I do not think I own a single piece of mesh yet. Not avoiding them, just I have not seen anything I need that happens to be in mesh yet.
Though based upon what I am seeing on this thread it is a huge step backward for SL.
The biggest thing I love in SL is that everything layers and you are a body under those clothes. So if you got a dress slit to your navel that is YOUR skin showing not the skin they had to put in like in most MMO's.
The selling point to mesh to me was it was supposed to follow the movements of the body under it instead of glitching through like prim wear. Seems this is sadly untrue.
Yeah, def wear the alpha layer (unless you want to do major shape tweaking). It's not a "skin" it makes whatever part of your body it covers invisible so the mesh lays smoothly on your body without bits of you poking through. It solves the "poking through" problem and makes things look nice.
Also, there's alpha layers that are cut to the line of the clothing, the best designers fix it so that if you are wearing a low cut shirt- the alpha layer only makes the parts of your body under the shirt invis, leaving your skin showing through the deep v in the front, for example. I've got a nice cold logic shirt that does just that and though I had to bump my boobs down a bit to fit, it looks lovely and I'm thoroughly enjoying all my mesh stuff from there.
Also- partial mesh items are pretty awesome as well. My new favorite miniskirt is partial mesh. Instead of that damned skirt prim, which I despise and can never get to look right on my av's plushy ass, you get a mesh skirt prim, which lays smooth, doesn't need any adjusting (even for my curvy girl), and looks fantastic, moving with the av like cloth. I've never been able to wear skirts/dresses well on this av, they've never looked right or been flattering to the shape, but the mesh skirts and partial mesh skirts and dresses I'm finding are perfect for my shape and I've loving it!
I'm not seeing a lot of quality mesh stuff for Gor, clothing-wise yet, so there's a market to be jumped on for sure.