A bolero jacket tops an evening gown, center, in this editorial illustration by Leslie Saalburg, Delineator, November 1931. The Nineteen Thirties’ bolero was often used with evening wear…. [But boleros continued to be a daytime option, too.] If not actually used as a separate jacket, a bolero might be suggested….
This pattern for a tied bolero reminded me of a vintage tied jacket (not a bolero) that I also love.
Although this vintage velvet jacket is hip-length, not a bolero, the tie at the waist has the same effect.
This 1931 lamé evening jacket stops at the waist, like a bolero, and has curved fronts, like many boleros — but the word “bolero” is not used:
The fad for huge, ruffled “Letty Lynton sleeves” can be seen in this bolero from 1933:
In 1936, boleros over evening gowns added versatility to the fashions, which could be worn with or without the jacket, creating two different looks.
[It’s also a reminder that a gown which appears to be black and white in a movie might really be green, or some other intense color.]Another article on cruise wear also emphasized the bolero jacket — by packing several boleros, you only needed to pack one long evening gown.
Below right: this sheer bolero over an evening gown appeared in Ladies Home Journal, July 1936:
That lace gown is probably for mature women, since the size range is 34 to 52 inches (bust.) But evening gowns for teens also showed them with bolero tops.
This reminds me that wedding dresses for church ceremonies — and prom dresses in conservative schools — could not reveal bare arms (at Roman Catholic weddings) or have strapless tops or “spaghetti straps” as late as the 1960s, so this jacket would satisfy the chaperones. A girl could take it off when she was alone with her date….
However, older women might also buy a pattern that included the versatile bolero in 1939.
Designer Lucile Paray was featured in an article about Paris fashion revivals (i.e., “retro-inspired) — like leg-o-mutton or “Directoire” sleeves — in 1937. Paray’s evening suit was inspired by the turn of the century garment (with bolero) illustrated beside it.
The bolero doesn’t get much simpler than this one, from June, 1937:
Meanwhile, bolero jackets for daytime use were also seen throughout the Thirties.
In fact, Butterick 7405 had many casual and sporty variations for daytime!
To be continued as “Boleros Through the 1930s, Part 4.”