Pinkie: You could just go naked like me.
Phoenix: AGH!! ARE YOU CRAZY!? I'm not gonna show up in court naked!
Pinkie: Why not? Everypony else does it!
In Real Life, we humans are basically the only species uncomfortable with public nudity depending on the culture. Other creatures in the world don't share this taboo, and spend the entirety of their lives without ever covering themselves in a shred of clothing. So when a work of fiction uses animals for its core cast of thinking, personified characters, what's an author to do about their underlying, well, nudity?
Now is an important time to define the term "nudity": When we say that a person is "naked", we usually use it in a social context, implying that they should Please Put Some Clothes On. As Fully-Clothed Nudity shows, we can consider a person "naked" even if they actually have some kind of clothes on. Even though the standard for acceptable human attire can vary with each culture, this isn't a standard we hold animals to; we just don't view their nudity as being so objectionable. Maybe it's the coat of fur (or feathers) that partially obscures their genitals already; maybe it's the four-legged posture that makes their unmentionables less visible than those of a bipedal human (especially from the front). So while we may not particularly want to be looking at an animal's family jewels, the omission of them in art is (usually) much less noticeable than Barbie Doll Anatomy. note
This gets weird with a Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal, since they often do have a concept of nakedness. But even that is sort of a mock nakedness, since it doesn't make the viewers feel uncomfortable the same way as human nudity would in many cultures.
It can also be due to Conservation of Detail by the author, especially in written media where they have more important things to discuss than informing the audience whether there's "something" visible between an animal's hind legs or under his/her tail. But visual media needs frequent, consistent depictions of the characters (human or otherwise) so whether or not an animal is "anatomically correct" can be an important stylistic decision for the artist: Executives and Moral Guardians may object to such anatomical features, but on the other hand, an artist may prefer to show their work rather than deal with complaints that their Animals Lack Attributes.
But things start to get weird when throwing anthropomorphism into the mix. Of course, a Talking Animal (speech-impaired or otherwise) and their relatives like the Nearly Normal Animal and Partially Civilized Animal, being rather normal animals otherwise, can easily get by without their lack of pants or shirt ever getting questioned, but it gets even weirder when talking about animals that are more or less treated or act like people. A Civilized Animal and Funny Animal can still get away with being naked, due to them still retaining their animalistic-shape, but then we get to Petting Zoo People, who, rather than keep the shape of their respective species, have a much more humanoid body-frame. A nude Borderline Petting Zoo Person might get a pass as they still retain some animalistic-qualities and they don't look too humanoid, but a straight Petting Zoo Person not wearing clothes can range from looking mildly awkward to being stranded in the Uncanny Valley, depending on how humanoid they look.
Sister trope to Human Furniture Is a Pain in the Tail.
When it is deemed "necessary" to clothe animals in some form of attire, artists have a wide range of options at their disposal:
- Most Common Way of Dress for: Nearly Normal Animals, Talking Animals, and Partially Civilized Animals.
- Also Common Way of Dress for: Civilized Animals, Funny Animals, and Borderline Petting Zoo People.
- Rarely Seen on: Petting Zoo People (Atleast without something covering their naughty-bits)
- Commonly Seen on: Civilized Animals, Funny Animals, and Borderline Petting Zoo People
- Sometimes Seen on: pantless Nearly Normal Animals, Talking Animals, and Partially Civilized Animals, shirtless male Petting Zoo People.
- Rarely Seen on: pantless Petting Zoo People, shirtless female Petting Zoo People (because of the Nipple and Dimed Double Standard), and shirtless Nearly Normal Animals, Talking Animals, and Partially Civilized Animals.
- Commonly Seen on: Petting Zoo People, Borderline Petting Zoo People, and Funny Animals.
- Sometimes Seen on: Civilized Animals.
- Rarely Seen on: Nearly Normal Animals, Talking Animals, and Partially Civilized Animals
Adults Dress More Fully Than YoungstersOne convention applied to animals, usually Funny Animals and Civilized Animals, is an age-based Double Standard in which either young animals dress less fully than the adult animals in the work or the young animals go au naturel and the adults wear clothing, whether accessory wearing, half-dressed, or fully dressed. Sometimes inverted, like with a baby animal wearing a diaper and an adult animal wearing nothing.
Sleepwear and Swimwear ParadoxThis is the tendency for the sleepwear and swimwear of typically completely naked, mostly naked, or partially dressed Funny Animals and Civilized Animals to not follow the rules of their everyday dress (or lack of dress). Instead, they appear more fully dressed in their sleepwear and swimwear than in their normal outfits.
- Sleepwear: A character's nightgown or pajamas would cover their body more than their typical daywear does. If they're wearing pajamas, they would be wearing pajama bottoms even if they are normally naked below the waist or pajama tops even if they are normally naked above the waist.
- Swimwear: An animal character who doesn't normally wear pants, shorts, or a skirt would be wearing swim trunks if male or a swimsuit (one-piece or two-piece) if female. Even shirtless half-dressed female characters will wear either a swimsuit or both pieces of their bikini as their swimwear.
Normally Pantsless or Naked Character With a Towel Wrapped Around His/Her WaistThis is a tendency for a typically pantsless, mostly naked, or completely naked animal character to wrap a towel around his/her waist when he/she gets out of the shower or bathtub.
Winter Attire Without Pants, Shoes, or BootsFor winter weather, a naked or partially clothed Funny Animal or Civilized Animal would often dress with a hat, scarf, and jacket, but without pants or shoes/boots. Another variant of this includes shoes or boots, but they still arent wearing any pants. They would seem to be dressed for the weather, but logically, they should still be cold unless they are arctic, Antarctic, or similarly frigid weather animals because of the lack of shoes/boots and pants.
Pantsless or Mostly Naked Character Acting Denuded When NakedThis is when a Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal or, in a few cases, an Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal reacts to his or her state of undress protect his or her modesty when he or she is spotted nearly or completely naked.
Otherwise or Normally Clothed Animal Not Embarrassed by State of UndressThis is when an otherwise clothed animal, whether fully, mostly, or partly clothed or accessory-wearing animal loses part, most, or all his/her clothes or has a wardrobe malfunction, but doesn't act denuded to his/her state of undress or nudity. They might try to find their lost or stolen clothes and get them back, but they don't seem to care about their state of undress.
Naked Animal Legs Colored PantsA subtrope of Nude-Colored Clothes in which the pants worn by pantsless looking cartoon animals of the Civilized Animal, Funny Animal, or Petting Zoo Person vein that look like naked animal legs. Used as a common subversion of the pantsless side of the Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal trope.
Wing SleevesThis is where because their wings can't fit normal shirt, jacket, and coat sleeves, bird, bat, and similarly winged characters wear sleeved shirts with large or huge sleeves to fit their wings.
- Fur or Skin Used For a Sexy Leg Reveal: An animal lifts the fur or skin on his/her leg, revealing a sexy woman's leg. To put it another way, it's Fur Is Clothing meets Show Some Leg.
- Physiological Pockets: An animal character has pockets, most commonly placed on his/her thighs, as part of his/her actual physiology.
Ears as a HatThis is when an animal with pinnae (outer ear flaps) doffs his/her ears as if they were a hat.
Examples That Do Not Fit the Subtropes:
- One GEICO commercial depicts the the always-naked gecko mascot happening upon a clothing-optional beach and saying "how convenient." (In no other commerical does anyone percieve him as naked.)
- Calvin and Hobbes: Hobbes doesn't wear clothes, although in one storyline he wears "jams" to go swimming. Another time he was forced to wear extensive swimgear to go in a pool, which he viewed as very unnecessary. At least a few times Hobbes has expressed pride in not having to wear clothes like feeble humans do, and Calvin himself has sometimes gone naked claiming to be defying his human nature.
Calvin: You know, there must be thousands of animal species, and of ALL of them, only humans wear clothes. Isn't that weird? I wonder why other animals don't wear clothes.
Hobbes: If our naked pink butts showed, we probably would.
Calvin: Our butts are just fine!
- Krazy Kat's "collar", which is really more like a necktie, bow, or scarf. Regardless, the Kat feels "nude" without it.
- In My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, most ponies are naked and clothing is either for certain weather or fashion. In Unfamiliar Patterns, Rarity went through a "nudist" phase as a foal. It's not the nudity itself that is embarrassing, but her taking off her clothes spontaneously.
- The Cheshire Cat in Disney's animated Alice in Wonderland doffed his ears in the style that Mickey Mouse did.
- The Three Caballeros: The Aracuan bird and Donald Duck both appear more fully dressed in their swimwear (which is the old two piece with shorts and a shirt) than in their usual half-dressed pantsless outfits.
- Stitch of Lilo & Stitch wears pajamas that cover his whole body even though he is usually naked otherwise.
- Pinocchio: Figaro the kitten wears no clothing of any sort whereas Gideon the adult cat wears a full outfit with White Gloves (sans shoes) sloppily.
- Kung Fu Panda 2:
- The Big Bad white peacock Lord Shen wears a robe with very large sleeves to accommodate for his wings.
- Dinoverse features human characters being cast back in time and made to inhabit the bodies of dinosaurs. Only one of them is ever shown to feel bothered by being naked in dinosaur form, with everyone else shrugging and saying there's nothing to cover when she brings it up. She sticks leaves to her borrowed body using sap, for a while, but they fall off. Then another character makes her a kind of cursory Seashell Bikini, the "bottom" being a vine belt with a shell hanging underneath, and for several scenes after that she's furious whenever these get cut off or otherwise removed. Later, after going through some Character Development, she becomes just as unworried about it as the others.
- The animals in Beatrix Potter stories who often lose their clothes in awkward situations seem not to care to realize their current state of undress, whether it's Peter Rabbit's jacket and shoes in one story, or Tom Kitten and his siblings losing their duds to the Puddleducks in another. Clothing on animals just seems like this superficial, uncomfortable, if not unnecessary requirement in such a world, yet one is trying to abide to a more civilized form of life by doing so.
- This (in animal form, they're naked) is pointed out several time of both vampires and werewolves in Discworld, with the most common victim being the werewolf Angua of the AM City Watch.
- Little Bear: The titular bear cub is naked while his parents and grandparents wear full outfits with shoes.
- The Classic Disney Shorts feature the swimwear/sleepwear and winter attire paradoxes a lot, especially with Donald Duck and Chip 'n Dale. For example:
- Donald's nightgown covered more of his body than his usual outfit did, and sometimes included pants, which arent part of his usual outfit.
- Even though he doesnt wear pants, he always wears swim trunks in water, whether it was just swim trunks or a two piece with a shirt and shorts.
- Donald frequently went out in the snow either with his trademark sailor suit and hat or put on a coat, but he wouldn't put on pants or winter shoes/boots.
- In the short Two Chips and a Miss, the normally naked Chip 'n Dale are seen wearing nightgowns and sleeping caps.
- In some shorts, Chip 'n Dale wear winter outfits with jackets, but not pants or boots.
- Bugs Bunny, whose only default attire is his signature white gloves, has worn a bathing suit a few times. The 1949 short "High-Diving Hare" is a notable instance. Interestingly, in that one, Bugs tells Yosemite Sam to cover his eyes while he dresses as a trick to avoid diving.
- In a few other shorts, he tucks his ears into a swim cap before diving. This could have practical purposes as well though (like keeping water out of his ears and speeding his swimming up).
- Disney's Donald Duck is a prime example of a pantless Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal who acts denuded like a human when he is naked. Not only does he run around with a shirt but no pants, but when said shirt is taken he reacts to protect his modesty despite not having anything to protect.
- However, in the House of Mouse episode adaptation of The Nutcracker Suite, Donald as the Mouse King doesn't seem to act denuded, despite not wearing a shirt in the episode.
- The Disney version of Winnie-the-Pooh wears only a shirt that is one size too small, but at night he wears a proper-sized nightgown and night cap. On a sidenote, the original illustrations show Pooh naked most of the time, with the shirt only worn during winter.
- In The Pink Panther cartoons,the Panther would occasionally "undress" (typically just removing "socks" just before going to bed), only to look exactly the same.
- In the 1929 Classic Disney Short, "The Karnival Kid," Mickey Mouse doffs his ears as if they were a hat. This inspired the creation of Mickey Mouse ear hats.
- Before that, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit doffed his ears.
- In episodes of Go, Diego, Go! that show Baby Jaguar and are set in an Arctic setting, Baby Jaguar wears winter attire that includes a jacket, but not pants or boots. It's partly justified because he stays on all fours.
- From The Oddball Couple we have Neat Freak Spiffy as a Fully Dressed Cartoon Animal, and unkempt Fleabag as a Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal.
- Squidward from SpongeBob SquarePants usually wears a shirt and no pants. It doesn't seem to stop him from being embarrassed when he finds himself naked in public.
- Mrs. Cluck, an otherwise normal hen in the Higglytown Heroes episode "Corn to be Wild" wears a two piece swimming outfit when cannonballing into the lake, but is otherwise naked. Fran the squirrel in contrast only wears a swimming cap to cannonball.
- Dudley Puppy from T.U.F.F. Puppy was revealed to wear nude animal leg colored pants in one episode.
- Adventure Time provides an odd example where Jake, a dog, appears naked but is once revealed to be wearing pants that are made out of spider web and thus basically invisible. Why does he bother? In another episode he freaks out at the idea of the Ice King seeing him sleep in the nude, and he's also been seen wearing a Modesty Towel.
- In The Three Little Pigs, the Big Bad Wolf's pants fall off after the suspenders break apart. While it seems like a gag, the wolf simply continues relentlessly getting into the house without caring to realize his current state of undress. The way it happens to the wolf is something of a transformation of a character who begins aping a very humanly vagabondage attire to become fully a wolf in the process. It's not so much a gag as more of a nonchalance in the way the clothing comes off him.
- The Amazing World of Gumball
- Darwin and Penny wear swimcaps while swimming, despite being a peanut and fish, thus having no hair. Leslie, a potted flower who normally wears no clothing, puts a speedo on over his pot.
- Darwin, who normally wears only shoes, averts the "sleepwear paradox" by simply changing to a pair of slippers.
- Darwin, Tobias, and Banana Joe have all worn towels in the locker room despite not wearing pants (not counting Joe's peel, which he wears the towel over). With Tobias, this leads to an odd scene in "The Voice" where he's wearing a towel, has it taken from him, and his fuzzball body/head is higher up on his legs, though he doesn't react as if he's nude.
- During the Christmas Episode, Accessory Wearing Cartoon Animals like Darwin and Penny put on winter wear like scarves and mittens, but leave most of their bodies uncovered. Gumball also puts on heavier clothes than usual, but leaves his feet uncovered.
- Depending on the scene, Darwin lacking footwear may or may not be treated as nudity (complete with pixellation for his feet).
- Most ponies of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic "don't normally wear clothes". They will dress up for formal events like the Grand Galloping Gala, but what constitutes "appropriate" Gala attire varies from one pony to the next; royal pages wear livery that includes bloomers, shirt, and jacket, while the guests wear anything from long gowns to an ascot or a shirt collar and tie. When a pony wears shoes (not nailed-on horseshoes, but shoes that cover the hoof), they are typically only worn on the forehooves.
- Inverted in Tiny Toon Adventures: With exception of Furrball and Barky Marky, the nonhuman Spiritual Successor Tiny Toons wear clothing or more clothing than the original Looney Tunes animals, who are usually naked. L'il Sneezer wears less clothing than Sniffles however, wearing only a diaper fastened with a safety pin compared to Sniffles full outfit complete with shoes.
- Tom and Jerry: Inverted with the young mouse Tuffy and the adult mouse Jerry in that the former wears a diaper and the latter goes naked.
- Discussed during Over the Garden Wall's sixth episode—the main characters find themselves on a ferry filled with frogs in fancy outfits, and Greg points out that their pet frog is the only one naked (though the other frogs don't seem to mind). The animals at Miss Langtree's school also wear clothes, but Beatrice (a human transformed into a bluebird) and Fred (a talking horse) don't.