Western Wear Goes Mainstream
There’s something about the coming of summer that brings “the West” to my mind. Visuals of wide expanses of earth, clouds of dust, rugged cowboys, and sweating horses swim through my head. And I bust out a vest to wear on top of my button-down and some cowboy boots to go with my jeans…. Perhaps this is because I’m prepping for my annual trunk shows in Sun Valley and Jackson Hole during this time? Or maybe it’s because I’ve been noticing fashion trends of the American West frequently creeping back into Hollywood red carpet events on men and on to the social scene on women.
One of the most notable Western fashion trends is the rise in popularity of bolo ties. First emerging as a form of men’s neckwear in the 1940’s, they were inspired by Native American men wearing bandanas secured by a shell or silver concho then refined by silversmith Vic Cedarstaff who hung his silver-trimmed hatband around his neck to keep it from flying off while on horseback. Traditionally the “western tie” for men was made of a decorative clasp on a distinctive cord, but it has gone far beyond its humble beginnings. In 2020, Prada got into the Western game and created a branded logo bolo which actor Nick Jonas wore to the 2020 Golden Globe awards. And just recently, director Baz Luhrmann one upped everyone and used a David Webb necklace as his “bolo.” Now I’m wearing one, too!
Yes, bolos are not just for the men anymore. About a year ago, I was asked to create a bolo for a client, and it sent me down a rabbit hole. To be honest, a bolo was so far removed from my New York City upbringing, that it surprised me when I found I really enjoyed making them – and wearing them! I liked my stones so much, I thought, what about lowering the centerpiece so that it hangs around 18” like a necklace and then the ladies could wear it?!
I’ve gotten so into this unisex western look, that I’m now ready for any kind of hoedown, rodeo or backyard bar-b-que that comes my way. Pull out the dark blue jeans and embroidered cowboy boots then throw on a bolo like this one featuring a Deschutes Jasper landscape gemstone. Next, go for a “big cowboy ring” – maybe something fun like this large rectangular apatite gemstone ring set in 18k warm white gold. Or a bracelet like this azurite-malachite gemstone set in gold on a navy leather band. And for just the cowgirls? You can’t go wrong in a pair of big earrings in some classic western hues like these black and turquoise-hued Gallant Earrings.
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