I don’t know if I can call it a tutorial. I intend to make a simple explanation on layers in SL, how they work and why some designers (including me) put many layers for a single piece of clothing in their packs. Let’s just hope I can make myself understandable ;P. (please forgive the precarious English of a non-native speaker).
Ok, think of an onion and its many layers, one over the other, that’s how layers of clothing work in SL. There is a “hierarchy” to be followed. So, the SKIN is the primary layer an avie wears, nothing can go underneath it. The next ones are the UNDERSHIRT and UNDERPANTS layers. Then, come the SHIRT and PANTS layers, and then comes the JACKET layer. The SOCKS layer will be over the UNDERPANTS and underneath the PANTS layers. Oh, and there's also GLOVES, that comes over skin and UNDERSHIRT and stays underneath SHIRT and JACKET.
The layers work fine together when they respect that hierarchy but they conflict if you try to wear two pieces made in the same layer. You can only wear one of a kind of layer, not two SOCKS layers, for instance, as you could in RL.
The names “SHIRT, PANTS, JACKET, UNDERPANTS AND UNDERSHIRT” etc. are the names of the layers, not the names of the pieces of clothing, ok? I’ll be writing them in capital letters, to differentiate them from the names of the pieces of clothing. The names of the layers serve to guide us as to where they are in the hierarchy of layers, but one piece of clothing can be made in many layers. I can make lingerie in PANTS and SHIRT layers, for instance, and I do. Why? Why not only in UNDERPANTS and UNDERSHIRT, as they should in RL? Because tatoos are made in those layers and you wouldn’t be able to wear your tattoo AND a set of lingerie if you have only the underwear layers for both.
Also, in SL, not always the name of the layer correspond to the name of the item. For example, painted nails. If they are not prim nails, they can only come in GLOVES, for it is the only layer that covers your fingernails in SL. For the painted toes, they have to be SOCKS. So, you cannot wear red painted toes AND your favorite stockings, for SOCKS is the only layer that covers your feet.
Each layer will have a reach as to what it can cover in an avie’s body, and SL has some limitations in comparison to RL. So, the SHIRT will cover your torso, arms and part of the neck, but it only goes down to around the waist line, it won’t cover your lower abdomen or your lower back. For that, you will need a PANTS layer or a JACKET, which reaches all areas a SHIRT can reach, plus parts of what a PANTS layer can reach.
A blouse can come in a variety of layers. If that blouse is to cover the lower parts of your abdomen and back, it HAS to come in JACKET or, it can come in a set: SHIRT + PANTS or UNDURSHIRT + UNDERPANTS. But why not release only in JACKET layer if it’s enough to cover it all? Because you might want to mix and match, and wear that blouse with an open coat in JACKET layer or wear it with a pair of pants, giving the impression the blouse is tucked in. The JACKET would go over your pants, but you can wear it in a SHIRT layer piece alone, you see?
Ok, let’s see some examples in pictures:
Here I’m wearing my Sheer Buttoned Shirt in JACKET layer, with my High Waist Pants (without the high waist belt piece) in UNDERPANTS layer (it could be PANTS layer also, but I wanted to wear these wonderful long boots I got in Last Call and the PANTS layer wouldn’t go with them). I’m wearing a piece of my Well Behaved bra in UNDERSHIRT layer (which could also be in SHIRT layer with the same effect) underneath the sheer shirt.
Now, I don’t want my Sheer Buttoned Shirt to be sheer, but opaque. So, I wear that same shirt but in SHIRT and PANTS layers underneath the JACKET layer. Since my pants come in UNDERPANTS layer, it still stays underneath it all.
Now, I want to wear this lovely Philippa knit waistcoat I got from Annah Couture, over my Sheer Buttoned Shirt. So, I wear the waistcoat in JACKET layer and keep my shirt in SHIRT and PANTS. I don’t have the opaque option anymore, 'cause I can’t wear two layers of jacket, remember?
Now I’m wearing my shirt in SHIRT layer only, tucked in, with my high waist belt piece of the High Waist Pants, in JACKET layer.
My Woolen Tights, in order to cover hips, legs and feet, have to come in two layers:
UNDERPANTS (or PANTS)
Here is another example of a top blouse worn in SHIRT and JACKET layers. You can see there that the JACKET would cover the belt in the PANTS layer of the prim skirt base. Underneath the PANTS I’m wearing my Woolen Tights in UNDERPANTS layer.
So, that's it. I know it can be pretty confusing if you're not used to it. It would be easier to have only one option, but it wouldn't be as fun! Isn't it wonderful to be able to mix and match with your outfits?
Milla, I really hope this post can be helpful. :)
P.S. - I forgot to mention that I'm wearing Caroline Apolllo's "Cameo". I can't seem to take it off since I got it for FREE (group member's gift)!! I love it! Love it! Love it!