The difference between a bolero and a shrug lies in their length. The shrug could be a cropped cardigan and is usually worn in a casual outfit. A bolero is like a smaller jacket with more structure and fancier. It will be worn over a dress at a party or a special occasion. See our selection of both boleros and shrugs here.
While the origin of the word Bolero is unknown, the person who made it famous in fashion was the designer by the name of Balenciaga. Because it resembles the jacket worn by men and women in Spain, this piece of clothing got the name of the Spanish dance. The texture is stiffer, as the fabric is meant to resemble a matador jacket.
A shrug is not a jacket, but more like a cardigan. You can find it in many forms, fitted but without paddings or a stiff structure like the bolero. Usually, it is knitted, but sometimes you can find it with many embellishments that will make it less informal.
It can be worn during the summer when it’s not very cold, but you feel the need to put something over a dress. Little girls can wear it at church, or even at school.