By  on April 1, 2008

RIGA, Latvia — Riga is not for the thin-blooded, but locals manage to maintain their sense of style despite the near-constant chill.

Even spring's arrival is not much of a consolation, considering freezing temperatures are still the norm. Ditto for summer, when the average temperature creeps up to only 63. (So sturdy are they, sauerkraut juice is the preferred hangover cure.) Wherever the mercury rests, Latvians are out on the cobblestone streets or hoofing it to the central market housed in five beyond-drafty zeppelin hangars.

During a visit earlier this winter, several passersby kept Mother Nature's deep freeze at bay with fur-trimmed suede or down coats. Others went straight for the fur, including one woman who sported a full-length coat with a rhinestone belt buckle. Another warmed up in a loden green, belted suede coat with images of pine trees trimming the border. One woman's ensemble seemed to cheer on warmer days — a sunny yellow Macintosh, with a bright blue-striped scarf coiled around her neck, and walking shorts.


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