How to Style A Bolo Tie

How to Style A Bolo Tie: The Unexpectedly Versatile Western Accessory Taking Fashion by Storm

The bolo tie, with its signature cord and decorative clasp, is often associated with the rugged charm of the American West. But its unique blend of Western charm and versatility extends far beyond dusty trails and cattle drives. Today, the bolo tie is making a comeback, gracing runways (oh hey Louis Vuitton and Prada) and adding a touch of unique flair to diverse styles (we see you, Beyonce and Post Malone).

Whether you're aiming for a classic Western look, a touch of unexpected flair, or even a touch of formal elegance, the bolo tie can be your secret weapon.

This guide delves into the exciting world of bolo tie styling, offering a range of tips and inspiration for both men and women who want to incorporate this versatile accessory into their wardrobes.

Universal Appeal: A Tie for Every Time

One of the most appealing aspects of the bolo tie is its adjustable nature. Unlike traditional necklaces, which come in pre-determined sizes, bolo ties offer a one-size-fits-most approach. The leather cord allows you to adjust the position of the decorative piece (also called the “clasp” or “ornament”), ensuring a comfortable and flattering fit on a variety of neck sizes and body types. This adjustability makes them a thoughtful and universally appealing gift for the fashion-conscious individual in your life.

Make it Masculine: Classic and Contemporary Bolo Styles for Men

For the modern gentleman, the bolo tie offers a chance to add personality and Western flair to his attire. Here are some ways to style a bolo tie with confidence:

  • Classic Western: Ready to go all-in? Channel your inner John Wayne with a Western-embracing ensemble. Pair a leather bolo tie with a denim shirt, cowboy boots, and a Stetson hat. Opt for a bolo featuring traditional Western motifs, classic sterling silver tips, and wear it at or near the neck.
  • Urban Cowboy: Take the Western / cowboy core aesthetic to the city with a modern twist. Combine a sleek leather jacket with a button-down or t-shirt, jeans, casual shoes (sneakers can work!) and a bolo tie featuring a contemporary design. Geometric shapes, unexpected materials (such as glass), modern tips, and unique finishes can add a touch of urban sophistication.
  • Formal and Wedding: Don't relegate your bolo tie to casual wear. For a formal touch, pair a bolo tie with a dress shirt, suit or dark wash jeans, and dress shoes or boots. Opt for a bolo crafted from high-quality materials like silver, glass or stone to elevate your look. Experiment with subtle patterns or a single, striking design element to complement your look.
  • Pro Tip: Want to try a bolo tie but worried you’ll feel like you’re in a cowboy costume? Keep it to one or two Western elements in your outfit. The bolo tie with a t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers, for example. This allows the unexpectedness of the bolo to be effective within the context of your contemporary fashion, rather than your entire outfit screaming “I’m a cowboy today!”

Make it Feminine: Bolo Ties for the Modern Woman

The bolo tie isn't just for cowboys, but you knew that, right?! Women can also embrace the unique style of the bolo tie, adding a touch of unexpected charm to their outfits. Here are some ways to incorporate this versatile accessory into your wardrobe:

  • Bohemian Bliss: Create a relaxed yet stylish look perfect for music festivals or summer brunches with a bohemian-inspired look. Pair a flowy maxi dress with a bolo tie featuring natural materials like chain, glass, or stone. Layered necklaces and bracelets add to the free-spirited vibe.
  • City Chic: Embrace the urban cowgirl core aesthetic by pairing a bolo tie with a tank top, leather skirt or jeans, and ankle boots. Opt for a bolo with a clean and modern design,, non-western motifs (roses, hearts, organic shapes), unexpected finishes such as charm tips, or bold colors.
  • Edgy Elegance: Embrace the unexpected by pairing a bolo tie with a leather jacket and jeans. Choose a bolo tie with a bold statement motif, like a diamond or a black heart, to add a touch of edge to your outfit.
  • Dress it Up: Don't shy away from wearing a bolo tie with a dress or jumpsuit for a unique and eye-catching formal look. Choose a bolo crafted from elegant materials like glass, pearls, or gold to complement the formality of your outfit. Let the V shape of the bolo complement a deep V neckline. A statement bolo can be the perfect finishing touch for a memorable evening look.

Shortcut to Feminine Styling:

  • Layer them with other necklaces or “neck mess”
  • Wear the bolo ornament high, without a collar, like a choker
  • Pull the ornament down to the tips, so it wears like a pendant
  • Shy about pulling it off? Wear your bolo with an open second layer, such as a blazer or jacket. The outer layer softens the visual impact of the bolo tie and frames it in a pleasing way.

Pro Tip: Want to try a bolo tie but worried you’ll feel like you’re in a cowgirl costume? Keep it to one or two Western elements in your outfit. The bolo tie with a t-shirt, jeans, and heels, for example. This allows the unexpectedness of the bolo to be effective within the context of your contemporary fashion, rather than your entire outfit screaming “I’m a cowgirl today!”

Tips for Wearing a Bolo Tie with Confidence

Here are some additional tips to help you master the art of bolo tie styling:

  • Proportion is Key: When choosing a bolo tie, consider the size and scale of the decorative piece in relation to your body type. A smaller bolo is suitable for a petite frame, while a larger one can balance out a broader build.
  • Height vs Cord Length: Most bolo tie cord lengths are about 38” (96 cm). If you are over 6’ (1.8 m) tall, consider requesting a cord length of 40-42” (101-107 cm). On the other hand, if you’re on the shorter end of things, that cord may need to be shorter. Austin Bolo is happy to customize.
  • Balance the Outfit: If your bolo tie features a bold design or statement piece, keep the rest of your outfit relatively simple to avoid looking too busy.
  • Embrace the Unexpected: Don't be afraid to experiment! The bolo tie's versatility allows you to incorporate it into diverse styles, from bohemian chic to urban edgy. Have fun expressing your unique personality through your choice of bolo tie and outfit combination.
  • Accessorize: When wearing a bolo tie, keep other accessories minimal. A simple watch or stud earrings, maybe some rings are all you need to complete the look.
  • Outside the Outfit: The bolo tie isn't just for clothing. You can also incorporate it into your accessories by attaching a smaller bolo clasp to a hat or bag for a touch of Western flair. This is a subtle way to incorporate the style without committing to a full-blown outfit change. Austin Bolo bolo ties with our custom double-ring back allow for easy cord switching as well as hat band styling.
  • Bonus Tip: When storing your bolo ties, hang them or lay them flat to prevent the cord from becoming misshapen.

The Perfect Gift: Versatile, Adjustable Style for All

Bolo ties make fantastic gifts. They’re unique, versatile, and come in a wide range of styles and prices to suit any budget and taste. Consider the recipient's style and interests when choosing a bolo tie. (Not sure? we’re here to help!)

Whether for groomsmen, girl's trip, a loved one, or yourself, the adjustable nature of the bolo tie ensures a perfect fit for almost anyone, making it a thoughtful and practical present. 

So, the next time you're looking to add a touch of personality, Western charm, or unexpected elegance, consider the bolo tie. This versatile piece transcends its traditional roots, offering a unique way to express your individual style and stand out from the crowd. With a little creativity and confidence, you can rock the bolo tie in any way that suits you, proving that true style goes beyond the expected.

PS: While we’ve created “masculine” and “feminine” sections in this article, you do you! The best personal style is the kind that ignores stereotypes and norms and embraces authenticity. One reason we love the bolo tie is how gender- and style-inclusive it is. Have fun!

PPS: Interested in a Memorial Bolo Tie? We'd be honored to help you explore that. (Austin Bolo memorial pieces incorporate, with great care, a tiny amount of a loved one's ashes into the glass ornament.)