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The Popularity of the Bolo Ties, Then and Now

The bolo tie never really went out of style. It was just lost a bit under the heap of throwaway fashion that you see so much today. In fact, the tie is Arizona's endorsed state neckwear. The bolo has reemerged from under the dust heap and has made an interesting comeback. Just a couple of years ago, an exhibit of Native American Bolo Ties was held at the Heard Museum in Phoenix.

With its origin beginning in the Southwest, the popularity of this easygoing tie took off fast in the West and other regions of the United States. The distinctive tie has become more distinguished by modern Native American craftspeople in Arizona. They create authentic, fine looking ties illustrative of their individuality linked to the essence of the bolo tie charm.

From the 1940s, through the milieu of the 1950s, TV shows like Roy Rogers and Hopalong Cassidy along with much loved movies like Arizona Cowboy, kept the bolo ties into the spotlight. In effect, Native American jewelers and silversmiths remained embedded to maintaining the uniqueness and quality they helped to create.

Bolo Ties Popularity in the Millennium

Bolo ties have struck it rich in the 21st century. However, it began its ascendance into regained popularity in the 1980s and for a short while in the 1990s. The theme of the tie was more stylish and designs were creatively experimental all across the globe. Outstanding bolo tie artists like Gibson Nez, who is mixed with Navajo and Jicarilla Apache blood, was raised on the Jicarilla-Apache Reservation in New Mexico. A self-taught silversmith, he is celebrated for his expertise of turquoise, lapis, and coral, and various gemstones. His work is in the private collection of many celebrities like Robert Redford and the asking price is approximately $3500!

The rebirth of bolos echoes the popularity of designs of the Southwest in various genres from bed sheets to fine art. Nevertheless, from the grasslands to the hustle and bustle of city streets, bolo ties have transformed, becoming modernized and streamlined. For example, instead of a 30-pound chunk of decorative silver work or turquoise, there is a sleek, crisp modern, simple design. Bolo brooches today can be found in glazed banana chips, coyotes, rabbits, pink quartz heart, hand painted wood designs, and much more! Even acrylic geometric shapes are popular and in step with the straightforward, atypical designs of today.

These days, the bolo is not limited to western attire. Some men dress-up their formal wear, like tuxedos, with a lavish bolo tie. Other times you will find men wearing three-piece suits with a bolo creating an unusual but chic look. Usually the tie clasp is worn lower down the chest. Women can be found wearing bolo ties with off the shoulder dresses and no-sleeve shirts with rounded collars. Some like to mix their ties with various neckwear styles such as leather strings and silver necklaces all looped together. Other's wear casual attire like shorts and flowing shirts adorned with an interestingly decorated bolo. Even children are in on the bolo resurgence. Various colorful brooches like dinosaurs, their favorite cartoon characters, and multi-hued geometric shapes, all account for the renaissance and the popularity of the bolo tie in the millennium!

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