Come through with the plunging neckline! The Dancing With the Stars contestant broke barriers on the popular “classic” look on the show, which we live for.
Since Trista (Rehn) Sutter stepped onto the scene as the first Bachelorette in a black halter gown that practically screamed Jessica McClintock, a template for the perfect date-night wardrobe had scarcely begun.
We now have guidelines for how to dress for an excursion through an exotic rainforest, a ballroom dance complete with a private concert, and the casual shopping spree through Paris, courtesy of ABC’s matchmaking gift to the world. Yet, some of the most golden style moments of the show have been smothered in the glut of sequin-covered gowns that manage to make an appearance each season. Ugh.
Tayshia Adams, season 16 Bachelorette and replacement for original lead Clare Crawley, changed the game when it came to iconic and un-cringey, fashion moments on the show. From her promotional video in the striking hot coral orange L*SPACE bikini to her trendy group date attire, a new era of Bachelorette fashion was born.
Season 18 Bachelorette, Michelle Young, also dropped jaws when her promotional video dropped in 2021. The teacher wore a one-shoulder gold gown with a high leg slit. Dress designer Stan Hudson described his thought process while creating the dress.
“We were shooting at this gorgeous mansion with tons of flowers and roses, so I was seeing what worked with the room and also for the coloring of our subject, Michelle,” he said in a September 2021 interview with ABC.
The beautiful garments come with a hefty price tag, though. Stylist Cary Fetman, who has helped style leads since season 2, revealed to The Hollywood Reporter in a May 2012 interview which Bachelorette had the highest wardrobe budget at the time.
Season 8 Bachelorette, Emily Maynard, had a whopping $350,000 budget to fulfill all of her looks throughout the season. “It was bigger than any previous season … and we still went over,” Cary said.
Fans shared their dislike for the styling of season 19 coleads Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia, which led the ladies to clap back at the critics. “On Clayton‘s season, we dressed ourselves. On social media, [we wear] our [own] clothes. But why wouldn’t we take advantage of these wonderful clothes while we can?” Gabby told EW in August 2022.
“So, naturally, they look different because not everybody has access to them. And I feel like people don’t remember that when they’re watching the show back and critiquing our looks,” she continued. “Like, when do you get to wear a ballgown? Never. Leave mine alone — it’s beautiful!”
Luckily for you, we’re here to resurrect some of the most fashionable Bachelorette ensembles that deserve recognition. Without further ado, here are some of our favorite fashion moments — and don’t worry, they won’t rekindle nightmares of the prom dress you likely regret.