All the Secrets Behind Tayshia Adams' Stunning—and Surprising—Bachelorette Style

Bachelor Nation's longtime stylist Cary Fetman revealed exclusively to E! News that the gown Tayshia was originally set to wear for her debut episode.

By Tierney Bricker Dec 22, 2020 6:00 PMTags

Wait, a finale without sequins? It really will be the most dramatic rose ceremony ever.

While we're not sure how Tayshia Adams' journey to find love will end as her unprecedented season of The Bachelorette comes to a close tonight—especially after the emotional roller-coaster ride that was her fantasy suite episode—there is one thing we are ready to proclaim about our current lead: Best. Dressed. Bachelorette. Ever.

And the man behind the seams is the franchise's longtime stylist Cary Fetman, who dressed, not one, but two Bachelorettes in the midst of an ongoing pandemic. 

And just like the rest of Bachelor Nation, Fetman was shocked when he learned Tayshia would be coming in to replace Clare Crawley less than two weeks into production. Usually, the veteran costumer would have weeks to prep and plan the lead's wardrobe, including several days of fittings. However, with a casting shakeup and COVID-19 protocol in place, season 16 proved to be one of Fetman's biggest professional challenges ever.

"The process was that I had met Tayshia before, from other seasons, and I literally just needed clothes and if it was actually going to down," Fetman explained to E! News. "Fortunately, I had gotten kind of a warning probably around the same time as Tayshia. But that warning of, like, 'Hey, don't do anything yet, but just a heads up if Clare stays on this course we might need to bring somebody in to share the season with her.'"

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Unable to go out shopping and lacking the luxury of taking his time, Fetman said, "I literally locked myself in my room with a computer. That was my whole process. It was trying to find clothes that were in the middle of the summer in 120 degrees that could possibly work."



And yet the rushed nature and unexpected assortment of gowns Tayshia has worn throughout the season—olive for her debut, a white romper with a bridal skirt for a casual rose ceremony, muted baby blue for her finale and, oh, did we mention all of those sky-high slits?—has delivered our most fashionable lead ever. 

"Probably this is why people liked this season more," Fetman theorized, "besides the fact that she has seven-foot legs that come up to my chin! Tayshia just has a style, she knows how to carry the clothes."

Whether it was a sequined gown from the franchise's go-to designer Randi Rahm or a pair of shorts and a crop top, Tayshia, 30, owned whatever she was wearing, beginning with the beaded backless stunner she wore for her jaw-dropping limo arrival. To quote one of her suitors, "Couldn't be better."

But Fetman revealed to E! News that another dress was this close to being selected for her grand entrance. Plus, he broke down some of Tayshia's other major style moments, weighed in on Brendan Morais' headline-making love for turtlenecks and gave a tease for what to expect from Matt James' fashion game as the Bachelor...

There's No Such Thing As Bad Dress

After months of rumors and reports of a shakeup, The Bachelorette promptly ended all the noise by dropping a new poster for Tayshia Adams' takeover from Clare Crawley. 

In the photo, their new lead is wearing a skirt made up of tabloid coverage with speculation about her season. "I have to give credit where credit is due on this one. That was ABC promo," Cary Fetman said of the self-referential fashion moment. "They have this department where they come up with stuff...I may want to kill them every season, but by the time the commercial comes out and I actually see what their vision was, I just bow to them."

But actually bringing the vision to life was no easy task for Fetman. 

"It wasn't even making the gown as much as it was finding somebody during this time, where nobody was open, to actually print fabric," he recalled. "I look back and think to myself, my god, to have all those colors come out so great on a roll of fabric and then have Randi take this roll and try to recreate a dress that she had done, but in her own fabric. I was really, really pleased with it."

Tayshia's Jaw-Dropping Debut

For her grand entrance, Tayshia wore an olive halter-neck dress from Randi Rahm that was adorned with intricate beading and a low-cut back. The men, of course, lost all semblance of any chill when she walked into the room and social media proclaimed it the best gown sported by a Bachelorette on her first night. 

But that sequined stunner wasn't initially the first choice for her much-anticipated arrival. 

"Seeing as we had already done a night one and the fact that she wasn't going to be standing there and the limos were going to be coming up to her, but she'd be walking in instead," Fetman said. "Honestly, I thought that the white shorts with the big white skirt was really going to be a showstopper to walk in on."

The Original Choice

Yes, the white lace ruffle gown, which was part of Randi Rahm's spring 2019 bridal collection, was Tayshia's top pick. 

"But the more we kept going back and forth and the producers and stuff saying they really thought it should be treated more as first night than the way she and I were kind of doing it," Fetman explained. 

Of course, the veteran costume designer eventually found the perfect opportunity for her to wear the dress in week nine. "She was never going to give that one up!"

The Finale Dress

For Tayshia's final rose ceremony, Fetman and his lead wanted to ditch the sequins and anything flashy for a classic silhouette in a baby blue hue. (Yes, he is aware it looks white.)

"I did not want anything sequiny again," he explained of the somewhat unexpected choice. "I felt like we had overdone the sequins and It wasn't just another Bachelorette flashy Randi Rahm sequin gown. The fabric on this was amazing. There's an accordion pleated chiffon that comes out of the back of her legs, the ribbon going down her back, everything about it was so sexy but just more elegant and soft. I think that's what both of us loved about it. It was just romantic."

Less Time, More "Boobage"

"The truth is it was so rushed that we basically were doing fittings on her as we were getting her dressed for the episodes," Fetman explained of the fast moving behind the scenes efforts when Tayshia came in to replace Clare as the lead. "I can not tell you how many times we had to send a P.A. back to L.A. to get something tailored so we could have it back the next day or two days later. That's what Tayshia's whole season was really like."

And that meant there wasn't any time to make the tweaks and edits he normally would have during a regular season. 

"There was really no room for like, 'Oh, I'd like to do this right now. I'd like to close the boob up a little bit,'" Fetman explained. "That's why sometimes there may have been a little bit more boobage than I meant. But the idea was listen, you know what, we're just going to make the best of this right now."

Legs For Days

Despite having less time than usual for fittings throughout the season, Fetman always made sure to highlight one feature—or should we say two?

"Those legs!" Fetman exclaimed. "Boy, even when there was no slit, we certainly put one in to make sure those legs were out. Basically, it was like almost every outfit that didn't have a slit, it somehow magically got a slit." 

The snake tattoo gown from Randi Rahm's 2020 fall-winter collection that Tayshia completely sold the crap out of in episode did already have that sky-high slit, but Fetman referenced it as an example of his lead's ability to sell any piece he outfitted her in. 

"The truth really is Tayshia can take pretty much anything and know how to work it," he said. "She knows how to wear clothes because she loves to wear clothes."

No Rules

Unlike some Bachelorettes in the past, Tayshia didn't really have a signature color or cut she relied on throughout her season, allowing Fetman to have fun with his selections and try new things. 

"She had a sense of her own style, but she also wanted to play," Fetman explained of their collaborative process. "Like she said to me from the beginning, 'This is not the way I dress at home and I just want to have a good time.' So we did."

All Business, No Casual

While you'd think assembling a parade of showstopping gowns would be quite the task, Fetman explained styling Tayshia during the season's casual outings was far more challenging.

"Dresses were so easy. Trying to get her into a pair of shorts is where she and I would get into more of a fight," Fetman admitted. "Going casual was hard."

Um, how was going casual hard when 2020 became the year of athleisure?!

"She loves to be dressed up," Fetman explained. "Finally I just realized she just does not like to wear casual clothes when she was on TV. That's what she wears at home, she does not want to do it on TV apparently."

And that proved to be the biggest difference between season 16's two leads because Clare was all about comfort. 

"Trying to get her out of a short and tank top was, like, 'Come on, Clare, we're on national TV!'" Fetman said with a laugh. "Just completely opposites."

Fetman Tells All

While viewers loved Tayshia's silver long-sleeved mini dress she rocked to see all of her suitors again at the Men Tell All special, Fetman wanted to issue a correction. 

"You would think after doing it for 100 years I would recognize what happens to these colors...everybody thought she was wearing a silver dress. It was really a light teal velvet with a red undercast to it," he said. "In person it looks completely teal and on camera, even as I was watching on a monitor I was like, 'What is going on? Why is this so silver?!"

As previously mentioned, the same color confusion happened with Tayshia's finale gown, which photographed white but is actually baby blue.

You would think I wouldn't keep making that same mistake. But this season I did have a lot of those!" Fetman admitted with a laugh. "I seemed to have done a lot of these light colors that just did not look like their color."

Brendan's Turtlenecks

Even though Fetman only outfits the leads, not the contestants, we had to ask for his thoughts on Brendan Morais' penchant for sporting turtlenecks during the show's more formal events.

"I love the look," Fetman shared. "I did think, I gotta give you credit because the commitment to stay in that turtleneck...it truly was still 110 [degrees] by the time we did the nighttime and the fact that he stayed in that turtleneck and not one time say, 'I'm going to go back to my room and change,' is amazing to me. But I loved the look!"

And Fetman teased that you can expect to see Matt James rock several turtlenecks during his season of The Bachelor, which kicks off on Jan. 4. "I love turtlenecks! Throughout past seasons I have always pushed a turtleneck on a guy and taken heat for it, but next season with Matt you are going to see a ton of turtlenecks."

The Bachelorette finale airs Tuesday, Dec. 22 at 8 p.m. on ABC.

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