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  • Writer's pictureScott Bryant

Au Naturel Fashionista

Background Photo by Irina Iriser via

Elle sat in Audrey’s office, flipping through the latest issue of The Beverly Style magazine. Her eyes scanned the glossy pages, taking in the bold colors and avant-garde designs; all the while, the sun was shining through the windows of The Beverly Style headquarters in Beverly Hills, California - a detail that did not go unnoticed by anyone.

“So, what do you think?” Audrey Beverly, the magazine’s CEO and founder asked, leaning back in her chair. “It’s very..interesting,” Elle said carefully, trying not to betray her true feelings. “Interesting?” Audrey raised an eyebrow. “I’m shocked by you, Elle. You’re the fashion writer. You have to have an opinion.” Elle sighed. “Alright, fine. I think it’s all a bit over the top. Don’t get me wrong, I love pushing boundaries, but we’re losing sight of what’s wearable.” Audrey smirked. “Wearable? Who cares about that? We’re here to make a statement, set the trends, and not cater to the masses.” “But isn’t that what fashion should be about?” Elle countered. “Making people feel good, comfortable in their skin? Not just dressing them up like walking art installations?” Audrey leaned forward, her gaze intense. “Elle, you should know by now: fashion is about power. It’s about making a statement and commanding attention. It’s about being the next Gucci or Chanel of the fashion world. If you want to make people feel good, work at a spa or Disneyland.” Elle knew she had hit a nerve. Audrey was always one for a dramatic speech.

Audrey leaned forward, her gaze intense. “Elle, I need you to do something for me. We’re running a feature on the latest natural beauty and fashion trends, and I want you to cover them.” Elle raised an eyebrow. “Really?” Audrey nodded. “Yes, the women’s naturist community is booming just outside of San Francisco, and I want you to be our eyes and ears on the ground. This naturist trend could be a huge opportunity for us.” Elle’s mind was spinning. Naturist fashion? She had heard of the naturist lifestyle before, but she never thought it would be something she would have to cover for work.

“So, what exactly do you want me to do there?” she asked Audrey. “I want you to cover the naturist fashion scene. And I want you to immerse yourself in the community, get to know the people, and find out what makes them tick,” Audrey replied, her tone brisk and businesslike. “And how exactly do I do that?” Elle asked, feeling a little overwhelmed. “You’ll figure it out,” Audrey said with a wave of her hand. “That’s why I hired you, Elle. You have a knack for getting to the heart of things, for seeing the beauty in the unexpected. I have faith in you.” Elle nodded, feeling a little more confident. “Okay,” she said slowly. “I’ll do it.” Audrey smiled. “Excellent. I knew I could count on you, Elle. I’ll send you all the details you need.”

The next few days were a blur for Elle. The days were spent reading up on the naturist community and naturist blogs. Elle was relieved that she would be in the company of women on this assignment. Confident that she was ready, Elle packed her bags and headed to the Los Angeles International Airport to catch her charter flight to San Francisco, her heart racing with excitement and nerves.

When she arrived at the naturist resort an hour outside of San Francisco, a friendly woman named Juliette greeted her. “Welcome to the Plein Air Femme Resort,” she said warmly. “We’re so happy to have you here.” As Elle made her way through the winding paths of Plein Air, she couldn’t help but feel like she was in a completely different world. Elle also felt a little self-conscious. She had always been a little insecure about her body, and now she was surrounded by women who seemed completely comfortable in their skin. As she made her way to her room, she couldn’t help but notice the curious glances she was getting from some of the other guests. Were they judging her? Was she not good enough to be here? Upon entering her room, Elle was surprised at how modestly furnished the room was, with a large window overlooking the lush gardens. She took a deep breath and looked around. While settling into her room, Elle had to remind herself that she was there for a reason. She was a professional, and she was going to do her job.

As Elle sat in the garden taking in the scenery, she noticed a woman walking towards her. She was about the same age as Elle, with long, curly hair and a warm smile. “Hello,” the woman said, extending her hand. “I’m Willow.” “Elle,” she replied, shaking her hand. “Nice to meet you.” “I couldn’t help but notice you were sitting here by yourself,” Willow said, gesturing to the empty chair beside Elle. “Mind if I join you?” “Not at all,” Elle said, trying to hide her surprise. She hadn’t expected anyone to approach her, let alone initiate a conversation. Willow sat and leaned back, closing her eyes as she took a deep breath. “Isn’t it beautiful here?” she said, looking around at the gardens. “It is,” Elle replied, still feeling a little uneasy. Elle couldn’t help but notice that Willow was completely comfortable in her skin while Elle was still self-conscious. “I know it can be a little overwhelming at first,” Willow said, sensing Elle’s discomfort. “But trust me, you’ll get used to it.” “I hope so,” Elle said, a small smile playing at the corners of her lips.

“So, what brings you to Plein Air?” Willow asked. “I’m a fashion writer from The Beverly Style in Los Angeles,” Elle replied. “I’m here to do a feature on the resort.” “Ah, I see,” Willow said, nodding. “What do you think so far?” “It’s different from what I’m used to,” Elle said, looking down at her lap. “But I’m trying to keep an open mind.” Willow leaned forward, placing a comforting hand on Elle’s arm. “Just remember, everyone here is beautiful in their own way,” she said, looking directly into Elle’s eyes. “It’s not about how you look. It’s about how you feel.” Elle couldn’t help but feel a twinge of guilt. Here she was, a fashion writer, focused on appearances, while Willow seemed to have a deeper appreciation for what really mattered. She was intrigued by this woman, and she knew she wanted to learn more.” Come, let’s take a walk, and I’ll show you around,” said Willow.

Elle couldn’t help but notice the serene beauty around her as Willow introduced her to some of the women at the resort. The colorful flowers, the fresh breeze, the sound of leaves rustling in the wind. It starkly contrasted to the fast-paced, high-stress world she was used to.” So, what do you think of Plein Air so far?” “It’s interesting,” Elle said, trying to be diplomatic. “I’ve never been to a naturist resort before.” Willow smiled. “It takes some getting used to, I know. But once you get past the nudity, there’s something liberating about it. It’s like shedding all your insecurities and just being yourself.” Elle wasn’t quite sure she agreed with that sentiment. To her, the nudity only highlighted her insecurities. But she didn’t say anything. She didn’t want to offend Willow, who seemed genuinely passionate about this way of life. They continued walking and talking, and Elle gradually relaxed in Willow’s company. They continued silently for a few more minutes until they reached a clearing. “Here we are,” Willow said with a smile, gesturing to the scenery around them. “This is my favorite spot in the resort. The view is just breathtaking.” Elle looked around, taking in the views of the mountains and the lush greenery surrounding them. “Wow, it is beautiful,” she said, genuinely impressed. Willow nodded in agreement. “It’s amazing what you can appreciate when you’re not distracted by clothes or the city noise.” Elle couldn’t help but feel a touch of guilt at those words. As a fashion journalist, she had spent most of her life glorifying fashion brands and trendy styles. But as she looked around at the peaceful surroundings, she couldn’t help but feel like there was something deeper and more meaningful about Willow’s perspective. Maybe Plein Air was alright after all.

“Would you like some green tea?” Willow said back at the resort. “Yes, please, thank you.” Elle took a sip of the refreshing tea. Elle looked down and couldn’t help but notice the intricate drawings on the pages Willow had laid out on the table. “Those are interesting,” she said, pointing to the page. “Do you draw them yourself?” Willow looked up, a smile spreading across her face. “Yes, I do. It’s just a hobby. I work in finance, so this is my escape.” Elle raised an eyebrow. “You work in finance? That’s a far cry from fashion.” Willow laughed. “I know, it’s not related. But I’ve always had an appreciation for the creative, and drawing is just one way I express that.” “I can relate,” Elle said, nodding. “Fashion can be a very restrictive industry sometimes. So it’s refreshing to see something about expressing yourself.” Willow grinned. “That’s exactly how I feel about naturism. It’s just about being comfortable in your skin and connecting with nature. No judgment, no expectations.” Elle couldn’t help but be intrigued. “It sounds like there’s a real philosophy behind it. I’d love to hear more.” And with that, the two women launched into a lively discussion about naturism, Willow’s designs, and the challenges facing the naturist community.

“So, Willow, what made you interested in naturism?” Elle asked, breaking the comfortable silence between them. Willow smiled. “I’ve always had a deep appreciation for nature. I feel like it’s where I truly belong. And being nude feels natural. It’s liberating to shed the societal expectations of clothing and be comfortable in my skin.” Elle nodded, taking in Willow’s words. Despite Elle’s initial apprehension, she was engrossed in the conversation, forgetting that she was at a resort occupied with nude women. As they talked, Willow showed her more of her drawings, each more intricate and beautiful than the last. As the afternoon wore on, Elle realized she felt more relaxed than in weeks. The resort’s atmosphere, the warm sun on her skin, and the easy conversation with Willow had melted away her stress and anxiety. She found herself laughing freely, without the worry of judgment that had plagued her for so long.

Elle glanced at her watch as the sun descended below the trees and gasped. “Oh my gosh, It’s so late! I really must be going. Thank you for the tea and the lovely conversation, Willow.” Willow smiled. “It was my pleasure. I’m glad we had a chat.” As Elle returned to her room, she felt a sense of gratitude towards Willow and the women’s naturist resort. This naturist experience may not be so weird after all. Maybe there was something to be said for letting go of her insecurities and embracing her natural self. However, Elle felt she wasn’t ready to shed her clothes and join the other women. But for the first time, Elle felt she could overcome her fear and free herself.

Elle and Willow worked together for the next few days, exploring the resort and getting to know each other better. Elle was surprised to find that she was enjoying herself. Willow had a way of putting her at ease, and she found herself opening up to her in ways she never expected. As they walked through the gardens, Willow stopped to admire the wildflowers growing alongside the path. “These are so beautiful,” she said, bending down to look closer. “I love the way they’re just wild and free.” Elle looked at the flowers and smiled. “I never thought about it that way,” she said. “I always thought fashion had to be so structured and controlled. But maybe there’s something to letting things become more natural.” Willow nodded. “Exactly! That’s what I love about naturism. It’s all about embracing who you are and not trying to be something you’re not.” Again, Elle felt a touch of insecurity. “But what if who you are isn’t good enough?” she asked, looking down at her body. Willow put a hand on her shoulder. “You are good enough, Elle,” she said. “You’re beautiful just the way you are. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.” Elle looked up at Willow, feeling a surge of gratitude. She realized that Willow was right. It may be time for her to let go of her insecurities and embrace herself for who she truly is. Elle couldn’t help but feel a new sense of freedom as they continued on their walk. For the first time, she thought she was exactly where she was meant to be.

At the same time, Elle couldn’t help but notice the practicality of the other women’s clothing. “I mean, I know it’s not a fashion show,” she said to Willow. “But don’t you think it’s a bit utilitarian?” Willow smiled. “I think that’s the point, Elle. Naturism is about being comfortable and natural. And sometimes, that means wearing clothing that serves a practical purpose, not just to look fashionable.” “But fashion is about self-expression and creativity,” Elle said. “It’s an art form. It’s not just about what’s practical or comfortable.” “Sure, I get that,” Willow said. “But I also think the purpose of fashion is to be practical and accessible for everyone. Not just for the elite few who can afford designer clothes that serve no real purpose.” Elle paused, considering Willow’s words. It was true that the fashion industry could be exclusive and impractical at times. (even Audrey back once admitted that in a staff meeting). But Elle couldn’t stop her love for fashion as an art form. “I see what you mean,” she said finally. “But I still think there’s something special about fashion beyond practicality. It’s about making a statement and expressing who you are.” Willow nodded, smiling. “I get that. And I think that’s great. But maybe there’s a way to merge fashion with practicality and make it more accessible to everyone. That way, everyone can feel comfortable in their skin, no matter what they wear.”

Despite the differing fashion perspectives, Elle was enjoying Willow’s company. The other woman also had a way of putting her at ease, despite the awkwardness of their situation. It wasn’t until she saw Willow again later in the day, sitting on a bench with a notebook in her lap, that she realized what was bothering her. She hesitated for a moment, then approached. “Hey, Willow,” she said softly. Willow looked up, surprised. “Oh, hey Elle. What’s up?” “I was just...I don’t know. I wanted to talk to someone,” Elle said, feeling slightly foolish. Willow closed her notebook and smiled. “Of course. What’s on your mind?” Elle hesitated momentarily, then said, “Why am I so insecure? I mean, look at all these women around us. They’re all beautiful and confident, and here I am; I feel like a fraud.” Willow looked at her kindly. “You’re not a fraud, Elle. You’re just human. We all have insecurities, even the women here. It’s natural to feel self-conscious sometimes.” “I know, but...” Elle trailed off, feeling frustrated with herself. Willow put a hand on her arm. “Hey, it’s okay. You don’t need to have it all figured out. Just take things one small step at a time.” Elle nodded, feeling a little better. “Thanks, Willow. I don’t know why I’m getting so worked up about this. It’s not like it matters, right?” Willow smiled. “It matters to you, and that’s what counts. But trust me, you’ll feel more comfortable here as time passes. It just takes some getting used to.” Elle smiled, feeling grateful for Willow’s understanding. As they returned to their rooms, Elle couldn’t help but smile at Willow’s words. Something about her made her feel comfortable, like she could be herself without judgment.

At that moment, she realized that being at Plein Air wasn’t just about her job. It was about discovering new things and learning to appreciate the beauty of life in all its forms. Elle and Willow returned to the resort rooms as the sun began to set. The evening air was cool and refreshing, and the sounds of crickets filled the air. Elle couldn’t help but feel a sense of contentment as they walked. She didn’t know what the future held for her, but she felt everything would be okay. That is until Elle returned to her room and discovered a letter on the table. Elle picked up the envelope with “Elle” written on it. “Strange,” Elle thought, “who would be writing me a letter? I never told anyone I was coming here.” It didn’t take long for Elle to figure it out. She couldn’t believe what she was reading. She re-read the letter, hoping that she had misunderstood it somehow. But no, the words on the page were crystal clear.

Dear Elle,

I hope this letter finds you well. I’m writing to inform you that your visit to Plein Air was not coincidental. You needed to slow down and reconnect with yourself, and Plein Air seemed the perfect place to do that. I apologize for not being more upfront with you about this; I genuinely believe that this experience will be transformative for you. So please don’t be angry with me.



Elle sat back in her chair, feeling a mix of emotions. She was grateful to Audrey for having the insight to send her to Plein Air, but also angry that she had been manipulated into coming here. She wondered if Audrey had planned for her to meet Willow all along. But then Elle looked up and saw Willow across the room, laughing with another guest. She couldn’t deny her connection with Willow or the instant calm that had come over her since arriving at Plein Air. Maybe Audrey had been right all along. Elle took a deep breath, folded up the letter, and decided that, for now, she would let go of her anger and focus on the present moment. While looking around the room, Elle took in the natural beauty and community surrounding her. She knew she had much more to learn from this experience and was ready to embrace it fully.

Willow was eager to show Elle the natural world around them by pointing out different plants and animals as they passed, telling Elle about their medicinal properties and ecological significance. For the first time, Elle wasn’t thinking about her work or the latest fashion trends. Eventually, they came to a clearing with a small stream. Willow sat down on the grass and patted the spot next to her. “Come, sit with me,” she said, smiling. Elle hesitated momentarily before joining her, sitting cross-legged on the grass. Willow leaned back and closed her eyes, taking deep breaths of fresh air.

Elle followed suit, and soon they were lost in the sounds of the forest. After a few minutes, Willow opened her eyes and turned to Elle. “You know,” she said, “I was a little nervous when I first met you. I thought you might be one of those city folk who doesn’t appreciate nature.” Elle chuckled. “I see why you might think that,” she said. “I’ve always been more of a concrete jungle kind of girl.” Willow smiled. “Well, you seem to adapt pretty well,” she said. “I think you naturally appreciate beauty, and that’s what this place is all about. Finding beauty in simplicity.” Elle nodded thoughtfully. “I think I’m starting to understand that,” she said. “Back in the city, everything is so fast-paced and complicated. Here, it’s like time slows down, and everything becomes more real.” Willow smiled. “Exactly,” she said. “It’s easy to get caught in the rat race and forget what’s truly important. That’s why I love it here. It reminds me to slow down and appreciate the little things.” Elle smiled back at her. “I’m glad I came here,” she said. “I think I needed this.” Willow reached out and placed a hand on Elle’s arm. “I’m glad you came too,” she said softly.

Towards the end of her stay, Elle opened up more and more to the naturist lifestyle. She began to see the beauty in it and started to let go of her insecurities. Willow had been a big part of this transformation. They spent their days exploring the resort, lounging by the pool, and discussing everything under the sun. Then, one morning, as Elle and Willow were enjoying a peaceful breakfast in the resort’s dining area, they were interrupted by a loud voice. Elle looked up to see Audrey storming towards them, her heels clacking loudly on the tiled floor.

“What the hell is this, Elle?!” Audrey barked, pointing at Elle’s barely-there sundress. Elle’s heart sank. She had almost forgotten about Audrey, and now Audrey was ruining the peace and serenity Elle had found at Plein Air. “It’s just a dress, Audrey,” Elle said, trying to keep her voice steady. “I’m allowed to wear what I want.” “Not here, you’re not!” Audrey snapped back. “This is a naturist resort, Elle. We don’t wear clothes here! You know the rules!” Elle could feel the eyes of the other guests on her, and she could see the judgment in their faces. She wanted to run, hide, and cover herself up with the nearest tablecloth, but she knew she couldn’t let Audrey get the best of her. “You don’t think I know that, Audrey?” Elle said, standing up from the table. “Maybe I’m not ready to go full-on naturist yet. I’m still getting used to this lifestyle. So why are you doing this to me? “You’re embarrassing me, Elle,” Audrey said, her voice lowering slightly. “I sent you here as a guest, and now you’re making a fool of yourself.” “No, I’m not making a fool of myself. You are!” Elle said firmly. “I’m just not ready to be naked in front of everyone yet. That’s my choice, and you have no right to judge or shame me for it. And speak for yourself; you’re still wearing clothes and high heels. Not exactly following the rules, are we, Audrey?”

Audrey looked like she was about to say something else, but Willow spoke up before she could. “I think you should leave, Audrey,” Willow said, her voice calm but firm. “You’re disrupting the peace here, and that’s not what Plein Air is about.” Audrey looked like she wanted to argue, but she must have seen the determination in Willow’s eyes because she turned and stormed out of the dining area without another word. Elle slumped back down into her chair, feeling drained from the confrontation. She looked over at Willow, who was looking at her with concern. “Are you okay?” Willow asked. “Yeah,” Elle said with a deep sigh. “I’m so sorry, Willow. I’m tired of feeling like I’m not good enough for her.” “You’re good enough for me,” Willow said with a smile, reaching across the table to take Elle’s hand. “And that’s all that matters.” Elle smiled back at her, feeling grateful for the friendship that had developed between them over the past few days. She knew she still had a lot of work to do, but with Willow by her side, she felt anything was possible. Yet, as Elle watched Willow walk away, she felt regret. She didn’t want to leave things on a sour note, but she wasn’t sure how to make things right.

Taking a deep breath, Elle decided to walk around Plein Air to clear her head. She stumbled upon a small garden with a pond in the center as she wandered. She sat on a nearby bench and watched the koi fish swim in the water. It was peaceful and serene, and she found herself relaxing for the first time in a long time. Then, suddenly, Elle heard footsteps approaching. She turned her head to see Audrey walking towards her.

“Elle, my dear, what a pleasant surprise to see you here,” Audrey said with a smile. Elle’s heart raced. She was still angry with Audrey for what she had done to her, but she didn’t want to show it. “What are you doing here, Audrey?” Elle asked, trying to keep her voice steady. “I’m here to meet with some business partners,” Audrey replied, sitting beside Elle on the bench. “But I couldn’t help but notice you sitting here. Are you enjoying Plein Air?” Elle hesitated for a moment before responding. “It’s different,” she said finally. “But I’m starting to see the appeal.” Audrey smiled. “I’m glad to hear it. I knew you would come around eventually.”

Elle felt a surge of anger. “What's that supposed to mean?” she asked, facing Audrey. Audrey’s expression softened. “I only meant that I knew you had a hidden passion for fashion and style. And I knew that Plein Air would help you see more than just the superficial aspects of life.” Elle wasn’t sure if she believed Audrey’s words, but she decided to let it go. “Well, I appreciate your concern,” she said, standing up from the bench. “But I should get going.” “Of course, my dear,” Audrey said, standing up as well. “But before you go, I want to give you something.” Audrey reached into her purse and pulled out an envelope. “It’s a ticket to a fashion show I’m hosting next week at the Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood. I think you’ll find it quite interesting.” Elle took the envelope and looked at it skeptically. “I’m unsure if I want to attend one of your events again, Audrey. After what you did to me back there.” Audrey placed a hand on Elle’s shoulder. “I understand you feel that way, Elle. But I promise this will be different. Just give it a chance. Trust me.” Audrey’s words did not convince Elle. But she didn’t want to argue anymore. “Fine,” she said, tucking the envelope into her purse. “I’ll think about it.” “Excellent,” Audrey said, her eyes sparkling. “I look forward to seeing you there. By the way, love what they’ve done to Plein Air.” Elle walked away, feeling a mix of emotions. She was grateful for the ticket but still couldn’t shake the feeling that Audrey was up to something. She put it out of her mind and focused on enjoying the rest of her time at Plein Air.

As Elle and Willow continued to enjoy their time at Plein Air, they couldn’t shake the feeling that something was off. Audrey’s unexpected arrival had stirred up old memories and unresolved conflicts that were now resurfacing. Elle couldn’t help but feel like Audrey had set her up. She couldn’t imagine that Audrey would have recommended Plein Air without some ulterior motive. But why would Audrey want to embarrass or humiliate her? Elle felt there was more to this than meets the eye.

Meanwhile, Willow was struggling with her feelings towards Audrey. She had always been envious of Audrey’s success and power, but now that she had seen Audrey more vulnerable, she couldn’t help but feel a slice of empathy toward her. Willow knew that Audrey had been through a lot in her life. Willow couldn’t help but wonder if Audrey’s controlling behavior resulted from some past trauma that she was trying to forget, but she wasn’t going to try and figure that out. As the days went on, the tension between the three women continued to simmer. Elle and Willow tried their best to enjoy the rest of their stay at Plein Air, but they couldn’t shake the feeling that something was about to explode.

Finally, on the last day of their stay, Audrey approached Elle and Willow. “I owe you both an apology,” she said. “I didn’t realize how much I had hurt you both in the past, and I didn’t realize how much I was still hurting you now.” Elle and Willow were taken aback by Audrey’s sudden display of vulnerability. They had never seen her like this before. “Why now, Audrey?” Elle said with tension in her voice. “This experience meant something to me, but you had to burst onto the scene like you always do, treating everyone like children and making it all about you and only about you. It’s a huge turn-off, Audrey, and you know it! Everyone in the fashion industry knows too. Even our biggest male allies, including Scott Bryant from Portland, Oregon, have expressed concern about your behavior towards other women.”

“Elle, hear me out, please, I beg of you. I know I’ve been controlling and manipulative,” Audrey continued. “And I know I’ve hurt you both. But I want to make it right. I want to start over.” Elle and Willow exchanged a look. Elle and Willow weren’t sure they could trust Audrey again, but they were willing to give her a chance. As they said their goodbyes and packed up their things, Elle couldn’t help but feel a sense of closure. She had come to Plein Air expecting to escape from her problems, but instead, she had confronted them head-on. And even though Elle wasn’t sure what the future held, she knew that she had grown and learned a lot about herself during her stay at the resort. She would never forget this incredible experience nor Willow.

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