After a longer than usual wait as a result of the pandemic, The Bachelorette is back with Clare Crawley as its star. With the ABC hit show’s return, come a lot of questions: Which of the Bachelorette Season 16 contestants will make the best impression on night one? What’s going on with Tayshia Adams? What’s the story behind Crawley’s night one dress? The latter prompts a follow-up: Does Crawley have to pay for it, or, for that matter, any of her looks for the season ahead?
Generally speaking, The Bachelorette stars do not pay for the wardrobe featured on the show. The franchise is a big one, with each season bringing in a large sum of money that allows the main stars of its many shows — in addition to the Bachelor and the Bachelorette, there’s also Bachelor in Paradise, The Bachelor Winter Games, and Bachelor in Paradise: After Paradise — to participate without having to spend thousands of dollars on clothing and accessories. (To clarify, while the head Bachelor and Bachelorette do not pay for their wardrobes, the contestants fighting for their hearts do.)
According to Money, each season, the show provides a budget for stylist Cary Fetman to work with. From there, Fetman works alongside the current Bachelorette to handpick each of the looks featured in their respective seasons. During Emily Maynard’s season of the Bachelorette in 2012, the clothing budget was, according to reports, a whopping $350k and included a $40k Randi Rahm gown and $1,045 Christian Louboutin heels. (Maynard’s clothing budget was the highest ever on the show at the time.) During Becca Kufrin’s season in 2018, she wore a $22k Randi Rahm gown for the premiere, as well as a Tom Ford sequin dress later in the season that cost $6k. And given that Crawley is also wearing a Randi Rahm gown on night one, we can only presume that her budget is equally substantial. “The fashion is a big part of the Bachelorette’s journey during their season,” Rahm told Refinery29. "This is a true couture piece, and therefore, we cannot divulge the actual price, but it is a pretty penny."
But it’s not all couture gowns and high fashion labels on the show. According to an interview from 2016 with The Hollywood Reporter, Fetman likes to maintain a high-low balance in the show’s wardrobes. “So much of the clothes — the day to day clothes — I try to make that reachable,” he said. “Sometimes it’s Bloomingdale’s, sometimes it’s Neiman Marcus. Sometimes I go to Old Navy for tanks. For example, the coat will be designer, but the tank top she’s wearing underneath it is Zara or H&M.” And that’s not all. According to Amy Kaufman’s book Bachelor Nation, the stars of the franchise get to keep the clothing they wore on the show after the season concludes. So, in addition to (hopefully) getting a fiancé, the stars of The Bachelorette also get a whole new wardrobe by the end of filming.
See what Crawley and Fetman chose to showcase style-wise beginning with the premiere on Tuesday, October 13, at 8pm EST.