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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, LightNina said:

Decimate is often used on objects to achieve this to avoid retopoing the mesh, so I just assumed that it would work on clothes as well (according to others, it is not a good option, though).

Indeed that is one method to lower the polygon number in many cases, but when it comes to models that need to deform, it's not a good option. It's often used for generating LoDs or for static objects, like rocks.

1 hour ago, LightNina said:

The initial reason I had it high was in fact for more details. However, I do not quite understand exactly what you mean here as I am new to this whole process for clothes in SL.

The whole point of having a high detail mesh and doing a retopo on top of it is to bake normal, ambient occlusion and (in other types of environments) a displacement map to recover those details from the high poly model. Those maps will then "simulate" the original (high poly) mesh details using shader features, in the case of SL you can bake the lighting derived from the baked normal map and AO, so that the final texture accounts for those details that aren't geometrically there on the retopoed (low poly) mesh. Moreover you can also apply the normal map in SL too, so those details get reinforced inworld, but the mesh would be lighter weight and better/easier to rig too. 

Edited by OptimoMaximo
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