Bolos: An American Staple

Did you think bolos are just another Southwestern fad? Think again. Those slidable collar-lined ornaments represent Western history that stretches back long before these pieces were worn by cowboys, movie stars and politicians. If you like your fashion dipped in culture, —then our bolo might be for you.

The bolo actually speaks of ancestral heritage, when 20th century Southwestern Native Americans like the Navajo, Suni, and Hopi tribes chiseled tribal artwork into silver, gold, turquoise and coral and affixed these pieces to conch or shell ties that held their bandanas together. Evolving from its early predecessors such as the scarf slide, the bolo is a practical expression of history and artistry.

Further back, in the early 1800s, we can find another bolo ancestor, called the boleadero, which was worn by Argentinian cowboys or Gauchos. Made of three corded lariats, the boleadero featured small sacks, ideal for carrying hunting stones. The South American hunters inspired Arizona silversmith Victor Cedarstaff in the late 1940s, to patent his “Bolas,” an adjustable necktie slide he used to secure his hat in the wind. By the 1950’s, bolo ties had become a trademark of Western fashion and were popular across America.

Archeologist and Panhandle native Floyd Studer had his own affinity for bolo ties and wore them during his work preserving ruins of Native American sites. His records of excavated sites are the foundation of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum's first collections in this area. 

Floyd V. Studer at the 1965 dedication of the Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument. He is wearing a Native American Bolo Tie to the ceremony. Photo appeared in the Amarillo Globe-News - courtesy of PPHM ArchiveFloyd V. Studer at 1965 dedication of Alibates Flint Quarries National MonumentAmarillo Globe News-PPHM Archives

Perhaps at Standard Station, Amarillo Texas (1963), or one of the Twentysix Gasoline Stations, is where Ed Ruscha picked-up his first bolo taking it for a spin on Route 66. 

The Marrs Makers Bowlo Tie Necklace

Throughout decades, bolo necklaces have challenged the fashion status quo and often authority, prevailing as a cross-cultural fashion relic. “Saint Boss”, bolo clad Bruce Springsteen has graced the covers of albums and magazines alike. At the movies, Dennis Hopper wore a bolo in cult-classic Blue Velvet and John Travolta had the look while memorably shimmying with Uma Thurman in Tarantino's 1992 masterpiece, Pulp Fiction.

Marrs Makers Black Snakeskin Bolo Tie Necklace with Silver Horse Mascot Logo stamped at center. Model wearing in Downtown New York City. Marrs Makers black leather fashion jewelry
makes a statement in NYC...How you doin'?

The accessory found itself at the crest of hip hop when Migos rap group member Quavo (sitting in the front row of a Milan catwalk) sported the 2020 Prada rendition of a bolo looped around his neck. Thanks to designer attention and celebrity red carpets, the bolo has now evolved from historic to hip...

Bolo ties. Bolas. Cowboy ties. Gaucho ties. Depending on where you find yourself, you’ll hear bolos referred to by different names. After all, these are accessories that adapt with the times.   

At Marrs Makers, we’ve taken up the bolo cause, designing Marrs Makers Bolo Tie Necklace and affectionately naming it the Bowlo. With a signature-embossed horse mascot at the center, our Bowlo is a salute to the original architects of the piece. This tie, however, sports a large bow paired with the spunk of a choker as leather fashion jewelry. A welcome update to the predictable, relaxed and rugged bolo design.     

Amy Sheets, Marrs Makers Founder and Creative Director, has developed this new take, playing off her New York City fashion background and her deep Texas roots. This Amarillo native remains influenced by her late grandfather, Bob Marrs, a saddle-making legend. The pieces echo the grassy plains, canyons and the cowboy culture--designs that also somehow resonate with city folk.   

Sheets says her Bowlo design was shaped by her memories of county fairs, her love for the high-necked drama of the secretary blouse, and her affection for eye-catching statement fashion accessories that spark dialogue. During a photoshoot, this bow+necklace concept was born organically as Sheets was styling the next look. Perhaps more than anything, the Marrs Makers Bowlo pays homage to her grandfather. After learning of Sheets’ interest in designing a distinctive new bow, Marrs interpreted her vision and hand-tooled her sketch into leather. 

Bob Marrs Hand-Tooled Poinsettia Flower Saddle Leather Bow for Marrs Makers
Bob Marrs signature poinsettia hand-tooled leather bow 

A statement piece conveying heritage and self-expression

Marrs Makers Bowlo Necklaces are the perfect gift for lovers of bows, pendants, ornamental jewelry, and Western chic. In Arizona, bolos have been the official state neckwear since 1973. Texas and New Mexico have followed suit. Whether you’re wearing your bolo to a ceremonial event or on a cramped Manhattan subway, this fashion accessory stands as a powerful form of self-expression sure to turn heads and spark conversations. 

Marrs Makers bow amulet fashion jewelry in 'rough-out' saddle leather worn with Marrs Makers black leather Riding Blouse on model in West Village NYC
'Rough-out' Bowlo necklace worn with Marrs Makers leather Riding Blouse 

Surprisingly versatile, your Marrs Makers Bowlo can top-off a turtleneck, nestle beneath a neckerchief, or deep dive with a plunging neckline. Our bolo necklace is a multi-functional, lightweight adornment meant to be in motion. As an alternative to the necktie, or tie-neck blouse; the bolo’s balancing act between gender roles and societal norms is a refreshing update to workplace attire or formal wear. So there are no rules for tying your Bolo Necklace: Snap it high and tight, style it as a loose under-collar adornment, or wear it as a low-slung necklace. Bolo flair is ever-evolving, an individual statement that’s both ancient and modern. Open to your interpretation…

Marrs Makers Black Leather Bowlo Tie Necklace with Gold Horse Mascot Logo stamped at center. Leather fashion jewelry shown on model wearing rust colored silk blouse Marrs Makers Bowlo - the 'OG' in matte Italian leather






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