Guide to Bolo Ties

Western Ties: Guide to Wearing a Bolo Necktie

guide-to-bolo-tiesA bolo tie, otherwise known by its proprietary names ‘bola’ or ‘shoestring necktie’, is a type of neckwear created from a length of cord or leather strings that have been braided together. The tips of this cord is decorated with metal tips, and the bolo tie is secured with an ornate clasp or slide. These bolo ties are also the official choice of neckwear for the New Mexicans and Arizonians. These simple and eloquent accessories have recently become more popular reaching out towards a further spread of of people and consequently stretching out to other regions in the world.

The ‘Classic’ Bolo Tie Look
In essence there is no one correct way to wear a Bolo tie – but here are some looks inspired from what was once the common way to craft these accessories, in the twentieth century.

Going by tradition these ties are to be worn exactly like fabric tie: The slide being snugged up under the collar of a button up shirt – and therefore achieving a formal appearance. A bolo tie is easy to wear, and it doesn’t need to be tied with a complicated tie knot. If you are going for the classic “Western Look” then you need to make sure that you buy the right length bolo – one that is proportionate to your height and neck size. Experts suggest that the tips of the bolo should end about 4 inches below your breastbone. The showpiece of the tie, otherwise known as the decorative tips, will be seen in all its glory and not get in the way of your belt.

The ‘modern/contemporary’ Bolo Tie Look
As mentioned previously there are no specific rules when wearing these bolo ties. Unless are aiming to associate yourself with a certain persona – think a John Wayne Halloween costume for example – you are most definitely free to let your imagination create something unique to you – an outfit that will fit your personality. Typically bolo ties are worn with a collared western dress shirt. Although the collared shirt is typical, it is not a Faux Pas to wear a bolo with T-shirt instead. The T-shirt/bolo tie combination looks best when wearing a non-traditional bolo tie and a V-neck shirt.

Other Suggested Readings:
Necktie, Bolo, & Co
Necktie History

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