Self-appointed cowboy fashion reporter Shawn Williams talks tie strings—how they’re used, how they’re carried and how they complement any Western apparel ensemble.

Anyone who has punched cows for very long is familiar with the common cowboy tool called a tie string. Often made of twisted strands of nylon—like a lariat rope, except more flexible and smaller in diameter—tie strings have a wide variety of uses for working cowboys. That includes tying down cattle, latching broken gates, strapping something to your saddle or hobbling a horse. They also can temporarily replace a broken rein, fix a broken stirrup leather or serve as a makeshift bridle—if you’re handy.

Shawn Williams adds the many ways that tie strings can be carried on your saddle. They can be hung from the saddle swells, behind the cantle and from the back D-ring. Of course, with his elevated prowess as a cowboy fashion guru, Williams is quick to point out how his tie strings accentuate his Arizona sandstone batwing chaps.

Fashion is always important, he notes. It’s why he discusses how his hickory ash gray vest flows with his pearl snap shirt, which is a shade of white called Tibetan snow leopard. Overall the look is what he would describe as “tastefully sophisticated.”

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