A bolero jacket is a short cropped jacket that usually has long sleeves. The origin of the name is unknown, though the word bolero is also used to describe a traditional form of Spanish dance, and is the title of a well-known classical music piece by Ravel. Bolero jackets can be made of many different types of fabrics and can be used to dress up or down almost any type of outfit.
Commonly, this jacket will cover only the upper torso, shoulders, and arms, leaving the waist and hips uncovered. Many jackets fasten in the front with a button or short zipper, though some styles also feature long pieces of fabric that can be tied. The cropped shape of the bolero can help emphasize the waist by reducing fabric bulk around this area, and can also help create or enhance an hourglass silhouette. Silk, satin, and velvet are all excellent fabrics that will help a bolero dress up an outfit.
A bolero jacket can be handy for women heading straight from work or class into the nighttime scene. By wearing this jacket, skimpy shirts such as tube tops or halters can be covered up enough to wear to some offices. This handy trick can prevent dragging along a second outfit choice, making the transition from day to night as simple as removing the shrug.
Although some boleros can be worn at any time of year, they are often seen during spring and summer as an alternative to a heavier jacket or sweater. Wearing a bolero provides some warmth in case of seasonal breezes, but typically will not be suitable in especially cold weather. Additionally, the softer fabrics used to create many boleros will do little good against the rain.
Brides planning ahead for a wedding where weather may be unpredictable may do well to order a bolero jacket that matches a sleeveless or halter gown. In addition to providing a hint of warmth should the weather turn chilly, these garments are also excellent for covering up arms to preserve modesty during a formal or church service. A bridal bolero jacket can be an excellent accessory to a wedding dress, allowing an opportunity for detailing or contrasting embroidery. Additionally, a bridal bolero can be worn separately from the dress, perfect for slipping on at anniversary celebrations as a reminder of the wedding day.