When I first got an e-mail from my editor asking me to write a column about fashion trends at so-called “naked parties,” a few questions popped immediately to mind:

1) What is a “naked party?” The phrase seems to describe a party at which all the guests are naked. Depraved! Could such a thing be real?

2) Have our moral values degraded so greatly that such parties are occurring here at Yale? If so, how have I never heard of one happening, let alone stumbled across one myself?

3) If nobody is wearing clothes at these “naked parties,” what sort of “fashion” could possibly exist? Is my editor trying to pull some kind of a prank on me, sending me unclothed (and unarmed! defenseless!) into a roomful of horny, salacious lunatics?

4) When’s the next one?

Confused but undaunted, I took the assignment and immediately began to conduct background research into this strange phenomenon. Unfortunately, even after an exhaustively thorough investigation, I have never come face to face with the mythical creature known as the “naked party.” In fact, I can’t actually confirm its existence. It is an idea that retreats into shadow, an ephemeral exhibitionist, a chimera of flesh.

Yet stories — or mere rumors? — of “naked parties” abound here on campus. And gradually, laboriously, after hours of anonymous interviews and painstaking transcription, I’m prepared to tell you a little bit about the types of dress that, purportedly, are most popular with the undressed. Here are a few, listed from most to least important — let’s check them out!!!

1) Plastic Bags. The single most common item to find at a naked party, I’m told, is the plastic bag. Now I know what you’re thinking: How is a plastic bag best modified in order to cover a modest person’s private parts? Are the handles tied in the back to form a kind of single-cup (size triple-Q) bra? Are leg-holes cut in the bottom, making it into a diaper-like sack, allowing for full genital concealment? These are the obvious questions. According to my research, though, it turns out that plastic bags aren’t used as garments at “naked parties” — they’re used as plastic bags. My sources tell me that when you first arrive at a naked party you’re given one of these hot items to store your apparel in until you’re ready to re-robe. The bags range from the not-so-stylish (Shaw’s bag with hole ripped in bottom) to the very stylish (Shaw’s bag without hole ripped in bottom), and are a must-have for all naked party-goers.

2) Skin. The vogue at naked parties — or the current vogue, at any rate; who knows what naked parties of the past might have been like? — is to sport a hip epidermal layer of some kind. Nearly everyone I spoke with about naked parties admitted to succumbing to peer pressure and following this trend. A variety of colors, textures, patterns and styles are available from many online retailers … limit one per person.

3) Shoes. Apparently naked parties, like so many other parties, take place in peoples’ homes and thus are subject to the standard bevy of underfoot hazards. Nothing is worse, several of my sources told me, than waking up from a drunken night of unclothed debauchery and finding that the bottoms of your feet are coated with the detritus of someone else’s floor. And nobody looks down on you for wearing them, apparently. In fact, it’s possible that most people at naked parties don’t spend a lot of time staring at one another’s feet. I can’t imagine why that would be.

4) Kitschy accessories. A wide array of headwear (cowboy hats; sunglasses), neckwear (ties; capes; boas; pearls), waistwear (toolbelts (an ingenious replacement for missing pockets!); strap-ons, and other items (angel wings; body paint) have been displayed by the otherwise-nude, according to the “attendees” with whom I spoke. All are fair game, from what I’m told, as long as they respect the one simple guideline of naked party fashion etiquette: Anything goes, as long as it isn’t being used to conceal anything important. Obviously it wouldn’t be fair to show up and check out what everybody else is willing to reveal if you’re not willing to reveal anything yourself. Of course, some items were said to be chosen for precisely the opposite reason — to highlight a particularly important aspect of their wearer’s … assets. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with that.

Aside from these four key fashion tips, there are a couple of other things my sources wanted me to make sure I mentioned. First, eye contact is in. Second, erections are out. Third — and perhaps most importantly of all — don’t spill your drink: As hard as it is to get punch stains out of your favorite shirt, it’s way harder to have a good time at a party if everyone thinks you’re secreting something sticky.

So there you have it: a few fun, fab fashion tips to make you stand out from the crowd if you ever find a “naked party” here at Yale … if, in fact, they actually exist. I’m unconvinced.

David Chernicoff is desperate to witness this whole “naked party” thing firsthand. If you hear about one happening at any point, let him know.