There are times when clothing is just fun or expressful. There are a few times when clothing makes sense. There are many (most) times when clothing is not necessary. There are many times when clothing makes no sense. Yet for some reason, people in today's society are expected to wear clothes all the time, day and night, every day, and almost everywhere. People have become obsessed with clothing.
Clothing Obsession is Shameful
Our society, especially in the United States of America, has become obsessed with clothing. Shameful. So much so, that there is an increasing number of people choosing to be offended at the sight of what God proclaimed to be "very good" (Genesis 1:31). Shameful! So much so that people are afraid to be seen changing clothes or showering in a locker room. So much so that doctors are trying to examine people through or under clothing. Shameful. So much so that closets are overflowing with clothes. Wasteful. Since Hollywood, advertising, and media rarely show nudity without sex or sexual innuendo more and more people now associate all nudity with sex. The porn industry thrives on this association. Shameful!
The fashion industry loves and feeds this obsession. Most people wear clothes all day long, strip for a shower or bath, then get dressed again immediately - even if only to get into bed and go to sleep. Have clothes become so important that people must wear them all the time and everywhere, no matter how silly? If you think about it, there many, many times when clothing is simply not necessary and other times when clothing makes no sense at all.
I am a barefooter and a naturist. I prefer to be "barefoot all over" as often as possible. Of course I recognize that there are times when clothing does make sense.
Clothing as Tools
On one of the barefoot social network sites somebody mentioned that he thinks of shoes as tools. He wears shoes or boots for protection in the same way he wears gloves for protection. Otherwise, bare hands and bare feet are the norm.
This got me thinking about clothing in much the same way. It makes sense to think of clothes as tools. In fact, that is likely why they were created in the first place. Seriously. The first clothes. In Genesis 3:17 God cursed the ground. In 3:18, He said "Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee." In verse 3:21, He made coats of skins and clothed them (Adam and Eve). Note that He never (anywhere in the Bible) commanded them or us to wear clothes.* I believe He provided these clothes out of love as tools to help protect them from the thorns, thistles and harsh environments they would experience when expelled from the Garden of Eden.
Even if you don't believe in God, but only in evolution, when in anthropology does evidence of clothing appear?** When man travels into harsh environments and colder climates. Tools.
The following are my thoughts about situations in which clothing makes sense, is not necessary, or makes no sense at all.
When Clothing Makes Sense
Clothing does have its uses. There are times when clothing makes sense.
You might be surprised to discover how tolerant our bodies are to cooler (or warmer) temperatures. Given time, our bodies climatize to quite a range of temperatures. However, there are extremes we cannot tolerate for long and if there is no time to acclimate, we need to protect ourselves from the cold. Clothing makes sense here as a tool for warmth and survival.
There are times when clothing is needed as a tool for protection. I won't try to list them all, but here are some examples: Welding or grinding is a good time to wear protective clothing. Steel toed boots makes sense sometimes. In a wood shop, hearing protection, eye protection and/or dust masks often make sense, though not necessarily all the time. Sometimes a shop apron is a good idea. However, I find that pants and shirts just get in the way and collect saw dust.
Uniforms can make sense for identification purposes.
I hesitate to include this in this category since laws often make no sense. However, from our perspective, it makes sense to be aware of the laws in our local regions. There are no U.S.A. federal laws regarding simple nudity that I'm aware of.
Some States have no specific laws against simple nudity, though one (Arkansas) goes so far as to make it unlawful for any "Person, club, camp, corporation, partnership, association, or organization to advocate, demonstrate, or promote nudism" and more. (A clear violation of the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution). The Naturist Action Committee has an excellent resource for looking up laws in North America on their States, Provinces & Territories page. Counties and cities may have their own ordinances regarding nudity, so learn what they are in your location.
Many of these laws and ordinances are vague and open to individual interpretation. Even in cases where there is no specific law against it, law enforcement officers are often ignorant of this or will find some other way to charge you.
Be careful out there.
When Clothing Is Not Necessary
Really, whenever clothing is not needed for protection, it is not necessary at all. In the privacy of your home indoors or outdoors, no clothing is necessary whether watching TV, reading a book, or playing a game with the family.
Clothing really isn't necessary in public, either - weather and laws permitting. Driving, most sports, shopping, hiking, dining, etc. Clothing is not necessary in nearly all of life's situations.
When Clothing Makes No Sense
There are several times where clothing makes no sense at all, yet most people still wear them in these situations. There are even clothes designed specifically for some of these non-sensical occasions!
The swimming suit is the stupidest invention of all time that people actually buy and use. It is a relatively recent invention at that. We have been swimming naked just fine for hundreds of thousands of years (thousands if you only count civilizations), but for some reason in the last century or two, people began wearing clothing in the water. Great. Let's create unnecessary drag, capture sand, sea lice, seaweed and all sorts of ocean life in some fabric and keep it close to our skin. Even in an over-chlorinated pool, clothing is stupid.
Our birthday suits are perfect for swimming. They're free, they always fit (no diet required), last a lifetime, rinse easily, dry quickly, and produce no extra drag in the water.
Clothing never makes sense in a shower. Not at home, not at school, not in a gym, beach, or pool.
I see people trying to flush the sand out of their bathing suits in showers at the beach. Why not take them off and rinse yourself and the clothes separately? You can put dry clothes on afterwards if you're so inclined. That way you won't have to walk/drive home in clingy wet clothes - or wet sandpaper as the case may be. ↑ Or better yet, don't wear them at all. ↑
It doesn't make sense to change into pajamas or other sleepwear just to climb into a bed. Sheets, blankets, comforters are more than enough to keep us snug and warm. Pajamas bunch up requiring constant adjustments.
Protective clothing may be required for protection from harsh, industrial chemicals - especially if in an OSHA or HazMat situation. But for most household cleaning it makes no sense to wear clothes.
If you're going to be splashing soap and dirt around, why get it all over your clothes that you'll have to launder? You'll still want to shower afterwards if it is a messy cleanup job. If you're sensitive to bleach, it might be a good idea to wear gloves. But chemicals wipe/rinse off of skin easily when there is no clothing absorbing them and keeping them against your skin until you're finished. Of course, bleach will ruin clothing unless you always wear white.
Dusting overhead or the ceiling fans? Some of the dust will fall on you. If you're nude, you simply take a shower. If you're clothed, you'll take a shower and launder your clothing.
Furthermore, it makes absolutley no sense to wear clothes while cleaing the bathtub or the shower. What better time to clean both the facility and yourself at the same time?
Yard work or gardening
Most yard work and gardening is hot, dirty work. We sweat so that our bodies can cool down as it evaporates. We were designed this way. When nude, you can feel the cooling effect of even the slightest of breezes. Clothing hinders this process.
Dirty? You bet. But you can rinse (and cool) off your naked body in very little time with a hose or an outdoor shower and - fringe benefit - you won't track dirt into the house. Clothing takes time and money to wash. Hot water (gas/electricity), detergent, softeners?, dryer (more gas/electricity), and a lot more time.
Sure, many of us are sensitive to certain plants. That may be a time when clothing for protection makes sense - as a tool. If it is just thorns or stickers you're concerned with - don't be. I have pulled miles of Smilax bona-nox (AKA: Saw Greenbriar, Florida Barbed Wire, etc.). By the way, this is one of those times I wear gloves as a tool to protect my hands. I have learned that our skin reacts to thorns much quicker without clothing. With clothing (especially around rose bushes), thorns would often get caught in my shirt or pants to the point of ripping it and/or my skin. Even if my skin didn't get scratched/punctured, the clothing was often snagged, requiring me to stop and de-tangle. Without clothing, I usually react reflexively and quickly so I don't get punctured.
Afraid or annoyed by mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, and other tiny critters? There are several natural repellents and insectides that are nearly as effective as Deet (I do not recommend Deet). Cedarcide works very well for me. Clothing actually provides safe harbor for chiggers and ticks and require laundering quickly to remove them. If you're naked and barefoot, you can feel most insects when they land or crawl on you, making it easy to brush them off before they do their thing. Furthermore, it is MUCH easier to inspect yourself and each other for ticks if you're already nude. With clothes, you'll need to strip down to check for them, then launder and dry your clothes ASAP to get rid of them.
I used to buy disposable painter coveralls. Then I thought, "Why am I spending money on these when I have plenty of old clothes?" Then I noticed that I was still washing those old clothes and, of course, the paint would not come out. Of course, some paints seep through those items anyway and I still had to wash it off my skin. I noticed how easy it is to remove paint from skin (not hair!) - sometimes even after it has dried.
Eventually, I just stayed naked to paint and will never (when possible) go back to clothed painting. In my case, this consisted of rattle-can spray painting, HVLP air painting/finishing, and house painting. I am sure it would apply to artistic oil/acrylic paint as well.
If painting overhead, then covering your hair and/or beard might be a good idea. Then again, I have very little body hair (without shaving), so if you are as hairy as a bear, you might want to cover up. But for most situations, I think painting is another case for when clothing makes no sense.
It really doesn't make sense to wear clothing while fishing in warm weather - especially if on the ocean or a large lake. You're going to get wet. You're going to get slimy (if you're catching). You may get fish blood all over you. In the summer, you're going to get hot and sweaty.
Even if all you succeed in doing is hauling in some bait via a cast net, you're going to get wet. Even if you don't catch anything all day, you may get hot and sweaty. If you reel in a big fish that requires a gaff hook to bring the fish over the gunwhale or transom, you're likely to get fish blood on you and all over the boat.
If you catch any fish at all, even bait, you'll smell like fish (a Good Thing™). I like smelling fishy when I come back from a fishing trip. But we don't want that smell to linger on clothes in the hamper or even in the garage (where our washing machine is).
Best bet, fish naked. Shower off on the boat if possible before returning to port. Then you can put on dry clothes as you approach the dock. The clothes may still smell a little fishy if you can't shower first, but there won't be any blood or fish slime on them.
Really. Since nearly everybody in our country (US of A) has climate controlled homes, who needs to wear clothes at home? We keep our homes at the most comfortable temperatures we can afford. If you're trying to save money in the winter, sure, some clothing makes sense. If you're trying to save money in the summer, clothing makes no sense at all.
Doing chores at home is a time when clothing makes no sense.
Clothing as Expression
I understand that some people feel genuine joy when dressing up. There are times when I enjoy clothing, too - I often wear kilts. Clothing can be a form of expression. I have no objection to people adorning themselves in much the same way as they wear jewelry, crazy hair, etc. While I really don't like some of the fashions and clothing I see - some are intentionally offensive - I would not want laws written to force them to wear something less offensive to me. Nor would I want laws forcing them to wear the least offensive clothing to me - the customized one-button suit God gave to each of us. It is their (your) choice, not mine.
There are very few conditions where I think clothing might be necessary. In almost all situations in our daily lives, clothing is not necessary. There are many situations in our lives when clothing makes no sense at all. Yet our society chooses to wear clothes anyway. Some people (fewer than you might think) choose to take offense at the sight of something they, themselves have - a naked body. Some feel it is okay to require everybody to wear clothes at all times in public, yet feel we are forcing our views on them if we choose not to wear clothes - in public or not.
I think society should back away from its obsession with clothes. Nobody should be shocked, ashamed, or offended by the sight of a naked body. We all have one. Each and every person on this planet through all of history was born naked and has been nude multiple times - nearly every day - throughout our lives. We (probabaly) all have seen other people naked. We should be able to wear as much or as little clothing as we wish at any time (outside of OSHA or uniform regulations).
I would like "nude" to be a fashion choice as acceptable to society as ripped jeans, board shorts (yech!), kilts, purple hair, tattoos, or a three piece suit.
* Yes, in Exodus 28 He did command certain priests to wear very specific clothes when entering the tabernacle or when near the altar to minister in the holy place. He did not tell them to wear clothing all the time.
** If Wikipedia can be believed, according to the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, "Body lice is an indicator of clothes-wearing, since most humans have sparse body hair, and lice thus require human clothing to survive." Do you still think clothing is a Good Thing™?