Mesh Bodies 101

Here is some help for any male resident of Second Life who is trying out a mesh body for the first time. First, a little background.

What is Mesh, anyway? “Mesh” is a term for a specific way of making 3D objects in virtual worlds like Second Life. SL’s original system bodies were very rudimentary, and had a great many issues. We used them because it was all we had. But when mesh was introduced, designers were able to create bodies that were exponentially better looking, much more realistic, and allowed such a greater range of creativity that they quickly became the new standard.

Why should I care about mesh bodies? Like many, I resisted the move to a mesh body for a long time. I am not known as an “early adopter” and I was content with the default system body I had. But gradually, the tides of change became too hard to resist. For one, there was a practical reason: designers simply stopped making clothing for the default system body. All new clothing now is mesh, most of it is created specifically for mesh bodies, and it can’t even be worn with the old system body.

There was also an aesthetic/vanity factor. Mesh bodies just look amazingly better.

What is Belleza Jake? There are several brands of mesh bodies available for men. I have chosen to wear the “Jake” body, by veteran skin company Belleza, exclusively. Since it was first introduced in May 2017, Belleza Jake has quickly become one of the most popular mesh bodies, according to several user surveys. The natural shape of the shoulders and the very fine included skin make it a great choice. It’s easy to find clothing and skins to fit. It offers a good balance between having lots of options and being easy to use. All clothing featured in this blog is intended to be worn with the Belleza Jake body.

Belleza Jake is not the only mesh body. Numerous brands are available… BUT please note these cautions. Caution #1: If you decide against Belleza Jake, the only other mesh body you should consider is Gianni by Signature. Almost all mesh clothing for men is made to fit either Belleza Jake or Signature Gianni. If you wear one of these two bodies, you will have a wide selection of clothing. There are far fewer options for other brands. If you want the widest choice, stick with Jake or Gianni.

There are a few brands I specifically do NOT recommend, because they are outdated, have few clothing options, and/or poor customer support. I strongly advise against buying the male mesh bodies by Slink, Niramyth Aesthetic, Adam or TMP. Essentially no one is making clothing for them any more. A newer brand called Legacy is gaining popularity, but there it not much clothing for it yet.

Caution #2: The information in this blog applies to clothing for Belleza Jake only.

How is a mesh body different from my system body? A mesh body is actually an object that you wear as an attachment. First you wear a full-body alpha layer that completely hides your system body from the neck down. Then you attach the mesh body. It is “rigged” which means that it moves with you, so all your movements will look just the same as before. Better, in fact—since Belleza Jake has Bento, which makes you move and bend more smoothly.

You can use your regular shape sliders to customize the shape of the body to your liking. The shape sliders affect the mesh body a bit differently, but you can make it look like anything from muscle-man to boy-next-door as you wish.

Can I wear my existing system clothes with a mesh body? No. With a mesh body, you wear a full-body alpha layer that makes your system body invisible; so all system layer clothes are also invisible. You cannot wear your old system layer clothing with your mesh body (well, you can, but it will be invisible). Only mesh clothing works with a mesh body.

How do I shop for mesh clothing? Almost all mesh clothing has a demo available so that you can actually try it on before you buy it. This is highly recommended.

There are three kinds of mesh clothing:

  • Standard sizes – older mesh clothing comes in standard sizes like S, M, L. You MAY be able to wear these with your mesh body but ALWAYS try on a demo first. I find it’s about 50-50 whether or not it will work.
  • “Fitmesh” – this was a format that was supposed to automatically fit all types of bodies. It doesn’t. Of all the “fitmesh” items I’ve tried on, I think less than 2% were wearable. If you really want to buy a fitmesh item, always try a demo first, to avoid wasting your money on something you won’t be able to wear.
  • Fitted for Belleza Jake – This is the format you want, ideally, if you are wearing a Belleza Jake mesh body. When buying clothing, look for the Belleza symbol on the product photo, or look for the words “Belleza” or “Jake.” If the creator offers a version specifically fitted for Belleza Jake, 99% of the time it will fit you perfectly right out of the box.

What is the difference between “fitted” and “rigged”? “Rigged” just means that the item will move and bend with your body. It doesn’t have anything to do with how well the item fits. “Fitted” is like custom-tailored; it means that the mesh object has been specifically sized and shaped to fit your mesh body. Some creators are better at it than others, but anything fitted for Belleza Jake should fit you perfectly.

Clothing that is fitted for OTHER mesh bodies will NOT work on your Belleza Jake body. You CANNOT wear clothing that is for Signature, Gianni, Geralt, Slink, TMP, Adam, Niramyth, Aesthetic, or any other body. Only clothing for Belleza Jake will fit.

Where do I find mesh clothes? Check my page Where To Shop for suggestions.

More questions? I’ve found that members of the group The Mens Dept SL are helpful guys who are usually willing to field questions and help a brother find answers.

Ready to start shopping? Check my post “Intro to Mesh” for everything you need to know to get started! Then move on to “10 Essentials for Every Dude’s Closet” to start your mesh wardrobe out right!

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