Bolo tie

Bolo tie
Bolo tie

A bolo tie (sometimes bola tie or shoestring necktie) is a type of necktie consisting of a piece of cord or braided leather with decorative metal tips or aglets (aiguillettes) secured with an ornamental clasp or slide.

In the United States bolo ties are widely associated with Western wear, and are generally most common in the western areas of the country. Bolo tie slides and tips in silver have been part of Hopi, Navajo, and Zuni silversmithing traditions since the mid-20th century. [1]

The bolo tie was made the official neckwear of Arizona in 1971. New Mexico passed a non-binding measure to designate the bolo as the state's official neckwear in 1987. On March 13, 2007, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson signed into law that the bolo tie is now the state's official tie.[2] Also in 2007, the Bola tie was named the official tie of Texas by the Texas Legislature.[3] Politicians and officials from western states will often wear them, such as Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer.

In the United Kingdom, bolo ties are known as bootlace ties. They were popular with 1950s Teddy Boys, who wore them with drape suits.[4][5]

Along with other 1950s fashions, bolo ties were revived as part of the Rockabilly look in the 1980s. The bolo tie returned as a popular fashion accessory in the fall of 1988 when male Hollywood stars would be frequently found wearing them. Chain stores like Jeans West and Merry-Go-Round sold multiple choices for all occasions.

During the 1980s and 1990s bolo ties, some elegant and expensive, were sold in Japan, Korea, and China. Some had fancy, hand-made cords and unusual tips.

Bolos are easy to make, using attractive flat objects such as lady's pins, coins, plastic netsuke reproductions, polished stones, Christmas tree ornaments, refrigerator magnets, etc. Cords of leather and cordage stock, clips and tips, called "findings" are widely available from jewelry supply firms. A hot-melt glue "gun" quickly and easily joins the parts.


Silversmith Victor Cedarstaff of Wickenburg, Arizona, claims to have invented the bolo tie in the late 1940s, and later patented[6] his slide design.

According to an article in Sunset:

Victor Cedarstaff was riding his horse one day when his hat blew off. Wary of losing the silver-trimmed hatband, he slipped it around his neck. His companion joked, "That's a nice-looking tie you're wearing, Vic." An idea incubated, and Cedarstaff soon fashioned the first bola tie (the name is derived from boleadora, an Argentine lariat).[7]

Boleadoras or bolas (from Spanish bola, "ball") are throwing weapons made of weights attached to the end of cords.

It is also said that the bolo tie is a North American pioneer creation that dates back to between 1866 and 1886. There is a bolo tie on display at a trading post in Zuni Pueblo, New Mexico, said to date back that far.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Tanner, Clara Lee Ray Manley's Portraits & Turquoise of Southwest Indians. Ray Manley Photography Inc.[Tucson], 1975, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 75-38328
  2. ^ Richardson's Secret Weapon: The Bolo Tie - The Sleuth
  3. ^ Texas, The Lone Star State: Bola Tie (Bolo Tie)
  4. ^ Cross, Robert: Steven Berkoff and the Theatre of Self-Performance, Manchester University Press, ISBN 0719062543, p. 36
  5. ^ Ribeiro, Aileen: Dress and Morality, Berg Publishers 2003, ISBN 185973782X, p. 164
  6. ^ U.S. Patent number 896217, filed May 24, 1954, issued July 28, 1959, to Victor Emmanual Cedarstaff, online at Google Patents
  7. ^ "Cool under the collar: Arizona's bola ties" by Lawrence W, Cheek, Sunset, April 2002

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • bolo tie — ☆ bolo tie [bō′lō ] n. [altered < bola tie: from its resemblance to the BOLA] a cord, worn as a necktie, with an ornamented fastening for adjusting the neck loop …   English World dictionary

  • bolo tie — noun a cord fastened around the neck with an ornamental clasp and worn as a necktie • Syn: ↑bolo, ↑bola tie, ↑bola • Hypernyms: ↑necktie, ↑tie * * * bolo tie f2 [bolo tie …   Useful english dictionary

  • bolo tie — UK [ˈbəʊləʊ ˌtaɪ] / US [ˈboʊloʊ ˌtaɪ] noun [countable] Word forms bolo tie : singular bolo tie plural bolo ties American a leather string that some men wear around their collars as a decoration …   English dictionary

  • bolo tie — a necktie of thin cord fastened in front with an ornamental clasp or other device. Also, bola tie. Also called bolo, bola. [1960 65; bolo, appar. an error for BOLA, after the tie s resemblance to a bola] * * * …   Universalium

  • bolo tie — bo′lo tie n. cvb clo a necktie of thin cord fastened in front with an ornamental clasp or other device • Etymology: 1960–65; bolo, appar. alter. of bola, after the tie s resemblance to the bola used by gauchos …   From formal English to slang

  • bolo tie — or bola tie noun Etymology: probably from bola Date: 1964 a cord fastened around the neck with an ornamental clasp and worn as a necktie called also bolo …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • bolo tie — bo|lo tie [ˈbəuləu taı US ˈboulou ] n AmE [Date: 1900 2000; Origin: Probably from bolo long heavy knife (20 21 centuries), from Philippine Spanish] a string worn around your neck that you fasten with a decoration …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • bolo tie — noun N. Amer. a tie consisting of a cord with a large ornamental fastening at the throat. Origin alt. of bola tie, from its resemblance to the bolas …   English new terms dictionary

  • bolo tie — bo|lo tie [ boulou ,taı ] noun count AMERICAN a leather string that some men wear around their collars as a decoration, fastened at the front with a metal CLIP and with the ends hanging down at the front …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • bolo tie — noun a necktie consisting of a heavy cord held in front by an ornamental clasp or slide …   Wiktionary

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