#BOLO
January 15, 2019 5:30 PM   Subscribe

Roy Rogers wore it. Los Angeles Chargers QB Philip Rivers has been known to sport one too. It's the bolo tie, baby--or the bola tie, gaucho tie, mono loop tie, emblem lariat, neck rope, cowboy tie, western tie, thong tie, sport tie, or string tie. Reports of the bolo tie's comeback frequently surface; Bloomberg thinks it's happening now. Santa Fe Monthly looks at the bolo tie's still-murky early days; a recent Heard Museum exhibit on Native American bolo ties examined its antecedents in both Anglo and Native culture.
posted by duffell (22 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Thanks! My grandfather was a stylish well-to-do widower, who rebuffed all the interested widows. He rocked a tailored gray suit, with a polo shirt, and a bolo tie at all times. Since the 50's.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:14 PM on January 15, 2019 [3 favorites]


My wife’s father was a big fan of bolo ties because they gave him an excuse to show off the stones he polished and set into the bolos.
posted by lhauser at 6:38 PM on January 15, 2019 [3 favorites]


I like these, but I don't think I will ever be Southwestern enough to pull one off. Maybe if I moved to Santa Fe tomorrow I could rock them in my 70s. For some reason I think they look best on older guys, particularly ones who are a bit leathery and weatherbeaten from a lifetime spent out in the hot, dry desert air.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:46 PM on January 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


I don't think I will ever be Southwestern enough to pull one off

My aforementioned grandfather lived in Dayton Ohio. His bolo ties, and he had many, were not gaudy or bulky gemstone and silver, they were discrete and tasteful conservative thingies.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:03 PM on January 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


Wake me when the continental tie is back in fashion.
posted by SansPoint at 7:18 PM on January 15, 2019 [5 favorites]


Back in the early 90's, Mrs Jabo designed and we were making beaded bolo ties for women. Bright colors and large cabochons (large oval stones cut and polished for jewelry). We tried some designs for men but they didn't catch on at the craft shows. Most men were aghast at the idea of anything other than a regular tie.

Business started pretty good but began to fade by the mid-nineties and we went on to other areas. The Mrs did make me a killer bolo tie of a knotted rattlesnake circling a picture jasper cabochon (that looks like a desert scene) and finished with two bone bead skulls at the ends of the bolo cord.
posted by jabo at 7:21 PM on January 15, 2019 [4 favorites]


I believe hypnotist Milton Erickson was also famous for wearing bolo ties.
posted by wittgenstein at 7:24 PM on January 15, 2019


I’m currently eating at one of my favorite local spots reclining on a crushed velvet couch next to a fire; there are no fewer than three bolos in evidence around me. The idea that they have at some point gone out of fashion is yet further proof that New Mexico is very very different from the rest of the country. We pass them down through the generations here, my father wears my great grandad’s bolo regularly. Much like all meals are better with green chile, all outfits are better with a bolo.
posted by stoneweaver at 7:38 PM on January 15, 2019 [18 favorites]


My midwestern grandfather also wears magnificent bolo ties habitually, and looks adorable.
posted by merriment at 8:37 PM on January 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


I used to rock the bolo from time to time when I lived in NM. Sadly, it just doesn’t seem to fit the PNW life...
posted by a device for making your enemy change his mind at 8:46 PM on January 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


The Mrs did make me a killer bolo tie of a knotted rattlesnake circling a picture jasper cabochon (that looks like a desert scene) and finished with two bone bead skulls at the ends of the bolo cord.

Holy crap, that sounds awesome. I don't suppose you've got a picture?
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:22 PM on January 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


I had a bolo tie as a kid and then ignored them for years. But at one point in the '90s, an idiot I worked for in north-central Indiana insisted that all us men wear ties at work -- even though we worked nights and no one from the public was there to see us. I bought lots of funny ties, some bow ties, and three bolo ties. It must have satisfied him. When he was finally cashiered, I was done with the bolos again. I don't think they were me, but that hadn't been the point. I gave them to my now-former mother-in-law; on her, they looked good.
posted by bryon at 10:11 PM on January 15, 2019


I always thought regular ties were the stupidest fashion accessory ever. But the bolo is a different kind of statement that I can get along with.

I seldom wear a tie, but when I do, it's almost always the bolo tie my girlfriend got me in 1985. No polished stones or shiny silver, just an understated rectangular pewter-looking die cast metal medallion with an old school Pendleton logo. Almost identical to this one. Still have the bolo after all these years, along with the girl who gave it to me.
posted by 2N2222 at 10:25 PM on January 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


My PNW OTR logging truck driver granddad had a bolo tie, pewter with a roadrunner crossing the the shape of Arizona. There's an inset turquoise cabochon, I think at the bird's belly. Family lore says he bought it in Phoenix on the occasion of my adoption and slightly earlier birth in atht city. He left it to me when he passed away ten years later. I wear it from time to time. It doesn't smell of Pendleton wool and unfiltered Camels any more.
posted by mwhybark at 11:30 PM on January 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


StickyCarpet, I'm quite sure I will never be as cool as your grandfather either.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:59 AM on January 16, 2019 [2 favorites]


We go to Murder By Death at the Stanley each year, and you're supposed to dress up. Maybe I should rock a bolo for the next one. Do a kind of oil baron thing. I think I'd need a blue shirt, or maybe green...
posted by East14thTaco at 7:37 AM on January 16, 2019


I had to cobble together a bolo from the contents of a big box craft store for my last minute Vincent Vega costume (that's my wife as Ms. Mia Wallace). It actually came out pretty well, though the only braided "leather" cord they had was far too slim. I wouldn't mind an actual bolo, but I think they (like most skinny ties) look best on slimmer dudes.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:57 AM on January 16, 2019


One of the things my late father gave me before he died is a particularly spectacular bolo tie he wore. It is of Sioux design and has sterling silver tips. He was often given gifts by Native Americans whom he treated (he was a neurosurgeon in Sioux Falls, SD and he often treated the indigent gratis), but he didn't tell me whether this was one of them. He wore cowboy boots even though he was an Iowa boy, and later in his career tended to dress in more Western wear, including bolos and snap-button shirts.

I haven't found the right occasion to wear this gorgeous example yet, but I have a shirt that goes well with it and will probably wear it on an occasion when others least expect it. And they will not expect it of me.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:20 AM on January 16, 2019


Holy crap, that sounds awesome. I don't suppose you've got a picture?

Ask and ye shall receive!
posted by jabo at 12:33 PM on January 16, 2019 [4 favorites]


The writer Isaac Asimov was well known for wearing bolo ties. From americansthatmatter.com: Isaac Asimov was an eccentric-looking man, best known for three visual trademarks: thick, horn-rimmed glasses, bolo ties, and wild, bushy sideburns.
posted by Jefffurry at 1:16 PM on January 16, 2019


Much like stoneweaver I've my maternal grandparent's bolo collection hanging just above my bed. My NJ in-laws insist I wear one any time I visit.
posted by endotoxin at 1:55 PM on January 16, 2019


I think I still have one of my grandfather's many, many bolo ties. (He lived in southeastern Arizona from at least the early 70s until he passed away in 1998.)
posted by epersonae at 3:10 PM on January 16, 2019


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