For more than 12 years, Bachelor and Bachelorette stylist Cary Fetman has done -- and seen -- it all, and dressing JoJo Fletcher this season was no exception.
Fetman opened up to ET’s Lauren Zima on Friday, where he dished all about Fletcher’s gorgeous finale gown, pre-engagement nerves, and what it takes to dress a Bachelorette.
“She was so excited!” Fetman said of Fletcher when picking out the stunning Badgley Mischka gown for the finale. “At that point of the year, you are really going down to your top three people, and you don’t know what you’re doing. You’re not sure, and there’s so much going on in your head. Coming back from just having met families and just letting somebody go, and heading to another part of the world where all of a sudden your life is about to change -- it’s exciting and it’s nerve-wracking.”
“She was thrilled, but picking a dress for what’s going to be the day you may get engaged, it’s nerve-wracking,” he added. “It’s like picking out your wedding gown.”
Nerve-wracking seems to be the right word in this case; the 25-year-old picked the stunning gown just days before handing out her final rose.
“That dress was literally found the day after we came home from hometowns, and basically the day before we were leaving for the trip,” Fetman revealed. “I actually had to stay behind two days in order for the tailor to be able to fix it.”
Fletcher’s last-minute gown choice was out of the ordinary for the veteran stylist, who is used to choosing all the Bachelorette’s looks before each season commences.
“The finale sometimes is done before the first night’s gown,” Fetman shared. “Rarely do we ever have to have another fitting for a finale. This time, it just wasn’t there. We both knew that somehow I did not have the perfect finale dress.”
But once Fletcher laid eyes on the stunning gown, it was a done deal.
"She wanted to go more romantic," Fetman said of Fletcher’s big decision. “It was chiffon, it had movement...This is a beach, and this is something that she wanted to feel soft and pretty, romantic, and just feel different than everything we’ve already done. This dress is the total, 100% opposite of everything we had done all season.”
While Fletcher chose romance for her finale gown, most of the other looks she has worn in this season's rose ceremonies were tight-fitted and full of sparkle. Fetman chose those pieces with Fletcher before the season even started.
“You do everything the week before. We literally do fittings in two to three days,” he said. “I get to know her a little bit over the phone. I go through some of my questions that give me a little bit of insight into who they are and what they’re about, and how they like to look, and then I go shopping. And then they come and we have a whole little mini store set up for them of things that I have chosen.”
Fletcher has had a few standout looks this season, including the Gaucho-inspired outfit she wore on her date with Alex in Buenos Aires, the show-stopping Jay Godfrey blue dress she wore as she chose her final three, and the sparkly Randi Rahm gown that showed off just enough skin on her first night as the Bachelorette.
“We tried to do a mixture of different things, mixing the fantasy with some things that are realistic, get some things that are sexy, get some things that you would never see unless it was on a TV show,” he said.
But according to Fetman, while the Bachelorettes seem to always look perfectly dressed for each location, they don’t even know where they’ll be visiting.
“They have no clue,” he said. “They’re going into it for the first time, [picking] 10 weeks’ worth of clothes…The most I can I tell you is, ‘This time we’re looking for winter clothes, and this time we’re looking for spring clothes.’ You’re just having to put some faith into the person that you’re with. It’s a little give and take, but a lot of trust that builds up between the two of us.”
Trust is a big aspect of Fetman’s relationship with every Bachelorette he works with, and part of that comes with his approach to styling them.
"I tell all of them, ‘I’m not there to change you. I am merely there to help you," he said. "'This is your life, this is your journey, and this is hopefully going to be your love story. And so you have to feel 100% when you’re wearing the clothes, and it really can't have anything to do with me….I can pull the clothes. I can't tell you what you should be doing.'"
Fetman has styled a lot of looks throughout his years working on the ABC reality show, and while he can certainly put together 10 weeks’ worth of looks in several days, he’s not Superman. The stylist spilled on one fashion emergency that he just can’t forget, when a Bachelorette’s gown ripped on a date, and he was stuck hours away.
“She was wearing a ball gown, and she went to the ladies' room. One of our executive producers went with her to help her, and the whole zipper completely burst. They had nobody there to sew it,” he dished. “They were calling me in this panic, and I was trying to explain to them, ‘You can’t really zip it again. Just pin it, and put a piece of matching tape over it, and you’ll be fine.’ Even if I was there, there’s no way you can hand-sew her back into the gown. That’s how tight this gown was.”
Fetman also spilled on some of his proudest moments -- including dressing season seven Bachelorette Ashley Rosenbaum (nee Hebert) in her stunning Randi Rohm finale look. "She wore a pink dress that had these baby-like single strands of feathers hanging off of it at the bottom," he remembered fondly.
And as for his least favorite? That would be Shayne Lamas’ yellow number in the season 12 finale of The Bachelor. "Instead of evening apparel, we decided we were going to do a cocktail [dress]. I still to this day go, ‘Were you high?’ because how I allowed her to walk out looking like that is just beyond my comprehension," he admitted.
It seems Fetman is his own toughest critic -- until he saw the comments Fletcher received on her Instagram account. The celebrity stylist, who posts all of Fletcher’s looks on his own Instgram, is shocked by some of the criticism the Bachelorette receives.
"I think I would be sitting in the corner crying if I had those comments. I know what Kaitlyn went through last year [and] I know what JoJo is going through this year," he revealed. "People are much harder and much more critical of the girls than they are of the boys."
That’s right -- Fetman also dressed Fletcher’s final two men. And according to the TV stylist, while Jordan Rodgers and Robby Hayes have similar fashion sense, they couldn’t be more different.
"I’ll tell you, it's amazing that you have two guys who are so completely different, and yet, the one thing you'll find even in the finale, they're dressed similarly!” he exclaimed. "They both have a tendency to go to the same outfit -- same color, same outfit, same taste. Shocking!"
Fetman may have chosen what Rodgers and Hayes wore on that fateful day, but it’s Fletcher who will have to choose which man to spend her life with.
The season finale of The Bachelorette airs on Monday, Aug. 1 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
Get caught up on all the drama before Fletcher makes her final pick in the video below.