Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Don't Be Afraid To Be a T.A.R.T.

I popped in at T.A.R.T. Clothing at the behest of one of my friends who reported that there was a good selection of inexpensive, cute clothing. I'll have to thank her for the tip, because it turns out that they sell some very cute and very inexpensive clothing, including the fantastic, dangerously low Crack Jeans (shown left in dark denim) for the low price of $L100. The design is on point for those who dare to bare some skin below the waistline and the denim texture used to create the jeans holds its own when compared to those produced and used by fashion moguls like Armidi. The Crack Jeans come with prim leg attachments, each made of a single, hollowed cylinder. And while I've been less than satisfied with jeans that feature these type of prim attachments in the past, the prim attachments for the Crack Jeans work well and there's little to no seam evident at the attachment point. Besides, the Crack Jeans are copiable and modifiable, so you can adjust or change them to fit any look (and probably obviate the need for prim leg attachments altogether) while still keeping the original copy in tact. Oh, and for all you dolls out there with some junk in the trunk, the crack jeans are definitely booty-friendly.

So step in line, I'm confident that you'll be a T.A.R.T. (fan) in no time. And when you stop in at T.A.R.T., don't pass on the super selection of barely there skirt ensembles and seperates. I fell for the Trina top (shown below in black.)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Difference of Nyte 'N' Day

There's a very short list of stores that my Doll enjoys as much today as she did when she was very new to Second Life. Having a wide selection of quality, low-cost, timely, easy-to-wear outfits has earned Nyte 'N' Day a spot on that list. (The vast majority of designs at Nyte 'N' Day are available for less than L$200!) There is little doubt in my mind that Nyte 'N' Day creator, Nyte Caligari, places as much importance on utility as fashion and style as most Nyte 'N' Day offerings look great on almost any shape and can be worn for almost any occasion.

When I set out to visit Nyte 'N' Day, after having been away for far too long, I found the Tailor outfit (shown left.) It's simple (and seductive) design makes it a good choice for most casual encounters and I think you'll agree that this take-off on the classic business suit is more conservative than many that you might run across in Second Life. Tailor comes with a pair of white, pin-striped pants (in the pants layer) as well as a black bra and a white, pin-striped blazer (in undershirt/shirt and shirt/jacket layers, respectively.)

And although Nyte 'N' Day has a very extensive selection of deeply discounted merchandise (in the rear of the store,) I didn't hesitate to stop at the new releases where I found some perfect casual pieces for my Doll's summer wardrobe in the Bandeau Blues outfit (shown right) and the Piccilo Purple outfit (below, left.) The Bandeau Blues outfit is exemplary of the quality and thought that goes into Nyte 'N' Day designs. It comes with 5 prim attachments, a sheer, blue shirt (in a jacket layer,) a white bra (in a shirt layer,) and some khaki pants (in a pants layer.) Simply add hair, jewelry, and shoes to this folder and you're ready to hit the grid for a social outing or another shopping adventure.

The Piccilo Purple outfit is equally impressive as it can be worn as a babydoll dress (left,) a regular dress with a prim skirt attachment, or a sexy hot pants set. And with 100% of the proceeds from the sale of this outfit going to benefit Lupus Canada, this is one purchase your doll will feel great about. That's right, 100% of the proceeds from the sale of this outfit (and all other purple Nyte 'N' Day outfits created after October 1, 2007) go to a noble cause. Look for the Lupus logo posters at Nyte 'N' Day.

When you stop by Nyte 'N' Day, don't forget to check out the extensive collection of seperates available to complement some of those tops or pants in your doll's wardrobe. My Doll found the perfect set of Cargo pants (below) to complete one of her celebrity looks.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Kitty Tales: Purrfectly Pink

The precious, little nekos that inhabit the metaverse aren't exactly known for wearing pink, super girly ensembles, but part of the beauty of the very inclusive Second Life neko community is that almost anything goes. So when my inner neko felt the need to outwardly express itself by turning my Doll into a digital tigress, I jumped at the chance to see exactly where the color pink meets the edginess of all that is neko. I was pleasantly surprised at the kitten that emerged. =^.^=

My Doll positively adores what Hybrid has to offer, especially when it comes to kitty parts. And if you're even thinking about working on your very own neko look, a stop at Hybrid should be high on your priority list. Hybrid's Neko Interaction series features complete sets of kitty ears, tails, and paws that each come with a HUD that will allow your doll to customize the look of his or her kitty parts. The Interaction series are also scripted so that anyone (or the people of your choosing) can touch your ears, tails, or paws and cause them to say terribly cute things in open chat. I temporarily felt the need to call for reinforcements when I discovered the number of options available when it came to using the Hybrid HUD to pick the color and look of my Doll's ears and tail. And it might be just fine to lose your head over this tail (and ears) because there are so many options available with the Hybrid HUD, in terms of color and placement of color, that I wouldn't be surprised if no two people on the grid wear identical Hybrid ears, tails, and paw sets. And while my Doll found that she wasn't ready for a full set of Hybrid's beautiful paws, she did find that Hybrid's Paw Pad Gloves and Spot Tattoos (worn over her everyday skin) were purrfect.

My doll found a very appropriate and luxurious mane in Kin's Sera blue and white hair. The texture and build of Kin's hair was everything my neko was looking for and more. Kin's hair seems to purrfectly walk the line that is neko. It's messy, but not too messy and wild, but only over the top when you want it that way. Most importantly, the hair looks good and moves well.

I dressed my kitty Doll in the designs of a neko mainstay, Canimal. I opted for the (increasingly appropriate) Little Miss Shop-A-Holic T-Shirt, a Streetwear Mini (in blue,) and a pair of torn fishnets. Canimal's clothes are edgy and original while the quality is remarkable. The shirt really looks like a too small, too tight t-shirt (that you can maybe see through in the right light.) And the prim panel included as part of the miniskirt is made of two stretched cylinders, rather than two flat box prims, so that it generally looks and works better than other prims skirts with the upshot of avoiding the unattractive Second Life skirt template.

And I didn't stop at the cute outfit. I took my Doll all the way and reveled in the joy that only accessories can bring. I went with Ephemeral Creations' natural (tyger) whiskers, a dark monocle (with some decorative fish bones and optional bling) from House of EyeZ, the clean suckerpunch arm bracers from CatniP, and the fantastically cute, pink malicious leg-warmers from Paradisis. The scultpy leg-warmers were perfect for this feminine feline as they're adorned with little, rhinestone cat paws and a dangling cat paw charm. And no, the accessories didn't stop there. I had to find the purrfect collar for this pink-clad kitten and that wasn't a decision to be taken lightly.

Fortunately, my Doll found the perfect collar for her in Ephemeral Creations' "Has Milk Paw" Collar in black leather (shown left with Kin's Emily hair.) Another fine piece of work from the good people over at Ephemeral Creations, this collar is so cute that it should be illegal. As if the leather collar with tiny, kitty paw prints wasn't enough, this collar's tiny milk jug charm with its own kitty paw print takes cute to a whole new level. Ephemeral Creations doesn't cut corners when it comes to details, and this piece is no exception: you can actually see the stitching on the edges of the leather collar. Meow!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Baiastice Sets the Bar for "Haute Couture"

"There is much to support the view that it is clothes that wear us and not we them; we may make them take the mould of arm or breast, but they would mould our hearts, our brains, our tongues to their liking."
-Virginia Woolf

After visiting Baiastice this past Friday, I was hardly surprised to learn that the creator behind the magic of Baiastice, Sissy Pessoa, is a sweetheart of Second Life fashion mavens everywhere. The designs offered up at Baiastice are, without question, original, striking, and absolutely worthy of the label "couture." Baiastice's designs range from the simple elegance of the Sovrana Dress (left) to a number of terribly chic ensembles that present some of the most fabulous cuts and colors of decades past in ways that can only be described as modern. I could (and will) go on at length about Pessoa's designs and style, but what I found truly noteworthy about the clothing at Baiastice and what makes Pessoa stand a full head-and-shoulders above the vast majority of designers and content creators in Second Life is the very obvious craftsmanship that has gone into the wearable artwork sold at Baiastice. Not only does Pessoa take the time and effort to "bake" lighting and highlights into her clothing textures to give her outfits a very realistic look and feel, but she has managed to master the use of the all-important alpha channel in ways that many other designers only dream about. The Sovrana Dress (above) is proof positive of the latter: the bottom of the prim skirt attachment genuinely appears as billowing layers of material with a slight shimmer that one can partially see through.

Pessoa's striking use of highlights in her clothing textures is profoundly evident in the Onda Outfit (right.) The Onda Outfit's simplicity ends with the fact that it's predominantly one color. This seafoam masterpiece shimmers and shines in the light (and appropriately shifts and changes as my Doll moves or changes her camera angle) to give the feel and look of very real material with very real reflections and lighting. The prim attachments that cascade down the bottoms of my Doll's legs are well-built and textured in the same fabulous seafoam to shimmer and shine with the rest of the garment (as though all of the pieces really are a single garment.) The Onda Outfit perfectly (and realistically) accentuates my Doll's bustline with intricate silver piping placed immediately below the bust while the weight and drama of the cascading prim leg attachments are offset by a very small, delicate halter neck strap.

The similar, and equally impressive, Sirikit outfit (left) is another prime example of Pessoa's workmanship. This offering from Baiastice brings the magical texturing and prim work seen in the Onda Outfit (above) together with colors and a pattern that are reminiscent of the 1970s. The Sirikit Outfit demonstrates that Baiastice does for fashion what your grandmother's wall clocks and table lamps do for modern architecture. The Sirikit Outfit shimmers and shines in the same realistic manner as the Onda Outfit (above) while its colors and design give it a completely different (and very retrofabulous) look and feel. The Sirikit Outfit also comes with the option of a shorter pair of pants and a prim skirt for those dolls that would prefer a dress over the edgier, bell-bottomed pants on the left. And regardless of which option you choose, your doll is sure to stand out in a crowd wearing Baiastice's Sirikit Outfit.

The outfits featured in this post are only a small taste of the many, exceptional offerings at Baiastice (where even the freebies available are something to write home about.) I really can't encourage you enough to take a trip to Baiastice. I think you'll find something for every taste, occasion, and budget. My Doll is already planning her next trip.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Doll Garment Fetishes: Class Is In Session

The unforgettable emergence of an adolescent Britney Spears clad in pigtails and a plaid, pleated skirt left little doubt why schoolgirls are (and have been) a predominant figure in American and Japanese pop culture (and pornography.) If you happen to be a resident of Second Life, you probably didn't have any doubt in the first place. Even if you don't want to cop to being a member of the very vast majority of Second Life residents that can rock their very own schoolgirl look, I'd bet my bottom dollar that you've run into a schoolgirl or two. So this is one for all you schoolgirls out there that aren't using your computers to do your homework.

I'll Clean More Than Your Chalkboard

Indeed, the vast majority of Second Life schoolgirl outfits say that (and more,) like the ensemble shown above. Strung together with pieces from the Freak Boutique and Babydoll's, an establishment known grid-wide for providing the strippers of Second Life the little bits of clothing they wear, this little number is designed only for those majoring in pole dancing. The white Demi Bra layer under the sheer crop top is utilitarian: it lends this outfit its only (vital) hint of innocence while making sure that no dull teachers or dorky school administrators get a (free) glimpse of your Grade A pixels. The tintable Cupid tie shown is a MUST for every serious schoolgirl. Not only is it part of the required uniform, but this little offering from the Freak Boutique is copiable and tintable so it'll work with any schoolgirl outfit.

I Will Not Be Dismissed

Although the quintessential schoolgirl is blonde, we certainly can't discount all those brunette beauties out there that usually bring an edge to the schoolgirl party. I found the perfect set for the edgy schoolgirl in you at Son!a for Supermodels. Shown right, Son!a's Naughty Schoolgirl has everything a schoolgirl needs to mix-and-match the perfect look in one stop. The Naughty Schoolgirl comes with 6 sweater options in different colors (in jacket layers,) 3 undershirt options (in t-shirt layers,) black schoolgirl shorts (in a pants layer,) black schoolgirl stockings, a prim skirt, and a fantastic prim collar and tie. I found ETD's Emily hair in Black a great match for this outfit's edgy look.

Forgive Me Father, But Catholic Schoolgirls Do It Better

And last, but most certainly not least, we arrive at Nyte 'N' Day's tribute to the schoolgirl in all of us. The Schooled outfit, shown left, is definitely a winner (and a surefire way to shake the concentration of any members of the male species that might be standing around.) Schooled is the real deal, right down to the authenticating crest on the breast of the vest jacket. Schooled comes with 2 different prim skirt options, so you can tailor it for your doll. To complete the look on the left, my Doll wore ETD's Leslie hair in Blonde Frosted and a Princess belly ring from Alyssa Bijoux Jewelry.

The Schoolgirl's Weapon of Choice: PIGTAILS

Gurl 6's Lala in Platinum, shown below, is a great head of hair and an excellent choice for the aspiring schoolgirl in you.

ETD's Twila in Blonde Frosted (shown left) is an equally-attractive option.

And don't make the mistake of forgetting about ETD's Abigail in Strawberry, because if this hair doesn't say, "Hit Me Baby, One More Time," I don't know what does.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Doll Parts: I Don't Need a Reason to Curl Up and Dye

Gather 'round my fellow prim hair lovers, I've found some remarkable doll parts just for you. (Try not to get drool on the keyboard.) During my ongoing (and endless) search for prim hair perfection, I happened upon the Curl Up and Dye Salon. At this time I would like to take a moment to give thanks to whatever higher power lead me to the Curl Up and Dye Salon, because the experience was truly DIVINE. At the Curl Up and Dye Salon, the styles are fresh and unique, the textures are outstanding, and (OMG) there is a plethora of prim hair that (almost) justifies my excessive costume collection.

La Grand Vedette Malienne

At the outset, I should mention that there's more than just prim hair at the Curl Up and Dye Salon. While I was there, I grabbed the Fanta Damba outfit in Off-White (left) for all those occasions where a tiny, prim rope outfit featuring dangling animal pelts is in order. This outfit, made entirely of prims, is absolutely extraordinary and passed my Doll's rigorous QC with flying colors. I donned the Juju hair (also from Curl Up and Dye) in Sand with the Fanta Damba outfit to complete my Doll's tribal diva look. I think you'll agree that it's provocative and unique, to say the least.

We're Not In Kansas Anymore

Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz didn't exactly have a short skirt and thigh-high stockings, but that's never stopped anyone from instantly recognizing this rendition of the famous damsel-in-distress by my favorite costume dealer, A Touch of Ireland. (I've referred to purveyors of fine costumes in Second Life as "dealers" since the day I realized I have a serious addiction when it comes to costumes.) And thanks to divine intervention, the days of struggling to find the right hair for this costume are long gone. The Curl Up and Dye Salon gave new life to my Doll's Dorothy with its Dorothy hair in Wine (right.)

Frankly My Dear, I Don't Give A Damn

Just when I thought it couldn't get any better than finding the perfect locks for little Dorothy, I saw the prim hair magic that would breathe life into my Doll's Scarlett O'Hara. My search for a well-done recreation of Scarlett's hair also came to and end at the Curl Up and Dye Salon when I discovered Scarlett O'Hare (shown left in Brown.) Curl Up and Dye's Scarlett O'Hare is the perfect match for my Doll's Scarlett Garnet Gown (left,) also from A Touch of Ireland. Yes, this is a nearly perfect recreation of the gown that Rhett forced Miss Scarlett to wear to Ashley Wilkes' birthday party in hopes of exposing her as indecent and improper. Fiddle-Dee-Dee!

You Better Work, Girl

I don't know why or where my Doll will wear her new Fatties hair (shown right in Sand) with color-change rollers, but you can bet any excuse or none at all will do. At this point, you probably won't be surprised to find out that the Curl Up and Dye Salon offers more than one head of hair in rollers. I decided to pass on the more traditional, beauty-school-drop-out looking hair and opted for the Fatties. The Fatties hair immediately turned my Doll into a supermodel in the midst of being groomed for her next big shoot. And lemme tell ya', this hair brings the attitude. (My Doll actually thought about the possibility of not getting out of bed for less than $10,000 a day when she wore this hair.)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Very Proper Rendition of 1940's Hollywood Glamour at Comme Il Faut

“She has the bearing of a man; the characters she plays love power and wear trousers. Marlene's masculinity appeals to women and her sexuality to men.”
- Kenneth Tynan (on Marlene Dietrich)

As I scoured the grid this past weekend in search of rare and precious creations for my Doll, I was fortunate enough to discover a little gem by the name of Comme Il Faut . The store is aptly named, to be sure. "Comme ilfaut" is a French phrase used to describe that which is in accord with conventions or standards (or is otherwise proper.) And whether or not the foregoing translation is on the mark, the stunning ensembles being sold at Comme Il Faut are undeniably proper. I found Los 36 Billares (Negro,) shown to the left, absolutely irresistible. The sophisticated design of Los 36 Billares summons the spirit of the late Miss Dietrich and squarely demonstrates that trousers and a vest can be very proper for a powerful woman that is, above all else, feminine.

Los 36 Billares comes with a pair of black pants and two different jacket-layer tops, the vest shown above and another that gives the appearance of a white long-sleeved undershirt and red tie (shown right.)

As always, the accessories (and hair) made the outfit. Today I happened to visit ETD with a dear friend and as soon as I saw "Charley," a slightly messy updo topped off with a black fedora (shown left,) I knew it was a perfect match for Los 36 Billares. I decorated my Doll with a set of garnet jewels (shown left) from the Everyday Gems collection by Shiny Things. The jewelry from Shiny Things is of outstanding quality and workmanship and this particular set complemented this ensemble even better than I'd imagined. Finally, but perhaps most important, I found my Doll the perfect shoes for this look in Maitreya's Red Verve Pumps. These shoes are undoubtedly one of the finest pair of scuplty heels sold in Second Life and the textures on these fine works of art are nothing short of fabulous.

Oh, and when you stop by Comme Il Faut to decorate your doll, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by the prim hair offerings from this throwback wonderland. (I was, and I have the fat pack to prove it.) I was immediately struck by the style and beauty of Milonga (shown right.)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My Favorite Thing About Second Life

There is undeniably an abundance of things about Second Life to love. For me, finding out what I was passionate about in Second Life was simple. One of my very favorite activities today was my very favorite activity on the very day that I became a resident of Second Life. Simply put, I love to play dolls. More specifically, I love to dress my Second Life avatar (hereinafter "my Doll.") Sounds pretty simplistic, I know. But for those of us who love to dress their dolls as an activity, Second Life is truly a candy shop. Digital artists from all over the world and from every walk of life spend untold hours creating everything from hair, skin, and eyes to tiny pieces of jewelry, ensembles truly worthy of being termed dramatic and the all important stiletto so that I can get my Doll looking, walking, and dancing as I wish. The possibilities of customizing and changing your doll in Second Life are literally infinite. And for those of us who like to play dolls, that equates to always having something to do.

This blog is merely an extension of one of my favorite hobbies, dressing my Doll. I hope it will ultimately facilitate meetings and discussions between those similarly situated. I also hope to use this forum to pay homage to the visionary artists that spend their time imagining and creating all the odds and ends that allow me to make my Doll as I wish her to be.