A few weeks ago, I found myself in the classic Zoom outfit: one half undressed, one half dressed. Except this time it was the other way round: tracksuit bottoms while baring my topless chest to a screen of strangers. Unbelievably, I’m not the only one. Over the past year swathes of people have taken advantage of no dress codes and embraced their nude selves. Gwyneth Paltrow posed in her birthday suit as she turned 48, Amanda Holden enjoyed naked trampolining and naked cooking, and Elizabeth Hurley showed us there’s no weather that can keep her clothed when she posted pictures of herself naked on a haystack.
Meanwhile, millennials have been stripping off as a way to reduce lockdown anxiety. “More young people are taking an interest in naturism as a kickback against the unrealistic ‘perfect body’ standards that are proving ever more damaging to mental health,” says Sam Hawcroft, managing editor of H&E Naturist magazine. “Naturism is a great way to improve body image and to learn to love the skin you’re in.” Indeed, British Naturism gained 1,100 new members over the course of 2020, although, as Andrew Welch of the society tells me, this won’t reflect the true number as you don’t need membership to be a nudist. All you need to do is, well, whip off your clothes.