Another Fifteen-Minute Second Life Avatar Makeover: Victorian Parlourmaid

I have an old, classic system alt in Second Life whom I decked in out in a full-blown Victorian-era parlourmaid outfit!

As a running gag, I created a custom group for her called the Prim and Proper Cleaning Service. My profile states:

I proudly role-play a properly starched Victorian cleaning maid for Prim & Proper Cleaning Services (P&P for short, ma’am/sir). Dusting, vacuuming, etc. etc.

Bring that touch of Upstairs/Downstairs or Downton Abbey to your next social event. Impress your guests! Available for hire at very reasonable rates.

(Did you know a clean sim reduces lag?)

Every so often, when I’m feeling especially mischievous, I turn on her group tag, and unceremoniously plunk her down in spots like retail stores and clubs, where she busily dusts and even vacuums (on a modern-era vacuum cleaner, no less!). Here she is at the new, upstart Frank’s Jazz Club (she used to get routinely kicked out of the old one, where I found that the gate-keepers had no sense of humour whatsover):

“Lift your feet, hun…”

So, I decided it was time to give my Victorian parlourmaid a complete makeover, from a classic system avatar to a mesh outfit. Here are the after pictures, taken in the Library at Angel Manor Estate (how very Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey!)

This avatar is wearing:

Mesh Head: the Strong Face Bento mesh head from the Genus Project (a former group gift which, unfortunately, is no longer available)

Mesh Body: the Classic mesh body by Meshbody (L$1 group gift; The Shops! group is free to join; more information is about this body can be found here)

Skin Applier: Genus head skin applier and Bakes on Mesh body skin Brielle, from Amara Beauty (free group gift; group is free to join)

Parlourmaid Outfit: Victorian Maid Black by Melon Bunny (L$500 on the SL Marketplace)

Victorian Boots: texture-change Victorian Ankle Boots by The Mesh Cloud (L$299 on the SL Marketplace)

In fact, the only three things that the before and after looks have in common are:

Hair: Timeless hair in chestnut by *DG* Hair (which seems to be no longer available)

Maid’s Cap: from the Edelweiss Emma Victorian maid’s dress (L$600 on the SL Marketplace for the complete system-layers-and-flexiprims outfit)

Animation Override: Gown AO by Kamilah Hauptmann of Posture Is Everything (a very nice freebie for avatars under 30 days old, which I picked up at the Caledon Oxbridge new resident orientation centre; I added the Bento hands AO from the free Altamura Jenny mesh avatar body package available at the Freebie Megastore in London City)

TOTAL COST FOR THIS AVATAR: L$1400 (if you don’t care about the maid’s cap, the price goes down to L$800)

Hard at work dusting at Frank’s!
These dance machines get SO dusty…
Vacuuming the dancefloor at Frank’s Jazz Club (the glitter gets everywhere!)

Yes, I am having entirely too much fun in Second Life while I practice proper social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic!

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Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: The Top Six Places to Find Free System Layer Clothing for your Bakes on Mesh Avatar (And Two Places to Avoid at All Costs)

Now, as you know, I have opinions.

And one of my firmly-held opinions, at least up until now, is that older freebie stores which consist of nothing but system layer clothing for classic avatars should be banished from the grid:

[I hate] horrible, horrible freebie stores that are unloading floor after floor of ancient system layer clothing. Freebie Galaxy is a 15-story crime against humanity and should be burned to the ground!

Well, now that I have had an opportunity to play around a bit with many of the free and inexpensive Bakes on Mesh bodies available (more information here), I am going to soften that hard-line stance somewhat. Because I have found that you can re-purpose these older outfits quite nicely sometimes, like this sexy black number I picked up at the Wise Heron Newbie Mall, which I am wearing on the free Bento Bakes-on-Mesh compatible mesh body called Ruthie from Tiny Things:

Now, there are a few considerations you do need to keep in mind when using system-layers-and-flexiprim clothing on the newer Bakes-in-Mesh compatible mesh bodies:

  • The clothing will be skin-tight, regardless of the settings on the Shirt Fit and Sleeve Looseness sliders on shirts, and the Pants Fit and Cuff Flare sliders for pants. Depending on the mesh body you are using (like the Ruthie body above), you might get a hint of camel toe as a result.
  • The waist on the system skirts is unlikely to look good on a mesh avatar, and cannot be adjusted to fit better.
  • However, one benefit of system skirts is that you can easily adjust their length, all the way from a miniskirt hemline to full-length ballgown length!
  • Also, you will be able to adjust the sleeve lengths and pantleg lengths easily on most system layer clothing, such as this jacket-layer low-cut top:

So, knowing all this, let’s take a look at some of these older freebies stores.

VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are looking for the best six freebie stores to pick up newer, high-quality mesh clothing, please use this updated list instead, or this older list. The following freebie stores may have a few mesh items, but they overwhelmingly offer older, system-layer-and-flexiprim clothing which can be used with both classic Second Life avatars, and the newer Bakes-on-Mesh compatible mesh bodies.

Helping Haven Gateway

Helping Haven Gateway

Helping Haven Gateway is one of those freebie places which should be more widely known (I find I keep forgetting its name, because I visit it so infrequently!). This newbie orientation centre boasts two large, white, multi-story buildings full of men’s and women’s clothing. What is available here is a mix of newer, mesh clothing from various designers, plus a wider selection of older, system layer clothing. There are some nice things to be found here, so you might want to drop by sometime.

The Freebie Megastore in London City

The Freebie Megastore

The Freebie Megastore in always-bustling London City now has a nice selection of mesh clothing for male and female avatars on their first floor (including some specifically designed for male and female Altamura mesh avatars), but they also have several stories of older, system-layers-and-flexiprims outfits. In addition, you can pick up some very nice system layer gowns and dresses at the Snowpaws store located just across the street.

New Resident Island

New Resident Island is a charming, helpful, medieval-themed newbie orientation centre with an excellent selection of both mesh and system layer clothing for both male and female avatars.

New Resident Island

Please note that some of the freebies here are restricted to avatars under a certain age (e.g. avatars which were created less than 365 days ago).

Freebies Warehouse

Freebies Warehouse

Freebies Warehouse has a well-curated selection of both newer mesh and older system layer clothing (also check the Sexy Girl store next door, which is a Stars clothing franchise and has a couple of free gifts you can pick up).

The Freebie Store at Ayuda Virtual

Ayuda Virtual is the lesser-known, Spanish-speaking cousin to the popular Portuguese freebie store at Ajuda SL Brasil (which is my number-one-ranked freebie store for mesh clothing and footwear). Again, there is a mix of mesh and system-layer clothing here. Menswear is located to the right, and womenswear to the left:

Ayuda Virtual

Wise Heron Newbie Mall

Wise Heron Newbie Mall is a fairly well-curated, well-organized freebie store, which is where I picked up the sexy black outfit you see in the pictures above. There are separate sections for men’s and women’s clothing. Menswear is to the left, and womenswear to the right:

Wise Heron Newbie Mall

Last AND Least on My List: Freebie Galaxy and the Freebies Dungeon (Go Here Only If You Absolutely Have To!)

Last (and least), I will namedrop the above-mentioned Freebie Galaxy, which is essentially a 15-story dumping ground for system-layers-and-flexiprim clothing, and hideous 2003-era prim jewelry and shoes, which you really should avoid at all costs.

And for the love of God, if you are saving Linden dollars by using the advice I regularly dispense on this blog, spend those savings and pick up some good-quality, modern mesh shoes! One of my pet peeves in SL are those avatars rocking 2003-era shoes with busted invisiprims and even bling! So not a look you want to emulate. Here’s a few places where you can find free mesh shoes on the grid.

Go to the Freebie Galaxy ONLY if you have an hour or two to spare, and you absolutely cannot find what you want at any of the previous places. Trust me on this! The place is a nightmare, but at least it is somewhat organized by category.

But, if you insist on seeing EVERYTHING, Freebie Galaxy and the Freebies Dungeon should be the last stops on your list. Freebie Dungeon in particular is a horror show, just a hodge-podge, an absolute disorganized mess. Go anywhere else before you head there!