John Marston Costume Guide

diy john marston costume guide for cosplay

With Red Dead Redemption 2 on the horizon, now is the perfect time to start planning your John Marston cosplay. This guide will show you how to make a costume that is accurate to the game and easy to put together. So get your cowboy hat ready, and let’s get started!


How to Dress Like John Marston from Red Dead Redemption

For people who are used to wearing cosplay of their favorite video game characters, making a Red Dead Redemption costume may seem like a big task. The cosplayer typically favors urban or fantasy attire in contemporary costumes.

But let us not forget that just because cowboy attire is no longer a common sight at Halloween parties, it does not mean it cannot be executed with panache. The key to a successful Red Dead Redemption cosplay is, of course, the hat. Let us begin there, shall we?

Cowboy Hat

For the crowning piece of your Red Dead Redemption cosplay, you will need to find a quality cowboy hat with a curved brim. I understand that buying an authentic (and sometimes expensive) costume hat may not be within everyone’s means.

For this reason, I’d recommend looking at options at a local thrift store, or even borrowing one from a friend. It’s possible to go the DIY route, but not recommended except for more seasoned cosplayers.

Minnetonka Men's 9619 - Silverton Dude Hat L
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Beard

With the hat as the foundation, we now turn our attention to the rugged facial appearance of the Red Dead Redemption protagonist. To truly embody the character, one must cultivate a natural beard.

But, as we all know, not all of us are blessed with the ability to grow abundant facial hair. For these unfortunates, I recommend using a fake black beard, applied with spirit glue or adhesive, to achieve the desired look. A touch of dishevelment is also recommended for authenticity.

Shirt & Vest

Now that the hat and beard are in place, we can go on to the rest of the clothing required for the Red Dead Redemption costume. To round off the outfit, you’ll need a filthy white long-sleeved shirt and a beige or brown jean jacket vest.

Most old west costumes will have a white shirt that will work, but if you want to go all out, I suggest getting your hands messy and applying some real mud to the shirt to give it a dirty, worn look.

You can’t accurately portray this character without trying to replicate it’s gritty, rustic aesthetic.

Zicac Men's Top Design Denim Vest Waistcoat with Broken Holes (M/Asia Tag 3XL, Blue)
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Red Kap Chef DesignsNeckerchief, Red, 40x20
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Hot Leathers GVD1002 Classic Deerskin Unlined Driving Gloves (Black, Large)
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Jeans

Completing the ensemble, we turn our attention to the denim trousers of the Red Dead Redemption costume. A skinny or boot-cut fit in classic blue denim is an ideal choice. And while one can easily find a suitable pair at any clothing store, those seeking to truly capture the essence of the character may choose to craft their own.

Old denim material can be repurposed, or new fabric can be purchased, to achieve the desired look. The addition of studs on the back pockets can also add a touch of authenticity. As always, let your creativity be your guide.

Levi's Men's 505 Regular Fit Jeans, Black, 36W x 32L
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Boots

What kind of cowboy doesn’t wear boots? These leather cowboy boots are just as essential to pulling off John Marston cosplay as the cowboy hat is. If you haven’t worn them before, walking around in cowboy boots can take some getting used to, but I assure you will get the hang of it in short order.

Durango Men's Trucker 11" Western Boot
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Scars

Except for the gunshot holes, John Marston’s vest in Red Dead Redemption 2 is blank. He also has scars on his cheeks and jaw, the one on his left being larger than the one on his lower jaw.

To create your own lifelike scar, you can use liquid latex or spirit gum. Fake scars are available at any costume store. Bullet holes painted on any type of poncho will serve as a vest. There’s nothing else to do for Halloween than dress up as John Marston from Red Dead Redemption.

Bandolier & Holster

The final thing required to dress up as John Marston from Red Dead Redemption is a standard bandolier and a holster. This will all but complete your costume, so you can’t fail by going out and buying these items.

Smiffys mens Authentic Western Wandering Gunman Belt & Holster Brown , One Size
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Forum Novelties Deluxe Ammo Belt 60 inch - Bullet Belt Halloween Prop Weapon - Gold & Black
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Rifle

If you want to go all the way and be accurate with your costume, then there is one more thing you can get: a rifle and ammo. Make sure to get a Winchester rifle for John Marston’s repeater and find some dummy cartridges. If this sounds too hard or expensive, it’s okay; these things are not needed to complete your John Marston costume.

Toysmith Wild West Metal Cap Gun
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DIY Costume Tutorials

Cosplay Examples

About John Marston’s Look

John Marston is a man of many contradictions. A former outlaw, now forced to work for the government, he is a complex character that struggles with his past and his desire for redemption. He is a physical force, standing tall at 6’1″ with a muscular build, a true reflection of the life he’s led.

Marston’s rugged exterior is further emphasized by his short, dark brown hair, mustache and thick beard. He is almost always seen in his trademark outfit, comprising of a dirty white shirt, denim vest, studded blue jeans, worn brown boots, and a black cowboy hat. He carries his trusty revolver and hunting rifle, as if they are an extension of himself. Marston’s appearance changes as the game progresses reflecting his journey, from being wounded and dirty, to bloodied and worn, It’s a testament to the game’s storytelling and attention to detail.

Wrapping Up

Dressing up as John Marston, the legendary outlaw from Rockstar Games’ hit franchise Red Dead Redemption, is a simple and fun endeavor. Whether it’s for Halloween or a convention, all you need to channel Marston’s rugged charm is a few key items.

You can either make the pieces yourself or purchase items that closely resemble the character’s iconic wardrobe. The essentials include a beard, cowboy hat, shirt, vest, jeans and boots. With these elements in place, you’ll be well on your way to embodying the rough-and-tumble outlaw from the wild west.

But don’t just take my word for it, why not give it a try?