Bolero is a short, open jacket which has a curved front opening and covers the back and shoulders. They usually have sleeves. Long sleeves are common but usually they cover the top of the arms atleast. A bolero is always short in length- waist-length or above the waist.
It has a Latin American/Spanish lineage. Bolero in Spanish language refers to a very lively, foot stamping dance. And the term in clothing refers to a very dressy short jacket worn by the dancers who performed this dance. So both the clothing and the dance have the same name
You can wear a bolero jacket over a sleeveless dress – for adequate coverage or added warmth. Another advantage is the it avoids the boxy look of jackets. The curved shape in the front brings in a feminine look.
It usually doesnot come with fasteners.
Sleevess wedding dresses can be given a lace bolero. Some time back silk/satin bolero jackets were very popular over wedding dresses.
Kids’ occasion wear dresses can be paired with a ruffled frilled bolero jacket for a dressy look.
Boleros have been popular all through the years. The picture below is Barbara Stanwyck in The Lady Eve (1941) wearing a very short bolero jacket.
It became popular again in the 1960s when it was worn with pants.