Bigger is not necessarily better. I know, I know—size matters, and all that. People do say that. But as always, it’s not what you’ve got: it’s what you do with it that matters.
On and off over the last several months, I’ve been admiring, sometimes enviously, the diminutive yet detailed “petites” avatars of some friends of mine and searching for one that I liked well enough to take the plunge. Now, I can hear you wondering: “What are these petites of which you speak?” Well you may ask. Petites are small (approximately one-third size) mesh avatars for your Second Life persona. The original petites mesh was created by Yabusaka Loon, and this has become something of a de facto standard. On the one hand, this may somewhat reduce the available variety; on the other hand, it means that designers can create clothing and accessories that are sure (or at least more likely) to fit properly. On balance, given the vagaries and challenges of fitting mesh clothing (even on the traditional avatar), I think it’s good to have a standard.
The problem was, at least for me, that all the petite avatars I was seeing were fairies, sprites, wood nymphs, and the like. Yes, this is a perfect application for very small-sized avatars like these, and so yes, you’ll see some included here—but I wanted one with a more-or-less human base skin texture, and at least the option of human ears. Because options for customizing the body shape and face are so necessarily limited, I also hoped for something that wouldn’t be and look exactly the same as the ones I was seeing most often. Vanity rears its ugly head once again.
Then I found Cane Sutter’s “Tom Thumb” petite mesh avatar. Tom’s skin texture is nicely human-realistic, not perfectly smooth and glossy. Although the underlying shapes are the same (Tom has been designed on the Yabusaka base mesh), skin artwork gives the face and body a look and musculature that’s different from many others. You also get—and this was a big selling point for me—a freckles option in addition to the regular “clean”, un-freckled skin. After trying out a demo, I was sold.
The avatar includes two mesh body shapes; mesh body, feet, and hands in three different positions; petite hairstyle (not shown here); prim eyes; and genitalia in two states (“relaxed” and “excited”). You also get the Yabusaka Mesh Skin Tinting Hud and the Yabusaka Fairy Mesh Control HUD, which lets you choose from three different facial expressions as well as control the skin’s bright, glow, and metal finish settings. You can also hide body segments (shoulder, upper arm, elbow, crotch, knee, and toe), to accommodate different articles of mesh clothing. As the avatar uses the standard Yabusaka base mesh, clothing made for this standard will fit.
L$1200 in your choice of three different skin tones: Milky, Sunny (shown here), and Tanning, or L$2400 for all three tones. The Wood Elf costume/clothing items (more details below) are also included. An avatar only (no cosume) with human ears is available separately for L$1000 in the same skin tones, L$2000 for all three tones. You can also try a free demo or send these as a gift to a lucky friend. Available at Skinthesis (Oubliette 234, 109, 36).
This Wood Elf ensemble is inluded with the Tom Thumb avatar. The outfit includes loincloth, headpiece, flexi wings, and trailing vines “bodysuit”. Coverage is minimal and really shows off the detailed texture work on the mesh body. I did make some modifications to the “out of the box” prim attachments, turning off full bright and adding a slight glow for an effect I found more pleasing. I am wearing MissAllSunday Lemon’s “Dragon” petite mesh hair, L$110 at Wasabi Pills (Coraline 206, 135, 53).
I’m quite happy with this simple casual outfit I put together. The black cargo shorts are a true separate that can be worn with your own favorite shirt or without. Sculpted cuffs add a bit of dimension and are a nice touch, even on an avatar that’s smaller than usual. By Deadri Silvershade. Just L$15 at Pooka’s (Alice 211, 47, 1094). My wee sneakers are also from Pooka’s, just L$40 a pair in four color combos. The V-neck shirt is by Kai Sivanand, L$50 on SL Marketplace. Although I’ve left it white here, it’s moddable, so you can tint it as you like.
Just for fun, while shopping at Pooka’s I also picked up this Autumn Devil outfit. (I’ve been thinking of it as the Little Devil outfit, as there’s nothing specifically autumnal about it beyond the decidedly Halloween-themed skullie boxers, which you can easily trade out for trousers.) The outfit includes the aforementioned skull boxers, boots, bat wings, demon horns and tail, nipple rings, skull collar, and belt buckle (not shown here, but would look great with black leather pants or jeans). L$45 for the set.
Bellissa Dion’s Leather Pants and Blue Open Shirt outfit straddles the line between casual and dressy. I was a bit disappointed to find that the shirt and pants are integrated in a single mesh item, as I had hoped to be able to wear at least the pants separately. (Many outfits are just that—fully built ensembles that cannot necessarily be worn as separates. Is this a step backward? Maybe, but it might also be a necessary growing pain as we move toward the possibility of full mesh avatars; more on that in a subsequent post.) In any event, this is a fun, sexy outfit for the petite man about town. The shirt has sculpted collar and cuffs; the jeans are included in regular, boot, and hoof cuts. L$100 on SL Marketplace; other colors are also available.
I’m also wearing Fawn Springflower’s Petite Men’s Biker Boots. These are nicely detailed, especially impressive at such a small size, and are scripted for automatic resize, just in case. Choose from six colors, including Black as shown here. L$100 a pair or L$350 for a pack of all six colors. Available at Peek-A-Pete (Lovers Escape 215, 138, 21).
Alice Klinger’s “Elvis” hairstyle in Dark Red is currently (still) available as a promo freebie on SL Marketplace. Both regular and petite sizes are included; other colors are available at the regular price. I have also had good luck with resizing regular, moddable hairstyles to fit my petite avatar—more on that below.
Poise Collins’ Digital Spirit outfit for petite guys is a great promo purchase at just L$10 for the set. The set includes prim Army Belt (for some reason not shown in the vendor art), graphic tank top/tee, and stylishly faded and shredded jeans with sculpt cuffs. At this price, it’s difficult to complain to forcefully that shirt and jeans are integrated and can’t be worn separately. Get your own on SL Marketplace. Here again I’m wearing Deadri Silvershade’s petite men’s sneakers.
Another fun fantasy outfit is Sredni Eel’s Pete Mesh Djinn outfit. You too can be the genie of the lamp—and almost fit inside! Each outfit includes vest, harem pants with flexi sash, feather-bedecked turban, serpent arm band with glowing eyes, and pointy shoes. Mine is in Oasis Green; five other colors are also available. L$150 each at Avatar Bizarre Avatar Bizarre (Burmilla 208, 219, 38).
Of course it’s simply not possible that Bare Rose could have nothing to offer, even for the petite of the masculine persuasion. In point of fact, you will find, in a special section, a generous selection of petite designs for men, and not all are fantasy themed. Unsurprisingly, prices are also quite reasonable. The Petite Tail T2 tuxedo I’m wearing here is easily the nicest petite male formalwear I’ve found so far. Each suit includes mesh jacket, shirt, trousers, and cummerbund, with sculpted collar and bowtie, jacket lapels and shoulder pads, shoes, and flexi coattails. Options for four tie colors, two jacket lapel colors, and three vest colors are included, so you can mix and match for different looks. L$135 at Bare Rose (White Wolf 26, 135, 27).
I really like Evangeline Miles’ Wood Fairy ensemble—it’s simple in construction, with handsome detailing that works well in miniature. It’s also more flexible than many petite outfits, including some shown here: the pants can be worn with or without the vest (although the reverse is not also true). The pants have sculpted cuffs, and you also get a sash belt and fairy wings. A freebie at Evie’s Closet (Oubliette 161, 183, 414). A full-size version is also available, but does not include the vest, which was created especially for petites. Here again I’m wearing MissAllSunday Lemon’s “Dragon” petite mesh hair, L$110 at Wasabi Pills Wasabi Pills (Coraline 206, 135, 53).
A final observation: as you begin to make your first forays into the Big, Bad World of SL as a petite, it is all but unavoidable that at least a few people, here and there, will observe that you look “cute”. How you feel about that is up to you. I don’t think that petites are intrinsically “cute”, but pocket-sized creatures are arguably easy to imagine as not too far off from puppies, kittens and the like. My advice? Take it as a compliment, don’t let it get to you, and take the first available opportunity to show what a bad-ass you can be, regardless of height. After all, if the tiny little shoe fits…
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There are a lot of great resources out there for petites, and for those considering taking the plunge. I have found bunnys Fride’s MicroCam HUD and Walk Speed Reducer for petites to be essential, if not indispensable—they’re saved as part of each of my petite outfits. The MicroCam HUD overcomes the problem of incorrect (or at least decidedly not optimal) camera position with avatars that are not of standard size. You can choose from a handful of different camera views that will allow you to see your avatar clearly and help you to move around in a world that suddenly seems much bigger. The Walk Speed Reducer (worn as a separate attachment, but controllable from the HUD) reduces walking, flying, swimming, and ascending speed. This allows for greater proportional realism and more accurate positioning of the avatar. Free on SL Marketplace.
You’ll also want a resizer script that will allow you to size down prim attachments for wear with your petite avatar. I had good luck using one here to size down one of my longtime favorite hairstyles, hiko Nino’s “Nekoge”. I had far less luck sizing down jewelry items, no doubt because some prims would reach minimum size in one or more dimensions and would then no longer size down in proper proportion. Hairstyles seem to be more forgiving. Although I’ve done only minimal experimentation so far with prim clothing components—collars, cuffs, and such—at a guess, overall I would expect moderate, mixed success here. Of course your mileage may vary. Note that the item(s) in question must be moddable, so you can drop in the resize script. You can pick up a resizer script at Petites Kingdom—it’s included in one of the resource notecards. While you’re there, you may want to do a little shopping! A resizer script is also available in a freebie box at Skinthesis (Oubliette 234, 109, 36).
Also, for your reference, a few web resources that you may find helpful:
On Ryan: “Nekoge” hairstyle by hiko Nino (Happy Dispatch).