I had planned on this being the last ever post on Expat Eye on Latvia, but I’ve never been known for my restraint. Call it a case of premature publication, if you will.
When my friend Lāsma (which definitely doesn’t rhyme with ‘plasma’) announced that she was coming to town, I knew what we had to do. Yes, it was time to go on the hunt for leopard print – after all, who better to accompany me than a Latvian chick?
We arranged to meet at Galerija Centrs at 4pm on Saturday. All morning, Lāsma had been sending me pictures of random monstrosities she had spotted – I got the feeling that she was enjoying all of this a little too much, but it was too late to back out then.
We walked into Galerija Centrs and hit the first shop we came to – H&M. I really didn’t want this to take long as I hate shopping about as much as I love drinking and talking, so I wanted to get the boring part over with as quickly as possible. Luckily for me, H&M didn’t disappoint.
I decided to start off small, and work my way up to the grand finale.
Naturally, it was all downhill from there. Spying a pair of leopard print stilettos, I picked them up and went to find a dress that would do them justice. I found it in the form of a leopard print second skin that made me wish I’d been doing my ab workouts a little more religiously.
I made my way to the changing room, a grinning Lāsma by my side. Unfortunately, the shop assistant wouldn’t let me take the shoes in with me, but like a boy scout, I was prepared, having stuffed a pair of heels into my handbag before I left home. OK, maybe not quite like a boy scout.
I emerged from the changing room. Poor Lāsma was a bit overwhelmed by how stunningly stylish and sexy I looked, and almost dropped my camera in her excitement.
I gave her a slap and shouted “Get it together, woman!”. Not really – the dress was far too tight to allow for much movement or lung expansion. After waving some smelling salts under her nose, she finally got it together enough to take a proper photo. Are you ready for this? Let’s hope so. I won’t be responsible for any heart attacks that happen as a result of my insane sexiness…
Apologies to the staff at H&M for running around your shop, giggling and taking photos with no intention of actually buying anything. But if anyone’s interested, this dress is a steal at just €9.95.
Instead, I spent that €9.95 on beer – I felt like I’d earned it.
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Girl, . You could rock that like a local, but then you would have to be hogtied! But seriously, I must admit I think of you when I see leopard print anything. Safe travels to Berlin on the 9th. We could high five in the sky as I am flying back to Serbia that day! 😉
That explains why you’ve been a bit quiet lately! I love that idea but unfortunately, I’ll be on the ground 😉
That leopard print is so you! Linda, the Leopard Lady. I’m kidding, but really, you do cut a nice figure. Perhaps if it had been a bit looser and maybe just a simple black color. You made the dress look nice but I’m glad you spent your hard-earned cash on something of more substance and satisfaction (beer) 🙂
Me too 🙂 Saving my money for Germany now – most of the stuff I buy here falls apart anyway!
When do you go to Germany?
I leave on the 9th of September – less than a month!
The dress looks great – what does a few crushed ribs, and lack of oxygen matter, when the result is so good! 🙂
Elaine! Not you too!
I think I am just a little envious that you look so good in it! 🙂
Ha ha! Well, it’s a one-time only thing 😉
…before you move on to dirndl outfits? 🙂
I look forward to the first photos. 😉
Me too! 🙂
OK, I’m officially quitting your blog in protest for NOT purchasing that wonder of a dress. For shame.
Oh Polly! I would have thought you’d seen enough leopard print to last you a lifetime! 😉
Actually, they had leopard print phone covers in H&M – only €1 😉
But never with a hint o’ Irish. Come on…
What’s seldom is wonderful 😉
I think you need a small leopard-print souvenir to remind you of Latvia, but it has to be something subtle. Leopard-print shoe inserts? Fridge magnet? Cupboard liner?
hahahaha awesome!!! 😀
Think the Germans will like it?? 😉
hahahaa Im sure they will!!! 😀
We probably won’t find out 😉
hahahaha probably not though!!
OMG you look fantastic in it! Come on, you SO should have gotten it! It would have been the perfect Latvia parting gift! I am sad now.
Ha ha, maybe you can buy it for me – or we can go leopard hunting together 😉
I am in TOTAL agreement with Anna…you DO look cute in that dress! It could have been your souvenir. 🙂 Anyway…..what a fun day out with your friend……
It was 🙂 I think my main souvenir will be my memories though. Oh god, the memories 😉
Yes…for sure the memories are the best….your stories are fab….and I am glad you at least got a pic of yourself…..I guess that dress seemed like a costume…..you could have used it for dress up at carnival time or Halloween….ha ha, ha.
I did consider it last year but I couldn’t find a blond wig and claws in time 😉
That would be the perfect dress to wear to Das Klo, if it’s still in business.
It came up on google so I might give it a go!
Yes!!! The leopard print photo shoot!!!
But WHY only one outfit??? I know there’s a whole lot more leopard in THAT PLACE.
Not only do you suffer from premature publication, but you also deliver blue balls with your coy photoshoot ways. One outfit. Sheesh.
I saw THE leopard print dress to end them all in Central Market but I didn’t have anyone with me at the time 😦
And I hate shopping 😉
Just ask the store clerk to take the photo. Say it’s for your boyfriend. 🙂
She might want to see a pic of my boyfriend 😉
oh shit… true dat.
And some of the Russian ladies that work there are SCARY. One pushed my mam out of her shop once for trying to haggle over the price of a cardigan 😉
I can’t imagine them being as tolerant as the cute little things that work at H&M!
I’ve looked into this comment notification and o_0 Oh my god. Did you actually consider buying clothes there? And also dare to haggle? No, these (usually) ladies are way too hard-boiled for that (also give the cuties a couple of decades of trading outdoors and moving the goods yourself in an international passenger train or bus, and they’d also be able to stop tanks with their stares :)), plus it’s not usual for people to haggle here – definitely not in public and in shops – with a few exceptions. And it’s not like the shit they sell is worth haggling over anyway.
(Though in all fairness, I often go to the Central Market, for local fruits and berries – good luck finding gooseberries or red currants in supermarkets, for meat – this is the only place I’ve seen that sells pig testicles and dried intestines for sausage-making, and for milk – raw milk is unusual in supermarkets, and if you need 10–20 litres at once, it’s easier and cheaper to buy it at the market.)
I’ve never bought clothes there 😉 But it’s a pretty normal touristy thing to do – have a stroll around the market! If I ever need pig testicles, I know where to go – thanks for that 😉
I understand your irony – I’ve never needed pig testicles myself, and never had enough balls to try :), my point is that if you need something beyond the most typical – it’s your first stop. And it doesn’t have to be something exotic – even lamb is rare in supermarkets, any lamb. And at the Central Market you have several places that sell it, a choice of cuts, and prices that won’t make you want eat you wallet.
I can’t believe you didn’t buy that dress. You need to go back!
It’s OK – I got a present of a sort of animal-print top from Lasma before she left 😉 I’ll stun you all with that some day!
But is it as sexy as the dress?
Well, I don’t think either of them are sexy but what do I know?! 😉
Very little about sexiness, obviously. You’ll just have to put up that photo along with a reader poll: which is more sexy?
Ha, I’ve never done a poll before! Could be interesting!
Never done a… !
Ok. Enough said. Two outfits, one poll. I will expect it on my desk by next week 😉
Ha ha! 🙂
damnit woman just buy that dress and go on a date with a bunch of german guys once you come to germany) that would be a great first post. dont forget the stilettoes=) rock some latvian vibe baby;-)
I think I’d rather buy an aran jumper and go on a date with a German guy looking like an Irish woman 😉
in any case you have write a post about it. I had once hooked up with a few british guys on neu.de (which I think is part of the international site match.com) and the experience was so worth blogging…..
Oh, do tell 😉
the first one claimed he was 25 but it turned out he was 19 (Im 32!!). He begged me to kiss him since he had never kissed a girl before. I gave in out of pity. he was actually kinda cute but I was afraid he was still lying about his age so decided not to take this relationship any further.
the second one refused to go to the pub with me but instead baught a few bottles of liquor in the nearby grocery store and suggested we go to his place. I agreed out of curiousity more than anything else. his flat wasnt even finished, it had bare concrete walls and an old couch in the corner. I quicky said goodbye)
the third one was almost all right but he had rotten teeth (not shown on his profile pic) so yeah and than there were tons of offers of “casual sex” just like in your post.. I think men worldwide are all the same really) In real life they do follow some sort of ethic rules but online they show their true beasty self……
Oh god! How funny – well, it’s probably funny looking back on it anyway 😉
Well, you look good in that dress! for a fasting day o better for a hunting day. Men love that kind of clothes, tight and the animal print make them crazy: it’s ‘sexy’. They are the hunters and you my Lady, you are the prey. I would like to read about the reaction of men and women looking at you in the dress- please entertains us, please…. Boring Monday here.
Ha ha, I didn’t actually buy it so I can’t tell you! Judging by the comments (so far) though, I don’t think horror would have been a reaction – guess that was just me 😉
Forget the print, the cut of the dress is what counts and that one was good!
I felt like the life was being squeezed out of me 😉
Well done! I saw a lady wearing that exact same dress in Liepaja with much less success. And I may or may not have snapped a stealth photo 🙂
Ha ha! Brilliant! I look forward to reading all about it! Hope you had a good time! 🙂
Hahaha, brilliant! But now what are you going to do for your remaining Latvia posts? I hope you haven’t peaked early 😉
p.s. I actually own a leopard print vest top. It was a gift from my grandma… I wear it for cleaning the shower 😉
That’s probably about all it’s good for 😉 I now own a leopard print top too – Lasma has an unusual sense of humour 😉 That was her parting ‘gift’ to me!
As for peaking, I’ve got the next post covered – after that, I’m not so sure!
Is that leopard skin or cheetah skin? Someone once told me that the spots are different. One has a white spot inside a black ring and the other – whatever…..
Anyway – 9.95 for the whole dress, eh? wow! Cheap! Tacky, but cheap!
There really wasn’t a lot to the ‘whole’ dress! I’ve seen larger tea towels 😉
Interesting about the leopard and the cheetah – maybe I’ve had it wrong all this time!?
Whoa, too bad you can’t move in the dress, but that’s the price of high fashion, isn’t it? Ha! I’ve never liked animal patterns as clothing. My ex had some but she was French, so that doesn’t count. Ha! I gotta tell you Linda, although the pattern is rather troubling, the figure in it shows a great deal of promise – 😀
You would look good in a burlap potato sack girl. (I can say that because I’ve crossed the line to being an old man who may or may not be lecherous, but certainly isn’t a threat. Ha!)
Ha ha! Thankfully Grope-o-Vision hasn’t been invented yet 😉 But thank you, I guess 😉
(Runs to find burlap sack to experiment) 😉
ooh, I just love it when, Latvian trends conquer the world
Ha ha! It was Russian until the celebs starting doing it 😉
Actually, it was Russian until you made it Latvian 🙂
Ah Kristine! You can’t blame me for that one! 😉
You didn’t buy it?! What are you going to wear in Germany when you get home sick for Latvia?
I still have a month – I might buy it yet 😉
You should! Then you can also play the game “guess where I come from” and see what polite Germans say to that 😉
I have a feeling they’d guess this part of the world 😉
so you followed my advice and got yourselves a leopard prind photoshoot. but why didnt you put it in your last post? in any case there s still some tree hugging, mushroom picking and sauna sweating left to do!
Ha, no, I think I’ve peaked 😉 But once I got the photo, I couldn’t wait to publish!
Okay, before this post I honestly did not realise how profound and ingrained this trope is. I mean, I have been aware of the terrible spot-infested things some people wear (sometimes with actual fake leopard fur), but I had no idea how typical it was.
But the last pic immediately has made me contort into a skull-crushing Picard Facepalm. If you are ever hired by a foreign intelligence agency to spy on stuff in Latvia, do this look – aaggh, it is so LOCAL, so believable. Officials would hand out secret reports on spraying Latvian forests with LSD without your even asking! 🙂
This is a perfect former 90’s-00’s local teenager out to partaay uniform. 🙂
That’s exactly the look I was aiming for 😉
And you’ve bull’s eyed on this. 🙂 The leopard cap is just goofy, but the last picture is priceless – it immediately elicits ‘Hey, aren’t you my cousin’s friend/colleague I met at that funeral party?’ kind of thoughts. Congratulations, you really are a master at making people ashamed of their culture. 🙂
(This one of the rare occasions I can think something positive about our men’s clothes shops. We don’t get these. Or DO WE? Mnhmnhmn…)
I actually saw a bloke wearing that cap one day! Maybe his girlfriend bought it for him in H&M 😉
Nooooo! The disease is spreading! (I wonder if the imaginary girlfriend’s name was Eve, and they actually let demons disguised as snakes work as assistants at H&M.) 🙂
I think that is a very likely scenario 😉
Yes, I’m betting the little imps are now slaving away at their desks, designing leopard dinner jackets, and leopard fedoras, and leopard-rimmed monocles – and pre-made month-old leopard socks ‘with a smell to match their style’. 🙂
Mmm, nothing like the smell of wet fur 😉
people stop being so dramatic and overexagerate. animal print may be a thing in eastern europe but not just there! the US are obsessed with zebra print as well as UK. now some of the outfits are horrendous but then others are really cute
Emmi, a little too defensive – you’re wearing your best leopard print dress right now, aren’t you? 😉
I thought it couldn’t be any worse, and then you say ‘wet fur’. 🙂 ‘Honey, let’s wait for my fur leopard socks to dry up. You know I never wear sandals without them! What will the ambassador say?’
Emmi, this is certainly something that is not purely local (I’ve seen posts by bloggers from Russia lamenting the pervasive leopard, too). But we are a part of this phenomenon, and the look is easily recognisable here.
The fact that there are trashy and kitschy things in places like the US and the UK (actually, they often have enough of those to export them over the world) doesn’t mean that our own local trashy and kitschy things should be immune to all criticism.
I could say (and now I’m playing with heresy as an amateur cultural analyst) that the pattern could look nice if used correctly – like the real skin of a leopard on a cave-person, or on a still-living and not hunted leopard. 🙂 But I think the problem is that it’s not always so, and that it has been overused and misused, and it has become a terrible cliché, so that no matter what is done with it, it’s associated with this cliché.
It’s the same as having a towel with the print of a picture of a naked lady, or putting ‘Ferrari’ and ‘Turbo’ stickers on a rusty 1991 Opel Astra, or decorating your room with a life-size ‘Mona Lisa’ replica in a gilded plywood frame. The originals may be wonderful (not so sure about ‘Mona Lisa’, though), but if you use these cheap mass-produced superficial items, you get almost none of the original beauty, but all of the cheapness and superficiality. Plus, when such items are so overused and become bad clichés, using them in any way is associated with the people who have a bad enough taste, and a bad enough understanding of beauty to use these items seriously.
Now I wonder if there are hipsters who wear clothes with leopard prints ironically. 🙂
(Sorry for the chunk of brain vomit, I don’t think I could hold it in. :))
Great comparisons! And brain vomit is always appreciated in these parts 😉
I bet that a day at the Central Market could yield enough material for an entire book like this. 🙂
(I hope that you are well-supplied with barf-bags and tissues. 😉 )
I saw the ultimate dress the other day 😉
Well, the dress could have a gilded fringe along the bottom (edge), or something. I somehow doubt there is a limit to awfulness. 😉 (Or there is a limit, but it goes to infinity anyway.)
I have seen far worse 😉
no Linda I do not owe any animal print. I dont mind it but its not sold where I live at least I never seen it. Bit I have spent a significant time in the uS and Ive seen there more zebra print on younger kids than leopard print on old ladies in Russia or Ukraine. Oh yeah and once in New York I walked in one of my students room an her entire room was the color of zebra! my reaction was like this:
latvians and other eastern europeans do not influence the fashion as much as the US and UK where all the evil comes from. so you have to blame the west for spreading that disease:=))))
Ha ha! Love the Friends clip 🙂
I don’t remember any leopard print in stores in Ireland when I was growing up – I blame the influx of Eastern/Northern Europeans 🙂 🙂
Believe me – there was no leopard print in stores in Latvia while you were growing up in Ireland. It’s definitely a post-Soviet Union thing with all the abundance of western goods suddenly flooding our markets. Both tasteful and meh. :-p 😉
Actually, when I think of some of the clothes I wore growing up, leopard might have been an improvement 😉
In this case it wasn’t ‘Western goods’ as much as ‘Turkish, Chinese and Taiwanese knock-offs’, brought in huge bags by individual traders. 🙂
The trash fest you can now see at the Central Market is really just an echo of the glorious culture when the highest in fashion an average man could attain was a combination of knock-off faux-Italian fake-leather square-tipped dress shoes and glossy ‘Abibas’ trackpants with thick white trouser stripes. 🙂
I had a wander through Central Market the other day – some of the stuff… wow 🙂
Well, then imagine that it used to be worse in the past, and there was almost nothing but this a little further into the past.
Imagine and vomit. 🙂
Vow, I’m quite speechless and I think my eyes are just about to pop out because of this leotard overload. I’ve used to chuckle every time leotard print was mentioned, ’cause it’s so horrendous and all, but once again I am proven wrong – I laughed too early. You really managed to pull off the look and the dress looks real good on you. Though sheep dress might make even greater option) 😀
I think so 😉 Sheep or goat or alpaca 😉
what about llama? that could be so much more exotic, that one outing would kill the leotard print trend for good 😀
Ooh, that would be quite the look!
Looking good Sexpat!
Ha ha! Sean, that means so much coming from you! Have I earned a massage yet?? 😉
I told you. A massage per book sale.
I’ve had no bites from Eastern… Sorry, Northern Europe yet!
I’ve got you well trained 😉
Love it. Try not buy! Great way to test drive the look. I also hate shopping for clothes, I guess that’s why I gave it up.
Yeah, it bores me to tears – sometimes I wonder if I am a woman at all 😉
; ) perhaps you are simply more than the average Frau : )
Well, I’d like to believe that but… 😉
It’s simple. Just accept it.
Ha ha! 🙂
Damn woman! The leopard look really suits you..roarrr (or whatever sound a leopard makes)
Also, premature publication! Hahahah, brilliant
Heh heh, yeah, I couldn’t resist! 🙂
Hmm, so it seems I really can wear ANYTHING! Or else you’re crazy – or blind 😉
Crazy yes, but my eyes are in great form (and I was just at eyedoc)!
Damn, does that mean I have to wear leopard print more often??
Also, you could totally sell a full line of expat eye clothing here-first the shirts, now this!
Shame I’m leaving really – this blog could be a goldmine 😉
meow & purr ? 😉
Daym! Woman you hot! 😀
I think you might still have a fever or something 😉
hit him hard with you club, arr! drag man your lair, eat slowly. lots of proteins, must be yummy. not forget smoke, ill smell go away…
just thought, that that picture should have a bone put through your hair. yabba-dabba-doo! 😉
Oh, wish I’d thought of the bone thing! 🙂
If you can make 9.95 look that good…God help us.
Ha ha! I’m blushing here! 🙂
I love that dress!!!! …you could dye it a different colour 🙂
I could probably dye it, but the breathing would still be an issue 😉
Who cares about breathing… once you’ve got the stilettos on, the air will be too thin up there anyway!
I was just thinking… instead of dye, use sheep dip to neutralise the ghastly leopard print!
I could just wear a sheep instead – it might look better 😉
The cut is great. I predict a lot of trouble if you’re planning on trying to mangle a sheep into that shape.
I’m not planning on ever wearing anything that tight ever again!
So…. we can still expect more posts from??
Yep! Will be going for another few weeks!
Maybe you can keep blogging even though you are no longer in Latvia?!! Sorry if you have mentioned this in earlier posts but we are struggling to stay up to date with everyone’s blog with the free (usually slowish) wifi that we pick up!!
Love the stuff you write and would be a shame not to be able to read it anymore…
Thanks! I’ll be starting a blog on Germany so I’ll still be around! 🙂
Oh goodie 🙂 Will look forward to that! Make sure you let us know where your blog moves 🙂
Will do! 🙂
If anyone wants a photo session, I don’t charge much! 😉
She tends to get a bit over-excited though – but then, it’s hard to blame her for that 😉