If you look up the word “cowboy” or even just try to envision one in your mind, it is almost inevitable to picture someone wearing a cowboy hat, cowboy boots, and a scarf tied around their neck. It’s amazing to know that the scarf has been used as a staple clothing item for some of the toughest people in history.
The Neckerchief, another variation of the scarf, came about in the Wild West when cowboys needed a way to protect themselves from the harsh dust and dirt kicked up by their cattle. Even though this was the one of the first reasons to why neckerchiefs were adopted by cowboys, it quickly became useful for several other purposes.
For example, cowboys also used the neckerchief as: earmuffs in cold weather, a protection from sunburn on the neck, a pot holder for hot pots or branding irons, prevention against snow blindness in winter, a sling in case of injury, a face towel, or a mask for when they committed crimes.
Neckerchiefs, also referred to as “wipes”, were usually worn in the colors of red and blue, and they were made of silk, cotton, or linen. There are several ways to tie a neckerchief, but the most common way is to fold the scarf in the shape of a triangle and tie a knot in the back of the neck.