The Stylist Tells All
Get ready for the most dramatic interview yet.
Whether you love it or hate it, The Bachelor / Bachelorette franchise is a fairytale force to be reckoned with. Cary Fetman, the in-house stylist for our Monday night guilty pleasure, knows a thing or two about fashion. He has dressed stars from Sarah Jessica Parker to Joan Rivers and now dresses those who ask the earth shattering question, “Will you accept this rose?” Cary is dishing to us what really goes on when the cameras aren’t rolling, his worst style moment and his number one thing all women should wear on date night.
Chelsea Briche: After spending years as a red carpet stylist, how did the transition to Bachelor Nation happen?
Cary Fetman: They called. They called and I went in for an interview. During my interview I said to them, “You really think this is hard? My god, if I can dress for a live red carpet event and deal with every situation that could possibly go wrong than I can do this job with my eyes closed.” I was hired that day.
CB: Having been on the show for 30 plus seasons I bet you’ve seen it all. Looking back do you have a favorite style moment where you think, “Damn, I nailed it.”
CF: I find that with each season there is something I like or dislike. There are times where I say gosh how did I not see that? Or woah that really is so pretty. One of my all time favorites has to be the pink feather dress that Ashley Hebert wore during the season finale.
CB: What about a look that will forever be burned in your memory?
CF: OMG YES. I look at the yellow baby doll dress that Shayne Lamas wore during the final rose and think to myself, was I high? I am just as hard on myself as the next person but the thing is, there are about 118 outfits per season so I don’t except each of them to be a home run.
CB: How do you deal with the any backlash?
CF: I laugh because last summer Chris Harrison made me start an Instagram account and there are times where I have everyone in America either leaving the loveliest comments or ripping apart an outfit because it wasn’t the ‘right’ shoe. Little does the woman from Iowa commenting on my Instagram know that the night before we found out Jojo is going to be walking on gravel so we had to change gears and prepare accordingly. In all seriousness, my friends are my harshest critics. I have to deal with a couple of queens and a few really good friends that look at me and say, really? You chose THAT color?
CB: Walk me through what the steps of a wardrobe prep for a season looks like.
CF: Three weeks before each season begins filming I have a normal stylist conversation with them and ask them all sorts of questions so I can figure out if they are more of a sexy dress or pants kind of girl or if they prefer shoes over boots, etc. Most likely, this is the first time I am working with them directly, so I need to completely zone in on their style preference to ensure they feel comfortable and confident with whatever I put them in. After we have a conversation, I go shopping and pull 10 weeks worth of outfit options and then comes the intense part – the fittings. For The Bachelor it typically takes a day to a day and a half and for The Bachelorette we set aside three days for fittings. I am not at liberty to tell them where they will be traveling to that season so some of them look at me like I’m a crazy person when I tell them they need to pick out four of their favorite coats. They say “where are you taking me?” I laugh and say, just trust me.
CB: What would you say is one of the most difficult things about preparing for a season?
CF: You have to be ready for it all. The weather is a huge factor because the forecast can say it’s going to be sunny and beautiful but then we get to the destination and it’s raining. Also, dates can change on the fly. So let’s say we’ve picked out a fabulous pair of wedges for a particular outfit but then we find out it’s now going to be a date on top of a mountain, I need to be prepared with a plan B.
CB: What is like working directly with JoJo?
CF: JoJo is everything you see and then some, she is a truly a ball of fire. I bet if you asked any camera guy + crew member they will have the same wonderful interpretation of her, she really is something.
CB: In two words how would you describe JoJo’s style?
CF: Sexy chic. JoJo is very precise, if something doesn’t fit exactly the way she feels it should than she tells me it won’t work. I look at her and say, “Girl, have you ever heard of a tailor? If you love the outfit we can alter it, calm yourself and stop being crazy.“
CB: Who has been your absolute favorite girl / guy to style?
CF: I loved styling Jillian because she was one of the first ones that style was really becoming a big part the show. I could tell Jillian I had a necklace that I wanted to wear as a belt and she would try it. She was up for anything which makes it a blast for me.
CB: Is there ever an overall theme that the producers want you to subtly play into via outfits?
CF: No, producers completely stay out of wardrobe. At the beginning of the season I will get a wish list of hopeful date settings but of course, they can change.
CB: How much of what we see comes from The Bachelor / Bachelorette’s personal closet?
CF: I tell them to pack one suitcase full of their favorite things. My mindset being this; for 10 weeks straight they constantly have someone touching them, telling them where to be every second of the day and then me coming in and telling them what to wear – I can’t imagine what that feels like. So, for those days where they wake up exhausted and not in the mood to have someone bark orders - they have the option of going into their personal suitcase. Nine times out of ten after 2 weeks into filming they leave their suitcase behind at my place in LA.
CB: You have the opportunity to spend a lot of one on one time with each Bachelor / Bachelorette – do you ever feel like you double as their therapist?
CF: You can’t be with someone for as many weeks we are together and not form a friendship. When someone is undressing, physically and emotional, in front of you it’s impossible to not form a unique bond. There are days where The Bachelorette is in distraught in tears over something that happened and that’s when I step in tell her to change into whatever may make her a slight bit happier. I know there are a lot of cynics when it comes to this show but I see it with my own two eyes and I can tell you that it’s real. I am there from the very beginning and remain in their lives far after the show has wrapped.
CB: For the girls who don’t have a personal stylist, what is your date night outfit advice?
CF: My advice is this: heels, heels, heels. There is something that changes in a woman’s attitude when she slips on a pair of heels. But if you can’t walk in them do not wear them. There is nothing uglier than a girl who cannot walk in heels. Clothing wise, it’s all about having a go to outfit that every time you put it on you will feel beautiful. While I was working with Oprah she said something to me that I have carried with me throughout my career, “When I’m looking in the mirror and I don’t feel pretty, I ain’t going to be pretty” Someone else’s opinion won’t mean anything if you don’t see it in the mirror. The same goes with makeup. Do not try to be a Kardashian or paint your face with the latest trend – go with what will make you feel confident walking into any room.