Cole HauserRip Wheeler

Rip’s Signature Black Shirts On Yellowstone Are Actually Made Up Of All Sorts Of Hidden Colors

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Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser) is the badass foreman of the Yellowstone Ranch on “Yellowstone.” According to an interview with ET, “Yellowstone” creator Taylor Sheridan had Hauser in mind to play Rip from the beginning, and Hauser joked that he had Sheridan in mind too, and had been a fan of the creator’s work for years. In an interview with Town & Country Magazine, Hauser explained that he never expected Rip to become so popular with fans, and neither did Sheridan. Both men assumed that fans would despise the character for his violent, murderous tendencies, and were quite surprised when the opposite happened.

Some fans do tend to see Rip the way Sheridan originally intended, despite the character’s overwhelming popularity. In a 2022 thread in the r/YellowstonePN subreddit, u/mo0nrover posited the theory that Rip is the true villain of the series, arguing that he’s primarily responsible for the killing that goes on at the ranch. Fans did not appreciate having one of their favorite characters badmouthed, with one user from a now-deleted account saying “Guess I am pro villain, then.” Redditor u/DualCay0te argued, instead, that Rip’s biggest fault is that he’s fiercely loyal, and that could be a positive trait if it wasn’t for the fact that the person he’s loyal to is a murderer as well.

Redditor u/JennnnnP also agreed that Rip is simply loyal and that John is the true villain. Another Redditor, u/Wolfgar57, pointed out that there are almost no characters on the show who are good people, so singling one character out as the villain seems somewhat arbitrary.

One of Rip’s trademarks, which might mirror this semi-villainous role, is his plain, black shirts that he’s always wearing. But according to costume designer Johnetta Boone, just like the character, Rip’s black shirts aren’t simply black at all.

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Rip’s shirts have different undertones to express different emotions

In an interview with “The Official Yellowstone Podcast,” costume designer Johnetta Boone explained that the plain black shirts aren’t just black at all. Apparently, there are six different black shirts, each of which Boone has dyed with a different undertone to convey the character’s different emotions. She said that, for example, if Rip is ever in a scene where the only other character there is Beth, then she typically uses a shirt with a warmer undertone like brown or forest green. Perhaps this adds a level of depth that helps fans see Rip as multi-faceted.

Fans don’t seem to have noticed the undertones at all, with most simply seeing his wardrobe as all black. In another thread in the r/YellowstonePN subreddit, a Redditor with a since-deleted account posed a question asking if Rip only has one set of clothes or if he has an entire closet full of identical black outfits. Redditor u/rethinkingat59 pointed out that “Yellowstone” is a neo-western, and people in westerns are often seen wearing the same clothes repeatedly. Redditor u/spif_spaceman was the only one to notice that some of Rip’s shirts differ from each other slightly.

While fans weren’t consciously aware of Boone’s tactic of dying the shirts with different undertones, it likely creates more of a subconscious mood for the fans. It’s definitely a clever trick on the part of the costume designer, and one that adds a subtle new dimension to the already clever show.

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