As some of my readers may already know, I’m a naturist. If you aren’t quite sure what that means, think nudist. While some draw distinctions between naturism and nudism, for the purposes of this discussion we can consider them close enough to synonymous. While much can be said in favor of a nude lifestyle and naturist philosophy, my goal here today is to explore how not wearing clothing is consistent with minimalist values and a simple, frugal lifestyle.
A naturist’s wardrobe is the ultimate minimalist wardrobe. Ideally I’d not need to own any clothes at all. In reality, I have to go out in public from time to time, where society’s laws and norms compel me to cover my body. There are also times, even here in the desert, when it gets cold enough that clothing becomes necessary for one’s health and comfort.
My entire wardrobe consists of a pair of shorts, a pair of long pants, a few t-shirts, a couple polo shirts, a sweatshirt, and a winter jacket.
I do laundry about twice a year, and it all (aside from the winter coat) fits in one load. I save time by not washing, drying, ironing, folding and storing clothes, but it doesn’t stop there. How much time do you spend deciding what to wear each day? I don’t. How about time spent getting dressed and undressed, multiplied by how many times you change clothes each day? Not me. Taken separately, it may not seem like much, but it all adds up over the course of a day or week. I shop for clothes even less often than I wash them — even more time saved.
With my small and seldom-worn wardrobe, I spend very little money acquiring, maintaining, and replacing clothing. I can’t remember the last time I went clothes shopping, or even bought a bottle of laundry detergent for that matter. Without a layer of clothes insulating my body, I can be comfortable in room temperatures five to ten degrees warmer than a clothed person, allowing me to keep the thermostat higher in the summer – saving electricity saves money.
When I wake up in the morning, I don’t worry about what I’ll wear today. I’m already wearing it! I don’t have to worry about ruining my clothes by getting them torn, worn, or dirty if I’m not wearing any. On the rare occasion I don clothes it isn’t a problem either because what little clothing I own is simple and inexpensive (and often from thrift stores). I’m not terribly concerned if something gets soiled or damaged.
Saves The Environment
Think of all the water I save by not washing clothes. Imagine if a whole city turned naturist how much water could be saved. And all the phosphates and chemicals from detergent I’m not using. Digging a little deeper, one could consider the environmental impact of clothing manufacture as well. All the water used to grow the cotton (or, worse, petroleum products used to manufacture synthetics). Energy to run the machines in the factory. And all the fuel consumed and pollution generated in transporting from field to factory to warehouse to store to home. As a bonus, by buying fewer clothes, I can afford to be choosier about what I buy and how it’s made, and hopefully avoid contributing to third-world sweatshops. Also, the electricity I save by needing less air conditioning in the summer doesn’t just save me money — it helps the environment, too!
How much space in your home is occupied by clothes? Closets, dressers, hampers. I’ve seen wardrobes bigger than my whole house. More space to store clothing care items – washing machine, detergent, softener, lint brushes, iron, ironing board.
Saves Distraction and Discomfort
It has been suggested that we avoid wearing labels and logos. What easier way to avoid those gratuitous marketing cues than avoiding clothes entirely?
Does your clothing irritate you? Does it ever itch? Restrict your movement? Make you uncomfortably warm in the summer? Not me.
But Wait, There’s More!
I’ve already mentioned how lack of clothing simplifies my daily routines, lightens my workload, saves me money, and reduces my environmental footprint. While I’ve been primarily pointing out the practical advantages of a nude lifestyle, there are other benefits to be had that cannot be measured in dollars, hours, or square feet. When looked at in a social context, nudity further simplifies my life by reinforcing my minimalist values while simplifying and enriching social activities.
Simplify Social Intercourse
Our opinion of other people is influenced at both a conscious and subconscious level by what they wear. That’s why there exist sayings like “Dress for Success” and “The Clothes Make the Man.” As much as most of us would like to think otherwise, our first impression of another person’s manner and style of dress as well as quality and cleanliness of their attire often makes a lasting impression, deserved or not. It can also have an profound effect on how (or even if) we choose to interact with that person.
When we all are nude, we all are equal. It is much easier to see the real person within when we don’t have the distraction and (often subconscious) prejudice created by their wardrobe. Likewise, other people see us for who we really are. Our preconceived notions are cast aside and we must engage in conversation to learn about our fellow humans, rather than drawing assumptions based on their choice of textiles used to cover their bodies.
Comments Are Open
Naturist or not, minimalist or not, I’d love to know what you think.
I’m a closet ‘naturalist’ whenever I’m at home I’m naked, I live in a complex so if the curtains are open I have to put on clothes so as to not offend less liberated people, and I have to wear clothes at work but if I could I’d be just like you, minimum clothes not because of minimalism but because its just a hellova lot better in all the ways you say!
I think you mean “naturist” (one who prefers to go about as nature intended; i.e., without clothes) – though you might also be a naturalist (one who studies and or advocates for nature). Being nude at home is a good start, and as far as many people are comfortable going. Have you explored social nudity at all?
Funny how we concern ourselves with “offending” the textiled masses, but they do not concern themselves with offending my sensibilities by insisting on constantly covering their bodies (and expecting me to do the same while in their presence).
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Interesting points! The only downside I see to nudity is cleanliness. Having two little naturist boys makes me abundantly aware that frequent hand washing is a MUST along with bodily fluids being all over furniture. It’s hard because as someone who has always enjoyed nudity, I don’t want to stifle our boys, but I have a hard time getting over the ick factor from bodily fluids and constant hand placement. Thus, we now do it in moderation. We try and have them keep undies on whenever food is out (because their hands are always on their junk & butts..and we don’t want that in their mouths!). I’m not sure how it will all progress as the boys get older, but I hope I can instill a lack of concern/self-consciousness about nudity. I’m not sure it’s working considering both boys scream EWWW whenever I’m naked (they are 4 & 2), but I’m not about to stop being comfy in my own house lol!
I love the phrase “the textiled masses” and should put my hand up right now and admit to being one of them. 😛 I’m very much in favour of doing what makes you comfortable. I’m part of that subdivision of homo sap called a redhead, however, so any temperature warm enough to be unclad outdoors would certainly involve sunshine strong enough to give me a severe sunburn in approx 10 mins, which would make me very UNcomfortable and probably give me skin cancer. Nude wouldn’t work for all of us, but good on ya for doing your own thing. Love your blog.
Don’t let your fair skin prevent you from being comfortable indoors, or even outdoors in the shade.
Being blond I can relate. I am a naturist, and used sunscreen until I got tanned. But the main thing All of us know is Vitamin D is good for the body.
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I totally agree with your ethics and way of living, I try and be clothesfree as much as possible, in and outdoors. It is the sensible way to be, hazards and weather conditions permitting. I have no qualms about anyone seeing me naturally dressed but I do conform to the “standards” that society force upon us as I can’t afford any legal consequences!
Simple nudity in public is not illegal in England but an ill-advised piece of legislation,Section5 of the Public Order Act is used to prosecute innocent naturists, I am actively pursuing with many other people the repeal of this act which was put in place aftersome severe riots and never designed for this purpose being used by Ill advised Police and CPS. See http://reformsection5.org.uk/#?sl=4 put your name to the objections! I’m staying bare as much as possible!
Concerning your last paragraph; I have read that you really don’t know somebody until you have seen tham nude. After giving that much thought, I must agree.