Written by Maddox DuPont
Imagine waking up in a world where everyone looks and dresses the same. A world where looks come in a box, conveniently assembled to match your every mood. All you need to do is right click and press BUY and you are transformed into a Goth Rock Star, Punk Princess, Chic Supermodel or Hunky Prep Boy. There are no limits to how you can look or what you can be, yet most of us use very little of our imagination and sense of style to look anything different to what is on the box.
Welcome to The World of Clones – welcome to Second Life.
< don’t want to dress like a clone? – read a complete article after the jump >
It’s scary isn’t it? Surprising? Hardly! In a world constructed entirely by its residents, with practically unlimited creativity and ways to express yourself, we choose to be just that – a clone. Have we forgotten how to have fun, have we left our sense of style and individuality back in Real Life?
Second Life gives us an amazing opportunity to create a new persona and achieve “perfection” that perhaps would not be possible for us in real life due to our financial situation, or our physicality. Yet, for a fraction of what it costs to be who we want to be in the real world, most of us never really take that chance in Second Life. We made excuses about it in our real lives, but now that we have none, nothing has changed.
Growing up in my teens within a small (and let’s just say – not very glamorous) city, it was difficult to look different from others unless you bought your clothes overseas or made them yourself. Yet I never stopped wanting to be different. I could not stand looking like the next guy, wearing the same shirt, same pants, same shoes, and having the same hairstyle as everybody else. Luckily, whenever we are faced with such limitations our creative self comes to our aid.
I started inventing new ways of wearing things – tuck here, tuck there, twist, reverse, cut and at times I even dyed my clothes or painted my shoes (forgive me – but this was the ‘80s) and even made my own t-shirts. The most important thing I have never given up on is looking unique, or at least exploring my own sense of style and individuality.
When I came to this big cosmopolitan city I realised that things are just the same – if not worse in the places that have it all. People may wear designer labels, but they still look like clones. There is a blatant lack of imagination. This is when I realised that style has nothing to do with fashion. It is all to do with YOU.
It is not important whether you have the most expensive brands, or the ‘it’ labels, or even that you are up with the latest trends. Most of us find it impossible to keep up, and even if you can manage to – the latest fashion can’t work for everyone’s unique taste, shape, form, and personality.
After all, fashion isn’t supposed to be about creating clones. And the best part of the present times is that it allows you to be fiercely individualistic and adventurous, especially in Second Life.
In this article I will challenge your perceptions of what is possible in Second Life, and will show you some ways to be creative such as to mix and match your clothing to better express your individuality and keep away from stereotypes of someone else’s interpretation of style. You know what best suits you, here you will see just some examples how this can be played out.
Men’s fashion in Second Life was neglected for so long, and while this is not the case anymore with many new male designers emerging all the time, we still see a lot of men that spend little time on their personal style and appearance.
They want to be solders, businessmen, tough and buff. We see them playing characters such as the Mafia or Homies, or some prefer a soft “twinky” (skinny young) boy look as opposed to the grotesquely oversized (ego). Some find balance, but they forget about style and are quickly pigeon-holed into urban, punk, and preppy categories.
Very few men know how to dress without looking like a skinny young guy that has every colour of the rainbow contained within their outfit. And very few have the skill or knowledge of editing techniques to really make a killer combination that will turn those avatar heads (cams) and stop prim traffic.
Sadly, men are not their own enemy in this realm.
Mixing and matching in Second Life can be hard when your clothing only comes in a single layer. And I am not re-inventing a wheel here but how many times have you thought of the perfect shirt to wear under that jacket only to discover that your belly button will be showing, as it did not offer an underpants layer? Yes, you designers are also to blame. You make it impossible for an average guy to mix and match and all because of what? Pure laziness really. How hard is it to make underpants layer with the bottom part of the jacket or to make a shirt from the top part of the jacket. You will not only encourage others to wear your clothes more but have many returning customers, let’s not forget us stylists who have been pleading with you for a while.
Bloggers, you are unfortunately next. And this is only my opinion, but I make no apologies. The fact is, there are some awesome male fashion blogs out here that are very unique in their approach to male fashion as they cover different aspects, that when combined together keep us informed and in-the-know of what is out there and new.
Some show us an in depth story behind the designs by introducing us to designers themselves and their best work. This is inspiring and it also builds customer loyalty as we get to know the person behind the designs, something often inaccessible to us in real life.
Some keep us up to date with new designers and new releases, although are biased somewhat due to their own beliefs in mod permissions and politics driven by their ignorance and opinions about established brands. Those blogs are the ones to stay away from as they often overlook good work. And what is with the rating system?! I am of opinion that if you are receiving review packs for free and have never made an effort to design yourself that you are not entitled to rate other people’s work. These blogs claim they are objective yet all rating systems are subjective in their nature and only give representation of one’s persons view.
But what most blogs often fail to do is actually teach men how to dress. Instead they complain about male fashion being neglected. Are they running out of inspiration & ideas? We have more designers than ever, all we need is good stylists with imagination to pave the way. We need to fall in love with a look first of all and that is rarely the case. Why? Because it is the same person that models all the outfits. How can all the outfits look good on the same body type? This is not the case in Real Life and certainly can not be the case in Second Life. I guess it is too much to ask to use different shapes when modelling clothes or thinking about hiring models if they are not shape savvy.
As far as being informed is concerned, rest assured that most of the current male fashion you will not find on the blogs as it is based on the opinion of one person and around their personal taste and people they choose to promote.
To discover new things you must embark on your own personal journey. Word of mouth is the best way to be well informed and remember the “inspect” option from the pie menu is your best friend. And don’t be shy if you see what you like and really want to know where the person got it – all you need to do is ask.
For that matter, you needn’t even bother about what designers and stylists have to say: what to wear and what not to, what’s in and what’s out, the colours of the season, hottest silhouettes, minimalism, deconstruction, understatement. Because that’s what being stylish is all about – looking great while not conforming to the tried and trodden path.
So wear your attitude, feel fit, look confident and take the world on your own terms.
What I will attempt here is to mix different styles of clothing (sometimes in the same family as you do not want to look like a train wreck) and show you that you do not have to own every item in Second Life to create infinite number of outfits.
For this, I have made shape for each outfit as we want to suit everyone’s built not just skinny small waist narrow shoulders big head ones. Each style is accompanied with styling tip that will hopefully help you when creating your own looks. Please note that each one of these outfits have endured a lot of edit to look as presented. I customise everything and you should try it too!
Shape Nash by MADesigns is medium built, tall and is wearing The Good Life Justin skin in Tan – Blade Victim. Hair is from Muism and Miriel Eyes in watermelon. Armidi Liquid Feathers t- shirt in Chocolate is paired with jeans by The Abyss. Cattivo Blazer dresses the look up well and shoes Shanghai by Jeepers Creepers add fine detail to this outfit. Accessories are from *Muism* and Guillaume pour homme.
Styles featured are: casual, formal, urban and punk
When in appearance use ‘make outfit’ button to save everything you are wearing into a separate folder, including your skin, shape, hair and eyes (make sure you check them in the next window) Than all you need to do is drop it on yourself if you have unexpected visitors and you are ready to go.
Shape Casey by MADesigns is of slim built and natural height and is wearing skin from PXL Adam Skin TAN Face00 v5 and hair by TRUTH Mr Smith 2 – Brunette (hat in red with no texture). Eyes are again from Miriel in Sepia. Tangleweed Tattoo by EtcheD. Shirt with tie in Dark Sand is from Redgrave (tinted in dark grey of course) Muism Black Leather Trouser go so well with D2TK mens Black Cowboy boots (you would need to remove the chains on these boots – not easy but it can be done) Accessories come from Desert Moon–DM Crest Belt and FNKY! Plate Cuff Watch
Styles featured are: urban, casual and formal
Bored of your inventory? Edit everything!!
Try changing tint to some of your clothes, remove access, edit anything that is modify to suit your needs. But please make sure you make a copy first! Designers will not replace items that have been tempered with. This is why prior to editing I dress then use ‘make outfit’ button thus saving a copy of everything I am wearing in separate folder (obviously this works only for copy items). Most of all have fun!
Now to something elegant and perhaps for late afternoon. I wore this outfit at GLAM magazine opening therefore I chose to model it for you. This outfit is perfect example of new meets old and casual meets elegant. Wear it with attitude.
I am wearing Minnu Model Skin of course Gen 3 and I am yet to get over Naughty Designs Lost. Realistic Eyes – Deep Blue. My black shirt is Gisaci Italia Silk Dress Shirt looks hot under good old FNKY! Smooth Criminal White Jacket (part of suit). I tinted my Naughty Designs- Basic Denim jeans in darker grey (this was wash 9) Once again Black Cowboy boots are from D2TK. Accessories that you see here are from FNKY! and Ramos Designs.
Do not be afraid to dig out some of the old items from your inventory. You will be surprised how good they still look when combined with other more recent items. Always ensure that your AO matches your outfit well – customise your own if you have to.
The next outfit is possibly not for everyone but it caters to those guys that care to bring the edge and unique style to their appearance. Talon is certainly well built shape on purpose, I can not imagine skinny, camp guy pulling this outfit off, that would be just too tragic. The contrast of masculinity and suggested femininity of kilt creates tension that makes this outfit stand out.
Shape Talon by MADesigns is well built, shorter height. Adorns Skin from the The Abyss (Scorpio Dystopia). Eyes are from lovely Miriel in Holly color. Tattoo is Bloody Pentagram by AVAST!! This whimsical wet shirt is from Naima and Kilt is quite old item from Goth1c0.
Ambush Cossack Boots go well with SiniStyle Gym Red Socks and Monogrind battle shoulder strap mirrors the army boots.
Styles featured are: casual, punk, urban and goth
For in depth designer reviews and insight into their work visit http://www.second-man.com
For unbiased view and featuring of new products for both male and female look up http://dpende.blogspot.com
For great example of mix and match (although female) you must visit blog of gorgeous Milla Michinaga at http://michami.net/blog
Inspiration is always around the corner if you care to look.
All Shapes Featured in this article are available for sale @ MADesigns Store.