Don`t you forget Russia in the list of countries ?

Comments are closed.