The bolo tie was patented in the 1940s by Victor Cedarstaff, a silversmith who accidentally created the unique tie on a horseback riding trip in Arizona. After their discovery, bolo ties became mass-produced, continuing to soar in popularity in America’s Midwest and Southwestern states, where they serve as common business attire. Bolo ties were even named the official state neckwear of Arizona in 1971. This sleek tie provides an understated yet polished look, and can be worn in a variety of environments, from professional to casual.
A few celebrities and politicians, from southern and western regions, wear the bolo tie in professional settings. These include Schweitzer of Montana and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who in 2007 signed a law making it the official tie of New Mexico. Still, the bolo is comparatively rare on the political and Hollywood landscape, as are western-style hats and boots.And one of the most famous bolo tie wearers was former President Jimmy Carter, and many U.S. governors also wear the bolo tie as a replacement for the neck tie. Other famous bolo wearers include Bruce Springsteen and Brandon Flowers of the band The Killers. In the U.K., bolo ties are referred to as bootlace ties and became popular with the 1950s band The Teddy Boys. Many Hopi, Navajo and Zuni Native American tribes also use the bolo tie as a symbol of their heritage.
There are many variations of bolo ties. Although it has many variations, the bolo tie shares some characteristics across cultures and eras. It has always been placed beneath the shirt collar, like a traditional tie. A bolo tie must consist of thin, string-like material, which may be like a lace or may be braided. The bolo tips, or ends, are a necessary addition, allowing them to be strung through the bolo slide with ease. The bolo slide is the area of most variation, because it is the most noticeable part of the tie. It may be comprised of stone, metal or plastic. Some slides are geometric while others are shaped like people, animals, natural wonders or abstract shapes. The surface may be engraved, textured or smooth.