For the last year or so, those of us who frequently help newcomers to Second Life have complained about the all-mesh starter avatars. They can't be adjusted with the Appearance sliders, can't wear traditional layer-based clothing, and when a newbie does manage to detach the mesh body, they often leave the alpha mask layer on and disappear entirely.
This is all very confusing to a new resident, to say the least! A lot of the newcomer help areas have developed signs and tutorials to help explain this situation and persuade newcomers to switch to one of the older, "Classic" starter avatars, which are much easier to customize.
Now Linden Lab has (finally!) come to the rescue. They've added a new series of Classic starter avatars, and they are available at the "Choose Your Avatar" page during the signup process. These new avatars are part mesh, where mesh makes sense, but they respond to the Appearance sliders, and can wear clothing layers. Not only that, but they look great too!
Check out the official blog post here: https://community.secondlife.com/t5/Featured-News/New-Classic-Avatars-are-Now-Available-in-Second-Life/ba-p/2976888