Butterick bolero pattern 7459, from July 1937. Woman’s Home Companion.
When I went looking for 1930’s boleros, I found that I had many more images of them than I realized! (Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3) What started as one post turned into four — so far. And I am limited to the images I happen to have photographed from Delineator Magazine, Ladies’ Home Journal, Woman’s Home Companion and various store flyers from a few pattern companies.
To backtrack a bit, with the low waist of the 1920s, boleros might be quite long:
A “youthful” bolero from Butterick, Delineator, April 1929.
A Butterick bolero outfit from August 1929. Butterick 2749, from Delineator magazine.
As waists rose, boleros began to get shorter.
Bolero outfit from October, 1931. Butterick 4122. Illustrated in Delineator magazine.
The width of the bolero was thought to minimize the waist — recommended for women whose waists had expanded during the 1920s. I’ve shown many boleros from the early 1930s (click here or here.) This one, from 1936, is trimmed with pleated ruffles:
It’s similar to a store-bought outfit from 1937:
This bolero covers a sheer, lace bodice. WHC, March 1937.
Simplicity offered this bolero pattern, (along with other accessories) in a store flyer, August 1939. Simplicity accessory pattern 3155.
This bolero covers a low-backed sundress; Companion-Butterick pattern 7296, WHC , April 1937.
The bows are part of the dress, not the jacket.
Butterick pattern 7303 from WHC, April 1937.
This illustration of 7359 shows how many outfits you could get from one pattern in the price-conscious 1930s. [E.g., wearing the white jacket with the brown dress would change it from “fall” to summer….]
In that pattern, the bolero tied in a bow at the high waist. The traditional bolero jacket
stopped inches above the waist:
Companion-Butterick pattern 7459 would make three different jackets — or the same jacket in several colors. July 1937.
Economy wardrobe: A jacket took less fabric than a dress, and jackets could be worn with several dresses, if you coordinated carefully.
“…Sure to give you a reputation for having lots of evening clothes….”
Elsa Schiaparelli was credited with popularizing the bolero in the 1930s. She was still using them in fabulous ways in 1940.
Butterick 7804 from a Butterick Fashion News flyer, April 1938. “The bolero (in printed silk) says Schiaparelli is top news….”
And “The beer jacket in denim is still headline material [!]” Beer jacket? Apparently a “college craze” ( click here ) which, in this case, extended to women students.
You could make four different jackets from Butterick 7804 — including a “beer jacket” and the fitted, zipper-front jacket at bottom right. Zippers were already common in sportswear, but 1937-38 was the year they began to be featured in dressier clothing for women.
Butterick 7803, from a BFN flyer, April 1938. Boleros were definitely getting shorter.
Butterick 7788 has a very brief bolero. BFN flyer, April 1938. Triangular pockets are a couture touch.
A very high-style bolero, Butterick 8805 from August, 1938. Butterick Fashion News. Next to it is a variation of the tied bolero, here called a bloused jacket — the line between “bolero” and “jacket”becomes blurred.
You may have noticed that sleeve heads got puffier, and then shoulders got wider, as the Thirties progressed.
Three jackets from Butterick pattern 8367; BFN, May 1939. These jackets require shoulder pads.
Butterick bolero outfits 8391 and 8355, BFN, May 1939. These are not just for teens. [There is no “apron” explanation.]
Shoulders were getting wider as skirts got shorter:
In May, 1939, we probably can’t attribute the shorter skirts to wartime regulations.
Right, a wide-shouldered, rather matronly bolero outfit. Butterick 8472 from BFN flyer, July 1939.
This wide-shouldered, cropped jacket with frog closings is Simplicity 3203, from October 1939. Only its length says “bolero” to me. Those horizontal darts (or tucks) in the sleeve head exaggerate shoulder width even more. A very “late Thirties” detail.