By Roxanne Buffone Google
Do you need your shoulders covered while wearing your formal dress? A bolero is a good solution. Maybe you need warmth at a cool fall wedding or event, or maybe your dress would look more appropriate for your event with more coverage (mother-of-the-bride or the bride in a church that requires back and shoulders covered). Some of us just feel more comfortable with shoulders covered, but that almost perfect dress is strapless. Others may have a scar to conceal and others want to hide the upper arms or back.
A bolero is a small jacket with some sort of sleeves and a short length. A wrap or shawl will do the same job, but a bolero has sleeves keeping it in place. The armholes allow freedom of movement while a shawl may fall off.
Another advantage of the bolero is it’s close fit. A bolero can look just like part of your dress. Your dress can look like it was made with the shoulders and back covered. If you find a great dress that just reveals too much, add a bolero. To blend with your dress you will want a matching color or at least a coordinating color if it’s hard to match. Accents can be added to coordinate with features of your dress like a trim around the edge, crystals, beads or lace appliques. For a winter wedding try a faux fur bolero!
Boleros are usually easy to fit because they are open in the front. Since they are open it can fit close yet your arms can still easily move. Also being open allows a good fit even if your bust is a little smaller or larger for the size. A bolero usually ends in front just past the arms keeping the front of your dress visible and mostly uncovered. This helps it to look like part of the dress. The design of the bolero can be altered to cover more or less in front.
A custom made bolero can be made to meet your specific needs. A recent request here at the tailor shop, Custom Stitches by Roxanne in Jamestown, NY – also Veils by Roxanne, was a mother-of-the-bride who needed her strapless dress to look more like the mother-of-the-bride. The bolero needed to look like it was part of the original dress. I was able to make her bolero just long enough to end below the top of the back of the dress, so dress and jacket overlap providing a continuous line in back. We gave it short cap sleeves for a close tailored fit to the body, yet not tight. To coordinate with her beautifully beaded and sparkling black dress we layered a black satin fabric, an organza with sparkles all over and a black lace fabric on top with enough space in the design to allow the sparkle to show through. The lace fabric came with a scalloped edge along the salvages, so I cut that out to form a trim to sew around the edge and sleeves.
The possibilities are numerous especially if you can have your bolero custom made. Sleeves can be longer or even a different style. I made a couple boleros with very loose ruffle like sleeves. I made another with long sleeves from a wedding dress pattern to fit in as the bolero sleeves.
Layering fabrics can also help when colors are hard to match. Combine colors in sheer fabrics that will show through like organza, chiffon or lace. Start with a solid base fabric, like satin, close in color to the dress. Next, experiment by layering different color sheer fabrics over it. You will be surprised how some look when combined.
If you want a beaded, embellished or embroidered look but need to save money or are short on time look for interesting fabrics that will give that look. Also consider having a trim added to the edge of your bolero, even on a store bought bolero.
Would you like us to make your bolero? I can do it! I make custom wedding veils for customers around the world and a custom bolero would work as well no matter how far away you are. I can help you take measurements needed, look at your dress to help with design and help you find fabric. Contact [email protected]. I’m happy to help and give you ideas!