I cannot do better than quote the original introduction from the 1940s.
"The charm of this little bolero is that it makes either a dainty bed-jacket, or attractive Angora coatee, for day or evening wear. The pretty shape makes it fit beautifully and you will find the openwork sleeves and border simple and quick to do."
I will add that you should choose your colours and styling carefully, otherwise its roots as a bed-jacket may be too obvious. When I knitted Rowan's Carolina by Sharon Miller in pale blue/grey - which is lovely in my opinion - I find myself unable to wear it as day wear and feel it needs to be in a more striking colour for evening wear. (Matches my pyjamas nicely though...)
Note that this pattern is untested, and reproduced here as per the original.
The body of the bolero is worked in fancy rib over 2 rows as follows:
1st Row: Knit.
Cast on 84 stitches and work in ribbed pattern as above.
Now cast off 1 stitch at beginning of every row till 16 sts remain.
Work 20 rows straight.
Continue to work in pattern but increase 1 st at each end of the next
and every following 3rd row until there are 26 sts on the needle.
Using three needles, pick up and knit 110 stitches up right side of back
piece, then cast on 122 stitches. Arrange the sts as follows:
Join into a round and work 20 rounds in pattern.
Next Round: *
k2, k2tog; repeat from * to end.
Work second side to correspond.
With five needles, using 2 strands of wool together, and right side facing, pick up and knit 42 stitches across lower edge of back, 60 stitches round right side, 13 across back of neck and 60 stitches round left side.
1st Round: Knit.
Repeat 12th and 13th rounds, then 12th round again.
Starting at the top with two needles and double wool, cast on 36 stitches and knit 4 rows garter stitch (every row knitted).
Repeat from † once, then 5th row again.
Next Row: Cast on 6 stitches, knit
to end, dropping all loop stitches.
Repeat from † once, and then
again omitting decreasings.
Press very lightly only.
Original quoted 5ozs Beehive Non-Shrink Baby Wool 3ply.
Five No 7 (4½mm) double-pointed needles, or one pair of needles and a circular needle.
No 8 (4mm) crochet hook.
[Alternative 9 (½ oz) balls Patons Fuzzy-Wuzzy Angora and five No 8 (4mm) needles]
28 stitches to 4 inches over pattern rib in back; 40 stitches to 4 inches
over pattern rib in side pieces.
To fit size 32-36 inch bust; length from top of shoulder to lower edge,
16 inches; sleeve seam, 4½ inches.
k2tog: knit 2 sts together (decrease).
dc: double crochet remembering that this is UK notation, and in the US is referred to as single crochet.