Going on a reality show and need some wardrobe inspo? Here's what to pack for elimination ceremonies, group dates and more.
So, you’re going on a reality dating show, and you want to know what to pack? Or, maybe you’re a longtime fan of reality relationship shows like “The Bachelor” franchises, “Temptation Island,” and “F-Boy Island” and you want to know where the women get their fashion inspo.
Contestants on reality relationship shows spend thousands of dollars on their clothing. There are unspoken rules (never wear the same thing twice) and very specific rules from producers (no logos, because that presents copyright issues). Over the years, former Bachelor contestants have shared behind-the-scenes secrets about what they’re allowed and not allowed to bring for their whirlwind experiences.
According to one report, contestants are told to pack for a minimum of 5 days and a maximum of 9 weeks (!) for Bachelor-related shows. Imagine packing for a 9-week stint on a reality dating show, only to be sent home on night one. Yikes. That’s one reason why many contestants make friends with other contestants — so they can share clothing.
We have a similar post for men: “Bachelorette Inspired Wardrobe: What to Wear on Reality Dating Shows (Men)”
Here’s what producers might recommend that you pack for your role on reality dating shows:
- Evening attire, including cocktail dresses
- Dressy dinner attire
- Casual clothes for lounging between “dates”
- Workout attire for athletic-themed challenges and dates
- Winter wear and outerwear
- Beach wear, swimsuits
What’s not allowed on reality dating shows? Clothing with big, visible logos. Why? You might have noticed that sometimes logos are blurred out on reality (and other) shows. It could be because the producers felt it was distracting, but more likely it’s because they don’t have a product placement agreement with the brand. Showing the logo on screen wouldn’t be illegal; that falls into what’s called “fair use.” It’s producers’ choice whether to show a logo or not, but if you see a logo it might be because the show has a product placement agreement with the brand.
Contestants have reported that the biggest expense for their stints on reality dating shows is wardrobe. According to several sources, Jillian Harris spent $8,000 on clothes when she was a contestant, and Olivia Caridi spent over $40,000. Many women have reported similar four- and five-figure expenditures. Harris, by the way, went on to be a lead on The Bachelorette. If you’re lucky enough to become a lead, the show pays for your wardrobe.
Where Do Bachelor Contestants Get Their Dresses?
Some Bach-Nation contestants have been able to negotiate deals with dressmakers, clothing retailers and brands, so they can promote their attire. However, because of nondisclosure agreements, this is challenging. Also, unless you've already got a large following on social media, you won't have a lot of leverage to negotiate a trade in advance.
That said, many eliminated Bachelor contestants have gone on to appear on "Bachelor in Paradise," leveraging the clout they earned on their original stint, which allows them to negotiate fashion deals. Bachelor in Paradise outfits are much easier to prepare for, as you'll need a lot of resort-wear.
Without further ado, here are fashion ideas for your Bachelor or other reality dating show adventures! Enjoy and we hope you find what you're looking for.
Evening Attire for Your First Rose Ceremony
A bodycon dress in a metallic neutral has been the trend among elimination ceremonies, and the sparkling fabrics make a statement. It’s the look you want when you’re feeling confident. Look for golds, silvers, off-whites and sparkling beiges in full-length hems.
Statement Dress for Your Entrance or ‘Villain Edit’
The statement dress is unforgettable. It says, “I have something to say. Remember me.” Wear it for your entrance or your re-entrance. Lots of contestants have worn their statement dresses when they try to make a comeback after being eliminated. It’s a risky moment that demands a risky look. We like the look of a maxi dress with cutouts for these moments.
For a Casual One-on-One Date
If you’re lucky enough to be one of the chosen few to go on a romantic one-on-one date with the lead (or the dreaded two-on-one elimination date), choose a comfortable look with just the right amount of bling. A two-piece tracksuit looks cute AF with heels.
Stand-Out ‘Fits for Group Dates
The most cringe-worthy dates are the group dates, where you’ll likely be put in some very unlikely situation where you’re competing with other women, whether it’s herding cattle (seriously, this happens), playing tag football, reciting a love poem in front of an audience, or painting a portrait of the lead. A cute short set takes the attention away from your embarrassing performance and lets you shine in your signature look.
Loungewear For Girl Time
And, finally, for all those “girl chats” where you have candid conversations with other contestants or “in the moment” narrations confiding to a camera, you want to be comfortable with coordinating separates. Sexy, comfortable coordinating short sets and track sets are just what you’ll need for these mostly off-camera days.