How Long Does It Take To Get Dressed?

Bob and I are trading the master back and forth. To show the depth of our intellectual discussions as we craft this masterpiece, there’s a scene where Vince and Liz are in bed, and he gets a call to go catch a dangerous speeder who’s endangering the populace. Bob was in Vince’s PoV and he said it took them a minute to get dressed and into the Jeep. I changed it to five because who the hell takes a minute to put on underwear, jeans, a T-shirt and shoes and get into a car? He changed it to two. And then this ensued:

So now I’m wondering if I’m wrong about three minutes. Obviously Vince can get dressed at the speed of light, but he’s not dealing with a bra, either. She’s in a tee, jeans, underpants, bra, and shoes that I never specified so they’re slip-ons of some kind. She’s thirty-three so she’s spry. And she’s in a hurry. So maybe it is two minutes.

Settle this for us, Argh. How long does it take her to get dressed and into the car?

47 thoughts on “How Long Does It Take To Get Dressed?

  1. All I know is that I can get up, go to the loo, have a shower, get dressed, make a cup of tea, log into my computer, and skim my email list in 25 minutes.

    But I don’t bother with a bra.

  2. If we’re talking my youngest son, you’re not going to be in the car in less than an hour.

  3. Where are the clothes and shoes before you put them on?

    If they are on the floor, you will need the five minutes because you will have to go and pick everything up before you can put them on.

    If you have to take the clothes out of cupboards and find your shoes, you will need more than five minutes – I talk from experience (g).

    If the clothes are in a neat pile by the bed, and the shoes are slip ons by the front door, Bob wins.

      1. Dressed and out the door in 2-3 minutes, sure. But I would want to brush hair and teeth too and that would take me up 5-10 min assuming I did the easiest possible thing with my hair

  4. When I dress in my scrubs on work mornings, my clothes are in a pile on the dresser and it takes me less than a minute to put them on. Then less than a minute to put my keys and phone and wallet in my pockets. If I were to put on the shoes airing out from the day before instead of switching them out from the closet, add another minute or more (they lace up, only kind I have.) I do all of that before I make coffee, so I’m still half asleep. Out the door, into the truck, another thirty seconds.

    My life on work mornings is a well-oiled, well-timed machine. On not work mornings: get dressed? what is that?

  5. There are certain things that are motivating factors. A phone call can certainly jumpstart you from somnolent to alert and the ensuing adrenaline rush can et you dressed at lightning speed. Of course different people move at different speeds. I could get dressed and out the door in 2 minutes, but DH would need at least 15.

  6. My days of getting ready in a rush are long gone, thank heavens, so I have nothing to contribute here. Except to say how much I enjoy these extra posts about your collaboration with Bob. Thanks for making me smile on a gray day in SW Ohio.

  7. It takes me four to get into full uniform with hair brushed, but that includes fighting my way into a pair of tights. Six if I stop to put on mascara and roller brush the cat fur off. I could probably do normal clothes in two, then a minute to grab keys and get out the door.

    1. Wow, tights AND mascara. Since I usually put my tights on backwards, I need to add another minute. If I rush mascara, that’s at least one poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

      1. Thirteen years of ballet training. As Jennifer said, you practice that shit.

  8. I think 3 minutes is reasonable to get dressed, presuming they don’t have to hunt for clothing. I just have married-for-19-years sex and I still occasionally leave clothes in the kitchen.

    Does Vince have to get into uniform or plain clothes? What about a service weapon? Is it secured or just in the pile of clothes on his side of the bed/in a nightstand? Dressed is one thing but you said in the car so they still have to get there, keys in hand. I’m presuming they aren’t stopping to lock a door or anything like that.

    1. Nope, Vince just has to get his butt to the Jeep which is parked right outside the door. He’s probably got the keys hanging by the door, he’s former military and they tend to be organized.
      Also they’re in a very small diner so it’s about five steps to the door and out and the Jeep’s right there.

  9. I say 3-5 minutes, but it varies depending on whether or not you know the location of the clothes, whether or not you take the time to rummage for clean underwear, and if you’re wearing slip-on shoes vs. lacing up your tennies.

    I note that I am good at quick changes due to theater, but also you practice that shit. I would guess that Bob and the military dudes practiced and weren’t always 30 seconds about things.

  10. I also agree with NancyH. The night we got the phone call my MIL was not going to make it thru the night I took the clothes I was wearing out of the hamper, dressed, no time for hair combing but a quick pee. Husband was already dressed and out the door we went. I think less than 5 minutes.

    The next time I was just out the door heading for my car when I fell in the mud on my knees. This was on my way to work so there was a timing issue. I had to go back in the house and scramble to get changed. I’m gave myself a high five because I made it on time. Maybe five to six minutes.

  11. I feel like 2-3 minutes would be possible, especially if it’s some sort of emergency situation motivating you to move fast, and your clothes were close at hand because you had just pulled them off. Also assuming shoes you can slip on & keys/wallet all right by the door (or easily found where they’re suppose to be. ) And assuming the bed is in an average sized dwelling, and you don’t have to come running through the guest wing and through the formal dining hall and over to the eastern portico to get out or whatever.

    I mean, do I think the average person manages a “Board Room” Ready presentation that quickly? No.
    But do I think most people could be “Just Presentable Enough to Run to the Rescue and Not Be Stark Naked” that quickly? Sure, I’d buy that.

    In general, as a reader I am also pretty inclined to hand wave a certain amount of minor logistical stuff in terms of the time characters needing to perform basic functions. I’m not one to wonder about the last time they went to the bathroom or brushed their teeth. I’m mostly subconsciously assuming those things are happening, but are not important to the story unless specifically called out.

    So unless you’re specifying something that’s seeming so wildly off base as a timeline for the situation that it’s gonna throw me out of the story, I’m likely to accept it. As a reader, I’m just as motivated to get to the emergency action, too….so I’m cool with the idea of them being able to throw on clothes and go quickly.

    1. I concur with your two states of “ready” – Board Room versus Not Naked. There is a lot of speed to be gained in that second category!

  12. Okay, just going with ordinary, no phone call, no uniform etc getting up:

    If we’re at my house, my sweetie wins hands down, since when he (eventually) gets vertical, he just rolls into the clothes he took off the night before. I, of course, have to check the temperature, open the drawers for underwear, then find something nice and comfortable, plus earrings. (No pantihose for at least 25 years, and no make-up for even longer). Not including shower, of course.

    If we’re at his place, then yes, I roll into what I took off last night. And, not surprisingly, so does he (what HE took off, I mean).

    He always wins. But I think I look better.

  13. Good gods and little fish!
    From putting down the phone (which is not near the bed, so I’m up to start.)
    Five steps to the stairs, up five steps, turn left, three steps, sit and tinkle. Stand and flush, back down those steps, six steps to my “dresser.”
    Under 40 seconds. Timed when microwaving water for instant coffee, consistent.
    Pull out socks and boxers and a shirt. Put on the boxers.
    Under 20 seconds. (I’m still carrying, not wearing the socks.)
    Eight steps to the door. Put on the shirt. If it’s a tee, that’s just pulling it on over my head. If it’s a button-down, that’s just pulling it on over my head and buttoning a button.
    10 seconds if it requires some adjustment.
    Hanging on the back of the door are my pants with wallet in pocket and keys on an adjacent hook.
    10 seconds, 3 more to put keys in pocket.
    Shoes are also by that door.
    10 seconds. Yes, they’re slip-ons. “Boat shoes” or “deck shoes.” Still carrying the socks. I might need them.
    Walk the length of the garage, clicking the “unlock button” on the key. Get in. Start the car and buckle up.
    20 seconds, if I have to adjust the radio to my presets.
    Total:113 seconds or two minutes.

    Things that could slow me down: I grab different pants. They’re gonna need belt or suspenders, which will require the better part of a minute to thread or clip on, plus transferring wallet to the new pants. If I’m doing that, I’ll put on the socks.

    Things that would speed me up: Were I in an “on call” situation, The cordless phone charger would be on the bed’s headboard. I’d grab the shirt, socks, and boxers on the way to the bathroom. I’d put the shirt on while sitting to tinkle and stand up into the boxers. No changing pants – the pants needed would be hanging with the wallet in the back pocket and keys in the front pocket. I’d trot to the car.

  14. This whole thing reminds me of a friend who got an emergency call that woke her up.
    She got clean undies out of the drawer & threw on her jeans, etc from the night before then out the door.
    She took care of the emergency then swung by the grocery store on the way home.
    She took a leasurely stroll through then headed for check out where she ran into a friend and chatted.
    Minutes later she started to walk away and her friend stopped her and pulled the undies from the night before out of her waistband.
    The old undies had been hanging there that whole time.

      1. Replying to your reply, one time while on vacation in Disneyworld we came off a ride where we were literally soaked. I could feel something slipping down my leg and yup, just as I suspected, out came my mini pad. It’s designed for little leaks not for soakers. So embarrassing!

      2. Who hasn’t pulled a bra out of a sleeve or pant leg? Or underwear out of a pant leg?

  15. Depends. How many pets do they have to avoid tripping over in the process? Where are the clothes? Do they remember where the car keys are?

    To me, context matters. Someone practised at dressing in emergencies may have a routine, even a set of undressing habits in case they’re required to dress again in a hurry. And someone surprised in an emergency may have a big spike in cortisol that drives them to move faster than usual. But equally plausible is that emergency states can cause untrained people to freeze and feel temporarily disoriented.

    To me, I’d see your difference in opinion here as an opportunity to show character for each of them. Like, maybe they do race to the car then discover someone doesn’t have the keys or forgot bits of clothing or shoes.

    I think other factors may play a part, too. Like time of day. Or what happened leading up to them getting into bed (ie: what state they were in prior as it speaks to where the clothes are etc.). Maybe even here may be an opportunity to surprise the reader with a reverse expectation. Like maybe everyone expects Vince to jump into action because of his background but he’s actually off his game because of their encounter or the environment, and Liz is actually the one to be more in control.

    I don’t know the ins and outs of the story so no idea what you need to happen in the scene, but if it really just comes down to dressing time I think most women would forgo the bra and save time there:)

    1. Depends how big-breasted you are: much as it annoys me, I just wouldn’t feel respectable going out without mine. But I daresay Liz is more self-supporting.

      1. Plus, if the energency might involve running, I’d have to clutch my boobs if I didn’t have a bra on – it would be painful otherwise.

        1. True. And funny because I almost put in the caveat of “unless someone’s a DD or something” but left it out since they were getting into a jeep:)

      2. I’m a C-cup and I go braless most of the time, once I read that it’s better for you.
        However, I do not run.

        1. Yes: I go braless at home – but I’m a FF or G (I think this translates to some letter further along the alphabet in US sizing). I don’t run either – except in an emergency.

          1. I think the rule is never skimp what helps you cope in an emergency situation. The last thing you want is to be distracted, because you are uncomfortable. In your case underwear as it will restrict you from being able to run. In my case, I need to be wearing flats and trousers. I once had to do something last minute wearing a fancy dress and shoes and I spent the whole time wishing for my flats and trousers, it would have been a lot easier and I would have been able to cope better

    2. No pets, clothes are at the foot of the bed, keys hanging by the door.
      It’s 11:00 at night. They had sex and fell asleep. Then Liz went out to the kitchen and he woke up and followed her and the phone rang when they were both naked.
      Vince is mostly angry, Liz is trying to keep up.

      1. Ah, so they’re awake and not roused from sleep when the call comes. Plus, their belongings are organized. That makes a shorter time frame of three minutes or so easier to buy and wouldn’t make me stop to question it assuming the jeep is just outside. I would not buy one minute, though. I mean, they have to do all that and lock the door behind them.

        But that’s just how my brain would process it. I’d skip right over it and wouldn’t be itemizing everything to see if it makes sense so long as I could buy into the fictional plausibility. But if something stood out as completely implausible, then I’d have pause.

  16. Depends on the emergency, co-worker’s daughter called home, when they were asleep she was being followed home by someone creepy near their block of flats, Her mum was still trying to find her underwear, Her dad was dressed in less then a minute and went downstairs with a baseball bat to make friends with Mr Creepy.

  17. Liz isn’t a big fashion kind of woman and she doesn’t wear make-up. And there’s a line in the next scene that says she looks rumpled and her hair is basically sex-hair, so I’m getting the feeling, based on what you all have said, that we could get away with three minutes.

    I just don’t want that throwing people out of the book.

    1. Not a big fashion kind and wearing a sports bra, she can do it in less than 3 minutes

      1. If I were her, I’d just grab the bra and stuff it in a pocket. But that’s me.
        Three minutes it is then.

  18. I think you do have to include 20-30 seconds to get to the door, open, close and lock it, and get in the car. 1 minute seems utterly impossible. 3 , if we skip any bathroom activities or caffeine, seems doable. I am assuming that Vince can convey the need to go and go fast in a very few words (“dammit the Mercedes’ guy is speeding on on Main Street again we gotta go now”) and takes maybe 10 sec.

  19. I could do it but unfortunately I’d probably forget something like my phone or wallet.

    Also, if someone’s life really was on the line, I would dispense with underwear!

    Or, more likely, I would grab my bra while running out the door and put it on in the car. You know how you can take your arms out of your sleeves and slip your bra on underneath your shirt…

  20. On a normal day it takes me a solid twenty minutes to get out the door, in an emergency I could do five if my clothes from the day before were nearby but I’d probably need a stop at the bathroom. My phone, keys, and wallet have places they live so that would be easy, and there’d be some quick shoes by the door. I’d probably buy three minutes from someone else because I can be pretty methodical. I will say that knowing you’re in a hurry makes fastening a bra almost impossible to get right – if it were winter I might skip the bra and grab a big coat and scarf on the way out the door.

  21. I can go from waking up, to in the car in about 4 minutes. This usually happens when I fall back asleep after the alarm goes off & I have a personal training session to get to. Clothes are gym gear, including a sports bra, and there’s 30 seconds to go from my front door to the car. Shoes are next to the front door, keys are in the door lock.

    3 minutes might throw people out of the story, but only to go test it for themselves. 😀

    1. Oh, good point. Right after sex, too. Sigh.
      I have to start writing about uptight virgins who just want to shake hands.

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