Why are clothes considered essential for survival?


Clothing is considered one of the most essential things we need for basic survival, up there with food, water, housing, and healthcare. Those all make sense. But I’ve been naked for hours on end, many times before, and I’m just fine.

It honestly seems more like a social thing (e.g. public nudity is a social taboo) than anything that is scientifically linked to survival.

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I’d have to assume you live in a climate that affords you that luxury. Not all do.

Anyone that’s ever faced the 60 mph frozen winds of Lake Michigan would probably take a different stance on what is considered essential clothing than someone on the dry arid planes of Texas.

Clothes are considered only essential for survival in areas where you would else freeze to death.

Clothing provides protection against colder temperatures (by keeping the heat in), against warmer temperatures (by keeping the direct sunlight out), against accidental scratches (by being the first layer) and against serious damage (gloves, footwear).

As such, clothing saves the body from using energy, which then can be used for something else and the community overall will gain from it.

The taboo of the absence of clothing, or the social pressure to wear a certain set of garments (pants, shoes, socks, shirt), that has nothing to do with the basic survival part.

Have you been naked outside in the wilderness trying to travel, find food, avoid predators? Being naked is easy when you remove every environmental pressure, but when exposed to the elements its very different