“Our dreams are a second life.” ~Gerard de Nerval
By slum magazine’s frugal and intrepid shopper, Rhezz.
Let me say first that I want to love mesh. I buy it, I wear it, I look for it. I love the stunning detail of textures you get with mesh clothing, and the way it moves with the body. And it has flooded Second Life like a tidal wave, so yes, I want to adore it. But my inner self is whining and griping. Why?
This started out as a column about blitzing The Dressing Room in Second Life, and seeing what kind of look I could throw together for, say, L$200…but it quickly evolved as I demo’ed some mesh outfits. My inner voice got restless, and finally I had to take a more critical look at the mesh revolution.
Of course the most egregious problem is the fit. Despite creators cramming in five size options and multiple alpha layers, the clothes never quite fit. Fit me, that is. I fussed over my shape for a long time (still do) and did so again recently when I went littler as per Cat’s orders.
I truly don’t like to have to adjust my shape to squeeze into one of the standard mesh sizes, which are Large, Medium, Small, Extra Small, and Extra Extra! Small (exclamation point mine). But it is necessary, and in the end you get more the creator’s shape than your own. That’s not my bum you see in the pic below, it’s a Bum by Ricielli. Ricielli made me a nice bum, and I thank Ricielli! But it’s not mine.
Alpha layers are another issue. The glimpses of the eternal void up sleeves, skirts and pant legs can be off-putting. With some mesh dresses and accompanying alphas, you simply can’t sit down without revealing a yawning gateway into a parallel universe. And they are just another hassle, not vastly superior to the invisi-prims of old; in some ways more complicated, since you usually need to “Add” instead of “Wear”.
Still, creators are doing an epic job considering the challenges, and I commend them for their work in bringing mesh clothing to us at reasonable prices. The Dressing Room (TDR) features mesh clothing promos regularly, from top designers, at L$70 and under. The outfit above combines the short trench from the Ricielli “Say goodbye to winter” pack (the six styles are classics–and for some of us, winter is still hanging around!) and the nearby So Many Styles mini striped flared skirt. This can take me into early spring and will still look fresh come the fall.
Most of the mesh clothing on sale at TDR offer you demos, and I strongly urge everybody to take advantage of demos! And I thank the creators for providing them and wish they all did (Ricielli did not for the pack I purchased, but so many pieces for so few Linden… I can’t hold a grudge).
Is it just me or is changing clothes with mesh even more awkward than with regular Second Life clothing? I often see floating heads and severed limbs for a few seconds when the alpha layer is applied first, or people’s naked bodies before the mesh arrives. (Thus, I always wear a nice set of undies, just in case the mesh dress is tardy.) When the clothing does arrive, it often hovers ominously before spinning on to your avatar, which is mildly entertaining… but, really?
Mesh hair is another love/hate. Mostly I like it, but it is as soft as cement, so it’s useful for taking photographs but of no use to me when I move or dance, when the luxurious tendrils that cascade over my chest are stiff and lifeless. So I am not trashing my flexi-hair just yet. What I do like are the shorter styles in mesh which look so soft and pretty, and I like the style shown in the photos above, where the long hair drapes down the back but not in front. It’s “Intended”, by Magika – a bargain I think, at L$250 for a 25 color fatpack.
Like everything in SL, I’m sure mesh will evolve, and I do like it, honestly.
I just don’t love it.