We all buy clothes, but no two people shop the same. It can be a social experience, and a deeply personal one; at times, it can be impulsive and entertaining, at others, purpose-driven, a chore. Where do you shop? When do you shop? How do you decide what you need, how much to spend and what’s “you”? These are some of the questions we’re putting to prominent figures in our column “How I Shop.”
As soon as I hop on a Zoom with Tayshia Adams, I was eager to talk about one thing — okay, many things, but one thing most urgently: the leather Rick Owens dress she wore to Katie Thurston’s “Men Tell All” episode. (Was this the first time Rick Owens appeared in the “Bachelor” franchise? Bachelor Nation fashion historians, do let me know.)
“Oh my gosh, that dress,” she tells me. “The second I saw that hanging up, I was like, ‘That’s it.’ It’s so interesting to look at. It’s so simple but sophisticated but has that slight edge of sexiness — and like, that’s me. That’s what I love. I thought, ‘We have not seen this on the [‘Bachelor’] rack and I will be the one wearing it, thank you very much.'”
Adams has been having a Big Fashion Summer, starting with an Oscar de la Renta and Magda Butrym one-two punch at the 2021 MTV Movie & TV Awards: Unscripted and followed up by a series of New York City street-style moments featuring brands like Area, Dries van Noten and Paco Rabanne, styled by Brian Meller. Then, there was her turn as a “mentor,” alongside Kaitlyn Bristowe, on Katie Thurston’s season of “The Bachelorette,” while wearing Fendi, Christopher Kane and AZ Factory (plus, the aforementioned Rick Owens moment).
The past year has been “a weird transition,” Adams says, going from being the Bachelorette to becoming bicoastal to leading the franchise first as a mentor and now, officially, as a co-host for the upcoming season — each of which has necessitated its own kind of wardrobe. As the lead on a network television program, the clothes may lean more feminine and less trend-based; but stepping into a new role within the franchise and having collaborated with Cary Fetman, the show’s stylist, on her on-screen wardrobe for back-to-back production cycles, she’s been able to explore different facets of herself and infuse her sartorial sensibilities into what we see on Monday nights.
“With Cary understanding my style and who I am like, he definitely can say, ‘This is your rack and you will be the only one to ever want to wear these items,'” she says. “And he’s right, because it’s a little bit more daring. My style has definitely evolved to be daring, yet still classy and sophisticated.”
That, and there’s the fact that when she’s not on the set of “The Bachelorette,” she now splits her time between Orange County, California and New York City, where she lives with fiancé Zac Clark. Naturally, that’s inspired another shift in the way she dresses.
“I was just down in Orange County, and the looks that I wanted to wear were very different than what I would typically wear. I looked at my closet like, ‘Yeah, I’ve outgrown all of this. This all needs to change,'” she says. “I feel very much so myself in New York, which is amazing.”
Ahead, Adams discusses how her approach to fashion has evolved over the years, reminisces about some of her favorite “Bachelorette” looks (and teases some of the fashion from Young’s season, which is currently filming) and shares some of the recent footwear purchases she can’t wait to wear in NYC. Read on.
“I feel like my personal style is very feminine — I like dainty, sophisticated, kind of simple designs, if you will. I don’t like anything that won’t translate years from now. I like things that are really timeless. It could be kind of edgy at times. I will tell you, Cary [Fetman] did bring out some of the edge in me.
“That style came from a younger age. I didn’t have a bunch of money growing up. I was a big bargain shopper. I always try to find clothing that can be worn a multitude of ways, and I learned that from my mom — just buying one top that can be worn with skirt, pants, jeans, this, that, this, that, and you can change it up with accessories and whatnot. That’s how I’ve always been. Very simple.
“With Cary [on ‘The Bachelorette’], it was my time to really embrace the fact that I was a woman, and really embrace my body, my curves, and feel powerful with it. I’ve never really been the type to even show off my breasts. I feel like they’ve been something that I’ve hidden. With him, it was like, ‘Girl, let’s fucking go’ — excuse my language — he was like, ‘You’re looking for a husband. You love the body that you’re in. You love the skin that you’re in. Let’s show it off.’ With that, I found that there was a way to do it, but still in a classy, sophisticated way.
“I really loved that hot pink silk Galvan dress that wrapped around my neck and draped on my back. I felt very comfortable and confident with it, covering and being sophisticated in the front but also [being] able to accentuate sexy features, like your back and shoulder blades and everything like that. So I feel like that was probably one of my favorite dresses.
“Then also, my night one dress [by Randi Rahm]: I feel like it was something that was very different, that a Bachelorette really hasn’t worn before, but, again, spoke to me and how I like to accentuate my body. I felt comfortable, being covered up but showing enough skin to feel like confident in myself. It’s funny, I love a good set. To me, it kind of almost reminded me of a set; I had my top, I had my bottom, and it just went together really well. But I think it just flattered the most female parts of my body; my hips and my lower back are some things I actually like on myself, then my clavicles and my shoulders are some things I feel really good about — that’s my favorite part of my body to show off. I was like, ‘If we’re gonna do this, let’s think outside the box. Let’s still be me, but push the envelope just a little bit.’ Because that’s what I like to do, and that’s what that dress was. There were a lot of other gowns with skinny spaghetti straps and a low back, but this one was just a little bit more edgy and was me and how I wanted to really embrace this entire experience.
“I will tell you, they did tell Cary, because he’d been wanting to dress me for so long — him and I both drool over clothing — like, ‘Fine, you want to go dress her? Here’s your chance. Go all out, have fun.’ And we definitely did. We definitely did.
“I can’t really give this massive, insightful packing regimen that I had for [my first appearance on ‘The Bachelor’], because I actually decided several days before. I didn’t finish packing for that season until that morning that I was leaving, because I didn’t know if it was for me. I didn’t buy one piece of clothing for that season. I just took my closet. My dresses that I wore to all of my rose ceremonies — thankfully, one of my girlfriends owns a bridal boutique, and I was like, ‘I need help. I’m supposed to be leaving in three, four days. I need 15 gowns.’ [She] somehow overnighted me maybe 20 gowns to try on. I went straight to her house, tried them on, grabbed 15 and left. It was very spur-of-the-moment for me to go on to that show, but again, I wore very simple things, like a short and a little blouse that you can probably still find me wearing. It was just very simple. Simple.
“Doing ‘Paradise’ was a little bit different. I did have a little bit more fun with my body, because I feel like I was very conservative on Colton’s season and then with ‘Paradise,’ I was like, ‘You know what? Let’s own this. Let’s rock it.’ I do not wear bikinis. I do not. But in ‘Paradise,’ you guarantee I was rocking that little two-piece. I had fun with it. That was really empowering for me. My style is a little bit more patterned and flowy, a couple of sets — again, I really like a good set.
“[When I became Bachelorette] I said I wanted to, obviously, think outside the box and, I keep saying this, but I really wanted to accentuate my body. Bodycon was very much so the thing that I wanted to go after. It’s really funny, I told [Fetman] no sequins, ever, and I wore a lot of sequins. I had to just commit to it. But I also really like a lot of things with different cuts; that’s another reason why my night one dress was very different. Generally, on ‘The Bachelorette,’ there are a lot of suits and very conservative pieces, because you’re trying to be this persona, of ‘I’m commanding a room.’ But for me, I feel like whatever I’m most comfortable in makes me feel more confident and I can command anything. So it was more bodycon stuff.
“I actually do I have a folder [of my favorite ‘Bachelorette’ looks]. I wore this really pretty Jonathan Simkhai two-piece set when I met Ivan [Hall]’s family, and that was probably one of my favorites — I loved that color, the ruching on the skirt was phenomenal, the drooped shoulder… Anything where I can show off my shoulders and my clavicles, that’s Tayshia to a T. I wore a green gown [by Randi Rahm] for a rose ceremony that had a gold chain around the neck; that was very different for me, I’ve never worn anything like that. And I love that, again, when it hugs your body and it kind of trumpets out at the bottom, it’s just so pretty.
“Hands down one of my favorite dresses of all time, it was a purple dress that had like tulle and held my shoulder, but was really tight and really form-fitting on the body. [The Cushnie look for Clark’s hometown date] was so good — the tulle that went across my shoulder. It was covered, but still sexy and sophisticated. It made you take a second look, and I like that. I like it when people have to take a second look at what you’re wearing.
“It’s actually amazing [now stepping into the host role]. I’ve started to look at bringing in a lot more Black designers, just because diversity is a huge thing that we’re trying to embrace in Bachelor Nation. I think it’s super fun to be able to add things that I would buy, from my personal style, and I’m able to actually wear it, because usually, on ‘Bachelorette,’ it’s way more dressy, it’s hand-beaded things and things that you typically wouldn’t wear day-to-day. But as a mentor and as a host, I can have a little bit more fun with things that I would wear down the street in New York City. That’s been a really big thing for me, to wear more Black designers this year. Even my night one dress for Michelle’s season — it’s not something that’s outrageously priced, but it is something that I would find online and I would purchase and I would rock it. It’s freakin’ amazing. I can’t wait for you guys to see it.
“It depends if I’m dressing up for dinner or if I’m going out to do some type of press and whatnot, but there are standard brands that I always wear. I mean, you can’t get better than a classic Levi’s jean. I’m a jean girl, through and through. I love a really good, classic top — white, black, gray, whatever — and then pairing it with a favorite denim and a really fun heel. Heels are my thing. Cary knows that: I will wear anything; as long as my shoes look good, I can take over the world.
“I have been wearing a lot of Galvan tops. There’s a store in New York called the Frankie Shop, and it has a lot of like really different pieces, like padded shoulder tops; a padded shoulder top is one of my favorite things to wear right now. It’s kind of crazy going back into this bubble [to film ‘The Bachelorette’] because I don’t really shop anymore — Cary does it for me.
“I have to really stand by who I work with and what I promote, especially because there are a lot of women that have similar body types as me that do look to me to get inspiration from and get advice. I wish I could count them every single day, but 100, 200 questions asking, ‘Wait, that sports bra looks so supportive. I have been dying to find one. What bra do you wear? How do you actually find support?’ It’s a very common question and concern. We’re always looking for something in our intimates. With that, I do try to find brands that I really would wear on a daily basis. I don’t always say yes, and I work with very minimal brands, promotion-wise, I feel like, especially with clothing.
“I look to a lot of models that I really am fond of [for style inspiration]. I love Kendall Jenner’s style, I love Jasmine Tookes‘ style, I love Hailey Bieber‘s style. There are just so many different women out there that have so much fun with their fashion. In a way, they change their persona and who they are for the day. I’ve never been that daring, growing up — it was more sophisticated and timeless things, but pushing the envelope has always been really fun. With them that’s what I kind of look for, grabbing little bits and pieces of their style and making them my own.
“I definitely have two closets and two types of clothes. My Orange County clothes stay in Orange County, and my New York style definitely stays in New York. It’s funny, because I feel like if I were to wear my Orange County clothing around New York, it’s just… It’s just different. I remember moving to New York, it being winter, and all I really had were skinny ankle jeans. And it was snowing. People were like, ‘You’re gonna need to get longer jeans for your ankles to be covered.’ I had to get all new jeans when I moved to New York. It’s a totally different style — I love to be a little bit more daring and wear cut-outs and have a really fun pop of shoe in New York. Over in Orange County, it’s more of a white sneaker and a little romper or a jean and a little lace cami. It’s nothing too crazy. It’s way more laid back. It’s fun, but I kind of want to go all-out now. It’s so funny, everyone [in Orange County is] just like, ‘Okay, you little city girl. Relax.’ It’s definitely evolved.
“[Working with stylist Brian Meller off the show] has been so fun. I feel like I’m constantly looking for fun new pieces I’d like to add to my wardrobe, and being able to brainstorm with someone who has pushed me out of my comfort zone has been exciting. I’ve learned not to prejudge something that I would typically never normally wear and to always try things on — typically I would call myself pretty conservative, but I’m a bit more daring than I thought. The Paco Rabanne dress is typically not something I think I could pull off, but I tried it on and loved it. I’m a sucker for a good white boot, and the Jimmy Choo Mavis are a staple in everyone’s closet. The fact that I was able to incorporate [it] into a funky outfit was awesome. Another one of my favorite looks was the Area outfit; I’m a total jean girl, and these were so funky and creative. It was a wild flair to add to a good staple jean, and everyone needs a wild bandana top.
“I literally always text my mother [when I’m considering a purchase] — if it’s a bag, if it’s a shoe, if it’s something that I’m kind of like, ‘Okay, this is gonna be kind of different,’ my mom… I’m telling you, she’s the one that I have seen transform one top into 15 different outfits, and I never understood how she could do it. I love my mom’s style. She’s always a great person to ask. She gets it.
“I just bought Amina Muaddi heels. I have been looking at them for forever. They’re orange and see-through, and I’m very excited for them. I cannot wear them here, but I cannot wait to rock them in New York City. I also got these really great Giuseppe Zanotti heels that are hot pink — they’re such a fun pop to any outfit that I can wear out in New York: white T-shirt, jeans and a fun pop of color or all black in the fun pop of color. I love that so much. Right now, I’m really into the pop of color with heels. [Shoes] take precedence. They have a big shelf that I really should be putting some my clothes on, but my clothes are on the floor and the shoes are on display.
“I love a good sneaker. When you’re the Bachelorette, you don’t really wear a sneaker unless you’re doing an athletic date. It’s always a heel and this, that and this. You’re just always really dressed to the nines. With being a mentor, it’s been really, really fun because I’m still able to dress up, but I’m definitely able to make it what I would wear every day and go out to dinner with Zac or some of my girlfriends in New York. And I love that. I love that I feel like I’m wearing something that I would like to take home and like it should be in my own closet. My style is definitely evolving to that, and I’m not so much like the Bachelorette anymore, which I miss — it’s sad because I loved that so much, but also, it’s really refreshing. It’s been really fun.”
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