Learning how to change clothes in the car discretely is one of those unexpected life skills every girl needs. You want to be quick, efficient, and stealthy. Park in a quiet place, find a comfortable space in your car, and lock the doors. Then it’s just a matter of changing each article of clothing one at a time, starting from the top and working your way down.
I grew up in southern California and learning how to properly execute a modest deck change was a necessity. I’ve had to change out of a wet bathing suit under towels, beside car doors, and in back seats with 100’s of other beachgoers present. This skill came in handy when I worked the snack shack at a smelly bowling alley. I needed to change into fresh clothes before heading out after work on a Saturday night.
So without further introduction, here are my tips for changing clothes in the car with your modesty intact:
1. Find a place you feel safe
You wouldn’t want to strip off in a crowded room, so do not feel like you have to change right where you are either. Take the time to find a quiet place to park like an empty parking lot or a stretch of street that has little foot traffic.
2. Choose your seat carefully
The driver’s seat is the trickiest spot to change in with that huge steering wheel getting in the way, but it can be done if you slide your seat all the way back first. I think it is worth getting in the back seat as you have the most room and privacy. The windows are usually smaller and darker and the front seats can act as a barrier to the windshield.
Once situated, make sure the doors are locked!
3. Have your clothes ready for you
Discretion is key and nothing waves a big red flag more like retrieving a gym bag from your trunk and ducking into the back seat. As a young adult, I always kept a bag of spare clothes in my trunk; you never know when you are going to stay out for the night or run across a pool/beach situation! When I knew ahead of time I’d be making an outfit change in the car, I’d get things out of the trunk and onto the back seat.
4. Have a system in place
You never want to find yourself in the situation of being completely naked in the back seat of your car when someone taps on the window. Change one article of clothing at a time, working your way top to bottom.
- Dresses and skirts are easiest to change into or out of because you can modestly add or remove clothes underneath them.
- Tops can be tricky, so speed is the name of the game. I would wear a tank top under my shirt for stress free changing.
- Changing from jeans to jeans is the actual worst. Shake out the jeans you are going into first, making sure the legs are rolled out and open. Give yourself plenty of leg room by stretching out in the back seat or if you’re up front, having the seat pushed all the way back. Place a small towel over the important bits and be quick!
5. You may want to have a changing dress or blanket
Having a towel, blanket, or oversized dress to throw over yourself can give you peace of mind while changing in the car. There are times I have done this and it has gone really wrong, I’ve gotten all tangled up in a too big sheet or accidentally flashed in a too-small towel. My go-to is an oversized dress that I can easily work under.
6. Once changed, hop out and give yourself a once over
You might be in a rush and desperate to drive off, but take a few seconds to hop out of the car and straighten up. Check you’ve not got old socks or panties hanging out of your fresh jeans (been there) and that your zippers and buttons are done up correctly. Give the hair a little shake and spritz some perfume to get yourself feeling human again.
7. SAFETY SAFTEY SAFETY
At all times, make sure the doors to your car are locked. Check your surroundings before you change each article of clothing to look for unwanted observers, especially when you are getting ready to exit the car. If at any time you feel uncomfortable, climb into the front seat and drive somewhere else.
If you are going on a long road trip or might be living out of your car for a while, you may want to check out our advice on What to Wear on a Road Trip.
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Lisa Hurd is a born and raised Californian currently living with her husband, daughter, and labrador in the UK. She enjoys road trips with her family and has fond memories of cross-country adventures with her 3 sisters while growing up. She loves to write about a variety of road trip related topics.