Like a zillion other people who have nothing better to do than watch 25 blonde women named Lauren/Lauryn/Lawren/L’Ryne fight for one man’s heart every Monday night, we can’t wait for tonight’s finale episode of The Bachelor. No, not because we’ll finally find out who Ben Higgins chooses (#TeamJoJo for the record), but because this is when the two remaining contestants pull out the fashion big guns — usually in the form of a floor-length strapless or sweetheart gown — for the final rose ceremony.
And there’s no one we love to dish about all things Bachelor more than Dana Weiss, founder of the hilarious television style blog Possessionista. We asked the small screen style expert to weigh in on the show’s finale fashion and she delivered 10 juicy secrets straight from Bachelor stylist Cary Fetman.
1. The contestants are provided with several dress options, but ultimately choose the final look themselves. “It could be the day you get engaged or it could be the worst day of your life,” says Fetman. “I never want her to think, ‘he didn’t pick me because he didn’t like the way I looked.’”
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2. The Bachelor didn’t always have a big fashion budget. During Bob Guiney’s season, winner Estella Gardinier wore a black Dolce & Gabbana bodycon dress that Fetman found on sale (below). “I’m not above going to Loehmann’s,” he says. “I have zero pride when it comes to a pretty dress.”
3. Fetman has styled every Bachelorette except Trista Sutter, and every Bachelor from season four on. “I didn’t style Jen Schefft for Andrew Firestone’s season, but she looked really pretty,” Fetman says of the dress Scheftt wore when she won season three (below). “She looked prettier than in some of the things I put her in when she was the Bachelorette.”
4. This season, Fetman brought each contestant 18 dress options for the finale. “Their taste is completely different,” Fetman said of Higgins’ final two (Lauren Bushnell, shown below, and Joelle “Jojo” Fletcher). “One is structured; no sequin, no flash. The other feels prettier when she’s dressed sexy.”
5. He also had finale options for second runner-up, Caila Quinn (below). “It wasn’t clear as we were leaving who Ben was sending home,” Fetman says. “We had to bring options in case he had a change of heart.”
6. Courtney Robertson (below) and Lindzi Cox both wore boots under their finale dresses during Ben Flajnik’s season. “I put on a pair of size 10 heels to test out the path they were supposed to take,” says Fetman of the mountainous trek to their awaiting suitor. “There was no way I was letting them do that in heels.” Fetman had to take the train from Switzerland, where they were filming, to Milan to find the right footwear.
7. “Sometimes a contestant falls in love with a dress and I have to swallow my pride,” Fetman reveals of the dresses he didn’t adore, though he won’t name names. (For the record, Weiss thinks Shayne Lamas’ babydoll dress, below, should be on the short list.)
8. One of the best finale looks, according to Fetman, was Vienna Girardi on Jake Pavelka’s season. “Blues were really in that season,” he says of the dress, below. “He loved blue. She chose blue. It was set against the water. It all worked.”
9. The night before the finale this season, both contestants’ dresses had to be re-cut and re-sewn. Fetman had the tailor spend the night in his hotel room, redoing both gowns. “We didn’t see the dresses until 7:00 the next morning when we had to get ready to go,” he says.
10. Finally, both finalists get to keep their dress. “I’m not about to go up to someone who just got engaged or dumped and ask for her dress back,” Fetman says.