The interaction of skin and shape is a tricky thing, and it can be surprising at times what works and what doesn't. I wasn't a very smart shopper and bought skins early I think. I should have tried more demo's in more shops. Not just looking at the demos in the shop lighting but taking them out for a spin and comparing them to other demos in various kinds of lighting.
Also finding a good shape is tricky, especially one that looks good under many skins.
I will write about skins I tried and liked, but these are not formalized reviews. Skin is a very ssubjective thing. Some skins recommended to me, I didn't like at all, even though I'd seen thm look awesome on other avatars.
My first skins were from the Gnubie shop, the freebie Panache skins and the skins from Tete a Pied. I didn't like the Panache skins at all on my default shape at the time, and they had built in bra/panties drawn into the skin which made them unsuitable for strapless/low cut dresses. The Tete a Pied skins.....those made my avatar look "nice"
Here is the Nicole shape from ShipShape in Pando square wearing a Tete a Pied skin.
Here is the Zora shape, also from ShipShape, in the same skin:
Zora's big eyes makes some skins look "off" on her. But I think Zora would make a good base for an "elven" shape.
The Tete a Pied skins tend to give a demure and sweet appearance to any shape. The look tends to go besst with certain clothing, 50's style dresses for example. The TaP skins are available in many shades, the one I chose was New York, which is the second lightest shade. Paris being the palest, Nairobi being the darkest.
TaP skins also come in varying "makeups" and brow shades. Thusly one might have a skin in the New York shade, with the Fashionista makeup, and with red brows. The skins creator, Roslin Petion is a makeup artist in RL so the makeup is really good, and you have options for mostany ocassion/outfit. I like the pretty glossy lips.
Individual skins cost 900L, but you can get a four pack for 1200L. TaP four packs are a really good deal, because they come with a special scripted "makeup case". The case allows one to buy whatever "makeups" in your chosen skin shade at a reduced cost 350L. Not only that, but it works anywhere in world, and it's a cute little device in it's own right. In fact, If I owned a residence, I'd put it on a dresser just so I could look at it easily whenever I wanted.
Tete a Pied also did a special edition release "LIfe" for the Second Life Relay for Life, which has my favoirte Tete a Pied skin in it, The New York one. Just simply pretty.
Roslin Petion's Tete a Pied blog
Luxe 2.0 by Lo Jacobs: These are my "look like a fashionista magazine editor" skin. They have a sort of "uptown, big city fashionista" look to them and were the first skins I had that could make some of my less nice shapes look good. A nice suit works well on these skins, though depending on the shape, they might come across as appearing a bit, "haughty". I need to take some screenshots of me in these These REALLY looked good on a shape given to me by the awesomacious Alaska Metropolitan, very sophisticated. They looked so good that that shape became my default. (it makes other skins look awesome too and almost every fashion I've put on it looks awesome) Awesome!
My newest skins are my default and they are the excellent:
Celebrity Moonbeam by Sachi Vixen from Adam n Eve.
the mighty Sabrina Doolittle of Linden Lifestyles blog befriended me in game after I IM'd her and gushed about how much I loved her and Salome's blog. One day I was messing with the IM and friend features of SL that I hadn't used much or knew much about using. I figured out htat I could find Sabrina's location and teleport near her. I also noted there was some kind of Dicken's fair" going on near her. So I popped over to find her and someone else working on the Dickens fair build which has to be seen to be believed. A working carousel, carnival games, and apparently Elephant rides. They were kind enough to chat with this newbie an dI was discussing my shape/kin issues when the other person working was revealed to be Sachi Vixen of Adam n Eve. She asked if I had visited her store and I said I hadn't even begun to make a dent in visiting places. She then asked if I liked the haircolor I was using, and I said yes, that I stuck with similar auburn/chestnut/reddish shades. She then gave me a skin to try, I put it on, and woah! I had made it to the big leagues, my avatar was now a glamazon. I was. Sachi then told me that her store was right behind me, so guess what I did. Went back there and played through her demo skins an deventually did settle on the set that the skin she gave me was a part of. Apparently the skin is named after another famous SL fashionista and blogster, Celebrity Trollop
This is the wine lips version of the skin, oh so lovely. I'm wearing my Lynnix prim eyelashes too.: The hairstyle is, ETD's Patootie.