Sunday, January 13, 2013

Look I Love: The Bolo Tie

I've recently become a fan of the bolo tie. Just last week I stumbled upon my husband's small collection of bolo ties (total of 2) given to him when he was a youngster and since then has never worn them. Finding these hidden gems made me flashback to the 1980s where bolo ties were part of pop culture fashion from Bruce Springsteen to Duckie Dale.

Bruce Springsteen's 1987 album "Tunnel of Love".

Duckie Dale wearing one of several bolo ties in "Pretty In Pink" (1986). 

These fancy neckties, usually associated with western wear, are composed of a braided leather string with metal dangling tips on each end that join together by a decorative medallion. What's pretty neat about the bolo tie is that the medallion slides up and down and you can adjust it however you like! It's typically worn under the collar of a shirt but also looks great worn sans collar like a necklace. Like all great wearable accessories, the subtlety of a great bolo tie can really be quite the statement piece for anyone's outfit. 

Although the bolo tie is still relatively rare in terms of popular neckwear, bolos have definitely been popping up around the fashion scene with recent celebrity 'bolo wearing' sightings such as 'The Killers' frontman Brandon Flowers and Chord Overstreet from 'Glee'.

'The Killers' with singer Brandon Flowers & bolo tie (third from left).

Chord Overstreet singing with his bolo on the television show 'Glee'. 

Even in the United States, bolo ties are a fashion staple in several states. They are the official neckwear of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas! Arizona has had a couple of recent art exhibits dedicated to the bolo tie. One such exhibit by artist Michael A. Maglich includes fifty-nine sculptures commissioned for the Phoenix Commission Center were the bolo tie was used as an element to reference regional fauna, flora, industry, sports, entertainment and the arts.

Detail of The Arizona Bolas by Michael A. Maglich. (Source:

Below are examples of the wearable ways of the bolo tie:

This bold western outfit is made even bolder with this statement piece bird medallion bolo tie. Love the bird medallion! (Source: Reginald Magazine)

Hipster street style with simple silver with turquoise bolo tie. (Source:

Nerdy hipster version of the bolo tie also know as 'Bow Lo'. (Source: I Heart Norwegian Wood/Etsy Shop)

Another 'Bow Lo'...this time a boho version with Southwestern Pattern Printed Suede Bolo Tie/Necklace. (Source: I Heart Norwegian Wood/Etsy Shop)

Bit of western flair for both guys and gals. These bolo ties are actually homemade versions. Check out Modcloth's blog on how to make your own bolo ties (Source:

 1950s Epic Inlay Bolo Tie Necklace by famous Zuni artist Eddie Beyuka.  Absolutely stunning! (Source: gretchenjonesnyc)

Not just for the idea of wearing a bolo tie as a necklace rather than as a tie under the collar. This one screams bohemian chic! (Source: fashioneasthalifax)

Bolo's make quite the unique necklace such as this bronze and gold rope bolo tie. (Source: totokaelo)

Below are some of my favorite bolo tie finds:

(L-R) Bowtastic!! Brass bow bolo tie and Tuleste Market bow bolo tie. (Sources: Dolorous/Etsy and shopbop)

Vintage Gold Rose Bolo Tie/Necklace (Source: Vintage and Supply/Etsy)

 Vintage 1970s Owl Macrame Bolo Tie (Source: The Paris Carousel/Etsy)

Topman Bolo Tie at Nordstrom (Source:

Comme des Garcons Homme Plus Bolo Tie Necklace (Source:

Vintage Navajo Sterling Silver Turquoise Bolo Tie (Source: sprucedroost/Etsy)

Blue Gem Turquoise Bolo Tie. (Source: Laura Ontjes Jewelry/Etsy)

Horse Head Bolo Tie by Navajo silversmith Tommy Singer with large onyx stone. Singer's signature barrel shaped beads are seen at the end of ties. (Source:

 Winged Dragon Sterling Silver Bolo Tie (Source:

I love art and its many forms. To me the bolo tie is like wearable art in many forms. The more I see them, the more I love them! And I look forward to seeing more people rockin' bolo ties out and about on the streets and in and around as neckwear! 

Cheers to the Bolo Tie!

Update: January 8, 2014. It's been almost a year since I last wrote about my love of the bolo tie and it totally delights me to see Philip Rivers, Quarterback of the San Diego Chargers, rockin' with pride his bolo ties during several of his post-game interviews! I had to include some pics of Rivers and his bolo ties. Enjoy!

Philip Rivers & Bolo Tie at the post-game interview after the San Diego Chargers win against Denver.

 Rivers & even larger bolo tie at the post-game/post-playoff win interview at Cincinnati.

Cheers again!


  1. What a fun and informative look at the bolo tie! Growing up in Arizona, they were always part of the landscape (a local newscaster was said to have a collection of hundreds and wore a different one every night on TV), so now as an adult living in San Franciso, I kind of miss them. Glad to see you've taken an interest in helping them become more popular once again! Many thanks for including my macrame owl. :) Robyn / The Paris Carousel

  2. Agreed, bolo ties are a great look! So unique and cool. My step-grandfather always wore them, I admired that. The bow and rose gold tone finds you posted for ladies are super pretty!

  3. I don't really like them on men, well except for maybe cowboys but I love the vintage rose! I made my fist one last month with vintage silver tassels!

  4. i would love to find out the history of the gun and holster bolo tie in particular?.i bought mine in the 80s....if any one could knows i would be most grateful...roll on rockin-horse