Bitch, please: Enough with the fucking SWEATPANTS already!

OK, my sartorial darlings, this one has been brewing for fucking months, and you know it’s going to be a doozie because I’ve already sworn twice within the space of 19 words. Expect more as this post proceeds. Let’s ease on those bitch heels and strut the runway of frustration again…

What am I bitchin’ about today?

FUCKING SWEATPANTS

*seethes quietly while he gets his blood pressure under control*

Look, I get it. I really do. The F/W18 Paris Fashion Week did  feature sportswear—specifically sweatpants and sweatshirts—fairly heavily. Believe me, I follow this shit and I saw it. It was the laziest goddamn ‘fashion design’ I think I’ve ever seen. And, unfortunately, many of SL’s menswear designers have ignored all the other amazing stuff that came out in those collections, and zeroed in on the sportswear like fucking mosquitoes with blinders on.

I’ve suffered in silence (okay, almost silence) for several months now. But the new Men’s Dept collection, released just yesterday, is the final fucking straw for me. It contains the following:

  • five lots of sweatpants
  • two lots of sweatshirts
  • two lots of sneakers
  • three lots of sportswear (basketball shirts/tops/shorts)

And that’s not counting the spaces taken up by the ten lots of decor items (including one backdrop and two skyboxes).

ONE collection. FIVE lots of sweatpants. Are you taking the fucking piss, people? Have we jettisoned back to 2007 and those heady days of ‘gangsta’ puffer jackets? Can we expect the enormous blinging $$ belt buckles and gold chains next?

It’s getting harder and harder to find NON-sportswear clothing items these days. More and more often I find myself coming away from the six (yes, SIX) monthly menswear events with just skins, hair, and other accessories lately. It’s damn near impossible to put together decent looks and blog posts without re-using older items time and again. I’m lucky if—from all those six events—I can find three or four clothing items I can work with. I’m even luckier if those clothing items actually work together.

Designers: did you even see  the Balmain F/W collection? Did you see all of this amazing stuff?

And that was just ONE collection. Balmain, Dior Homme, McQueen: all brought amazing design to the runways.

And what does SL give us?

*deep breath and all together now*

FUCKING SWEATPANTS.

*sighs*

Yes, I’m fuming, but I’m also so, SO disappointed. Designers who once made amazing, innovative (but, crucially, wearable) clothing now release mostly sweatpants and sweatshirts. Footwear designers who once brought out incredible boots and shoes now mostly release sneakers. And don’t even get me started on the whole “only rigging for Gianni and Jake” that goes on these days.

It’s depressing. Truly depressing.

First world problems, yeah, but bloody hell,  people. I’m more than willing to put in hours  of effort to put looks together and publicise your creations, but I’m getting so damn disheartened with the menswear scene in SL lately. Have you noticed that many of my fashion shots these days are head-and-shoulders-only? Or head-and-torso-only? That’s because I can’t find decent fucking pants and footwear on a reasonably regular basis. Or because all I’ve found is a new skin and some hair. Maybe some eyes.

Can we turn this around a little? God, I have no idea how many (if any) clothing designers read my blog, but show me what you can do, my sartorial darlings. Blow my mind and make me throw my L$ at you. Want some ideas? Check out my HOWL Pinterest board, because—if you can bring stuff like that to SL—you will  make me howl. (And yes, right at the bottom of that page you’ll see something that one designer has  brought into SL, and that I and many others jumped on the second we saw it.)

Because there’s nothing sartorial about fucking sweatpants…

Livia ain’t just for girls, and that’s the Truth

Take a look at this hair, my sartorial darlings.

Is that not as delicious as sin?  My god, when I saw it at Uber I had to try it, but when I put it on I had to have it. It’s the new (yes, yes) female ‘Livia’ hair from Truth, but it looks fucking gorgeous on guys, and what’s more: it fits almost perfectly at the back, too (unlike many other female hairstyles). There’s a teeny bit of poke-in between the shoulders, but the rest of the hair is long, tousled, and voluminous enough to disguise that.

Add to this the fact that—as with all Truth hair—you get a multi-style HUD alongside the great colour HUD, and you’re onto a winner. With the style HUD you have options for which side of your hair is over your shoulders (or not) plus multiple options for those “you sexy muthafucka” bangs that drape so beautifully over your eyes.

I swear, if you guys don’t grab this and then have a stab at perfecting your “come hither” looks, I shall be so disappoint, son. This hairstyle is just made for sending your partner (or prospective parter) weak at the knees, so don’t let the ladies hog it all to themselves! ;-)

I, uh, guess I’d best stop waxing rhapsodic about Skell’s barnet and take a quick gander at the rest of him. *sigh*

In the words of Mary Poppins…

Oh, well... If we must, we must.

The necklace is new from Mandala, and also out at Uber. As with all Mandala items, there’s a fantastic customisation HUD allowing you to change each of the links in the necklace. Male and female fits are included in the folder, and the male one didn’t need even one iota of adjustment (which is a refreshing change from so much other jewellery in SL).

The eyes are stunners. Again, out at Uber, they’re by S0NG, and are available in a Catwa fatpack only. I will note here, that every applier that I’ve tried by S0NG appears to sit a little too high up on my Catwa rigged eyes. This is easily fixable with the Catwa Eyes & Tears HUD, which allows for fine-tuning of texture position and size, as well as specular and many other things. Added to that: it also contains a ton of free additional eye appliers by Catwa (and you can create copies of it to overwrite those with your own appliers, giving you one—or more, depending on your eye applier habit!—HUD with everything in it).

The lash appliers—though they’re not easy to see here—are from a beautiful hand-painted set by Stardust, at Uber. I picked up both the Catwa and Lelutka options. Definitely worth it, as they’re fine and delicate enough for male lashes, so they’re pretty much unisex.

Yeah, you’re looking at that skin, too, ain’tcha? Well you’ve got Insol to thank for that, and please do  thank them, because they’ve started making some beautiful, porcelain-like male appliers at last! I’ve long envied the lovely female appliers that have been released from there, so it’s fantastic to see male appliers coming out, too. This one is ‘Tyson’ in tone 01, out at Kustom9. Matching body appliers can be found at Bold & Beauty (LM is in the Insol folder).

I’m going to note something here that did make me side-eye just a little, though. You know me: I speak out about what I love, but I’m also not afraid to speak out when something strikes me as wrong or unfair. And the body applier issue here is a little unfair. Bold & Beauty sell female body appliers to match Insol heads, too. And when I say they sell them… I actually meant they sell them… for FREE. Yep. The female Bold & Beauty body appliers, for multiple female bodies, are absolutely free at the store.

The male appliers? Hrrr… those are sold in fatpacks for individual bodies, and at L$350 per pack. I picked up the Omega version, since I was unwilling to shell out L$350 for the Slink appliers, followed by another L$350 for the Signature appliers, etc. So yeah: the ladies get their appliers free, but the guys have to pay. That said, though, they’re absolutely fucking fantastic appliers and—since I consider L$350 for a fatpack of body appliers a good price—it might seem that I’m griping for no reason. Rest assured: the gripe only comes because of the disparity in cost between male and female appliers. Why do the ladies get theirs free, while the gents have to pay?

Anyway, back to the fashion. This tank from Justice is out at the current Sense Event, and comes with fits for the four primary male mesh bodies (check out the credits for a full list) and several pattern options. It’s great to see more and more clothing being rigged for Signature Geralt, too. Keep that up, please, designers!

White Widow have the tattoo appliers out at Cosmetic Fair, with multiple colour options (sold separately) for the ‘gems’. They also have leg tattoos in a similar style that—rather wonderfully—look like garters. Didn’t pick those up, but I was tempted ;-)

The piercings were recently released by Catwa, in one massive pack for either men or women (L$460 each). Each pack contains rigged piercing sets for all Catwa Bento heads, with a huge customisation HUD that allows different metal colours as well as hide/show options for each piercing. My set here is quite minimal compared to the full option!

Get your arses over to Uber, lads, and let your hair down ;-)

Credits

Head applier: Insol – Tyson (T1 – Catwa)
Body applier: Bold & Beauty Homme
Hair: Truth – Livia (multitone 1)
Necklace: Mandala – Chunky Chain Necklace (unisex)
Eye appliers: S0NG – Texas Eyes (Catwa)
Lash appliers: Stardust – Aurora Lashes (Catwa, Lelutka)
Tattoo appliers: White Widow – FallOut (black – diamond) (Belleza, Maitreya, Omega, Sig, Sking, Slink)
Eyeshadow applier: Zibska – Terrwyn (Catwa, Lelutka, Omega)
Top: Justice – Jonathan Shirt (ebony) (Geralt, Gianni, Jake, Slink)
Piercings: Catwa – Bento Face Piercings* (rigged for all Catwa Bento heads)
Head: Catwa – Skell* (Bento)
Body: Slink – Physique Male

*review copy

When the one you want is only in the fatpack…

There are times, my sartorial darlings, when I both shake my fist and make with the grabbyhands simultaneously (and believe me that ain’t easy). I’m not a fan of several new trends that I’m seeing among designers of male avatar customisation items in Second Life (one of which is the no-demo shape, but that’s for another post). The one that’s been bugging me lately is the ‘fatpack-only colour/pattern’ or the ‘you have to buy a pack of six to get the colour you want, and the other  colour you want is in a different pack of six’ model of selling.

*imagine Skell uttering Marge Simpson’s throaty “hrrrm” growl here*

However, occasionally, an item is so good (and there are enough patterns/special fatpack-only colours that I like) to make it worth springing for the full version, so I guess I’m as guilty as anyone else of proving that this selling method does occasionally work, and thereby of perpetuating it. So ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (as the cool kids say).

Anyhow, this shirt, by Tori Torricelli at The Mens Dept this month is one of those certain-patterns-in-the-fatpack-only items, but c’mon.  Did you seriously think I could pass up a pattern like that? And the shirt is so well-made, fits so beautifully, and has several fitting options for each mesh body that it’s rigged for, so it was worth the L$1500-ish asking fee for the very generous fatpack HUD.

And, knocking it out of the park (as per usual) with these stunning glasses at the current Ultra event, is Haysuriza. I own several pairs of their shades, and they just keep getting better and better. Fantastic customisation options (frames, lenses and opacity, down or on the top of your head, etc), and these are the first shades I’ve seen that allow you to actually open the arms out  at the side of your head, as opposed to just stretching the whole linkset sideways to accommodate a wider head. For that alone I would highly recommend them (and I wish more creators would give us that option) but, as you can see, they’re so damn good to look at that you need to buy them anyway, y’hear?

Cigarette and lighter (plus the next pose) are available singly or in fatpack form by Animosity at The Mens Dept. Fork out for the fatpack and you’ll get a bonus petrol can and blazing flames, for all your pyromaniac needs ;-)

Cuff by Swallow, necklace by The Forge (IIRC that necklace may  be a freebie, or at the very least a free gift at the store for members of L’Homme Magazine  Readers’ Group), hair by Vango, and mesh ears by L’Etre. The background is by Weekend Ruiner, who is now selling on Marketplace. I strongly  recommend anyone who loves taking fashion or posed shots of their avatar to shell out L$500 to buy his Big Box of Stuff. Inside it you’ll find 300 items, including all kinds of photo sets and booths, most of them with incredible projected lighting. (Seriously, enable Advanced Lighting and play around with Windlight on these things.)

Credits

Shirt: Tori Torricelli – Brooklyn Shirt* (Gianni, Jake, Slink, Enzo)
Pants: Tori Torricelli – Uptown Jeans (Gianni, Jake, Slink, Enzo)
Glasses: Haysuriza – Goggles Protection CX Gold
Hair: Vango – Oliver (grayscale)
Cuff: Swallow – Harl3y Quinn Suicide Bracelet
Necklace: The Forge – Rockstar Necklace
Ears: L’Etre – Horn Mesh Ears
Skin applier: Birth – Maverick (tone 01 – Catwa)
Head: Catwa – Daniel (Bento)
Body: Slink – Physique Male
Poses: Wrong, Animosity
Background: Weekend Ruiner – Dead Ender

*This pattern is only available in the fatpack

And, since I’ve been on a Kesha kick lately, with her stunning album Rainbow  on repeat, have a song to belt out whenever you need a boost:

What does the (silver) fox say?

Okay, it’s not full-on silver fox. I’m not at Anderson Cooper levels here, but the minute I saw this new facial hair from Mister Razzor—out at Sense Event until June 8th—I had  to have it.

Mister Razzor is fast becoming a new favourite of mine for facial hair, and it’s easy to see why. The subtle salt-and-pepper effect is stunning (and yes, an all-black version is also included for those of you who don’t want to age gracefully) but be aware that you might struggle to find a similar hair texture. I lucked in with Exile’s perfect grayscale HUD, which includes this distinguished texture option.

Mature male skins do exist in Second Life, but they’re a rarity. Session have a couple of great ones, as do VYC and Aeros, but my favourites are from Stray Dog. I already own their Sean skin (which I used both for this look—which, to my great pleasure, got me likened to Bowie—and this ‘Luke Evans in Dracula Untold‘ look that I put together for a jewellery ad shoot for Chop Zuey, together with some additional ‘age wrinkles’ appliers from Izzie’s) but I pounced on this new Stray Dog ‘Gian’ skin, out at Man Cave this month. It includes options with and without those brow furrows, as well as the usual brow/browless etc options.

In fact, the look was so classy I had to dress it up even further with my favourite Deadwool suit (the one I’m wearing in the blog’s background image; I love it so fucking much, my sartorial darlings) and then I dug through my old Kalnins eyewear folder for these classic specs.

Ageing gracefully? Damn right. Skip the Just for Men and embrace your inner silver fox ;-)

Credits

Facial hair applier: Mister Razzor – Jeffrey (Catwa – black version also included)
Skin applier: Stray Dog – Gian (Catwa – tone 04)
Hair: Exile – Shape of You* (grayscale)
Suit: Deadwool – Peak Suit (royal – black pin)
Glasses: Kalnins – Astor (no longer available)
Eye appliers: Avi-Glam – Elysian Eyes (fjord)
Brow appliers: Birth – Arched Eyebrow Appliers Tintable (Catwa, Omega, Signature)
Head: Catwa – Daniel (Bento)
Poses: Wrong

*review copy

Guest Post: Matty Luminos – Shadowrunner

This, my sartorial darlings, is the first in a (very) occasional series of guest posts on Virtual Bloke. Please welcome Matty Luminos to the blog :-)

Decades ago, before the internet existed, roleplaying was done with paper, pens and lots of funny-shaped dice. One of the games I used to play back in the 1980s was Shadowrun, and that was my inspiration for today’s post. Shadowrun was set in a dystopian cyberpunk future that merged science fiction with fantasy. There were hackers and gunfighters but there were also elves and dwarves. And magic. So I worked a little magic of my own and stepped forward in time, and here I am, in 2248. Still looking pretty good for my age, don’t you think? I’m wearing the new Geralt body from Signature, which I utterly love, along with Catwa’s Justin head and Egozy’s Zladim skin in Fair. The pointy ears are from Mandala; I’ve had them for years and still love them.

The feature piece of this outfit is this awesome leather jacket with t-shirt from Rebellion, made for Gianni and Slink bodies. It has superb detail in the materials-ready texturing and several colour options in the HUD. I just love the glowy trim along the seams. I chose black with blue trim, and put the rest of the outfit together to match. The back of the jacket features an embossed “biohazard” emblem that really pops with advanced lighting settings on.

Complementing the jacket are these padded leather pants from A&Y which is pretty much THE go-to store for anything cyberpunk. These pants have a HUD and while you can’t change the colour of the main pants (there are separate colour packs available) all the trimmings, straps etc, are infinitely customisable with the tinting HUD. There are fits for Gianni and Jake here, with both normal and shorter, boot-cut versions of both. Jake fits the Geralt body best.

Also from Rebellion are these “Resistor” Kicks and as with the jacket, the attention to detail in these shoes is exceptional. The pack includes Slink fit and a pair of unrigged mesh, along with a texture hud for the fabric side panels. I just had to include a close-up shot to show you how awesome these shoes are.

Since this is The Future, the technology of prosthetic limbs has advanced considerably, so I have this awesome shiny new bionic hand from Poisoned Diamond. It’s unrigged mesh and fully modifiable, is available in several colours, of which I chose white for maximum customisation. I turned some of the faces bright blue, hit that Fullbright tickybox and woah! It’s electric! Though you can’t see it all here, it covers the arm up to the elbow and there’s an included upper-arm attachment as well. The pack includes both left and right arms. It’s just a pity the hands aren’t bento.

Wait, what’s this? Blue hair? Yup. This is “Valhalla” from Adoness; I think it’s actually made for girls but I don’t care. I got the “Naturally” pack which includes a range of fairly normal colours including my usual dark red, but also includes white, and since the pack also includes a tinting hud, I went a bit crazy. I have to give a special shout-out of thanks to Cruella Pennell of Adoness, who helped me with an issue I had with a faulty HUD, she was quick to resolve it and very helpful. And she liked the sneak preview of one of the pics I sent to her.

The last piece I’d like to mention is this nifty visor from Paragon. It’s a pity you can’t see it in the pictures but the texture on the glass is actually animated and it’s very, very cool. It’s no-mod (resizable by script) and different colours are sold separately but at just L$10 each, even the whole set is a bargain. Each pack includes a left and a right eye version.

*Rolls dice* Uh-oh. Looks like I failed my time-travel check. I’d better get back to 2018 before I cause a paradox.

Credits

Body – Signature, Geralt
Head – Catwa, Justin
Skin – Egozy, Zladim Fair
Eyes – By Snow, Elven Aqua
Cyber arm – Poisoned Diamond
Jacket – Rebellion, CYBA (Gianni, Slink)
Shoes – Rebellion, Resistor Kicks (Slink, Unrigged)
Pants – A&Y, Nephilim Cyber Pants (Gianni, Jake)
Hair – Adoness, Valhalla
Gun – CHI(T) SKOVL White
Ears – Mandala
Visor – Bluecross Paragon
Poses – Imitation (with gun), Izumiya (without gun – no longer available)
Location – Prime 3D

About Matty Luminos

Not too long ago, Skell posted on the official SL forums asking for volunteers to contribute to his blog. I love Skell’s style and I’ve been following his forum posts for a while, so I jumped at the chance and was delighted when he said yes.

I’ve been in SL since 2006 (if you count my first avatar) and for 11 of those 12 years, I’ve pretty much stuck to the same look; red-haired elf/neko, one-handed since mesh hands became a thing. Hell, for a good chunk of that time, I hardly ever even changed my outfit, except to upgrade it to mesh. Recently though, I’ve started experimenting with different looks, from furry to fallen angel. You can see some of my experimentation on my blog and my Flickr feed.

In RL (yes, I know it’s a dirty word) I’m a mature, geeky gay guy from north-west England, I live with my long-term partner and work on the IT helpdesk for a well-known insurance company. When I’m not working or on SL, I’m usually in the pub. I don’t look like an elf in RL. More like a dwarf, to be honest.

=^.^=

The Androgyne Compromise, or Happy Unbirthday, I Guess!

I’M 5 TODAY!

Or, at least, that’s the kind of proud exclamation on the badges/pins sported by the oversized birthday cards my grandparents always sent me when I was a wee Skelly. Well, technically, Virtual Bloke should have been wearing that badge yesterday, but since I’ve been sick as hell this past week I missed The Big Day by one day. So Happy *airkiss* Belated *airkiss* Birthday, dear blog.

I knew this anniversary was coming up, and likewise I knew I’d have to Do Something Special for said anniversary. But could I think of anything special? Could I bollocks :-/ I’ve been somewhat silent here of late anyway, but still fairly active on Flickr. Life’s been a busy thing, my health isn’t exactly the greatest right now (and yeah, you don’t want to hear me bitchin’ and moaning about that anyway) and so SL fashion has taken a little bit of a backseat for a while.

When I log in these days much of my time is taken up helping in the Catwa support group, since Catwa herself very graciously offered me the opportunity to become one of the CSRs for her store thanks to all the help I’d already been giving in-group. It’s a rewarding job, since—as regular readers here will know—helping guys to look good in SL is a passion of mine, and while I help out all genders in the group I tend to specialise in helping the pixel menfolk out there sort out issues with their Catwa heads and get themselves looking great. But, unless I close the group chat and actively push myself to ‘take a day off’ from it (there are no set working hours as a Catwa CSR—I can come and go as I please—but there is  me and my damnable wish to help people all the time!) I often don’t get anything ‘fashion-y’ done because all of my attention is going either to group chat or IMs where I’m helping someone one-on-one.

That said, one thing that I have  managed to do in the last couple of months is the thing that gave rise to the slightly head-tilting title of this post: The Androgyne Compromise.

Say hello to Syd:

Syd joins the ranks of my alternate personas (not alternate accounts; they’re all Skell himself but with different base looks) alongside others such as The Rocker and The Gentleman Bastard. Syd has finally given me the chance for full-on, in-yer-face androgyny in Second Life again, replete with heels and a faceful of slap… but he comes at a price. And that price is the ‘compromise’ part of the title.

Syd gives all that glorious genderfluidity back to me, but he cannot do that with my original shape. You see my kind of androgyny is Skell’s usual very male shape—broad shoulders, long and lean swimmer’s torso, slim hips, and giraffe legs—topped by a beautiful face. But because of the way that Syd is created he has, by default, a smaller and more bishōnen shape. Without completely Frankenmeshing your avatar and disguising where heads, waists, and necks don’t meet, and shooting images from specific angles only, it’s nigh-on impossible to create multiple looks using a male mesh body and a female mesh head. Yes, there are ‘unisex’ heads (Catwa has three of them, for example) but those are all female (and very femme-looking) heads that also contain one male neck fit option.

And when I say Frankenmesh I really mean it. I know of one well-known androgynous blogger out there who has worn multiple mesh bodies and alpha’d out sections of them, so he could have the lower half of Maitreya Lara (for the heels and some amazing pants) and the upper half of, say, the TMP male body (for the masculinity), and he’s had to hide the very obvious mismatch at the waist with clothing. That’s a fantastic workaround for photoshoots, but given how resource-heavy mesh bodies and heads are to begin with (remember: each one comprises at least THREE copies of itself, to account for all the layering options) one simply cannot walk around SL wearing two mesh bodies all the time. Your avatar complexity would be through the goddamn roof, and nobody but those on NASA-level computers would see you anyway.

So Syd is my compromise. Since Slink has not brought out a male heeled foot (despite all of the begging and notecards from many of us guys who would love one!) we have no choice but to compromise. And that compromise involves the following:

  • The Maitreya Lara body on a female shape
  • Your female mesh head of choice
  • The V-Tech (Valentine Technologies) ‘Boi’ flat chest mod for Maitreya Lara
  • A fuckton of shape-fiddling to reduce the Lara hips to as little as possible
  • An even bigger fuckton of swearing as you finagle multiple appliers and relays to get the look you want

But hey… HEELS! Not to mention all of those amazingly-hot variants of pants that the ladies get, while us guys are assumed only to want either ripped and/or baggy jeans, or sweatpants.

(Sweatpants. Jesus fucking Christ, don’t get me started ranting about sweatpants, my sartorial darlings. My health is lousy enough as it is right now; I don’t want to add a fucking coronary to the list.)

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. HEELS!

*happy sigh*

You have no idea how good it feels to be able to wear what I want  to wear (when I’m in the mood to wear it; Syd’s not a permanent persona, after all), after years of seeing thousands of heels that only female avatars can wear. I have a very small handful of ‘these fit guys too’ heels that I’ve been trotting out time and again (and by ‘very small handful’ I literally mean about two or three pairs) and if I’m getting fed up with wearing those all the time, then others must be getting fed up seeing me in them whenever I want to wear a more andro outfit.

That said, I’m going to share those items with you now, in case you’re on the hunt for heels that work with male bodies.

Cubura brought out their Men Boots (Slink, Signature, Adam, TMP) and their Metal Boots (Slink, Signature, Adam). Their Tomas Boots are rigged for Signature and Belleza (male and female) as well as for Maitreya, but the MP ad claims they also fit Slink. Sadly, though, Cubura no longer rigs any of their clothing for Slink, having dropped support for it and moved to only Signature, Belleza Jake, and Maitreya Lara. A lot of Cubura’s clothing items lean toward the cute femboi look (not something I’m into, even if the clothing has black options) but they do have one or two stellar items, such as their Arcangel Shorts, which I’ve worn a lot (although I need to wear Signature body to get into them).

Here’s Skell in both the Men Boots and the Arcangel Shorts from Cubura:

Violetility have their Penta Platforms, which come with long and short ‘stocking’ options. Since these are far more specialised in look they don’t work with everything. They haven’t come out of beta, and there are some small issues at the back of the thigh on the longer versions, but they’re definitely worth getting.

Pre-mesh head, here’s Skell wearing the Penta Platforms on the Slink male body:

Sadly, other gems are no longer available, such as these hot as hell platform boots sold by Boys To The Bone, which were only sold at Romp! one time (although BTTB do have other unisex items available on their Marketplace store, such as the Tabi Heels).

Also, check over Blackburns Marketplace store. They’ve been rigging more for female mesh bodies lately, but their earlier boots (such as these FREE Laced & Strapped Leather Heels, the studded Edda Wedges and Heels at just L$29 each, the Spike Booties at L$49 each, etc.) are sculpted but still look fantastic, they’re modifiable to fit bigger blokey feet, and they’re cheap as hell.

Next, don’t forget the full-perm suppliers such as Meli Imako. I’ve found resizeable goodies such as the Mesh Punk Platform Boots, the Mesh Chelsea Stiletto Ankle Boots, and the gobsmacking Mesh Super High Heel Knee Boots. All for pretty damn good prices.

And, finally, RIOT’s fucking amazing  Trixie Heeled Socks for Men, which were out at Shoetopia a while back (and I hope to god are now out at the RIOT mainstore) which allow men to wear female shoes.

Anyway, I guess that’s my Blog Birthday gift to you freaky boys out there: a list of some of the great heeled footwear that guys can wear. So let’s move back to Syd, because he’s threatening to poke my eye out with his mascara brush, the little bitch…

Yeah, you masc old fucker. Give the pretty boy his limelight.

Syd has enabled me to look at my inventory in a whole new light. The hair he’s wearing in the pics above and directly below is an old style from Monster that never really worked 100% to my satisfaction on Skell. I did use it for one look, but it didn’t see the light of day again thereafter. Which is a shame, because it’s a great style. Yes, it’s an old flexi job, but it still looks amazing.

Those strapped gloves for Maitreya were the first things I bought, after spotting them. (Okay, okay. You win. About eight pairs of heels were the first things I bought. But I meant clothing  here, okay? Not footwear!) In fact, those gloves were what sparked off my final decision to at least try  the Maitreya-n-VTech option. However, I didn’t wear them in the first outfit that I put together. Instead, I went hunting for V-Tech compatible clothing, and I came across the Grima Marketplace store. And Syd’s look (and name) were born.

C’mon, he was always going to wear black, but his bitchy, mouthy, punky personality came about because of the clothing options in that store. And his name (in case you hadn’t already guessed) is a bastardisation of one Sid Vicious’s moniker. Now, thanks to Grima, this was his first look:

The face took quite a bit of tweaking to get it from feminine to masculine. Syd wears Catwa’s Catya head, which—alongside Catwa’s Sofia head, and her new Eva head—lends itself very well to a more masculine androgynous look, with a bit of slider work. Look for heads that have a more ‘mature’ look to them (‘pixie’ chins will work for the more cute femboi avatars, but if you want the kind of “is that a boy or a girl?” type face, then look for something that starts out looking a bit less… well, ‘girly’, really).

The hips… oh boy, those were a whole other matter. I spent hours tweaking the sliders, going from hips to love handles (the latter being crucial to get right) but I finally landed on something that was slim enough to be male, since the androgyny that I’m aiming for is ‘beautiful man’.

The more I tweaked, the happier I was:

Mesh clothing for the upper body is still hit-and-miss. Unless you find a designer that offers tops especially rigged for V-Tech (and, as I’ve already mentioned, many of those tend to prefer creating the more pretty femboi stuff) anything that goes onto the front of the torso and is Maitreya-rigged will usually have built-in-boobs. The ‘rock-n-roll’ jacket shown above is V-Tech rigged, and thus the bottom part of the torso (over the top of the pectorals) is flat. The Maitreya-rigged version assumes that breasts will begin at that point, and it swells out to accommodate them.

In short: appliers are your friends. Tattoos can assuage that “JFC must I be bare-chested all the time?” feeling, and of course there are applier tops around that—if you dig for them—will give you all kinds of options.

Skins are another issue. I opted for a Glam Affair skin, mainly because that’s the Maitreya body default, and because Pink Fuel offers V-Tech appliers that match Glam Affair. I’ve yet to play around with Omega stuff, but I have all the relays ready to go (Catwa, Maitreya, and V-Tech) so it’s only a matter of time before I set aside a few hours and go nuts with demos to see what I can do.

But those heels are worth it, right, Syd?

Oh fuck yeah, mate. Thanks!

Mesh body review: Signature Gianni vs Signature Geralt

Unless you’re a complete newb to SL or you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of years, it won’t have escaped your attention how quickly Signature Gianni has become the de facto ruler of the male mesh bodies. I call it the ‘Male Maitreya’, since clothing rigged for it has monopolised much of the menswear market in the same way that Maitreya’s Lara body is monopolising the market for the ladies. But, with the recent release of Signature’s new Geralt body I figured it was time to do a review and comparison of them both, note down the pros and cons of each, and give you a little more info on them.

Skin used throughout this post: Stray Dog – Levi (tone 04).

We’ll begin with the King Regnant…

Signature Gianni

This body is fairly heavy-set, with prominent shoulder and upper arm muscles (biceps, triceps, and especially deltoids). With the default shape, it presents the muscular image of a guy who is a regular at his local gym:

As you can see, the default shape has a long torso and short, powerful legs, giving it a low centre of gravity. Perhaps the most obvious feature of it is the deltoids: those rounded outer shoulder muscles. I can always tell which guys are wearing Gianni, because of those.

The alpha tab of the Gianni HUD looks like this:

And the options tab of the HUD looks like this:

The body costs L$3,500 and the demo is free, and you can pick both up at the Signature mainstore. Inside the folder you will find:

  • The body
  • The hands
  • The feet
  • The HUD
  • A default shape
  • Alpha layers: one for the entire avatar (to be worn with a mesh body and mesh head) and one for just the body (to be worn with a system/classic head)
  • Tattoo layer blenders in 12 tintable shades (for use with a system/classic head)

So what makes this body so popular? Quite simply, its ease of use. Let’s look at the pros and cons:

Pros

  • The HUD is very simple to use and contains more than enough alpha cuts for the wearer to get pretty much any clothing to fit
  • The layers section of the HUD allows you to wear tattoos separately on each arm (so if you want just one arm tattooed, you can do that)
  • There’s a simple ‘clear all textures’ button to remove any appliers that you’ve added
  • You can alpha out the body by whole sections or individual pieces, quickly and easily
  • The alpha HUD includes some very useful additional cuts, splitting the nape of the neck into multiple sections, as well as offering the ability to mask out parts of the hands
  • There are alpha and tint save slots – more than enough for Mr Average who may want a maximum of half a dozen outfits
  • The default skin tones are very well made (see the ‘cons’ section for a caveat here, though)
  • The hands don’t ‘starfish’ like those of at least one other popular mesh body do

Cons

  • The default skin tones only  match those on Signature’s own mesh heads (this is the caveat from above). While there are  a few skin creators whose skins match to Signature (early skins by Vendetta, for example, or Hermony) they’re ones that you’ll need to go hunting for and have some insider knowledge of
  • The on/off for the neck sheath isn’t clearly-labelled as such (instead, the words ‘neck sheath’ are coloured either blue or white, depending on its on/off status), which causes no end of problems for guys trying to match their body and head and wondering why the hell they have a different-coloured stripe of skin around their neck
  • The musculature of the upper arms can only be toned down by drastic shape editing: pulling both the shoulders and pectorals to zero and then slowly nudging each one back up in small increments until you have a less-bulky shape
  • Even skin appliers without overtly-muscular shading will tend to look muscular, thanks to the shape of the body itself

Other than that? It’s a solid, fantastic body with a HUD that’s a doddle to use. There is a metric fuckton of clothing available for it, and that includes the more unusual and avant-garde stuff. There is also a lot of kinkwear being made for Gianni, so if harnesses and leather are your thing, then this one is a must.

Now let’s turn our gaze to the Pretender to the Throne…

Signature Geralt

So recently-released that it’s barely got its feet wet, Geralt is Signature’s second body, and it’s less ‘gym-buff’ and a bit more ‘Bloke in the Street’. While it retains Signature’s superb shaping, the musculature is less-pronounced. This guy makes it to the gym perhaps once a week. In fact, he probably swims and runs more often than he lifts and presses.

With the default shape it’s overall a bit more balanced than Gianni. The centre of gravity is just below the navel and actually central, and the legs are just a little longer than the torso. The lats are still pretty worked but the obliques are tighter and less bulky. The quads and calves are also less pronounced than on Gianni.

The alpha tab of the Geralt HUD looks like this:

The Options tab of the Geralt HUD is the same as that of the Gianni HUD, above. As with Gianni, Geralt costs L$3,500 and the demo is free. You get the same items in the Geralt folder as you do in the Gianni one (although, obviously, it’s a different body!) so we’ll move onto the pros and cons.

Pros

  • These are mostly identical to the Gianni HUD, so please see above
  • This body is much more ‘man in the street’ than Gianni, so it will appeal to the guys who like a slightly less-muscular physique

Cons

  • Again, the same as the Gianni HUD
  • Very little clothing is available for it yet, since the body is so new. (There is some available in the Geralt section of the Signature store, to get you started.) However, please note the date of this post (April 2018), because I fully expect this body to become as popular as Gianni, so at any time in the future the amount of available clothing will have increased.
  • The alpha HUD has lost some important cuts at the side of the torso

That last ‘con’ is a much bigger deal than it initially might seem. Look at the difference below, between the alpha cuts on the Gianni HUD (left) and the Geralt HUD (right) –

Those side cuts on the lower torso? They’re needed for every single open-fronted shirt/jacket-with-bare-chest look you might want to wear. It’s the one main failing of the Slink Physique HUD that I’m constantly struggling with when I wear that body. With the cuts on the right (Geralt) you can only alpha out a circle all the way around the lower torso, instead of the multiple options that you have with Gianni of front, back, left side, right side.

All that said, I would still recommend both bodies. I’ve already seen a couple of clothing items rigged for Geralt at menswear events, so I suspect it will catch on fairly quickly.

ETA: Sure enough, at this month’s (April 2018) The Mens Department event there are already multiple creators selling items rigged for Geralt.

I’ll close with some comparison side-by-side views. Each set of pictures was taken with the body’s default body shape (I used my Catwa head shape for both, editing it to have identical body sliders to the body being photographed), and from exactly the same angle and distance.

Playing with myself – Catwa ‘Skell’ Bento mesh head

So yeah. This happened.

Catwa’s new male Bento head—named for and inspired by Yours Truly—will debut at Skin Fair, which begins on 9th March. It will be L$5000, and the demo is free. (Be aware that the demo contains ‘missing pixels’ while the full-priced head is complete.)

You have no idea  how hard it’s been for me to keep schtum over this, but to say that I am both thrilled and honoured to have ‘my own’ Catwa Bento mesh head would be the understatement of the year. When I finally saw the ad image and got hold of the head itself to try it out I was literally  (and I don’t use that word often; I take ‘literally’ literally) shrieking with delight.

My sartorial darlings, I AM GORGEOUS! XD

Seriously, Catwa has outdone herself with this one and given me the beautiful male head that I’ve been yearning for. Look at the cheekbones. Look at the lips! GAH! I spent about half an hour just cammed on my face while my AO played out, taking screenshots. Which, of course, I’m now going to spam you with :p

Is it wrong to want to snog your own avatar? Asking for a, uh, friend…

The above skin is one of my current favourites: L’Etre’s Toni  in buttermilk. But, of course, I had to slap a load of others onto this glorious construction to see what they looked like. And shall we say that the seal-clapping only intensified when I did that?

Yeah, I guess we should. Honestly, I think that by now you’ve realised this isn’t so much of a mesh head review as it is an out-and-out GUSH. Shit, son, I’m sorry, but can you blame me? ;-)

(And yeah, I kinda wish I’d switched out Windlights for the following pics, but I’m all about the continuity, me…)

Skell is the first of Catwa’s male mesh heads to be at v3.2, and contains some nice little quality of life improvements, which will be coming to all of Catwa’s Bento mesh heads soon. There are new gestures added to the gesture pack, and the issue where using high-priority sit or stand animations sometimes stopped some of the head’s animation features (such as blinking) from working has now been fixed. The default skin options on the Master HUD now show what colour brows they have (and also which are the no-brow options), and Catwa has included some nice tintable guyliners in the eye makeup section. You don’t have to go full-on Robert-Smith-of-The-Cure with these, but if you have a skin that needs a little bit of ‘pop’ around the eyes (we’ve all got that one skin, right? We love it, but our eyes look like pissholes in the snow from a distance!) you can put on any of the eyeliners, tint them a colour that suits your skintone, then use the blend slider to find that Goldilocks ‘just right’ spot.

Go pick up a demo of… uh… me, and try me out. You’ll find that I give great  head ;-)

Skin Fair runs from March 9th -25th. More information can be found here.

Credits

Head: Catwa – Skell* (Bento)
Ears: L’Etre – Olympe Mesh Ears
Skin appliers: As listed in the post
Brow appliers: Identity Body Shop – Thick Eyebrows
Eye appliers: Avi-Glam – Vivid Eyes* (pearl)
Hair: VoltHair – Kevin
Hairbase applier: Stealthic – Male Hairbase (thick)
Necklace: Empyrean Forge – Springleaf necklace
Windlight used throughout this post: Phototools Dead End Sky 01

*review copy

Nothing suits like a good suit

Any guy will tell you that title is the truth. Put a man in a good suit and he’ll feel like a king. Okay, if the weather is on the hot side he might also feel like a trussed-up chicken, yearning for shorts and flipflops, but on the whole a decent suit—especially one that is hand-tailored—will always make a guy look and feel good.

This Edge Business Suit from Lapointe & Bastchild—out at the current round of FaMESHed—is a stunner. It might seem a little on the pricey side, at L$1499 for a fatpack-only set, but, as with all L&B items, you get an incredibly-generous HUD with it that contains tens of options for the suit, shirt, tie, pocket square, belt, and metalwork. The only other thing I could have wished for was an option to colour/texture-change the cufflinks, not to mention that it’s unusual to see cufflinks used with folded-round cuffs instead of placed-together ones like these, but those are small quibbles when it comes to something this good.

The tie and pocket square options range from 12 plain colours to mixed stripes to light plaids and this irresistible patterned design, with an on/off option for the pocket square. Suit fabric options contain 13 plain colours each for jacket and slacks, and you can bet that if L&B subsequently issue a pinstriped version I’ll be all over it. For the shirt your options are 26 plain colours and two striped (white/blue and white/dark grey). And, finally, for the belt you have 14 shades of leather and 5 metals, plus an on/off option.

The suit jacket itself comes in both closed (shown here) and open single-breasted versions with peaked lapels. All things considered, that’s a lot of bang for your SL buck when it comes to a single outfit, and it’s tailored so beautifully. It’s available in fits for Slink, Signature Gianni, Belleza Jake, and a fitted mesh version for classic avatars.

You can also buy the jacket separately (with the same amount of customisation) for L$899 at the event. I’m wearing the full shebang, though, and with Deadwool’s classic Dandy Shoes which are a staple for me—together with their multi-height mesh socks—when it comes to suits in SL.

Mesh ears by L’Etre, who have fast become my favourites for these additions, as well as for their skins (of which I’m currently wearing Toni in the buttermilk tone). And sure, I probably wouldn’t be wearing piercings like that to a boardroom meeting with the directors, but what’s life if it doesn’t have some edge? (I so pun…)

Hair by VoltHair, who have been bringing out some amazing styles of late, fierce (and yes, on fleek, etc) brows by Identity Body Shop, beard by CDC Creations, eyes by Avi-Glam, and head by Catwa.

Credits

Suit: Lapointe & Bastchild – Edge Business Suit (Slink, Sig, Jake, classic)
Shoes: Deadwool – Dandy Shoes
Hair: VoltHair – Kevin
Ears: L’Etre – Olympe Mesh Ears
Brow applier: Identity Body Shop – Thick Eyebrows
Beard applier: CDC Creations – Beard 46 Tintable (Catwa, Omega)
Eye appliers: Avi-Glam – Vivid Eyes* (pearl)
Skin: L’Etre – Toni (buttermilk)
Head: Catwa – Victor (Bento)

*review copy

Bitch, Please: Can we quit with the “all SL men are stupid” meme? It’s getting really fucking old

This one’s been brewing for a long time, my sartorial darlings. It’s time to ease on those bitch heels and strut the runway of frustration again.

I’ve been gritting my teeth over a number of things lately, so expect another of these posts sometime soon. But, for now, let’s see what’s had Skell rolling his eyes and muttering, “Oh bitch, please,” at his monitor for this post, shall we?

Other Avatar #1: Omega is the best choice for Slink cos all one application and you can get great skins for $500L to $1500 plus minus
Bitch Please: My friend wont’ be able to use omgea
Bitch Please: he’s a man
Other Avatar #2: omega is easy lol
Bitch Please: get real
Bitch Please: LOL
Bitch Please: no its not
Skell Dagger: I’m a man and I have no difficulty using Omega
Bitch Please: men never understand it
Bitch Please: its to complex for most men
Skell Dagger: That kind of attitude about men and fashion/looks is what I’ve been battling against for YEARS in SL.
Other Avatar #3: Sort of depends on the crowds you’re hanging out with…Plenty of men have no issue at all. Most of the time, the two primary issues tend to involve impatience and language barriers – which are NOT in any way exclusive to men.

Omega is “too complex” for most men to understand, apparently. Possessing a dick means that men can’t get their poor little heads around adding a HUD and wearing it while they click a button.

Oh wait. There’s more to Omega than just clicking a button! I hear you cry? You’re right; sometimes you have to click TWO buttons. Let’s list the ways Omega can be used:

  • Installing Omega into a body: Wear the Omega installer HUD for that body. Click it. Omega is installed into the body. Men never understand it! Too complex for most men!
  • Using Omega eye appliers on the rigged eyes of a head that doesn’t have native Omega support: Wear the Omega relay HUD for that head. Wear the eye applier HUD. Click the eye applier HUD. Eyes are applied to the rigged eyes. Men never understand it! Too complex for most men!
  • Using an Omega beard applier: Wear the beard applier. Click the desired beard type. Menu pops up offering locations the beard can be applied. Click ‘beard’ button on menu. Beard is applied to head. Men never understand it! Too complex for most men!
  • The same as the above regarding other types of Omega applier, including skins, hairbases, etc. Men never understand it! Too complex for most men!

God, how do I even find my own arsehole to wipe it after taking a shit if I’m in a group of beings who are that  fucking stupid? And this is far from the first time I’ve encountered this kind of attitude about men in SL from women in SL. Where the hell is it coming from?

Hang on a minute. I think I found out…

Dude, do you drive a car? How many lessons did it take for you to learn how to do that? That HUD is not too complicated; you’re just too fucking lazy. Guys like you—the kind who don’t read instructions and manuals and then wonder why you have bits left over from whatever you’re making/doing/putting back together again—are the kind that give the rest of us a bad name and perpetuate this “men are too stupid to do XYZ” stereotype. Be thankful that I spared your blushes by blurring out your name.

And ladies? Just because your guy doesn’t appear interested in Bento mesh head HUDs, or wearing more than the same outfit in SL that he’s had on for the past seven years, or upgrading to mesh at all, or he just wants things to be as easy as possible… that doesn’t mean all of those things are too complicated for him, or that he doesn’t (and will never) understand it. Or that all (or most) men find those things too complicated. Look back at what Other Avatar #3 said in that conversation:

Other Avatar #3: Sort of depends on the crowds you’re hanging out with…Plenty of men have no issue at all. Most of the time, the two primary issues tend to involve impatience and language barriers – which are NOT in any way exclusive to men.

Ever seen a guy get angry when he’s getting to grips with something new? He’s not angry at you, or at the thing he’s trying to do. He’s angry at himself. For not getting it quickly, or even instantly. Hell, I’m one of life’s perfectionists and I’ve been in SL for almost 11 years. It took me a couple of weeks to fully understand everything that my Bento mesh head could do, and I got angry… at myself. I was frustrated that I couldn’t figure out how to work this damn thing right away. I’ve always been that way: start a new job and get annoyed at myself within a week for not knowing everything there is to know about it by that time.

But I’m also one of life’s stubborn fuckers, and I don’t give up. I’m patient and I’ll gladly suffer a bit of annoyance if the end result will be worth it. Many guys, however, won’t. Let’s face it: we all want an easy life, and when frustrations crop up we usually look for a quick way out of them. For a lot of guys that quick way might be getting one outfit right and never taking it off, or sticking to the system avatar that he knows well, or quitting when he doesn’t get to grips with a mesh head’s HUD after more than ten minutes of trying it out.

If your guy is getting angry/frustrated when he’s trying out something like a Bento mesh head, or matching his head to his body at the neck seam, the main thing you can do to help him is not to overload him with ‘click this’, and ‘wear that’ instructions. If you do that, you stand a very strong chance of increasing his frustration. I see this sometimes in the support group chats for mesh heads and bodies: a guy comes in to ask a question, feeling a bit frustrated, and he receives information not only from the group’s CSRs and moderators, but also from a lot of other people in chat. Those people mean well, but I’ve seen guys get completely  overwhelmed by having five or six other people (almost always women) giving them advice from every angle. Often I’ll take those guys into IM and help them one-on-one, if I can.

I’ve even seen that kind of question devolve into a bit of a pile-on, with several women all joking about how their  man (which usually turns fairly swiftly into someone generalising about all men) can’t get to grips with XYZ things regarding their looks in SL. And you know what that does? It stops other guys who might be lurking from asking the question they might have about their looks in SL, because those women have just implied that guys who don’t get it must be idiots, and those guys with questions don’t want to look like fools. See where that might turn into a vicious circle?

I’m passionate about helping guys to look good in SL, and I have damn-near unlimited patience when it comes to that. This is a virtual hill I’m prepared to fucking die on, my sartorial darlings.

Step back a little and let him work it out for himself, with a little guidance if he asks. And, if he fucks it up completely, he can always redeliver. But he’s not stupid, and nor are other guys who get frustrated with things. He might be a bit impatient and he might feel like he should know this stuff already, damn it. Hell, he might even just be lazy, like Mr “Do Something For Us Guys” up there.

But he’s not too fucking stupid to get it.