Iris Ophelia's ongoing review of virtual world and MMO fashion
Last night's episode of TLC's hit show What Not to Wear had SL fashionistas in a tizzy. Though Second Life was slightly shrouded under the fabricated name of "Planet Stiletto", it was immediately recognizable as SL to anyone in the know. But the reality of Second Life isn't very far from the made-for-reality-TV Planet Stiletto. It's a playground for the style-savvy to express themselves-- a world where utterly flawless fashion is attainable for a few dollars during a lazy Saturday afternoon at home. Of course there is a LOT more to Second Life than just fashion, but if you're going to go exploring you might as well do it in style!
So I've got a few shopping tips for anyone looking to get started in Planet Stiletto -- I mean, Second Life -- especially if you're a virtual world newbie. Keep reading to find out how!
First thing's first, your body in Second Life is made up of a skin and a shape. While you can make a shape on your own or use a premade one, skins are a far less DIY item for most of us. Skins have almost all of the details of your body painted on them, so a good skin can be the difference between diva and disaster. They're also usually the most expensive part of an outfit, but as you know if you're a regular viewer of What Not to Wear, sometimes you need to be willing to invest in a couple good, versatile pieces to pull everything else together. That's exactly the case with skins.
The skin I'm wearing is called Imani2 from LAQ, a brand that I chose because they come with a variety of options in terms of makeup (meaning that your skin will be more versatile in the long run), and also because LAQ sells skins of virtually every ethnicity, as well as male skins. Just remember to always try on a demo whenever one is offered-- this will let you test an item without actually committing to buy it, so if it doesn't look good on you, you're not stuck with it!
A good pair of eyes can bring a lot of life and soul to your avatar, and can go a long way to making them look less cartoonish. I picked a set of eyes from Insufferable Dastard, a popular brand that specializes in eyes and is very well priced. While I was at their shop I also swung next door and picked up a Pinup-inspired red lipstick tattoo from the makeup store Redbird, something which can be used with any skin to tweak and alter the look of your makeup.
Elikatira is another well-respected brand with tons of super-cute hairstyles to suit almost everyone's tastes. My favourite thing about this store is that they sell a pack with a variety of different hair colours in it-- a couple blondes, reds, browns and more-- so if you're not really sure which hue you like best, you can have a little bit of everything instead! This style is one of their latest releases from Hair Fair 2012 (check out my write up about the event here) called Flattery.
This is a newer release from the brand that Stacy London herself hand picked for her virtual outfit on last night's show, one of the most popular clothing brands in SL, so it almost goes without saying that what they produce is almost universally fabulous. There's a variety of clothing at coldLogic ranging from smart and sophisticated to fun and flirty, with carefully crafted little details like the amazing double belt on this dress, named Hathaway. Fans of What Not to Wear's chic aesthetic will be right at home here!
This brand is run by a japanese designer who is known both for the high quality of her items and the number of options she usually provides. Clicking on the Alex strap shoes I'm wearing, for example, lets me change the colour of the shoe, the sole, and the buckle, as well as offering me a number of different ways to wear the straps. It's one pair of shoes with almost endless possibilities, and the perfect foundation piece for a virtual wardrobe.
The best advice, of course, is to explore. Find unknown little shops with amazing sales and deals, meet kindred spirits with among your fellow fashionistas, try on demos and ask for help when you need it, and have fun in one of the most exciting and open-ended style sandboxes that you could ever hope for!Tweet
Iris Ophelia (Janine Hawkins IRL) has been featured in the New York Times and has spoken about SL-based design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and with pop culture/fashion maven Johanna Blakley.