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In my last post, I offered some ways that I’ve just recently been able to keep anything new from getting forgotten or ignored in my inventory. Those habits also let me take shopping at whatever pace I want, which I like.

What I want to talk about in this post is managing outfits. Just having outfits in the first place makes it much easier to wear things, especially if you include any HUD’s in your outfits so that they appear automatically when you wear the outfit, letting you tweak colors or patterns or turn things on or off as needed without having to open your inventory.

The important questions

So, given that we have outfits, what would be the most helpful things to know as we’re choosing what to wear? Style? Designer? Color?

If you ask me, none of those. To me, the questions that really matter are:

1. Is it fit to wear?
2. Is it suited to whatever I’m planning to do? and
3. Do I like the way it looks on me?

These are true in First Life as well as in Second Life. For instance, in First Life, “fit to wear” means things like: is it clean? Is it in good condition? Does it fit? In Second life, it means things like: is it up-to-date (for instance, not all fuzzy-textured and jaggy, mesh if appropriate, and so on)? Are any parts of me showing through it? Is it well-executed?

LPComparison.png

You probably don’t need to see this comparison if you’ve been in Second Life for a while … but if you haven’t, see what I mean?

Unfortunately, using the default viewer and doing what comes naturally, these three questions are hard to answer. We might name outfits things like “Addams round neck top and denim skirt” or “White sleeveless dress”, but the best those names can do is jog our memories, and they won’t always be very effective at doing that.

So I’ve done four things to help me use my outfits better.

1. Quality is our first priority!

The first answers the question “Is it fit to wear?” Now, you may be the kind of person who can, with ruthless efficiency, delete everything from your inventory that is a little out of date or doesn’t fit your present body well. If so, you probably also delete any outfits with those things in them. Good for you! That’s much better than what I do, but mine may be an acceptable alternative for those of us too cautious, worried, or sentimental to delete things like that.

To help me find outfits by quality, I name them using symbols. Now, I should say that I sort my inventory alphabetically rather than by date. (To change this, click on the little cog in the lower left-hand corner of your inventory and select the sorting option you want.) When I do that, I can then use the same symbols in inventory and in outfits to prioritize things.

If you read my last post, you may have noticed that I sometimes use ! or { in front of names of things in inventory. I do the same in outfits. Second Life has a set order for these symbols, some of which end up before letters and some of which end up after them. Anything I start with ! will end up near or at the top of the list, whereas anything I start with { will end up way down at the bottom. Because of that, I use ! to prioritize certain special folders in my inventory (like !Shopping and !Wear), and I use { for anything that I don’t want to throw out but that I am not going to want to use most of the time.

In outfits, in fact, I use four symbols. If you were to do this, you might use more or fewer, but here’s my system:

! – Fits well on my Maitreya Lara body, and I really like it
* – Not for my mesh body, so not a top choice, but I still really like how it looks
. – Looks OK, and there’s a chance I might want to wear it sometime
{ – Probably not good enough to wear any more

Like I say, if I had any courage in terms of throwing things away, I probably wouldn’t have to use {.

So, what’s the advantage to this? This means that my best-looking outfits are all at the top of my list and marked as such! It sorts my outfits by quality and keeps my attention on the ones that look best.

2. The right stuff

After making sure that the outfit looks good, the next question is which of the things available are good choices for whatever’s you’re planning to do, or for your mood. Some outfits might be suited for hot dance clubs, others for relaxing with friends, others for formal occasions, others for swimming, and so on.

outfits.png

To take care of this, the next part of any outfit’s name in my wardrobe is the type of outfit it is. I put this in all caps, and I have a set list of types I use. They’re not perfect, but they’re close enough that everything has a pretty good place to go. My categories include things like CASUAL, CLUB, DRESSY, FORMAL, and SWIM.

So instead of “Round neck top and denim skirt,” I have “!CASUAL Round neck top and denim skirt.”

I know it’s ugly. It’s really ugly and hacky and things. If Linden Labs simply provided folders or colors or tags or groups for outfits, we wouldn’t be driven to these typographically gruesome lengths … but since we are, I ignore the ugliness of my naming system and instead focus on the beauty of the designs they allow me to wear. There are so many talented designers in Second Life!

3. In Which I Instruct My Future Self

One of the wonderful things about a lot of Second Life clothing nowadays, what with the HUDs and appliers and everything, is that you often get a bunch of patterns or colors or styles all in one purchase. For instance, I have a goofy love for these high-heeled sneaker boots from MeshAgency, which come with a 50-color HUD, and I use them in several different outfits, so I include the HUD in each outfit so I can easily set the color. (For things that are copy, I could also make a copy for each color and include the right copy in the outfit. That would mean not having to fuss with the HUD — though that doesn’t help with appliers!)

sneaker_boots.jpg

I usually rely on memory or aesthetics for those situations, but to remind me which of the 10 alpha slots (if any) I used for a particular outfit, I tack things like :ma5 onto the end–that’s supposed to mean “use Maitreya alpha slot 5.” If I used the body part buttons instead, I’ll just say something like :maFeet. It’s more ugliness in the name, but it’s useful!

I really wish there were more alpha buttons I could use! For some of my outfits I end up adding things like “:ma10-shoulders” (that is, use preset 10, but then turn off the alpha for the shoulders). Sooner or later, though, I bet there will be an easier way.

4. Pictures, or it didn’t happen

You may have noticed this in my last post: the third thing I do that really helps me is that as soon as I’ve created an outfit that looks good to me, I save a picture of it. This doesn’t make for terrific photography, because sometimes I don’t have the time or interest to find a good location and pose (not that I have my poses under control at all in the first place) and Windlight setting and all that. Most often, I just stand in front of a white wall and wait until my AO makes me look not completely stupid. Sometimes I get a little more creative.

comparison

much easier to choose this way!

I save my pictures in Google Drive, but another option would be a folder on my local computer, or Dropbox, or Amazon’s cloud, or probably a lot of other things. That part doesn’t matter much, as long as it’s easy to browse thumbnails in alphabetical order.

I then name every file with the type and outfit name (leaving off the funny character at the beginning, partly because they may not sort the same, and partly because I only include pictures of outfits I really like anyway). For instance, “CASUAL Round neck top and denim skirt”.

Since the thumbnails are in alphabetical order, that means that if I’m going out dancing, I just scroll down to the CLUB section and choose from the outfits there. Google Drive sometimes crops the thumbnails in inconvenient ways, but it’s pretty easy to see what’s what, and of course I just double-click to see the full photo. I like this so much more than browsing through names and trying to remember what things look like! When I used that approach, I tended to wear the same things a lot, because they were the ones I remembered, and even then I’d try something on and say “Hmm, no, not that …”, and then something else, and then something else …

OK, that’s my entire super-secret, ultra-high-technology system, for whatever it’s worth. Have fun out there!

^^^\ Kate /^^^

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