The bolero jacket, originally a Spanish short coat worn by men, is now firmly established as a cover-up to complete an outfit, as well as an ideal way to keep stylishly warm when there is a nip in the air.
This dainty little cropped coat, which is, if you want the proper definition, actually a short, open jacket which doesn’t reach the waist, has been gracing the female form for well over a century. Back in the 19th century there were a few similar short jackets making their mark, known also as a Zouave or Eton.
For instance in 1892 ,The Daily News reported in November “The Zouave is as great a favourite as it has been for some seasons, and though it varies in form—being sometimes a bolero, sometimes a toreador, and sometimes a cross between an Eton jacket and a Zouave.”
As always current trends like to borrow the best from the archives and boleros are back to add panache as well as help balance out a wedding outfit by adding width where it’s needed, but, with the right cut for your figure, never too much. And you’re spoilt for choice at Compton House, with many of the big name collections, including dresses with matching boleros, meaning you are spared the arduous task of trawling round a blistering array of boutiques, trying to find one to match your very unusually-coloured dress. It’s old school elegance without even trying.
At John Charles, there is a navy bolero with three-quarter length sleeves finished off with stunning lace cuffs, perfectly matching the lace skirt. The slim elegant silhouette the outfit creates, gives it a sumptuous 40s vibe.
Condici shows off some perky boleros to match the choice of wedding outfits. One example has a particularly striking waterfall collar and if you haven’t had time to diet and the tops of your arms don’t look like Michelle Obama’s, you can slip into striking sleeves and let the compliments flow.
It’s also the perfect place to pop a perky corsage also seen at Condici, with a navy French silk jacket and dress topped off with a fabric bouquet. For boleros with a dash try Ian Stuart where embellishment detail, ruffle collars and fluted sleeves are some of the styles on offer.
Burnished green, shorter, sculpted boleros add shimmer at Linea Raffaelli which show off the similar green hues in the dresses but add a bit of zest all of their own.
A striking example is a dark green, lace bolero over a lighter coloured floor-length gown and beautifully enhanced with a corsage just under the bust.
The bolero can create an almost vintage silhouette when worn with a fitted, ruched knee-length dress. There is both an elegant purple one or a more vibrant blue and fuchsia print to choose from among the collection of wedding outfits.
For some more barely-there, zingier options try Paule Vasseur. The colours really do the talking and the boleros nestle nicely up to the neck, but then are cropped cleanly under the arms. The mulberry wine patterned bolero is the perfect partner to the fifties style swing-out dress.
However, if you fancy a gentler colour palette for your outfit there are plenty of ice cream hues at Zeila, perfect if you need a lighter touch for a cruise or wedding abroad where the weather is warmer.
There are also sateen boleros and shawl-collared boleros, which means the little-cropped jacket can, like a chameleon, change to suit the mood and style of your wedding outfit.
Worried it might be too fitted and look, well a bit shrunken? Don’t be, its fitted, sharp shape actually tends to trim and balance fuller skirt shapes as well as adding polish to pencils, but if you’re still cautious, there are longer lacier versions at Ann Balon.
The fashion world really is being well and truly bolstered by the bolero.