Tonight, someone asked on the SL Answers forum about the difference between mesh, rigged mesh, Liquid Mesh, and fitted mesh. I don't blame them a bit for being confused! If you are, too, here's the scoop...
Non-rigged mesh is just a simple, "rigid" mesh object. It can be edited for size.
mesh is linked to your avatar skeleton (a process called "rigging" by
3D animators) and can bend and move with you. However, it cannot be
Liquid Mesh is an attempt to get around that, invented
by Redgrave. Liquid Mesh will re-size itself to fit your individual
Fitted mesh is the "official" Linden Lab version of
Liquid Mesh. Like Liquid Mesh, it will adjust to your body shape
Like rigged mesh, both Liquid Mesh and fitted mesh
will bend and move with you, and cannot be edited with the Edit tools.
Both types will still most likely require that you wear an alpha mask
layer to hide bits of your body that would otherwise stick through the
Some designers are providing both a fitted mesh and a
standard rigged mesh (in the various standard sizes.) Try on both the
fitted and the rigged versions. I've found several outfits where I
liked the look of the regular rigged mesh better than the fitted mesh
There are a few other pitfalls that can bite you when you are out shopping. One of them is the fact that more and more designers are making clothes and accessories that are designed to work ONLY with certain other accessories.
For example, only clothing outfits that include an "applier" for the popular Lolas Tango mesh breasts can be used while wearing these breasts. The applier applies the clothing texture over the mesh breasts so it appears that they are properly covered.
The mesh feet and hands from SLink are also very popular. Some fingernails are really "appliers" made specifically for these mesh attachments. Look for the red and white SLink logo on the ads for nails to see if they are "stand alone" fingernails, or texture appliers. (Even more confusing, for those who want longer nails than the SLink hands have built into them, some SLink nails ARE actual mesh objects that are worn along with the SLink hands!)
Shoes designed for the SLink mesh feet also carry the red and white SLink logo on their ads. Don't buy these shoes unless you have the SLink feet. Unlike shoes designed for the normal avatar feet, these shoes do not come with a "foot" inside them, since they expect you already have feet.
Of course, there are other mesh hands and feet besides those from SLink. N-core, for example, has just released mesh feet designed to work with new shoes designs, also by N-core. I haven't yet tried any of the new N-core shoes to see if they will work with SLink feet as well, but my guess is, probably not!
The same sort of compatibility problem can be found with clothes. Lilou Designs has a whole section of their store dedicated to clothing designed to work with Belleza's "Eve" mesh avatar body.
Be careful and read the ads before you buy!