Thursday, July 9, 2009

Guest Blogger : Viktoria Brandenburg

Deirdre here, introducing today's guest blogger : Viktoria Brandenburg, fashionista extraordinaire and designer at VvB, the platform and pencil heel specialist of SL. Enjoy!


Latex

Latex, a lifestyle to some, a Halloween costume to others.

But regardless on which end of the balance beam that you reside, here is some of what I hope will be, some helpful advice.

Latex is a lovely and wondrous material that can literally transform your whole appearance from the ordinary to the extremely sensual; that is, if done well and with a little thought.

There are several aspects you should consider when wanting to put together a stylish look in latex.

The first is quality, the second is coordination, the third is layering and lastly, is accessorizing.

Let us look and see how these aspects come into play with your latex aspirations.

Quality

There are dozens of latex clothing designers out there, and they span the whole range of quality spectrum.

Price is not always the absolute measure of quality.

But unfortunately more often than not, it is.

The better designers, and their designs that I have found, will include multiple parts but also multiple layers for the same parts so that they can be made more functional with a greater variety of accessories.

For example, a shirt will be usable for an undershirt layer or shirt layer, or even a jacket layer; in this way it can be mixed more effectively.

I for one rarely wear any one complete ensemble or outfit straight “off-the-rack”.

And I have been known to buy an entire outfit just to use the top, or the gloves or maybe just the skirt.

Keep this in mind as well that you don’t have to wear an entire outfit for it to look right.

Contacting the designer to buy just one piece from the outfit is also an option.

The better outfits, and hence the better designers, have parts that are cut to where they can match up well with other items not only from their own collections but seem to go well with many others.

But that is for later discussion.

Item Pictures

A good rule of thumb to remember is not to always rely upon the product pictures for how an ensemble will look when worn.

There are too many ways that graphic enhancements can askew something to look better than it is.

The better establishments have live models to show you how these various outfits actually look when worn on your avatar.

Trust that more than the pictures.

Coordination

Definitely a key element in dressing to impress.

Color and sheen are the two important elements here.

No matter how much you spend, if these two things do not coordinate together, the entire ensemble suffers.

Matching colors is such a pain in SL and we all know its depressing effects if it doesn’t happen.

Thank God most latex comes in black, or black and a secondary color.

Blacks, whites and blues tend to be some of the more easy colors to match, but watch out for reds, violet/purples, greens, and others.

Pay attention to color names, pictures and live models.

Each designer often has their own idea of what blood red looks like, and what it means to them for example.

It is often best to buy many of the same color pieces from the same designer so as to match multiple parts from mulitple outfits It also can be easily done with multiple parts from multiple designers by just paying attention and being observant.

Sheen

Sheen is the amount of shininess the latex inherently has.

Again, some designers have extremely reflective latex and some do not.

This is NOT a drawback.

The amount of reflectiveness or shininess that latex has does not indicate it is better or worse.

Either can be wonderful if you match them together with items that have approximately the same amount of sheen.

I personally have the whole range of dull shine to extreme shine in my collection and they both can work if properly matched.

Again, just be observant and match the parts.

Layering

This is one of my favorite things to do with my wonderful shiny latex.

Most latex aficionados will understand this concept only too well.

Layering is extremely important to achieve the unique look that defines you.

Anyone can go and buy a latex outfit and simply throw it on and walk out the door, and that is exactly what it will look like.

But with some creative layering of latex items, new looks can be achieved and your overall appearance can be dramatically enhanced.

For example, the black latex catsuit : put it on alone, and... there you are. Not much of an impression.

But when a catsuit is worn as an undershirt and underpants layer, you have a whole world of enhancements that can be “layered” on top of it, using the shirt, jacket, pants and socks layers.

Using a whole line of corsets, straps, stockings, garters, and skirts.

With layering, you can really make an impression.

And there is nothing more satisfying than knowing the one you love is wearing a garter belt and stockings under their dress.

When doing your layering, pay attention to how the layers overlap or fail to overlap.

Your ensemble can sometimes succeed or fail on how your mixing and matching of pieces can overlay one another.

Always do a 360 degree check on how things are looking when you add pieces and layers.

I also have found that without layering sometimes a little too much becomes exposed and takes the look from one of sensual elegance straight into the gutter.

Now some people like and want that, but I tend to prefer only a small alluring hint of flesh to be exposed.

Two prime examples are the chest areas just above the bosom or the upper thighs just above the stocking tops.

Very fun but not overly lewd.

Good latex skins can also be extremely useful as the ultimate underlayer on which to build a dramatic latex fashion statement.


Accessorizing

Lastly, accessories : the ultimate outer layer.

This is one that tends to be a bit tricky as some jewelry and other fun accessories (such as collars) don't fit very well.

Always be sure to fit your accessories as well as you can to the various parts of the body.

I would include any prim skirts and dresses in this catagory.

To do this well, you should turn off your AO, turn the region time to midday and get somewhere well lit and really look at yourself.

You will quickly find where the problems occur.

Pay close attention to the metal parts of the various clothing you wear.

These are normally corset buckles, boot buckles, etc.

If they are silver, wear silver jewelry, if they are gold (rarely) wear gold jewelry - you comprehend the idea.

And for those who do not like the annoying way a skirt forms that awful line/bulge at the waist, invest in a wide variety of belts.

I find that belts can really smooth and hide that inconvenient way a skirt (skirt layer) fits to the body.

This also applies to prim skirts as well.

And having a wide variety allows more options for your ensemble depending on the occasion, and you can now wear skirts again to bring even more variety.

If you follow my advice above, I believe that your latex experience will not only be of a more enjoyable nature but will encourage you to dress the part more often.

Once you have an ensemble together you can always bring it out again for the right occasion.

Enjoy yourselves and have a wonderful Second Life.

Thank you.

Viktoria Elisabeth Alexandra F├╝rstin von Brandenburg

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