Clothes Communicate #7 – Līga

Līga jokes that she wants the word “DANCER” engraved on her tombstone. Her love of dance is reflected in her amazing collection of dresses. She considers a dress to be an essential element of dancing in the way it moves with the dancer, enhancing the steps of a waltz, for example. She loves going to balls and when she was younger, she would collaborate with a local dressmaker to create a new dress for every ball, all of which she still has stored away. She is hugely grateful to her dressmaker, who has always been able to transform her visions for incredible dresses into stunning, yet wearable reality.

The collaborative design process demonstrates her creativity, one of the personality traits she considers to be reflected in her clothing style, as well as her home, the design of which she also sketched out herself. Whatever she is doing, Līga loves to wear feminine clothes which are full of colour and she especially likes neon and coral tones.

When designing her house, it was important to Līga that there should be enough room for big family get-togethers. She loves hosting parties and pays careful attention to every little detail, making sure there is a comfortable seat for each guest, a place to play for the children, a beautifully laid table and hand-made seasonal decorations. 

She used to work as a receptionist in a hotel restaurant, but also trained as a bartender and waitress and especially enjoyed hosting banquets. Two other personality traits, of professionalism and self-criticism, were evident in her work as she prepared for banquets, demanding perfection from herself as she laid the table and prepared the room, always with the primary concern of ensuring a beautiful, yet comfortable experience for the guests in which each individual felt special.

Although Līga loves colour, she says if she had to choose just one favourite colour, it would be white. While many people consider white to be neutral, or an absence of colour, she says in fact it is a very bright colour that really stands out. She wore this white dress paired with a red and white traditional belt for the Latvian Midsummer festival celebrations. Līga has been a member of a folk dance group since 1987 and greatly values the enduring cohesiveness of the group. Even though many of its members no longer live locally, they still come together for regular rehearsals and performances.

Līga says she cannot imagine her life without dance. During more than thirty years of Latvian folk dancing, she has participated in the Latvian National Dance Festival six times. She enjoys belly dancing and has conquered various dancing challenges, such as dancing in high heels. She loves zumba, which combines a range of dance styles with fitness and always creates positive emotions. She has also tried ballroom dancing, but it remains a dream of hers to develop this style of dance. “You never know!” she smiles. “It’s good to have dreams! More than once things I’ve only dreamt of in my imagination have become reality. So never stop dreaming!”

Although Līga prefers dresses, she does have other items in her wardrobe. She says over the years she has learnt not to worry about what others think about how she looks, reflecting her character traits of strength and being adventurous. She is open to experimenting with different looks and says, “If you are dressed differently to your usual look, that in itself is an adventure.” 

However, this adventurous spirit has at times had to overcome her tendency to self-criticism. As Līga says, “I have to see myself in the mirror and be sure that I look good. If there is anything that doesn’t look quite right and I don’t have time to change, it stresses me out and I don’t feel comfortable. Even if someone says to me, ‘You look great!’, I would still say, ‘No, this outfit just isn’t right.’”

Līga has a number of tattoos, including this one of butterflies which goes together beautifully with the butterfly print on her curtains. The tattoo also incorporates the words “Enjoy the moment!” She says tattoos are something people choose as a means of self-expression and as a permanent fashion accessory.

Interestingly, although Līga has many different colours and styles of dresses in her wardrobe, she greatly appreciated having a uniform when she worked as a waitress. She says she is in favour of uniforms in general, especially if they look elegant as well as being functional. She values the sense of identity they provide and how they help a team to be organised and disciplined. She also considers wearing a uniform to be an important aspect of customer service as they make members of staff easily recognisable, another reflection of her personality trait of professionalism.

Līga’s love of beautiful dresses has been part of her for as long as she can remember. Growing up in Soviet-occupied Latvia, her Mum always made sure she and her sister had dresses for holidays and special events, even though they were not always easily available. She recalls a photograph from her school days, in which her class was performing a song at a New Year concert (it was not allowed to celebrate Christmas in those days). She was wearing a dress and her hair was curled. She says nothing has changed in the way she likes to dress since those days!

Līga considers an outfit to be much more than just a dress. She says shoes, accessories and hair are all essential elements that can be combined for maximum effect. “You can wear a little black dress to a dance, and dress it up with shiny red shoes,” she says. This final photograph sums up Līga’s attention to detail in her clothes and her beautiful home, both of which reflect the essence of her personality.

Thanks to Līga Krastiņa and Vineta Zāle for collaboration on creating and translating the text.

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