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As of about 12 days ago, I was pretty sure I never wanted to get a mesh body. They were very expensive, I was told, and I would have to revamp my entire wardrobe, and they made dressing much more complicated, and you'd only be able to wear compatible clothing. What was worst, from my point of view, was the prospect of giving up the shape I'd carefully crafted for myself to use some generic body shape a million other women were using. On top of all of that, I wasn't even sure it would make much difference in how a person looked.

Me in mesh.

My goodness, did I have my facts confused! Either way, I couldn't quite put the idea away, so I started doing some research, and about 10 days ago, I bought a Maitreya Lara body and … oh, I just cannot tell you: so very, very much better. But that's another post. In this one, I just want to share some of the things I found it hard for a mesh body newbie to figure out about mesh bodies, even though practically every mesh body owner and her evil twin knows them!

So don't get me wrong about mesh bodies: they are expensive by Second Life standards (though still dirt cheap in First Life), and they do take more work, and most of my old clothing is now useless … but that's actually fine, in part because there are a lot of little advantages I hadn't imagined.

Anyway, here are the top things I completely misunderstood before getting my mesh body.

  1. Compared side to side, a mesh body looks much nicer than a system body, but in subtle ways. For instance, parts of your body may look more natural (or more lush), body details will be physical rather than just marks on your skin texture, and parts of you that used to look folded or flattened sometimes will now always look natural
  2. When you get a good mesh body, you don't have to give up your shape! Unlike a mesh head, a mesh body is based on the shape over which you wear it and adapts if you change shapes or move sliders.
  3. Mesh bodies, by the way, don't generally come with mesh heads, which are a whole different matter
  4. An "applier" takes skin-tight clothing like the kind of thing that would go on your shirt or pants layer, for instance (no prims, no mesh, no flexi) and applies it to your mesh body.
  5. There is a gadget called an Omega applier that you can buy cheaply for your particular brand of mesh body that will apply layers from any Omega-compatible clothing. They have an Omega gadget for almost every popular brand, but as of this writing The Mesh Project is an exception.
  6. Regular system clothing and clothing not designed for your mesh body or Omega will not go on your mesh body nohow–but you may not care, because clothing for mesh bodies tends to have no stretched sections and to fit better and look better than old system clothing. Time to throw the old system clothing away! (Or OK, if you're me, into a nostalgia folder.)
  7. You can still wear regular mesh clothing and deal with the regular mesh clothing issues, although (big bonus!) …
  8. The best mesh bodies come with an alpha HUD: if something doesn't fit quite right, you can turn on the alpha (that is, make part of your body invisible so it doesn't poke through the clothing) for just, say, your shoulderblades, or your nipples, or any combination of dozens of areas on your body! You can also save these alpha configurations in different slots. I love this feature!
  9. Clothing layers sometimes have to be turned on or off to be visible, even if something has been applied to them. You do this through your mesh body HUD.
  10. Some of the very best clothing for your mesh body will have fitted mesh versions for your particular brand and body (say, Maitreya Lara or Belleza Venus). Well-designed versions of these fit your body perfectly without tweaking and without alpha layers!
  11. You can easily swap between outfits that use your mesh body and ones that use your old system body. You don't have to throw everything out.
  12. Regular alphas will not work on your mesh body, because back when you put the mesh body on, your entire system body was already hidden! On the mesh bodies I know, your alpha HUD is used instead.
  13. You can buy and use skins for your mesh body as long as they have a compatible applier (for your brand or Omega). If you don't do this, you may have a weird skin tone difference between your face and your body. I haven't gotten myself a skin for my mesh body yet, because all the ones I find look too bitchy. However, I heard that LAQ recently started making their skins work with mesh bodies, so time to hit the shops!
  14. The feet of your mesh body aren't usually compatible with shoes designed for system avatars. Separate foot systems like Slink may not match up with your mesh body's skin or can pose other problems. Fortunately, mesh body feet are very much like Slink feet in that they look beautiful (not mashed little loafs with toes drawn on them in crayon) and that shoes designed for your mesh body will fit beautifully. You can wear stockings or tights with your mesh body shoes, too, as long as the stockings or tights come with an applier for your mesh body brand or for Omega.
  15. Boots, sneakers, and other footware that goes on as a prim and is masked with an alpha attachment can often be used on your mesh body by substituting use of your alpha HUD for the alpha attachment. The boots I'm wearing in the picture above are sculpties from Bax, years and years old, and they work perfectly with my mesh body.
  16. It's common for a mesh body to offer multiple foot positions (in the case of Maitreya, high heel, medium heel, and flat), and some also offer multiple hand positions.
  17. The best mesh bodies have skin color and nail color options you can change through your HUD
  18. When you get dressed with a mesh body, you may have to juggle a lot of different HUDs at once. These include the HUD for your mesh body (foot position, clothes layers on/off, alpha configuration, and so on), appliers for any skin-tight layers, an Omega applier relay if you're using a Maitreya body with Omega clothing, and often HUDs that will let you change clothing pattern, color, or configuration.
  19. The clothing HUDs that come with some mesh body clothing are incredible! It's not uncommon to have half a dozen or a dozen color/pattern choices when you buy shoes or dresses, for instance. In some ways, it's like every clothing item becoming a fat pack, without being much more expensive than single items have tended to be! I hope designers are not having to go to an enormous amount of work to have that happen, but either way, I appreciate their efforts!
  20. They do offer mesh bodies for men, too. I can attest that they look great, but I don't know how similarly to women's mesh bodies they work.
  21. The most popular mesh body by far appears to be the Maitreya Lara, and I can understand why: it has a great HUD with great features, it's lovely, and at L$2,750 it costs less than the other top competitors. After getting mine, I discovered that many of my friends had made the same selection. Other very popular choices include Slink, Belleza, and The Mesh Project.
  22. There are many, many options for mesh bodies out there, to say nothing of mesh feet, mesh heads, mesh booties, mesh hands, and other body parts. I personally only compared the top few body options, because I wanted one that would have lots of clothing options.
  23. Some designers are retrofitting their existing offerings to work with some mesh bodies. There may even be updates available for some clothes you've already bought, though I don't know much about this.
  24. Because mesh bodies are becoming more and more popular, an increasing number of designers are making offerings for them, even though it's a pain in the neck for them.
  25. MeshBodyAddicts.com is a wonderful resource for reviews, newbie information, and more.
  26. It's hard to say how predominant mesh bodies are on the grid, because surveys about them almost always are posted in places where only the most fashion-minded resis would respond. However, among fashionistas, they are very, very popular.

One of my favorite new mesh body outfits, "Gabrielle" by Stars Fashion. The boots are included.
I'm also over the moon about some new hairstyles I found by Argrace, like this one

There it is. I'll probably have more to say about mesh bodies and revamping wardrobes, but I hope this post will be useful in answering some basic questions. It certainly would have helped me!

^^^\ Kate /^^^