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Wild Rags and The Cowpokes Who Love Them

Wild Rags and The Cowpokes Who Love Them

A Brief History of The Wild Rag Scarf

The Wild Rag is a larger, more elegant scarf most commonly worn by western range-workers.  It dates back as far as the mid-nineteenth century and is often cited as deriving from neckerchiefs adopted by cavalrymen in the Spanish-American War.

Cowboys in Wildrags: Bonham, TX, circa 1913

Functionally it provides both warmth and coverage while out on the trail, protecting riders from exposure to unpredictable weather across harsh terrain.

It has been widely adopted as western-wear standard uniform, adorning cattle drivers, cowboy poets, and rodeo stars alike.  For horsemen and women in the colder climates of the Rocky Mountains and high plateaus it is considered an absolute essential.

The larger size of a wild rag, a minimum of 36 inches square, allows for any number of uses that range from practical to fashionable, ideally both!  It provides more protection over the head, face, and neck than a bandana and can also be tied and styled with more variety.


Omar Romero in our Janie-Midnight Light Silk Cowboy Scarf

Unknown Cowgirl and Maude Beardsley (right):  Alberta, Canada, 1920

Every rider will have their own preference for how to tie the scarf: from a tight and neat band folded snug around the neck, loose around the shoulders, or fixed with a beautiful knot.

Southern California Wrangler, Omar Romero in Odel-Tobacco Light Silk Cowboy Scarf

Traditional and commonplace examples are woven from Habotai silk or silk satin and can feature bright solid colors and or highly decorative motifs like flamboyant florals and paisleys.  A Montana shopkeeper once told me that "even the most cheapskate cowpoke will shell out for a good lookin' rag in a bright, bold color."

Cass-Goldrush Light Silk Cowboy is the perfect pop of honey gold to brighten up your workwear.

Our version, the Light Silk Cowboy Scarf, meshes the wild rag tradition with soft hand-loomed Mulberry Silk in a variety of classy checks and ginghams.  The super fine weave is feather light, creating an elegant silk scarf that provides warmth without the bulk.  Don't let the superior softness and quality fool you, these were made to be put to work just like traditional wild-rags! 


Select your favorite new scarf from a range of timeless colors that range from flashy to subtle.  From afar the tonal plaids in these large cowboy scarves read as solid colors, but upon closer inspection you can see handwoven plaid structure come to life with intersecting tones that add texture and subtle shine.  Whether you're a real cowboy/cowgirl or just a lover of westernwear fashion, we hope you'll get gussied up in these timeless and functional wild rags!

Odel-Tobacco Light Silk Cowboy Scarf

Make if flashy with Janie in Hot Tamale Light Silk Cowboy

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