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Petronilla Whitfield

Standard sizing in mesh clothing: a field report

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So, this weekend I decided to test some mesh clothes.  I was dubious because, at present, rigged mesh clothing aligns with some avatar sliders but not with others so that some dimensions of the clothing are fixed by the designer.  I had already looked into the free mesh jeans provided by one (talented) designer, and was disappointed to find that the sizes were (to my eyes): waif, skinny, and enormous.  I was afraid that all mesh clothes would be too big or too small.  But I read about the “standard sizes” and wanted to test them for myself.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the “large” standard size was pretty close to my avatar in most of the specified dimensions.  I went into appearance and changed my sliders to exactly match the large, and was pleased to see that my avatar looked pretty much the same.  And while I hate to admit it, to the degree it looked different, it looked more natural.  So far, so good.  And my thanks to the folks who surveyed all those avatars to develop these sizes.

I tried on a whole bunch of demos.  Imagine my disappointment when I discovered that more than half of the items marked “large” by designers claiming to follow standard sizing did not fit. 

Mind you, the stuff that did fit—all made by two or three designers—looked pretty darn amazing.  I called a friend over to my monitor to see my new dress—she didn’t know about mesh, or that I was trying a new creation type, but had seem my avatar in SL many times over the years—and her first comment was “Wow!  That looks so real!”  I love the movement in skirts.  I love not having to adjust belts, sleeves, etc.  I spent a couple of thousand lindens on mesh clothes before the weekend was over and am very pleased with them.

But in more than half of the clothes marked “large” by designers claiming to use the standard sizing, my breasts poked through the front of sweaters, or showed below the bust line of gowns, or my stomach, tush, or thighs showed through pants and skirts.  Sure, I didn’t waste money because the demos were free or almost free.  The designers whose stuff fit got all my lindens and those whose stuff didn’t fit got none.  But I might easily have given up after the first few things didn’t fit, and then no designer would have made any sales.

I do not create mesh, but speculated that the fit had something to do with my avi’s height—a mere 5.3 on the sliders.  My guess—and it’s only a guess—is that the clothes that didn’t fit were tested by their designers only on tallish avatars and didn’t scale down well, while the clothes that did fit were tested on mid-range avatars so as to have less distortion scaling up and scaling down.

Whatever the cause, mesh clothes marketed as conforming to a standard size that *don’t* fit avatars whose sliders exactly match the specified dimensions will surely undermine consumer confidence in these standards.  Something for mesh clothing designers to think about…

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I did something similar the last couple of days, downloaded a bunch of mesh demo clothes, from creators using standard sizes.  I edited my avatar shape to match the parameters given for the standard XS size.  And tried on various outfits.

I was *very* disappointed.  Only 1 or 2 of about 20 items labeled XS actually worked with an XS avatar.   In the sense that when I walk or sat or danced, various parts of me did not poke out through the clothes.  Using the provided altha masks helped a bit, as did using S sized clothes on my XS avatar.  That and making a couple of custom alpha masks.  The only one that worked out of the box withouth an alpha mask was a tank top, but the shoulder straps were hanging in space a good couple of centimeters abouve my shoulders, and the body of the thing was sized like a tent.

Oh, and I did run into a a dress that had 3 different sizes of each standard size:  XS small, medium and large.  If only the edges along the top of the thing had not cut into my skin as soon as I moved, I would have snapped it up.  It was really well done, other than that.

So for me, "standard sizin" seems like a marketing fantasy.

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I used the alpha masks provided in the demos--it never occured to me to do otherwise.  Even so, more than half the demo items showed bits of me poking through the garment, while I was standing perfectly still.  

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I usually don't have a problem with mesh fitting or having to change my shape, which I will not do, but in the last week or so, two designers who I frequent quite a lot, came out with their first mesh pieces.  I was so disappointed, none of their stuff fit me...even the ones labeled "small" or "petite" were still too big at the bust and fit me like a tent throughout the body area :(  I'm not sure where they got their size increments at, but sorely wish everyone would do it the same way.

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