The Bachelor needs help getting dressed. That’s where wardrobe supervisor Cary Fetman comes in.
Since 2006, Fetman has overseen the wardrobe on The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and special episodes like the recent nuptials of Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici. He pulls clothes for the star of each season, doles out fashion advice to the contestants, and has even designed a few one-of-a-kind ensembles. “Once we start shooting we really don’t stop, so everything is done the week before we begin. We pick the clothes for a whole season [in advance],” Fetman told EW. “You [anticipate] those emergency situations and try to prepare for them. We’ve arrived in countries where our suitcases don’t arrive — all of a sudden we’re trying to find a clothing store that has what we need. And all the sizes are different. That’s why I’m there.”
Fetman says that Juan Pablo Galavis didn’t rely on him as much as past Bachelors have. “He was not afraid to try anything. He never worried about what people would think if he was wearing bright yellow pants with an orange shirt and purple socks. He loved it all,” the stylist said of the former pro soccer player’s sartorial instincts. “[Juan Pablo] said, ‘I want Miami hot, and a little taste of Latin.’ I took that and ran with it.”
Galavis even taught Fetman a few things. “Off-camera, he’d wear a brand [called Guy Look] from Korea that I’d never heard of. It’s sweats from the ’80s [that look] like M.C. Hammer pants with the crotch hanging down to below the knees. I was like, ‘There’s not a chance in hell that’s what you’re wearing on camera!’ But I fell in love with [other items from] the line and started ordering things. Some of the stuff wasn’t [too] scary for the audience. Every once in a while, I’d say, ‘No, no, no. Middle America is going to be looking at you going, ‘What the hell is going on here?’”
As for the female contestants, they were on their own until the finale. “I bring a whole fitting to the country [we're filming in] — I’ve got all the gowns, all the accessories, and all the shoes in two bags — and each person gets her own bag,” Fetman explains. “I always pray that both finalists are the same size, but that rarely ever happens.”
Read on for more to see what Fetman had to say about Juan Pablo’s style, making sure that the contestants don’t accidentally flash the cameras, and what went on behind-the-scenes at Catherine and Sean’s wedding.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Does Juan Pablo have any favorite designers?
Cary Fetman: We did a lot of Hugo Boss this season. We did a lot of John Varvatos and James Perse. Because we were going to hot climates, we did a lot of linen. It was also unseasonably hot in L.A. and in the next two countries that we went to, and then it was unseasonably cold in the country after that. We had jackets and heavy sweaters, but we also had tons and tons of linen by Ian Verlardi.
How would you describe Juan Pablo’s look?
His style is [marked by] very bright colors. He loves his colors. Every once in a while, you can tell the difference between when he mixed color combinations and when I mixed color combinations. He would wear every single color of the rainbow if left to his own devices and a lot of [times he] was and he did! I was into [statement] socks this season. I [might] say, “I like this better,” and he’d say, “Okay.”
Is the planning process the same for The Bachelor and The Bachelorette?
Because of the travel and because once we start shooting we really don’t stop, everything is done the week before we actually begin. We pick the clothes for a whole season. But there could be an emergency or something could change. We’ve been in a country where it turned out to be the coldest spring in the history — I never expected London to be as cold as it was and Emily [Maynard] was shaking. Even though she had said, “I will never wear a coat!” all of a sudden she was praying for one. You [anticipate] those emergency situations and try to prepare for them. We’ve arrived in countries where our suitcases don’t arrive — all of a sudden we’re trying to find a clothing store that has what we need. And all the sizes are different. That’s why I’m there.
Did you have any wardrobe emergencies this season?
Yes! We [got] to a country — I don’t know how obvious it will be [if I explain it], but there’s a country where we [didn't] have any clothing other than what we flew over in. We got there and realized that [our baggage] was still sitting in the country we had just left. There was no quick fix on this one. The next morning, I went out shopping as soon as the stores opened and bought clothing for the next two days until [the baggage] arrived.
Is dressing a Bachelor less stressful than dressing a Bachelorette?
When it comes to men’s clothing, there are fewer choices. There aren’t all of the accessories. Women are so much work because you need jewelry and shoes. You can throw a scarf on them. Then again, I did that with Juan Pablo. I’d say, “How about a scarf?” and he’d say, “That’s exactly what this outfit needs.” He was a big sneaker guy. I think I spent more on sneakers for him then I have for the last several seasons of The Bachelor. He wanted a different color sneaker with every outfit.
How long does it typically take to get Juan Pablo ready for the day? Is he high or low maintenance compared to past Bachelors?
He’s so fast. The only way [I] try to keep a little control is… I pack outfits that I love with maybe three extra pieces for each day. When we get to the country, I’ll tell him, “I packed it with a little bit of order. I don’t care how you wear it. It’s not about me. It’s about you.” We’ll open up the suitcase and take all the clothes out. Sean [Lowe] loved to have it organized. “What do you want me to wear here? Show me your two favorite things for this date.” I’ve had other bachelors say “[Pick] for me, I don’t even want to think about it.” Then you have Juan Pablo who says, “Show me everything.” Some days he’d say, “Just give me what you want,” and other days he’d say, “How about we take a shirt from the first date that I didn’t wear and put it with this?” They are all so different. This was a fun season because I loved the fact that Juan Pablo was such a big part of it.
Does the star get to keep the clothes go once the season is over?
The wardrobe goes to Warner Bros. and they decide what to do with it.
You don’t provide the clothes for the female contestants on The Bachelor, but are you allowed to give them style advice?
On the first night, I’ll go in to talk to them. They still haven’t seen each other and they don’t know what the other girls are wearing. I make sure that no one is embarrassing themselves or two people are coming out in the same dress. My theory is [that first night] says so much about who they are so I try to give them as little input as possible. That’s the fun part of the show. What the girls wear says so much about their personalities. When you see a girl show up in a full ball gown and another girl show up in a dress cut up to her private parts, that’s one of the most fun things about the show. The only thing I ever am doing is standing outside to make sure that you can’t see up their dresses.
How many suitcases does each girl usually bring?
There are girls who have shown up with one suitcase containing five pieces and [I'll] look at them and think, “Do you not plan on staying?” Then there are the girls who come with steamer trunks and [I'm] like, “You’re moving in, aren’t you? You’re never going home!” Some girls who are pristine and their dresses are perfect and there’s not a wrinkle in them, then there are others that are still [going] through their suitcase as if they don’t realize they are going to be on national television. They’re sorting through a big pile of wrinkles and [I'm] looking at them going, “Good luck getting that all out.” The clothes say so much about the person.
Does someone from the production team have to approve a contestant’s outfit before a date?
No. Once they’re shooting, you’ve got all those girls [helping each other out]. I’m not saying all of them try to help, but you can always see how cliques form. It’s like they’re back in high school — they find the girls they want to be friendly with and they help each other. They kinda become [a] mirror [for each other].
What kind of style guidelines are the girls given in advance?
They’re told basic [guidelines], like what I’ll tell the Bachelor — we don’t tell him where he’s going either — I’ll say, “Now, you need something for winter,” or “We’re going to a hot climate, so think summer.” That’s as much information as they’re given.
What about the finale episode?
For that, I dress everyone. I’ll do the last two girls and Juan Pablo and, of course, Chris [Harrison]. I take over. I bring a whole fitting to the country [we're filming in]. I’ve got all the gowns, the accessories, and the shoes in two bags. Each person gets their own bag. I always pray that they’re both the same size, but that rarely ever happens.
You obviously can’t say too much, but how do the looks of this season’s two finalists differ and how are they similar?
I’m watching the show and I’ve realized how different their styles were. And yet in the finale, they both had a similar look, which kind of shocked me. Every season I pull thinking I know who the last two are going to be, but we leave before the last two are picked. I have to pull clothes long before the last two [are selected] because I’m going to be traveling. But I get to go home for the week of their hometown [visits], so I’m able to shop for who we start feeling will make it to the finale. Every once in a while we get to the end it’s not the two that we predicted. And the third or forth one pops up after they’ve come back from the hometowns and you go, “Uhhh! I didn’t plan for that.” In the end, for some reason it just works. I’ve learned that [it isn't worth] trying to figure out what a girl’s look is because when they see other styles and how different things look like on their body, she’ll change her mind. I always have to remind myself, “Stop doing what you think they’ll want. Show them what you would like on them.” I’m shocked at how many of them change how they dress [during the show].
You also dress host Chris Harrison. Do you have that down to a science at this point?
Chris is like my little Cary doll. I know if I wear something, Chris is going to like it. So if I want Chris to try something different or new, I’ll buy it for myself. It’s a standing joke with he and I. Only he usually looks so much better in it. It kills me. He’s thinner, he’s younger, he’s got the body for it. Because he wears a suit so well, I usually tailor him to within an inch of his life. If we travel some place and I see a new look, I’ll want to change everything about him. That happened in London — I came back saying, “Get ready, your jacket sleeves are going to be shorter and your pants are going to be tighter!”
Did you help Catherine Giudici find her wedding gown?
We had talked long before and she had sent me pictures of gowns that she loved. We actually started out talking about if we should have a gown made. We were out on the road traveling for the last Bachelor when Catherine and I started [looking]. That’s how long ago this was. I noticed there was one trend in the things she was picking. A lot of times, it was that they were from Monique Lhuillier, so finally I went back to the producers and said, “Why don’t we see if Monique is interested in doing it?” They contacted her and she was happy to help. Catherine and I walked in and I’d say she tried on seven dresses. When she tried on the third dress, she said, “This is the dress I want,” and she would have been done, but I tell everybody, “Keep going. You don’t know what the next one will look like. Don’t fall in love, yet. Try on everything and then decide what you’re in love with.” So that’s what she did, but she knew. She knew the second she put it on.
What kind of bride was she?
She continued to be this amazing bride. Usually brides at the last few seconds, especially when they’re on television — have a last-minute panic when they’re walking down the aisle. She never did that. And we were going live. I kept warning everybody, “She’s going to have a panic moment. Let’s start it early.” Of course, by the time they finish with hair and make-up and all of those things, I’m the last person that’s getting them. We were running late and I thought, “This is going to be horrendous,” but it was wonderful. She was a delight.
Did things go as smoothly for Sean?
I said to Sean, “Don’t you ever get nervous?” and he said, “No, I’m just not a nervous guy.” He came to my house and I had one rack of clothes. By the end of the season, I knew his style, so I had a bunch of Hugo Boss tuxes. They fit him perfectly. I had one Dolce [& Gabbana] suit and I thought, “There’s no way he’s going to go for this. It’s too fashion forward and he’s going to think it’s too tight.” But I’d seen it in the store and I’d liked it, so I thought, “What the hell.” Lo and behold, as soon as he saw it, he wanted it. That suit didn’t even come close to fitting. Here’s this man who is 6’3″ and his one arm is the size of my entire body. He put it on and it looked like he’d put on my suit. I was like, “Sean, this suit doesn’t fit you.” He [insisted], “I want this suit.” So I said, “Okay, you’re going to have to come back for another fitting. I’ve got to try to get this so that it will fit you.” Sure enough that was the suit. We ended up getting on three sizes bigger and cutting it down. He felt amazing.
These days, there are clothing lines inspired by shows like Pretty Little Liars and The Good Wife. Could you see yourself designing a Bachelor or Bachelorette collection?
No. We’re not allowed to and I’m totally happy with that. I began my career as a clothing store owner. Oprah and all these other wealthy [shoppers would come in]. Oprah would have me on her show all the time. I’ve done that route. When I found out that you could make a living styling instead of having to push inventory, I was like, “Wow! This is what I want to do with the rest of my life.” If [ABC] wanted to do a Bachelor line I’d be happy to, but I just don’t see it happening. Never say never.
The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.