New year, new season of The Bachelor, same parade of sparkly, over-the-top rose ceremony gowns. And perhaps for good reason. Each year, when the latest season of ABC’s smash reality dating show airs, fans nationwide gather around their TVs with glasses of rosé ready to judge 30 complete strangers based on their highly edited conversations with the Bachelor, their interactions with one another and, importantly, what they choose to wear on their first night at The Mansion.
But if Bachelor history has taught us anything, it’s that there is always a method to the madness, even and especially when it comes to what the contestants wear the first time they meet their potential husband-to-be. In the 22 seasons that The Bachelor has been shaping our understanding of true love, 14 have ended in a proposal, with all the other Bachelors and their winners opting to continue their relationships after the season’s end (except for Brad Womack, who famously left both his finalists ringless and alone in the stunning Season 11 finale).
So was there something about those winners that stuck out to the Bachelor from night one? Was it a particularly flattering dress — or just the way she wore it with confidence? With Season 23’s first rose ceremony in the rearview mirror, we’re curious to see if a contestant’s fashion choices can indeed predict her success on the season and beyond. Do figure-hugging bandeau dresses a Bachelor winner make? Do Bachelor stars prefer gowns that show more skin or less? And what, oh what, is a contestant to do if they find out that someone else is wearing the same dress as them? Trick question: this just happened on the Season 23 premiere, and the answer is ... not much.
Here, we look back at the color, cut, and style of dresses that each of the winners from the past 22 seasons wore during their premiere episode, in hopes of figuring out whether or not there’s a telltale style that signals true love to our lovelorn Bachelors. (Our guess is that the sloth costume doesn’t quite make the cut.)