Friday, 19 December 2014

091: Can you have only ten outfits?

A few months ago I was despairing at the state of my "Outfits" file. I'm usually scrupulous about remembering to save an outfit that I've put together (nothing is more frustrating than getting some complicated piece of fitting done, wearing it for the evening, changing to something else and realizing that, OMG, you've forgotten to save it). And for a long time now, I've been using the date I
created the outfit as a way of reminding me of what was likely to appear when I put on the outfit. For instance, it's quite clear to me that "2013 11 18 Bathing suit flip-flops" is much different than "2014 10 29 Bathing suit flip-flops", because I remember the bathing suit I was wearing a year ago.
     Of course, that sounds crazy to you, but I'm sure you have something similar
going on. Save whatever outfits you remember to save, call them something that will let you tell them apart, and hope you don't have to make too many changes to skin, hair, eyes, and/or shape once you find what you're looking for. Use your memory along with using words in the title that you think will help you find the outfit again in the future. It kind of works, except once in a while you
just can't remember what the HELL you called that outfit with the denim jacket, right?
     I'm kind of an obsessive-compulsive guy, and if I make an outfit with a denim jacket, I want to make sure I can access it again in the future. And I thought, "There must be a better way." I started making longer and longer descriptions about what hair and skin and shape I
was wearing, and my Outfits folder got fatter and fatter.
     Finally I thought, "Okay, let's be dealing with a Second Life problem in a Second Life way. How does it make sense to sort clothes in Second Life?" And what I quickly realized was that, unlike real life, in Second Life your clothing has nothing to do with weather, or practicality. Instead, you are dressing
in an outfit that is appropriate for what you're going to be doing while wearing it, without caring about anything else. If you're going skiing, you don't need to worry about the temperature; you don't need to worry about durability; you don't need to worry about dry-cleaning it after you walk through a muddy parking lot. All you have to worry about is, do I look like a stylin' skier?
     So when I'm searching through my outfits and cursing and thinking, "Damn it, why can't I find that outfit with the denim jacket?" -- it's because you haven't created the right context. When I go looking for an outfit with a denim jacket, it's because I'm going somewhere that I think it's appropriate to wear a denim jacket. A cowboy environment, or horseback riding, something like that. So
instead of calling the outfit "denim jacket", I need to call it "going horseback riding". Name the function, not the contents.
     I eventually came up with a list of ten contexts -- actually 11, but I'll get to that in a minute -- that seem to cover about 95% of what I do in Second Life. As you may have already realized, that's what I'm showing you from top to bottom; last
night I managed to update all the outfits to a single state, with the same hair, eyes, shape, beard, etc., as much as I wanted it that way. I thought I'd better document it for the future, and I thought my readers might be interested in the list:
0. Naked
1. Swimwear
2. Clubwear
3. Masquerade party (perhaps hard to tell, but that's Wolverine)
4. Business suit
5. Upscale casual (what you wear when the invitation says "No jeans")
6. Tuxedo
7. Leather
8. Casual
9. Personal interest/roleplay
10. Seasonal/holiday
     I didn't think it was worth considering "naked" as an outfit. I do take a lot of trouble in keeping it up to date with any changes I make to skin, shape, hair, eyes, whatever, because it's a great place to start when you're creating a new outfit. I also have a set of outfits that I can switch to, one by one, to make it look like I'm taking off my clothes.
     I've been testing this out for a while, and it seems to work very well. It's not as though I haven't created new outfits -- I sure have, variations on these and entirely different ones. For instance, I also have a Christmas outfit where I'm wearing considerably less than the scarf & winter sweater outfit you see (10 Cold weather), or "10A Christmas hoodie & jeans"; for more private moments. That's got a name like "10D Santa hat & bow". And when the season changes, I will update my Christmas-themed clothes to whatever the heck a spring outfit looks like, and then later on in the year a Pride outfit, or Canada Day, or whatever.
     The point is first of all that I know where to look for things because it doesn't matter where I'm going, I have the outfit TYPE in mind. If I'm going to a less than formal wedding, I have to decide between a blue and a black business suit, but I don't need to sort through my Wolverine outfits.
     And the unexpected side effect is that I've saved myself from a few impulse purchases. For instance, I saw a leather jacket in Marketplace and went "ooooOOOOoooo".  And it was a beautiful jacket. But then I remembered I had just made three or four outfits last week with different leather jackets that I already own and like and haven't had enough opportunity to wear -- so I passed up the new jacket. Similarly, I have a tendency to buy category #5 clothes, because they usually have quite a bit of style to them. The trouble is, I only rarely get invited to precisely that kind of event. Until I have a chance to wear 5A and 5B, I'm not going to think about purchasing 5C.
     I don't know if this is a problem that other residents have; I suspect I might be a little bit more obsessive-compulsive than others, and maybe I have 200 outfits where other guys have only 3 or 4. I think this would work for anyone, as long as you define your own categories sensibly; my str8 women friends may prefer to delete 7 Leather and replace it with 7 Haute Couture Luncheons, etc. And I expect if you spend most of your days working as a fashion model, or roleplaying in Gor, you will have quite a bit different way of looking at your requirements. But I think this will be a way of looking at organizing outfits that may be useful if you need some help; give it your consideration. And your comments will be welcome.


  1. Great tips, Rusty!

    Some time soon Tomais is going to help start organizing my Inventory, it is in a complete shambles right now and has been the past seven years. I will try and suggest something along the lines you suggest when we come to outfits ;)

  2. I've also been wrestling with the problems of inventory, although I haven't come up with anything over-arching like I have here. But I might do a post about inventory some time; good idea, thanks!