Whether he's breaking Tim Urban's T-shirt-and-jeans habit or finding jackets large enough to cover Michael Lynche's power-lifter arms, "American Idol" men's stylist Miles Siggins always has a trick up his sleeve.
Siggins's favorite "Idol" style secret: "Get a $250 suit at Zara or H&M, and take it to a great tailor," he tells StyleList. "You can spend $150 on tailoring and turn that inexpensive suit into something that looks custom."
Longtime stylist and designer Siggins, who also dresses host Ryan Seacrest, has been with "Idol" since season 2 and works with a weekly budget of $400 per finalist.
That's probably much less than he's spent on former clients like Brad Pitt and Michael Bublé. But depending on the contestant, Siggins explains, his allotment is "quite a little or quite a lot!"
With this season so heavy on male singers, is he particularly busy? "Indeed, but I've got this down to an art," says Siggins, who gets access to each contestant once a week for a two-hour speed shop.
Among his favorite spots: L.A. vintage superstore Wasteland. "Last week I picked up a Gucci shirt for $65!" gushes Siggins, who gave StyleList a few fashion notes on the remaining male contestants.
Lee DeWyze: Expect a transformation from this reserved but gifted singer, who reminds Siggins of season 7 champ David Cook. "He's shy and tends to hunch, and I am going to break that habit, because it affects how your clothes hang," Siggins says.
DeWyze is also being given crucial lessons about how clothes should fit. "American boys tend to wear their jeans way too big. I think it has a lot to do with the influence of hip-hop culture. With [Lee], everything is about things not being so baggy."
Andrew Garcia: "Normally I can sense a contestant's vibe and know where to go with it, but Andrew took a while to figure out. He's all about comfort. He just wanted to wear sweaters, and with his glasses, I worried he was starting to look like he should be sitting by a fireplace, narrating a series on the BBC."
When Siggins put a suit on Garcia last week, "He looked fabulous. It boosted his confidence and he had one of his best performances." Garcia liked the suited look so much, Siggins plans to use it again. "It doesn't always have to be a shirt and tie. We can put T-shirts or V-neck sweaters underneath."
Casey James: The suggestion that he put the sexy country singer in a navel-baring shirt to please drooling judge Kara DioGuardi makes Siggins laugh. Right now, though, he's just trying to convince James that he can wear something besides button-down Western shirts and jeans.
"I've pointed out Keith Urban -- he wears suits, he wears sweaters, he doesn't wear the same thing all the time," Siggins notes. "The nice thing about Casey is that he is going to listen, and I think you will see him try out a lot of different looks, which is great because I think he's going to be around for a while."
Aaron Kelly: The 16-year-old is the season's official young buck, and Siggins says it's his job to help the performer play to his teenage fan base. The fanciest Siggins may go with Kelly is a "jacket and great denim." The wardrobe challenge is fit.
"He's so small, he's difficult to get right. He's got a 28-inch waist." Siggins has had some luck finding clothes for Kelly at Abercrombie & Fitch. "He reminds me of [season 7 runner-up] David Archuleta," says Siggins. "He's young and fresh, and he needs to stay that way."
Michael Lynche: Siggins calls him "my dapper rapper," and says his inspiration for Lynche is today's Uptown hip-hop artist, "who dresses like he's on Wall Street." With a 56-inch chest, 40-inch waist, and 22-inch biceps, Lynche's body poses a challenge. "I've been buying a lot of things for him and having them tailored," says Siggins.
Such was the case with an elegant Calvin Klein velvet blazer Lynche wore two weeks ago. Siggins loved that look but was just as impressed with the leather jacket he put Lynche in last week. "That worked when he sat down with his guitar, and if he goes that route again, I may go more casual with him," he says. "Part of my job is thinking about the performance."
Tim Urban: The affable 19-year-old arrived in Hollywood with a suitcase containing three or four pairs of jeans and a pile of V-necks in all colors. Siggins thought Urban was going to be "my biggest project" but was surprised at his open-mindedness. The stylized, vintage looks Siggins had planned for Top 24 contestant Alex Lambert (who was cut from the competition) have worked well on Urban.
"I thought he was going to be more like [season 8 winner] Kris Allen, who really only wanted to be tweaked," says Siggins. "Tim has come in and said, 'I'm in your hands.' He's been open to this mod vibe I've tried with him, and last week, I really liked it."
Meanwhile, read about the "Idol" women's style secrets.