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Fashion Expert Harper Beresford: Harper's Five Easy Pieces

Linden Lab



For over two years, I have written daily about SL fashion for my blog, “A Passion for Virtual Fashion,” and I co-lead Relay for Life’s Fashion for Life, which is one of the biggest fashion charity events on the grid. Linden Lab graciously invited me to share my expertise.

The other day, I saw a TV ad for a fashion show about five easy pieces for one’s real life wardrobe. This got me thinking about five essential pieces in SL.


1. An AO

The Animation Override (AO) is a script that replaces the avatar's standard animations. An AO will provide those “non verbal cues” that say who you are—manly man, nerd, anime girl, kitsune pup, fashionista. Purchase a preloaded HUD (Heads Up Display) or buy animations and load them into a HUD (or into a special folder in some third party viewers) and replace the “newbie waddle.”

 LL ao illustration v1.png


2. Shape 

The shape of an avatar is the frame of your avatar. It is our “body” and the core of our virtual selves. Buy a modifiable one from a good shape maker and tweak it to your personal tastes rather than starting from scratch. Making a pleasingly proportionate avatar is harder than it looks.

 LL shapes illustration.png


3. Skin 

The skin is the decoration on your basic shape. You can’t have an avatar without a skin. The skin you purchase should be a statement about you and should please your eye. Consider a neutral skin so you can change it using the five additional makeup layers that SL allows.

 LL skins illustration .png


4. Hair

Hair is a huge differentiator between avatars. Whether you want a cute ponytail, luscious locks, a sassy pixie cut, a mohawk or a mullet. Combining regular prims, flexies, and sculpties (and soon mesh) with gorgeous textures and scripted features, hair is one of the engineering wonders of SL.

 LL hair illustration.png


5. Eyes

Our avatar’s eyes move to follow our sight line as well as blink, giving avatars a human quality. When the eyes are flat or bland, the entire avatar looks “fake.” Eyes are an inexpensive investment change you from cartoonish to alive.

Want to know more about the great content I have featured? Check out this entry on my blog for references and SLURLS.

What are your five easy pieces? Leave a comment here!

 LL eyes illustration.png



Harper Beresford writes about Second Life fashion on her blog  “A Passion for Virtual Fashion.” Her work has appeared in Harper's Bizarre, Architectural Digest (Italy) and numerous other outlets.

She is one of today's Fashion Experts and will be "on call" to respond to comments and answer questions both here and in the Fashion Forums from 9 am - 4 pm, Pacific Standard Time, Monday, September 19. 



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Yes  I agree, those are pretty much the the things that define ones basic look, for me it became "pale skin, dark red  hair, green eyes" fairly early on in my SL journey. 



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Another excellent piece of work Harper. For new citizens to Secondlife, this is a paramount of fashion tips. I am sp proud to know you.

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Great post, Harper: you hit all the major avatar beauty basics.

I was pleased to see you made eyes your 5th and final piece. It's one that is often overlooked by people with otherwise great looking avatars. You see these gorgeous models and fashionistas with flat, fake, obnoxious eyes, and it brings down their whole look. Great eyes add both realism and beauty, just like any good shape or skin or hair style does.

I think part of the reason you don't see more avatars with better eyes is because, although there are plenty of styles out there on the grid, only a handful of eye designers have nailed that tricky realism+beauty combo that truly brings an avatar's face to life. For the sake of variety, options and individual expression, I hope lots of compellng new eye styles from different designers reach the market soon.

I think too, that because eyes are a relatively small detail in the overall avatar appearance, many people underestimate their value and impact. But don't we all zoom in on an avatar's face at some point when we're checking them out?  Just to see details and guage their beauty?  It's a natural, instinctive thing to do; we do the same thing in real life, since we are very much drawn to look closely at a person's face, and especially their eyes! It helps us to read people, to appreciate them and connect with them.

So, eyes are important. Make sure you have awesome ones for your avatar. Take the time to hit the fashion blogs and shop around; do your research, just like you would to find anything else to build your beautiful, unique look.

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Thank you Harper for you post. I have a question on my ever ongoing search for the best pale skin, do you have a suggestion? I would like it as pale is that of Winter Jefferson (who is in lot of Miamai BL pictures). Most skins like Glam are beautifull, but not as pale as I would like them.

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I would agree with all points! I love that you don't disregard anyone's personal choice; you manage to talk about things like shape and eyes and AO without pointing out "wrong" and "right," which is highly subjective. Might be nice to see some suggestions for places to find each of these things, rather than just a blog reference, but I like the points you made.

Other less vital, but still imprtant pieces for me are things like eyelashes - which make a surprisingly large difference in the appearance of the ace and eyes, particularly on female avatars; and "unique characteristics," maybe a tattoo, elven ears, piercings, even two different colored eyes. Those things go a long way into creating a wholly "you" avi! (But aren't the "essentials," so I think your basic, getting-started 5 are perfect.)

As an aside - Cherry, if you read this, check out Redgrave's vampire skins. I believe LAQ has some as well - VERY pale, and good quailty for both.

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I agree with all and also with Pat's sugestion, there ale many ready shapes, meny wel known skins hair ao and well edited shape with proportions but olso with fantasy can make an avatar unique

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Thanks for all the kind comments. I thought, what do we always take new users to get or work on ourselves first? That waddle is the first thing go go for me *every time* I help a new user. Ariel, I was unable to give attribution to the items I showed here because LL gave me a word limit and I wanted to pack as much in as I could. (As it was, I had 700 words edited down to 400 thanks to Erehwon Yoshikawa.) I thought the best thing was to put SLURLs on my own blog rather than skip it. I had so much more to say about everything! Pale skin? Would direct you to LAQ and also Tuli's goth Hope skin, which is a bit older but still stuns me with its translucency and shimmer. You can also ask Winter directly in world--he's a *really* nice guy and a treasure trove of information. Eyes? Ikon Innovia commented articulately above. He taught me all I know about the intricacies of them. His eyes are my favorite and I use them almost exclusively. Thanks, Brett and the rest of the team, for inviting me to participate.

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Great article on the basics, Harper. I agree, the AO is the FIRST thing I get a newbie. And thanks for adding the Nubian skin in there. It's hard to find quality skins, but when you're Black and want to represent yourself as such in SL, it's that much harder. So many places will have one, or even none at all! How do you make yourself look unique when every other sister has the same skins? ;P

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I would like to offer a different experience of charities andfundraising in Sl ...

My name is ...  Virginia Lupindo, about a year, in this world, I collect funds for Ashraya, Indian Association; Ashraya means "shelter, protection" has brought hope and love in the lives of hundreds of children and women, for many years. Established and registered in 1982, the organization based in Bangalore is dedicated to finding solutions for children within their own biological family, or adoptive homes. 
From the beginning, the organization's main function was to work with the rehabilitation of poor and abandoned children. Has now extended its services to the family as a whole. 
Asharaya founded called Tara a second center where women and their children can work together to find support and protection to the suffering and difficulties. I met there who founded the association and those who continue to take care of everything ... with very little can do more , words seem to be discounted, but I assure you, having seen him in person that is true. There just 1 euro per day to feed a baby. 

In this time of several events made ... now there's a really important and unique, my  friend Lucrezia Savira, I made me a gift of his photographs to raise funds through exhibitions in Second Life, recently told her about project. Lucrezia said me she wanted to do something for me, for India. 
The art of Lucrezia is known and appreciated for some time in Second Life also well, his way of "giving emotions" in the light for me, every time, a source of shock at the '"soul" and knew that his promise would become reality. 
So here 15 of his portraits of Indian places in sl ... to her I can only repeat my thanks and an invitation to feel within you the opportunity to be generous ... the euro that I was saying before, we turned it in Linden cost for each photographic panel of Lucretia; 1 frame = 1 days of baby food to a child. 

This is a lm where is possible now see a Lucrezia's photos exposition:


and this..is my blog..for more informations:)



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