No one wants to stay “new” for very long, especially in their appearance! It takes a bit of work to get your avi to look the way you want, and can cost a LOT of lindens if you aren’t paying attention.
On the other hand, there are places you might want to look to get nice outfits and accessories for very little cost, or even free! No, I don’t mean the dozens upon dozens of “Freeeebie” shops out there- in fact, I’d avoid those altogether. What you want is quality outfits, not outdated and blingy trash.
First, let me be clear- I do not have any personal interest in, or benefit in any way from recommending any of the merchants listed in this article. These are resources I have found in my travels, and am simply passing the information along. Please also read this article, regarding the wonderful gifts provided by creators in SecondLife.
You will need a place to “live”, or at least someplace that offers some privacy where you can unpack boxes and try on outfits without being disturbed. If you have a premium (paid) SecondLife account, then you have a home in the “projects” you can use. If you are like most of us, then you will need to find an alternative. You can rent or buy your own land, or persuade a friend that has a place to let you use theirs. If those options aren’t available to you, all is not lost!
For the ladies, I recommend a place called Girltown. This is a girls only sim where you can set your Home, open your boxes and try your new outfits on. You’ll need to join the group there, but its free! Be sure to put something in your profile to introduce yourself, or they will nag you until you do.
An alternative is to use a sandbox to rez your goodies. If you take this route, you might want to make a side trip and pick up a “dressing room” of sorts so that you can get that privacy you need. I’d recommend going to a place called Crystal Gadgets, walk inside and look for a free item named Builder’s Skybox. There are two versions- one costs a couple hundred lindens, the other one is free. The free one is all you need. When you get to the sandbox, just rez it on the ground, sit on it and follow the instructions on the menu that pops up.
There are probably hundreds of sandboxes, but the best one I’ve found is at Little Blue Island. In addition to being able to rez large items here, you will often find building classes and help when you are ready to give that a try. There are usually managers around as well, keeping order and taking care of the occasional troublemaker.
Let’s Go Shopping!
From start to finish, I did this avatar’s makeover spending only 3 lindens. Judge for yourself if that was money well spent or not!
You will find several “Freebie” shops around SL, but for the most part, its best to avoid those. Most of what you will find in those places are several years old (out of date), and riddled with bling- those obnoxious blinking lights that drive people to anti-social thoughts and actions. There are much nicer outfits to be had, if you know where to look.
Walking the Walk
There are certain things you will need right away. First item is what is called an Animation Overrider (AO). This is something you wear that makes you walk like a normal person, rather than waddling around like a duck. The better ones can cost you anywhere from $L300 to $L1,500, or more. There are a few free ones floating around SL, but a very good basic one (Vista Animations-Basic Girl AO) can be bought from the SL Marketplace for only $L1!
OK, Once you have your AO, unpack it from the box and “wear” it. Take a few steps.. Cool, huh? No more ducky ducky. There are settings for most AOs, accessible via a menu if you click it, so that you can fine tune things if you wish. For the most part, you can just go with it out of the box. Save the tech stuff for later.
Speaking of the Marketplace
Since the Marketplace is part of SecondLife, you will need to log into it using the same username and password you use to log into SecondLife itself. Anything you purchase from Marketplace is delivered to your avi inworld. While you are there, browse through the other items available. You can search for specific types of items, filter by price, and even sort by price. You will find many items for free, or sometimes at a very low promotional price.
NOTE: A lot of the “Free” stuff on Marketplace is either outdated (old) stuff, or Demos. Some of the old stuff is still good, just not as “modern” as newer outfits. Demo stuff is just that- an example of an item that the creator has for sale, but allowing you to “try before you buy”. These items have something about them to discourage you from wearing them all the time.. Shapes have huge feet and hands, for example.. skins have “DEMO” printed all over, clothing items have prims attached that say DEMO, or something to that effect.
Having said that, designers often offer new releases at very discounted prices , or even free in some cases, for a limited time. Enter “promo” as a search term in Marketplace, then sort by date -newest first- to find these deals. A good example (and an opportunity to get some free hair) is this result.
[NOTE: If you want to filter out most of the Demo stuff, add “NOT demo” to your search term. Use uppercase for the “NOT”. ]
As you browse Marketplace, you will undoubtedly find items that you like. Most items will have a link to the inworld store (See Item in SecondLife). Follow that link to the store and look around. Often you will find gifts placed by the merchant as a sample of what they offer. Many of these will require you to join the merchant’s group to receive the gifts. The majority of these groups are free, but some may require a membership fee. You will be advised if there is a charge when you click “Join”, so pay attention!
Next step is to replace that default shape and skin with something that looks more natural.
If you have a linden or two to spend, I’d recommend visiting .:: DELISH ::. on Marketplace. She has some very good starter avatars for only 10L each. Yes.. that’s right- TEN lindens each, for some very nice quality shapes and skins. The shapes are modifiable, which means you can tweak them to your preferences.
Can’t Walk Around Nekkid!
Now that you are walking and looking like a normal person, its time to get some decent clothing. Many of the big name designers offer free outfits to people that join their groups. When you visit a store in SL, look for things like group gifts- usually near the entrance. These are often older outfits the creator made, but can also include newer releases as well.
A good place to start is Ydea. The designer has over 60 quality outfits, many with footwear as well, available for free to group members. Group membership is free. There are also men’s outfits there as well!
A Nice Welcome!
There are many other merchants and designers that have special deals for new avatars.
Kastle Rock Couture, known for quality gowns as well as casual wear, offers a 500L store credit to avatars 30 days old or less. This store credit may be used on anything in the store, including sale items. Get the gift card just inside the entrance. Use the teleporter outside the door to find other areas of the store, including the Lucky Chairs and MM boards! Joining the merchant group here (One-time 100L join fee) allows you to receive a free outfit each month and very deep discount prices on a wide range of dresses, gowns, blouses, and other items in a group only discount area. Group membership also makes available to you an additional group only MM board, and Mini-Mania prizes!
Another merchant offering a free item to new avatars is Sweet Hairs. Pick out any hair in the store, then follow the directions (obtained at the landing spot) to get it as a gift. It is HIGHLY recommended that when shopping for hair, you try on the demo hairs available for free. It is especially good advice in this instance, because the information you need to get your free hair is actually a part of the demo hair’s name.
You can pick up a free avatar- shape, skin, outfit- from places such as Sassy! and Plausible Body. Be sure to look for the group gifts there at Sassy’s, as well as the “Open Priced” items at Plausible Body. “Open Priced” means you can basically get the items for free, but you are asked to pay whatever you feel the items are worth, and a suggested price is usually noted on the vendor.
If you are lucky, you can pick up a VERY high quality oriental avatar at Dr Life, from the Lucky Letter boards. The avatars from Dr. Life normally cost over 1,000 lindens, so spending some time waiting for your letter to come up on the Lucky Boards is not a bad idea! You will need to join the Dr Life merchant group (free) to access the boards.
FabFree is another must visit place for new avatars! Creators wishing to welcome you to SL, and introduce themselves to you at the same time, have placed in this location gifts of all kinds! Check out the FabFree blog for more info on group gifts, as well as a good list of merchants offering exclusive gifts for new avatars!
Click to Win
Other ways to build your wardrobe for little or no money is to take advantage of Midnight Mania, Slap n Dash and other similar prize contests. These are easy to enter- just click the board! The way these work is that each contest has a specific target number, set by the shop owner. This target represents the number of people that must click the board before it “locks”. Once that required number of clicks is received, then the board will award the indicated prize at midnight (SL). Some boards will award the prizes sooner, but generally it doesn’t happen until midnight (SL).
Mini-Mania, Lucky Chairs/Boards, and Camping
Mini-Mania works the same as it’s big brother, Midnight Mania, except that the targets are generally pretty low, and only one person in each round wins the prize. As soon as the target is reached, a winner is chosen at random from those that entered, and the game starts again.
Lucky Chairs/Letters give one prize at a time, based on the first letter of your avi’s account name (not display name). If you see the first letter of your avi’s name displayed, just click the board or sit in the chair to receive the indicated prize.
Camping is a good way to “earn” prizes, as long as you’ve nothing better to do. Winning is easy- just have a seat and stay there until the preset time is up. The time will usually range from 30 minutes to an hour or more, depending on the value of the item. Feel free to cam around the shop while you wait, but don’t get up! If you do, the time may reset!
Here is my haul from just two stores. More than 70 *quality* outfits (not cheapo “freebie” junk), worth thousands of linden, but picked up for no cost. I spent 1 linden for the shape, 1 linden for the AO, and 1 linden to join the Kastle Rock Couture group (to get a couple nice gifts they have there).
[NOTE: The prices have gone up for the above since this article was written. The same items today would be 10L for the shape and 100L for the group membership at KR. With the AO, total cost would be 111 lindens. It is still possible to get quality shapes, skins and outfits for free or very little cost by checking out the other places mentioned!]
Lets see the results again-
So there! If you’ve made it this far, you should now have a pretty decent looking avatar with a growing wardrobe of quality outfits. As in RL, shopping is a neverending journey. Revisit the places you found along this particular trip, and look for other opportunities as you wander about SL.
Welcome to Second Life! I hope this information gets you off to a great start!