A nod to the endlessly versatile bolo tie

Photo courtesy of Jacques Marie Mage.

Over the last few years, influential sartorialists have heralded the resurgence of the bolo tie, encouraged, no doubt, by fashion houses like Balmain, Prada and Versace featuring it in recent collections. (The Duttons of Yellowstone Ranch may also deserve some credit.) This would make for a precious comeback story, but the truth is, the iconic Western neckwear has never really gone out of style. 

The bolo tie’s origin story is murky. There’s a legendary yarn about an Arizonian cowboy named—no joke—Victor Cedarstaff, who purports to have invented it in the 1940s as a way to avoid losing his hat to the wind. Native American tribes have a more credible claim: The earliest bolo can be traced to the early 1900s, when Hopi, Navajo and Zuni men used leather cords and ornaments to fasten neckerchiefs at their necks. 

This singular neckwear has oscillated in popularity over the last century, reaching its height in the ’80s and receding in the ’90s. But for true cowboys (and cowgirls and cowfolk), the bolo tie has always been in rotation. It gives new life to a plain shirt, it’s far less complicated than a necktie, and if the concho (that’s the centerpiece) is big enough, it makes for a mic-dropping statement piece.  

1. Bullet Bolo Tie, $45 Sureshot Jewelry, Moberly, MO
Photo courtesy of Sure Shot Jewelry.

Channel your inner gunslinger with one of Anne Jensen’s unique bolos, featuring a concho fashioned out of a recycled twelve-gauge shotgun case. The bolo tips are bullet-shaped for a lethal finishing touch. Sureshotjewelry.com

2. The Bisbee, $1,295 Jacques Marie Mage, Los Angeles
Photo courtesy of Jacques Marie Mage.

French-born designer Jerome Jacques Marie Mage, the namesake visionary behind his independent luxury eyewear brand, recently teamed up with Milanese menswear designer Umit Benan for a super-limited-edition line of exquisite bolo ties. The Bisbee, featuring a sterling silver concho and tips inlaid with turquoise from Lone Mountain, Nevada, belies a deep appreciation for American lore. Additional designs available at Bergdorf Goodman. Jacquesmariemage.com

3. Cripple Creek Jasper Sterling Bolo Tie, $250 Tall Pines Silver, Springfield, MO
Photo courtesy of Tall Pines Silver.

Indigenous silversmith Desirae Young pays homage to her Hualapai and Havasupai heritage with every piece of handcrafted jewelry. This striking bolo tie features a natural Cripple Creek jasper stone set in sterling silver on locally sourced braided leather. Tallpinessilver.com

4. Modern Steel Bolo Tie, $50 Ocean Tides Bolo Ties, Fort Collins, CO
Photo courtesy of Ocean Tides Bolo Ties.

The simple, structural beauty and balance of Kyle Ocean’s bolo ties convey his background in sculpture. This brass bolo is hand-finished, and the color will continue to soften and slightly darken over time. Local pickup available. etsy.com/shop/OceanTidesBoloTiesCO

Howlite Bolo Tie $170 Earthen Vessel, KCMO

Jami Clark’s clean and classic bolo ties embody the timelessness of this accessory. In her home studio, she patiently shapes and scallops brass conchos, inlaying them with carefully selected stones before stringing them on leather and finishing with her own brass tips. Iamearthenvessel.com

Black Braided Bolo Tie, $45 Hide Society, KCMO

Artisan Rachel Ervin focuses primarily on sumptuous handmade leather bags, which she sells via her company Hide Society. Her simple bolo ties–featuring natural braided leather, howlite gem slabs and gold or silver tips–are the perfect introduction to Ervin’s brand. Local pickup available. Hidesociety.us

Light Arc Bolo Tie, $45 Tiny Deer Studio, Burbank, CA

Chicana artist Jessica Watkins pulls inspiration in equal parts from vintage design elements and nature. This bright bolo tie features an art deco-style enamel charm around a vegan leather cord with gold-plated tips. tinydeerstudio.com 

Ocean Drive Bolo Necklace (Larimer), $95 Glamrocks Jewelry, Phoenix, AZ 

Jewelry designer Kristen Davis offers up an elegant and modern take on the Western neckwear with this bolo-cum-necklace, which exchanges the traditional leather cord for fourteen-karat gold or rhodium over brass. There is no adjustable slide—the necklace has a traditional clasp behind the neck—which means the stunning Dominican larimar stone will always be your centerpiece. glamrocksjewelry.com 

Crystal Bolo Tie $130 Devon Urquhart, Tacoma, WA

Western tradition and topsy-turvy surrealism collide in artist Devon Urquhart’s bolo ties. She swaps silver centerpieces for intricate hand-painted dioramas inlaid with miniature figures and irregular crystals. Available for purchase at the Tacoma Art Museum Store. Tamstore.org

Rattlesnake Bolo $180 Heliotrope, Tucson, AZ

Early cowboys lived dangerously, and you can honor that history with this fierce bolo from Heliotrope. Owner and metalsmith Spring Winders takes inspiration from the deserts of her native Arizona. She cast this brass concho in a mold she fashioned from an actual baby diamondback rattlesnake. Heliotropemetal.com

Round Teardrop Diamond Bolo Y Necklace, $2,565 Jacquie Aiche, Los Angeles

Creations by L.A.-based fine jewelry designer Jacquie Aiche frequently grace the hands, wrists, ears and necklines of celebrities like Rihanna and Gigi Hadid. Join their ranks with this delicate made-to-order bolo necklace boasting five diamonds—including a scene-stealing teardrop at the center—set in fourteen-karat gold. jacquieaiche.com

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