The bolo tie, also known as a bola tie, is as synonymous with Western American culture as the great American cowboy hat. Originally named a Piggin Necklet, Vic settled on a shorter, more simple name, the bola tie. Due to its historical significance, many names have arisen since its invention, now generally recognized as the bolo tie.2 While historical, the bolo tie is still popular today and in no way should be considered an artifact of the past. Styling your bolo tie will ensure you stand out from cookie-cutter suits. Instead, you can display your style and refuse to comply with the more bland stylings of some modern ties. Wearing a bolo tie is wearing a statement. You’re different, and you want everyone to know it.
Invented in the 1940’s by Victor Ceaderstaff in Arizona, the bolo tie is a necktie. It consists of a cord with hardened metal tips that are secured with a clasp. Legend has it that Victor, fearful that he might lose his hatband while on horseback, slipped it around his neck. That day, his riding partner jokingly complimented him on his new tie, leaving Victor with an innovative idea.1
The Bolo Tie’s Influence on Pop Culture
The bolo tie is a deep part of American pop culture, making its appearance in nearly every Western film after its invention.
It is not limited in its genres, however. Who could forget its appearance in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction? Vincent Vega, played by John Travolta, chooses to pair his bolo tie with a plain black suit. This character embodied how the bolo tie is often associated with freedom, just as Western cowboys are.
Getting the Most Out of Your Bolo Tie
The bolo tie is a statement that can go well with any outfit. While being a necktie, it toes the line between formal and casual wear. Of course, you’ve seen it paired with the western shirt, a match made in heaven. To complete the outfit, think of pairing it with a strong pair of denim jeans and cowboy boots. As mentioned above, you’ve seen it paired with the classic black suit on the silver screen, but, honestly, one can wear it with any collared shirt.
Quicker than the more ‘modern’ neckties, it fastens by sliding the clasp up and down. This means you can be dressed and out the door at the drop of a hat.
For the Adventurous: Unconventional Ways to Wear Your Bolo
The bolo tie is not a gender-specific piece, nor is it merely cowboy clothing. It can pair well with an open-collared shirt or even be worn as a choker. Hipster inner circles are also keen on this styling. Consider pairing one with a white button-up and suspenders to display a very distinguished and modern look.
These suggestions are sure-proven ways to wear your bolo with style, but inspiration can hit anyone just as it did for Victor Ceaderstaff that windy afternoon. Check out Shepler Western Wear’s selection of premium bolo ties that will have you standing out from the crowd.