Kevin Costner as John Dutton, wealthy ranch patriarch and Montana Livestock Association commissioner
Western Montana, Fall 2017
– “Daybreak” (Episode 1.01, dir. Taylor Sheridan, aired 6/20/2018)
– “Kill the Messenger” (Episode 1.02, dir. Taylor Sheridan, aired 6/27/2018)
– “The Remembering” (Episode 1.06, dir. Taylor Sheridan, aired 8/1/2018)
– “A Monster Is Among Us” (Episode 1.07, dir. Taylor Sheridan, aired 8/8/2018)
– “A Thundering” (Episode 2.01, dir. Ed Bianchi, aired 6/19/2019)
– “New Beginnings” (Episode 2.02, dir. Ed Bianchi, aired 6/26/2019)
Creator: Taylor Sheridan & John Linson
Costume Designers: Ruth E. Carter & Brit Ellerman (Season 1) & Johnetta Boone (Season 2 onward)
Tomorrow night, the Dutton family returns to TV with the fifth season premiere of Yellowstone, Taylor Sheridan and John Linson’s modern-day Western series chronicling the fictional conflicts of a cattle ranch, an Indian reservation, and land developers against a lush Montana landscape.
The series centers around the widowed Yellowstone Ranch patriarch, John Dutton III (Kevin Costner), who puts considerable thought into his words and actions and whose primary motivation seems to be proudly maintaining his ranch to continue his family’s legacy to his now-adult children.
The heir apparent to the Yellowstone ranch appears to be John’s oldest son Lee (Dave Annable), who gets killed while serving in his official capacity for the Montana Livestock Association, attempting to retrieve the ranch’s cattle from the Broken Rock Reservation. The loss leaves John looking to his remaining three children: the uptight lawyer Jamie (Wes Bentley), the dangerously protective Beth (Kelly Reilly), and the wild card Navy SEAL Kayce (Luke Grimes), who is all but estranged from the rest of his family. With family like this, who needs enemies?
What’d He Wear?
Yellowstone takes ranch dressing to the next level, though it’s brands like Filson, Barbour, Carhartt, and Wrangler in the spotlight rather than Hidden Valley or Wishbone. The authentic, lived-in cowboy gear contributes to the show’s overall verisimilitude, though John Dutton—whose position has elevated him above the daily fray—wears an elevated version of this workwear, still rugged enough to be respected by his wranglers while also just tasteful enough to serve him adequately when representing the ranch in town.
“John Dutton is continuing a legacy and will let nothing get in his way,” costume designer Johnetta Boone explained this month to Cowboys & Indians magazine. “He’s also a cowboy, so we keep his lines defined. He always pops his collar to emphasize power. He has a subtle elegant Western look with a stylish flare. It’s one that’s not mistaken for a trend. It communicates his core values. He’s a cowboy to the deepest part of his heart.”
An early staple of John’s screen wardrobe is a distinctive ski jacket, characterized by a rusty orange Western-pointed yoke over the shoulders of the tan waist-length body. “We made him the old-style ’70s ski coat which was popular amongst the Western dress,” confirmed Ruth E. Carter, costume designer for the first season of Yellowstone, in a behind-the-scenes featurette.
The style was inspired by the down jackets pioneered in the early 1970s by the Powderhorn company of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Carter explained to IndieWire that she began her work on the series by visiting Costner in Utah, where he cycled through an assortment of Western wear that could be replicated for use on the series. “One of them was a ’70s ski jacket that we recreated as a beige and orange,” added Carter. “It turned out to be a nice signature piece with a vintage color combination on him.”
John’s orange-over-tan ski jacket prominently debuts in the first episode and would be featured throughout the first two seasons of Yellowstone. The outer shell appears to be nylon ripstop as used for sailing cloth, good for resistance to the elements while also wearing light over his typical layers. The orange yoke is sewn to the jacket along the back, though each pointed front portion also serves as a short flap that closes over the two patch-style chest pockets with a single brass-finished snap. The jacket also has two hand pockets, each with a vertical entry. The fixed set-in sleeves are tan to match the body of the coat, with snap-fastened cuffs.
The collar is orange to continuously match the surrounding shoulder yokes and can be flipped up to serve as a full-covering funnel neck, should the wearer choose to zip the jacket all the way up. The waistband also has a short tab extending from the left side that could snap onto the right side of the waistband to snugly close the jacket over the waist, with an additional snap-closed adjuster tabs rigged on each side of the waistband toward the back.
Episode 1.01: “Daybreak”
While struggling to treat his head wound after the auto crash that kicked off the series, John has a heated conversation with his son Jamie about his reluctance to be properly seen by a doctor as well as to capitulate to a developer’s request to buy their land, advising his son that “leverage is knowing if someone had all the money in the world, this is what they’d buy.” We then follow him as he makes his rounds, joining Lee at the contentious scene at the Broken Rock Reservation, where he hopes Jamie can find some legal recourse for action.
These scenes establish a template for John Dutton’s everyday attire, typically comprised of a Western-style snap shirt and jeans, layered under a vest and jacket.
In this case, the shirt is a blue denim cotton with Western-style pointed yokes, two flapped pockets, and triple-snap cuffs. The silver-toned snaps on the front placket, pocket flaps, and cuffs are filled in white for a rich contrast against the rich blue body of the shirt. Snaps (also known as “poppers”) have a time-tested and authentic heritage on Western wear, pioneered in the early 20th century by Rockmount Ranch Wear founder “Papa Jack” A. Weil to dress cowboys in shirts that would easily break away should the cloth get snagged on anything. Traditionally, all of the buttons are snaps except for that at the neck, which is fastened by a traditional button as seen on John’s shirts.
“Daybreak” also debuts a vest that John would wear for much of the first season, with charcoal quilted flannel outer shell, piped along the edges and lined in a gray plaid fleece. The vest has six gunmetal-finished snaps that extend from the straight-cut waist hem up to the neck, where the vest has a large shirt-style point collar with a waxed cotton reverse side. The vest also has a large hand pocket on each side, with the curved entries positioned along the seams below each armpit.
John initially wears the blue denim jeans you’d expect, though the light-medium wash jeans we see beginning in “Daybreak” aren’t from the venerated Western-favorite brands like Levi’s or Wrangler as worn by his cowboys. The distinctive medallion stitch over each back pocket has clearly identified John’s preferred jeans as Double RL, the Western-oriented Ralph Lauren brand inspired by the owner’s RRL ranch in Colorado.
The Ralph Lauren jeans weren’t just favored by the fictional John Dutton, but they had also been a favorite of Kevin Costner in real life. Unfortunately for the actor, his favorite pair had been discontinued but this challenge was swiftly met by costume designer Ruth E. Carter and her team. “We had to go to the denim doctor and fix that up for him,” Carter explained to Gold Derby. “We had to have fabrics specially dyed, but when he saw them and tried them on, he actually liked them better,” Carter elaborated for IndieWire, explaining that the RRL jeans were recreated right down to the same denim gauge and exact button bindings, ultimately creating an additional 14 pairs to supplement Costner’s original jeans.
Prominently seen at the Broken Rock Reservation and the following scene at the Greater Montana Livestock Auction, John fastens his dark brown leather belt with an oversized gold buckle with an equestrian relief, similar to those awarded to rodeo winners.
A true cowboy, John comes by his wide-brimmed hats honestly, appropriately favoring those in the cattleman style, as characterized by their tall, narrow crowns with a ridge through the center, flanked by a crease on each side. The shape resulted from Carter’s research of hats worn specifically by Montana ranchers as opposed to other parts of the country, as she told IndieWire that “these details were important to know so that we weren’t mixing up the hats with what they wear in the Southwest.”
For the first three seasons of the series, hats for most of the principal cast—including Kevin Costner as John—were made by Greeley Hat Works of Greeley, Colorado. The chocolate brown felt cattleman’s hat we see first with this jacket has a narrow band of the same brown felt, detailed with a silver-toned ranger-style buckle on the left side.
Later in “Daybreak”, John’s work on the ranch is interrupted when he spots developer Dan Jenkins (Danny Huston) golfing on adjacent land, riding out to confront him and assure him that “nothing happens in this valley I don’t know about.” After leaving Dan to consider his threats, John returns to the ranch where his once-estranged son Kayce has brought his young son Tate (Brecken Merrill) to ride with his grandfather.
Though he wears the same charcoal quilted vest as he had previously, the rest of John’s wardrobe varies aside from his ski jacket and boots. His Western shirts are generally styled the same, with pointed yokes and snaps on the placket, pockets, and cuffs, and this pale-blue shirt with its narrow white stripes is no exception.
John also debuts another cattleman’s-style hat from Greeley Hat Works, this time in a lighter beige felt similar to silverbelly, derived from the soft stomachs of beavers. The black braided band is woven in three rows, with the center row intermittently woven in a white thread for a “dotted line” effect. As of 2022, Greeley Hat Works sells replicas of this hat they made for Costner, described as having a “classic Reiner crease” with a 5 3/4″ crown and 4 1/4″ brim.
John often wears a pair of tan cotton jeans that maintain the same style as traditional jeans with their belt loops and five-pocket layout, with the stitching across the back pockets identifying these as also RRL-inspired trousers. He wears a dark brown tooled leather belt but with a plain dulled brass single-prong buckle rather than the more ornate rodeo-style buckle he had worn earlier. A small sheath for his pocketknife or multi-tool is holstered on the right side of his belt.
Episode 1.02: “Kill the Messenger”
John wears the jacket again in the second episode, “Kill the Messenger”, during the brief sequence at a rodeo where he asks his friend Carl (Fredric Lehne) for help to “unscrew something”. His outfit is essentially the same as the last time we saw the jacket, worn with his charcoal quilted collared vest, tan jeans, and the silverbelly hat with black-and-white woven band.
The light blue denim snap-front shirt under his layers appears to be the same one worn earlier in the day when talking to Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser) about their newest cowboy. The shirt has a narrow point collar, the usual pointed front and back yokes, and pointed pockets with shallow pointed flaps. These flaps have the same mother-of-pearl snaps as seen on the cuffs and up the intentionally bunched-looking front placket.
The unique stitch pattern over each pocket resembles those on the back pockets of his tan jeans, suggesting that his shirt is either Double RL or one of the shirts custom-made by Carter’s team to resemble them.
Episode 1.06: “Remembering”
John keeps the orange-over-tan ski jacket in the back of his closet for a few episodes, reemerging for the drama of the sixth episode where his day begins by finally explaining the root of his and Kayce’s conflict to Kayce’s wife Monica (Kelsey Asbille). After he speeds Kayce to her school to comfort Monica after she was knocked out trying to break up a fight between students, John returns home only to be confronted by Jamie and Beth about hiding his cancer diagnosis… though he has some confronting of his own planned.
John again wears his silverbelly hat with the black-and-white woven band, his RRL blue jeans, and his brown tooled leather belt with the hefty matte brass single-prong buckle, the knife holster rigged to the right side.
Over a sky-blue flannel snap-front shirt with double-snap cuffs and the usual Western-style pointed yokes, John wears a different charcoal vest than the collared version we’d seen previously. Unlike the snap-front collared vest, this is cut more like a traditional waistcoat, with a V-shaped opening at the top of the chest and five buttons to close. Four rectangular patch-style buttons cover the front, with the chest pockets open at the top and the larger hand pockets accessed from the gently slanted side openings.
I feel confident identifying this as the Filson Mackinaw Wool Vest, made from 24-oz. virgin Mackinaw wool, the weather-resistant fabric that Filson describes as “manufactured with uncommonly-tight weave [that] excels at blocking the wind and withstands hard use for decades… There’s a very good reason it’s been a cornerstone in the Filson product line for more than half a century—it performs admirably in countless situations out of doors, or in.”
Episode 1.07: “A Monster Is Among Us”
Following a post-colon cancer MRI, John encounters his grandson Tate at Bozeman General Hospital and drives him back to the ranch, layered for the chilly early winter’s day in his usual first-season kit of ski jacket, silverbelly hat, and tan jeans held up by the brown tooled leather belt. He has returned to wearing the charcoal quilted collared snap-front vest, now worn over a light slate-colored denim snap-front shirt with Western yokes, two chest pockets with snap-down flaps, and triple-snap cuffs.
Episode 2.01: “A Thundering”
When costume designer Johnetta Boone took over for the second season, she noted in a behind-the-scenes featurette that the characters’ “closets were kind of established already” by the first season’s costume designers Ruth E. Carter and Brit Ellerman, so Boone was able to smoothly continue each character’s aesthetic. To reintroduce John Dutton to audiences for the new season, she cited that “iconically, the JD jacket was the first thing that popped, which is the taupe with the rust Western yoke. It was perfect, it fit him perfectly, and then I was able to build his additional costumes from there.”
John wears the jacket while out with his cowboys, including Kayce who has risen as the prodigal son in the wake of Jamie’s recent estrangement. As he had in the first season, he continues layering the ski jacket over a vest and Western shirt, though the execution generally differs from what we had been used to seeing.
With its standing collar reminiscent of bomber jackets, thick black-taped zipper, and prominent patch-style hand pockets with slanted openings, this forest-green sleeveless vest is likely the Filson Mackinaw Wool Vest Liner, which “doubles as a zip-in liner with select Filson jackets,” according to Filson and is made from the same naturally water-repellant 24-oz. virgin Mackinaw wool as the earlier-mentioned Filson vest.
John’s shirt is a lighter shade of olive than his vest, detailed with the usual snap-front placket and Western yokes, though the deep plunging back yoke adds some additional character to the shirt. The two chest pockets are covered by double-snap “sawtooth”-style flaps, and each cuff closes with two snaps.
Given that he’s been riding, John appoints his usual look with yellowed tan leather three-point work gloves and chaps over his usual tan RRL jeans, held up here by a dark brown leather belt with a squared brass-toned single-prong buckle. The tan fringed leather chaps have a wide dark brown tooled leather waist that ties in the front and buckles closed in the back through a silver-toned single-prong buckle.
Of the jeans, costume designer Johnetta Boone was grateful for the additional pairs created by Carter’s team for the first season. “He’s worn the same pair of Double RL jeans probably for 15 years,” Boone revealed to Gold Derby of Costner’s denim preferences. “He doesn’t take kindly to replicating something, so we replicated it only to use for stunt scenes so we don’t burn the original heroes. Luckily, Double RL rereleased that jean, so I was able to get a few more pairs, which then built on the collection that we had. And he absolutely does keep them with him because they are in his arsenal. That’s all he wears. That’s how we move about. We use the replicas when we need to destroy something and then keep the authentic pairs in pristine shape so that we can use them throughout the series.”
With a new season also comes new cowboy hats for John, almost certainly by the same Greeley Hat Works that made the Dutton family’s headgear in the first season. In the first episode, he wears what appears to be a reimagining of the silverbelly hat from the first season, maintaining the same color felt but with a more straightforward black-and-white woven band that keeps a generally continuous white stripe through the center. The hat shape also has a lower crown that his cattleman-style hats of the first season, perhaps closer to the cutter style as it maintains its dramatically wide and curved brim.
Episode 2.02: “New Beginnings”
John wears the jacket for the last time (to date) in the second episode of the second season, appropriately titled “New Beginnings”. Following his release from the hospital, he makes the controversial decision for Kayce to lead the day’s cattle drive rather than the tried-and-true Rip, whom he assigns to ride drag with Lloyd.
For the tough conversations he has with Kayce and Rip around this decision, John wears a dusty black felt cutter-style cowboy hat with a narrow black tooled leather band that closes through a sterling silver ranger-style buckle with matching keeper and tip.
He maintains his shirt-and-vest aesthetic through the jacket’s final appearance, layering it over a charcoal heavy twill work shirt that differs from his earlier shirts with its russet-toned traditional buttons rather than snaps.
Identified by a small branded leather patch at the top of the back, the Barbour gilet has a charcoal baffle-quilted polyester body and brown suede patches curved over the front of each shoulder. The vest has a short standing collar that matches its body, with the front zip closing all the way up to create a short “funnel neck”. We don’t see much of the vest below the fence rail, but we can assume that there are hand pockets, either simple set-in pockets or snap-flapped bellows pockets with handwarmer pockets behind them like the current edition of the Barbour Bradford Gilet.
The orange-over-tan ski jacket makes its final appearance in “Resurrection Day” (Episode 2.07) as John moves into Lee’s old cabin, allowing Kayce and Monica to live in the main house. Among the sparse belonging John carries, we see the yoked jacket slung over his shoulder.
Perhaps concerned that the one-off coat made by the first-season costume designers couldn’t be replicated, Yellowstone‘s costume team likely chose to quietly retire the jacket, replaced in spirit by the similarly colored shearling jacket with brown Western-yoked shoulders that would appear through the later episodes of the third season.
Aside from the jacket itself, John Dutton maintains some general consistency with his apparel like his boots and sunglasses.
There are certainly folks better versed in cowboy boots than I am, so I can only default to organizing the well-informed thoughts of what others have shared. A comment on Northwest Farm Dad’s Youtube video The Boots of Yellowstone” cited that John’s brown leather cowboy boots through the first season were detailed with a cutter toe, full-stitch welt, and stacked leather heels that were unique to the San Antonio-based bootmaker Lucchese at the time of the show’s premiere. Others, including Jeremiah Craig, have decided that John likely wore the classic-looking Justin “Shawnee” model, detailed with the usual “bug-and-wrinkle” medallions stitched over each toe-box.
An IndieWire interview with costume designer Ruth E. Carter seems to put the confusion to rest, explaining that “Costner’s boots were custom-made, based on his favorite pair, but he also fell in love with a pair of Justins that were soft and comfortable.” Whether Justin made any screen-worn boots or not, they capitalized on a partnership with the series with a Yellowstone collection released in 2019.
Though John often thumbs his nose at talk of progress, he doesn’t rely entirely on the wide brims of his cowboy hats to keep the sun out of his eyes, often pulling on a pair of dark tortoise rectangular-framed sunglasses made by John Varvatos, as identified by the guitar headstock-shaped temple logos.
The specific model has been determined to be the John Varvatos V791, as suggested by several Redditors, constructed from dark tortoise cellulose acetate (or “zyl” plastic).
How to Get the Look
The cowboy hat and boots may be best reserved for anyone with the equestrian or cattle-ranching experience to earn them, but the rest of John Dutton’s Western-influenced workwear provides a comfortable and rugged template for practical layering during chillier seasons, anchored by an unobtrusive but eye-catching two-toned ski jacket over a vest, snap-front shirts, and blue or tan jeans.
- Tan nylon zip-up waist-length ski jacket with orange Western-pointed yoke with snap-flapped chest pockets, straight-entry side pockets, snap-fastened cuffs, and snap-fastened waist adjuster tabs
- Charcoal quilted flannel vest with six gunmetal snaps, shirt-style collar, and curved side-entry pockets
- Blue Western-styled shirt with pointed yokes, snap-up front placket, two chest pockets (with snap-down flaps), and triple-snap cuffs
- Blue denim or tan cotton Ralph Lauren “Double RL” jeans with belt loops and five-pocket layout
- Dark brown tooled leather belt with large matte brass single-prong buckle
- Brown leather cutter-toe cowboy boots with raised leather heels
- Silverbelly felt cattleman’s-style cowboy hat with narrow black-and-white braided band
- John Varvatos V791 dark tortoise zyl rectangular-framed sunglasses
Unless you’re looking for a screen-perfect Yellowstone costume, you’d be well-advised to stick to finding your own style from among the trusted Western brands that the Dutton family and ranch get their gear. Washington-based outfitter Filson is among the most prominent of the bunch, capitalizing on its Yellowstone connection with a dedicated page on its site.
To incorporate more Yellowstone-inspired style into your wardrobe, check out this excellent post by Iconic Alternatives.
Do Yourself a Favor and…
The popularity of the series has already inspired a trio of spinoffs that follow the Dutton family saga, including the historically set 1883 and 1923 with the upcoming 6666 set in modern-day Texas.
You can also learn more about the costume design on Yellowstone from these articles and videos that were sourced for this post:
- Behind the Lines: “RUTH CARTER dives deep into the fabric of the American West with YELLOWSTONE” by Debbie Elias (April 4, 2019)
- Gold Derby: “Ruth E. Carter explains how she made Old West outfits look new again for ‘Yellowstone’” by Joyce Eng (June 9, 2019)
- Gold Derby: “Why ‘Yellowstone’ costume designer Johnetta Boone loves giving characters ‘signature pieces’” by Joyce Eng (June 30, 2020)
- IndieWire: “Oscar Winner Ruth Carter Reimagined Western Costume Design for ‘Yellowstone’ Patriarch Kevin Costner” by Bill Desowitz (April 29, 2019)
- Jeremiah Craig on Youtube: “Cowboy Boots in 5 Modern TV Shows” (Aug. 12, 2021)
- Northwest Farm Dad on Youtube: “The Boots of Yellowstone” (Feb. 25, 2022)
- Northwest Farm Dad on Youtube: “The Cowboy Boots of Yellowstone” (Jan. 25, 2022)
- South China Morning Post: “How Yellowstone’s John Dutton and Beth Dutton keep it real in clothes that fit their characters and the top-rated US show’s Montana ranch setting” by Vincenzo La Torre (Jan. 4, 2022)
- Yellowstone on Youtube: “Costume Designer Ruth E. Carter Breaks Down the Wardrobe” (Oct. 22, 2018)
- Yellowstone on Youtube: “Working the Yellowstone: Costume Designer Johnetta Boone” (Aug. 5, 2020)
When you say no, it must be the death of the question. If there’s even a hint of maybe, the questions won’t stop until they find something you can’t say no to.