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Strip Down Your Blog: CSS Naked Day

Articles on Web Design and CSSGet ready to go naked. On April 9th, 2008, hundreds, possibly thousands, of blogs and websites will go naked in honor of CSS Naked Day. Join fellow WordPress bloggers in honoring web designers and WordPress Theme builders by going naked.

This is the third year of the annual CSS Naked Day which honors web design and designers around the world who help make our websites and blogs look “pretty” to the eye while still being totally functional under the hood. Dustin Diaz wanted to give the web world an opportunity to remind everyone of the benefits of CSS web page design. By removing the stylesheet for the day, the world would see naked web pages, giving a little more appreciation for the skills of web page designers.

As explained yesterday in the Blog Herald announcement of CSS Naked Day, this is also an opportunity to showcase how usable and accessible your web page structure is even without the pretty, reminding the world that it is the law that your website must accessible by everyone using any method to access your blog.

Make Your WordPress Blog Naked

Going naked is easy for WordPress blogs. In Lorelle is Naked, I explained the various options last year on how to turn off your blog’s stylesheet using WordPress Plugins with WordPress Naked Day Plugin for all WordPress versions, CSS Naked Day WordPress Plugin for pre-WordPress 2x blogs, the Naked Day PHP Function script for non-WordPress and PHP driven blogs, do it manually by renaming your blog’s stylesheet for the day, or removing the stylesheet temporarily on blogs.

Recent versions of WordPress will automatically reset to the Default WordPress Theme if no Theme is detected, which means changing the style.css file will revert your Theme to the Default/Kubrick style. To override this redirection, you must use the WordPress Naked Day Plugin or create a separate Theme that has no styles in the stylesheet, which I’ve prepared just for this event.

I have stripped down the styles in the Default WordPress Theme for current versions of WordPress and pre-WordPress 2.1 versions which changed some of the sidebar tags.

  1. Unzip and upload the Theme version of choice to your themes directory.
  2. Activate the Theme through the Presentation or Design panel.
  3. Switch back to your regularly scheduled WordPress Theme on April 10.

For those on, you can also participate if you are using the Sandbox WordPress Theme with the CSS Extra feature.

  1. From the WordPress Administration Panels, go to Presentation > Edit CSS.
  2. Cut ALL of the styles from your custom stylesheet and paste them into a text file. Save it with a name you will remember in a very safe place, leaving a blank stylesheet.
  3. Choose the option: Start from scratch and just use this to create a blank stylesheet.
  4. Click Save Stylesheet.
  5. View your blog and all the design elements will be gone. The layout structure will remain but it will be “naked”.

Reverse the process to restore your Sandbox Theme on April 10.

Be sure and sign up for the CSS Naked Day so your blog will be celebrated as one of those honoring web design and designers. Last year, almost 2,000 sites signed up for CSS Naked Day. So far, the list is over 400. Let your naked stance join with others on April 9.

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, the author of Blogging Tips, What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging.


  1. Posted April 7, 2008 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    I didn’t do it last year but I will this year. 😉

  2. tbotcotw
    Posted April 7, 2008 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    The naked theme puts two vertical lines on my blog about 640px apart. Any ideas?

  3. Posted April 7, 2008 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    I’ll be naked! Just like last year!

  4. omgitztrey
    Posted April 7, 2008 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like my cup of tea

  5. Posted April 7, 2008 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    I will be insane and will remember to go naked this year! Should be interesting to see how broken my blog is without CSS.

  6. Posted April 7, 2008 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    @ tbotcotw:

    Which “naked Theme” are you using? I’ll fix it, but knowing which one you downloaded will help. Thanks.

  7. Posted April 7, 2008 at 3:02 pm | Permalink


    I tweeted it for you to help get some more naked action!

    time for a @@shameless_plug@@, follow me on twitter!!!

  8. Posted April 7, 2008 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    @ Jonathan Dingman:

    You are just too funny! Thanks for spreading the naked news.

  9. theotheragentm
    Posted April 7, 2008 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    How does this really promote the use of standards? I’d think it just makes the non standards compliant pages look better for a day, because they can’t “undress” for the occasion.

  10. tbotcotw
    Posted April 7, 2008 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    I used the one for current versions. I fixed it by completely deleting the style section in header.php.

  11. Posted April 7, 2008 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    @ tbotcotw:

    Ah, I found the tricky PHP style insertion and removed it, updating the files. The Kubrick/Default Theme is frustrating for many as it has styles and code packed in all over the place and not in a consistent, nor expected, location. Thanks for catching that!

  12. Posted April 7, 2008 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    @ theotheragentm:

    How does it promote the use of standards? Obviously.

    I’m not kidding. If your blog’s design does not meet web standards, when you take away the pretty, it will be pretty obvious it doesn’t meet the standards. Is there navigation that leads the reader with visual or physical disabilities into the content and through the pages? If we take away the images, which CSS Naked Day doesn’t do, can a person navigate without text when the designer replaced links with images? Does the layout feature the header, sidebars, and then the content, or header, content, sidebars, and ending with the footer? How is the flow of content through the page when the pretty is gone?

    Many people only see your blog without the CSS, including some on old cell phones and hand held computers. Does it still work? It is usable as well as accessible?

  13. Posted April 7, 2008 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    So Lorelle, I have a question about that WordPress Naked Day plugin that you linked to (which I’m using with WordPress 2.5). It offers an option for either 24 hours or 48 hours–which one should I choose, and for the one that I choose, at what timezone does the plugin choose to begin going naked?

  14. Posted April 7, 2008 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    guess i can do that .

  15. Posted April 7, 2008 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    May this year be my first time, of many…definitely looking forward to it!

    If there was a blushing emoticon of some sort, I would use it for sure 🙂

  16. tbotcotw
    Posted April 7, 2008 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    Lorelle – Yeah, scattered CSS makes life difficult. I found it using the Web Developer toolbar for Firefox… it has a Show CSS feature that splits everything out by source… CSS, files, external, etc. You can also turn off each source independently. Really very useful.

  17. Posted April 7, 2008 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    @ Douglas Bell:

    There are some who want to cover their international users, so they like the 48 hour option. Others just don’t care and only have readers within their time zone. So you have a choice. Pick whichever works best for you and your readers to make the point.

  18. Posted April 7, 2008 at 7:46 pm | Permalink


    My pleasure 🙂

    I hope to meet you at an upcoming WordPress event soon. I’m hoping to travel more with my new job, we’ll see how it goes.

    I’m also hoping to begin the process of putting together a WordCamp NY, I still need to talk to Charles to get more info though.

  19. theotheragentm
    Posted April 7, 2008 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    I totally agree that standards websites can be stripped down and still be functional, but the non standards websites won’t even be stripped down, because they can’t be unfortunately. I just don’t know how persuasive CSS Naked Day will be to the rest of the blog world. Interesting concept, nonetheless.

  20. Posted April 7, 2008 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    I’ll be too. Thank for reminding us.

  21. Posted April 7, 2008 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    Is there a way to do this for blogs?

  22. Posted April 8, 2008 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    I am naked right now, does count?

  23. Posted April 8, 2008 at 2:07 am | Permalink

    let’s get naked 🙂

  24. Posted April 8, 2008 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    @ JodieM:

    The technique is described in the article but only works with those using the CSS Extra Sandbox Theme.

  25. Martin
    Posted April 8, 2008 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    I’m already naked, now I hope you all can picture that image…

    Oh, wait, you mean naked CSS? Pulls pants up…

  26. Posted April 8, 2008 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    that’s gonna be hot

  27. Posted April 8, 2008 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Well, considering my blog is “Naked” every day, it shouldn’t be too hard as long as I can remember to do it tomorrow. I’ve got to tell you, it’s going to make for an ugly and hardly viewable website in my case. (This isn’t the first time I’ve heard ugly and hardly viewable paired with naked in my case)

  28. Posted April 8, 2008 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for reminding me! I managed to get the WP naked plugin in a mere 10 minutes before midnight. I guess I should strip all the social sites as well. hmm. facebook? At least twitter gives some options.

  29. Posted April 8, 2008 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Hi Again,

    I’m gonna try this out cuz web standards are groovy. Any idea what at what time the Naked Plugin goes into effect? I want to time a post explaining the day to the switchover but not sure when to set it for?

  30. Posted April 8, 2008 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    @ jeela:

    It works according to your server’s clock or blog clock. Make sure it’s set right.

  31. Posted April 8, 2008 at 8:33 pm | Permalink


    Installed the plugin and selected the 48-hour option.

    Best wishes,


  32. Posted April 9, 2008 at 4:57 am | Permalink

    Great to see you joining in with Dustins naked day!

    This year is my first!


  33. Zair Abbas
    Posted April 9, 2008 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    I m naked!
    I mean my website 😛

  34. Posted April 9, 2008 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    w00t! I did it!

    and it don’t look half bad!

  35. Posted April 9, 2008 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    thx Lorelle, got it ;~j

    I hate being naked! but admit it’s an interesting experience… will only do this for 24 hours tho.

  36. Posted April 10, 2008 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    Hmmm… you are celebetrating it even on 10th? I couldn’t survive 24 hrs. Thought the site didn’t look as bad, I definitely missed the wonder sidebar of my site navigation.


  37. Posted April 10, 2008 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    @ Shivanand Sharma:

    Well, I have visitors from all over the world. Somewhere in that world is it still the 9th, right? 😀 And who says I’m in the same time zone as you are. [Evil laughter here] 😉

  38. cyphunk
    Posted April 10, 2008 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    obviously someone that designs their site with a heavy weight towords CSS is going to have a moldy layout when they take away the CSS. CSS is a tool that has it’s current function, one which is dynamic in changing, but still just a tool. But there are other tools as well. I mean, we don’t have a “let’s stop talking in english day so everyone realizes how important english is over other languages”. There is more than one way to design something just as there is more than one language. But if you want to torture your users for a day, go for it.

  39. Posted April 10, 2008 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    @ cyphunk:

    Other tools? For designing web pages? Oh, great guru of web design, other than tables, which is so 1999 and does not meet web standards, what other options are there for designing a web page without CSS? Just curious as I’ve been doing this for over a decade and I haven’t found another option that meets web standards for accessibility. I’d love there to be something else, and I will honor that something, but for now, we have HTML in all its myriad versions and CSS. Unless I’m missing something out there.

    This “torture” reminds the world that there is more to a website than pretty. There is a lot of creativity, open thinking, and artistry that goes into web design. There is so much more. The Javascript writers who create the little script that makes things whirl and click and work when CSS won’t comply. PHP and MySQL developers who save us bandwidth and redundancies on our site. WordPress Theme designers and WordPress Plugin authors give us flexibility and customization beyond what our weak minds can do. There are so many people and such creative energy to bless and honor, a day of a CSS-less website is nothing compared to the debt we owe them. Without them, all you would see would be black on white in a monochromatic world of your monitor.

  40. Posted April 11, 2008 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    I went naked and it felt so good!

    anyone else spend the day naked?? 🙂

  41. Posted March 26, 2015 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    By the way, we’re trying to keep CSS Naked Day alive.

  42. pat
    Posted April 5, 2015 at 4:51 am | Permalink

    I just went to download the latest version of the default theme, and it’s no longer available. Do you have a good link to it, or will it not work with the latest versions of WordPress?

    Have a great day.:)

    • Posted April 5, 2015 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

      There are many default WordPress Themes now. See the 2015 post for information on how to do it today. You don’t need to download anything. Just rename your stylesheet for your WordPress Theme or remove the styles for the day – or if you are self-hosted, use the WordPress Plugin for CSS Naked Day. Must easier all around. Thanks for supporting the cause.

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