Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Please Don't Bury My Avatar in This Outfit!

Photo 1: Stanger in a Butt Skirt

Photo 2: Chey in a Somewhat Better Outfit

Written 6 January, 2008

Please Don’t Bury My Avatar In This Outfit!

Since this is SOOO not a fashion blog , I, Sweetie, have been careful not to drone on and on about one of my passions—fashion. However, I just can no longer keep my silence on one special subject: freebie clothing.

Have you ever heard the expression “You get what you pay for?” Well, freebie clothing is usually a perfect Second Life example of this axiom.

While I love that there are generous people in Second Life who give away clothing to new citizens, it really drives me crazy when avatars are running around dressed in freebies after six months in world.

OK, there, I said it! I’m a snob.

Or, more accurately, as my darling Cheyenne says, I’m a platinum card-carrying fashionista.

My problem with free clothing isn’t that it’s free. Frankly, I think free is wonderful. My problem with free clothing, and with much clothing that is sold, is that it’s built badly.

Yes, you heard me. I said built badly.

Let me explain myself.

The most basic type of clothing in SL is a texture that is placed on a template and imported into the world. When you wear it, it is pasted over your avatar’s shape, and so looks skin-tight. Often, the resolution is poor, especially at the ends of sleeves and at collars.

Articles of clothing that depart from the avatar grid—skirts that flare out and shoes—are BUILT with prims. As an avatar who spends a great deal of her time building complex objects, when I see a female avatar flouncing about in a butt skirt (translation from Sweetiespeak: a butt skirt flares out from below your butt, covering at least part of your thighs. You’ve seen them.)—When I see a butt skirt, I see a builder who lacked skill and sophistication. He or she made a skirt shaped into a cone and attached it smack in the middle of the avatar hip area.

More sophisticated clothing builders will use a series of attachments that drape around the body or use other techniques that make it appear that the skirts don’t originate inside the avatar. The best clothing designers will not only use well-built prim attachments, but hand-drawn textures for the clothing templates, creating a layered effect.

So back to my main point. It drives me just a little crazy to see tenured citizens distribute badly-made free clothing to newbies or wear such clothing themselves. Some even laugh at those of us who spend money on sophisticated clothing. They see no sense in purchasing a virtual garment.

And yet a beautiful, versatile outfit suitable for a ball in Caledon or a night on the dance floor at the Sphynx Jazz Club usually sells for no more than $700L, or $3 US. So the next time you balk at spending a few hundred Lindens on a nice ladies’ dress or gentlemens’ coat, think about how many hours might have gone into its production.

Then maybe you’ll know why, when you pull out that freebie outfit with the blurry pink shirt, a short, spangled pink butt skirt, bright clashing red underwear, I call this blog “Please Don’t Bury My Avatar in This Outfit!”

Freedom isn’t free, and neither is fashion!


Peter Stindberg said...

When I was new I piled up freebie box after freebie box. Most of them I didn't even open.

And then, early in Spring last year, I spent almost a weekdown at East Beach and tried on EVERY SINGLE ITEM, and trashed the bad ones, and kept the good ones. The ratio was like 99% to 1%. And since then I became very quality conscious, rather NOT byuing something than settle for an inferior item. Also I stay clear of freebie boxes, except it's a single freebie from an outlet with otherwise high quality items.

Frau Lowey said...

Goodness, one would think you had never been bale diving! Yes, there is a metric ton of dross in each of those boxes, (or garbage bags, as Miss Orr has discovered) but it is a bit like panning for gold; you have to enjoy the sort to get to the nuggets. You also have to be willing to, erm, think outside the box. I will admit I have had to delete 99.75% of the things in the boxes, but that is where I found my first Scrubbie. It was invaluable in taking the horrendous bling out of the Diana sapphire necklace in another box and the black sling backs (WHY do they insist on blinging SHOES?) which served me well until I found something that served better, and I passed them on to another, cleaned and free of the atrocious Airship-Signaling Bling.

Of course, now I have boxes of similarly altered items and landmarks for couturiers to pass on to those unfortunate enough to be wearing said "asscot" skirts and skyscraper hooker shoes.

Anonymous said...

b< Sweetie replies... >b

I have adopted both of your strategies in turn dear friends. I do indeed accept the occasional freebie item from a favorite purveyor but the occasions are rare.

It led to quite a dilemma when my darling Cheyenne began to wonder what to give as a gift to the loyal shoppers of her own store Flights of Fancy. In the end she chose a small high quality gift made specifically to be a gift and compliment other items already in the store.

I've also gone the route of bale/dumpster diving, picking up freebies and sorting/modding the few items with potential. I will say i have learned quite a bit by playing with modable freebies and occasionally i will still poke around at one, but the hazard of eye damage from blinding bling stops me from ever picking up freebie shoes or jewelry! :) I stopped wearing little flashlights tied to my tennis shoes by the time I was nine and loud clip clop clackity heels by the time i was a sophomore in high school. No need to go down that noisy path again!

hmm I feel another blog coming on...:) thank you for your comments