We Really Need to Talk the Styling on “The Bachelorette”

We Really Need to Talk the Styling on “The Bachelorette”

And just like that, another dramatic, addicting season of The Bachelorette is coming to an end.

(Queen) Katie Thurston, a 30-year-old Washington native and former contestant on Matt James’ season, wooed audiences this year with her refreshingly real take as the Bachelorette. Whether she was rocking a comfortable sweater on a group date, having real conversations about relationship trauma, or promoting sex-positivity, Katie has made a name for herself as one of the best Bachelorettes in history.

However, like every other season in Bachelor Nation, there’s been more than a fair share of drama. Between the 30 guys in Katie’s season (and their respective dramas) audiences have been trying to pinpoint the true villain of the season. Is it Hunter? Thomas? Gaslight Greg?

Some members of Bachelor nation are throwing one more name into the hat: Cary Fetman, the show’s stylist. Bachelor Twitter and TikTok have had quite a bit to say about the season 17’s styling and in some cases, we have to agree.

Katie’s style has been controversial since the beginning. So much so, that fans of the show took to social media to criticize Katie personally. With mounds and mounds of unnecessary hate coming Katie’s way, she set a new “rule” for herself when it comes to social media: “Anyone who wants to message me about my part, or my fashion or lack thereof, I’m just gonna block you,” Katie wrote in June 2021 on her Instagram story, per Us Weekly.

She then added that she’s “just your basic f**king girl who somehow became a Bachelorette.”

Katie also fired back at the haters this season, setting the record straight on Twitter saying, “i dress myself” with a smiley face. However, on shows like the Bachelorette, it’s not as simple as packing your own clothes and putting together outfits.

When contestants don’t have a specific aesthetic, Fetman – the longtime stylist of the Bachelor franchise – steps in to guide the Bachelorette in the right direction when it comes to styling. He selecst pieces and place them on a rack for Katie (or any other Bachelorette) to look through and pick an outfit. In this way, Fetman is picking out pieces that are meant to be flattering, stylish, and true to Katie.

But when it came to pointing Katie in the right direction, let’s just say Fetman doesn’t deserve a rose this season.

Let’s get one thing straight: this is in no way a critique on Katie’s looks. Not in the slightest! If anything, Katie’s casual-chic style was a breath of fresh air in the Bachelor franchise. Regularly sporting jeans, a casual top, and a cozy REVOLVE jacket, Katie’s style aligns best with the normal, every-girl look. And, in true Katie fashion, everything she wears is comfortable and authentic to herself. 

Even a few of the more glam looks Katie wore this season were absolutely stunning and unforgettable: her red-hot Randi Rahm premiere dress, the unique ONG-OAJ PAIRAM one shoulder green gown, and her sexy Saint Laurent red latex cocktail dress stole the show (and the hearts of the men) at cocktail parties and rose ceremonies.

However, despite some of the great fashion moments, we really, really can’t overlook Fetman’s work with Katie this season. Or any other season, really (remember the infamous swimsuit dress Hannah B wore?)

It’s one thing to prioritize comfort when it comes to style. However, there’s a way to create outfits that are comfortable as well as stylish. Placing Katie in an unflattering, boxy, plain t-shirt and skinny jeans on national TV isn’t the work of a comfort-minded stylist, it’s the work of a lazy one.

And let’s not forget the now infamous Alice+Olivia gold jumpsuit Fetman put on the rack this season. The outdated colors, silhouette, and overall style did nothing to flatter Katie or to show off her personal style. Shouldn’t the work of a stylist be to keep things chic and trendy, but true to their client’s aesthetic? Because I rarely saw that!

As for the viral pink shoulder-padded sleeveless top? Even Katie gave audiences permission to roast her for that one.

While some people think that fashion shouldn’t even be a main component of the show, fashion actually plays a huge role in creating the overall storyline and vibe of the season. The goal of a show’s wardrobe is to reflect the personality of the person wearing them: that’s how themes are established. Katie is an absolutely gorgeous and kind person with a fun and sex-positive edge, so why did her stylist select clothes that often failed to reflect those traits?

Katie is and was a phenomenal Bachelorette. But she deserves to feel and look glamorous, sexy, and stylish all of the time, not just in certain outfits. 

Luckily, the beautiful, muted-green final rose gown may just make up for Fetman’s work all season — we’ll certainly give this look a rose! 

Featured photo via Craig Sjodin/ABC