I've finally decided to take the plunge and go mesh and have done the sensible thing by trying out the various demo before parting with my money. Of the ones I tried out [Slink, Altamura, Absolut, Belleza], the Belleza Jake ticked all the boxes for my requirements. I was just about to buy the full version when I noticed that the body shape I normally use left a huge gap between the mesh body neck and the system avatar neck underneath. When I switched over to the shape supplied with the body, it broke my head and made my eyes pop out! The two pictures I have included show the aforementioned neck gap with my regular body shape in the first picture and the broken head / pop-eye effect with the Belleza Jake shape in the second picture.
I keep all the correct parameters for my head [DSD dragon] on a notecard so that when I buy an avatar with a custom body shape [robot/mechanoid avatars being a case and point], I make a copy and edit it so that I can use my head with it. Unfortunately the shapes Belleza supply are no-mod so in this case it's not an option. I would need to buy a modifiable body shape for the Belleza Jake that works with the old SL avatar head. I would really appreciate it if someone could point me in the right direction. I have several alts all of whom I am switching over to mesh bodies and whichever mesh body I finally decide on it will end up being a bulk buy so I want to get it right first time around.
If I can't get hold of a modifiable body shape for the Belleza Jake, I'll go for the Slink body. Both of them handle the old-school clothing layers and alpha cuts very well. The main difference being that the Belleza body stores multiple outfits in the HUD. That means I can use one body for multiple outfits cutting down on inventory bloat. Setting up separate bodies for each outfit isn't a deal breaker as such but keeping my inventory size down is a plus for me.