“What Does Dapper Day Mean to You?” – Reflecting on the Dapper Day Experience
By now my love of Dapper Day at Disneyland is widely known and has been thoroughly documented in pictures. With each passing season the outfits become more intricate and creative. This past weekend was Spring Dapper Day 2017 at the Disneyland Resort. As has become tradition, Sasaki Time was in attendance with our generous and talented photographer Kevin, Disneybounding as Carl and Ellie from Pixar’s Up! We had an amazing weekend, as usual, and in addition to our usual photo coverage I wanted to turn my focus outward to the other Dapper Day attendees who make this bi-annual tradition so incredible. As we strolled around the parks I posed a simple question to other Dapper folks, “What does Dapper Day mean to you?” I had the pleasure of speaking with many different people throughout the day to gain a 360 degree view of Dapper Day, from 1st time attendees to an employee of the Dapper Day organization.
The Dapper Day Story
The first Dapper Day was held at Disneyland in 2011 and in the following years branched out to Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland Paris. Both Spring and Fall Dapper Days have been held every year. According to David McCarthy of the Dapper Day organization (@davidfordisney), “Dapper Day loves to celebrate vintage and current fashion and let people express themselves with any kind of fashion they would like to.” In addition to their Disney Parks events, Dapper Day hosts events around the LA area at places like Clifton’s and the LACMA. Dapper Day is its own brand and remains a separate entity from Disney Parks. Despite the fact that Dapper Days remain unofficial and are not affiliated with Disney Parks, that doesn’t stop them from joining in on the fun. This season various photo spots were set up around the parks where cast members took guest’s photos holding retro-inspired photo frames. Character costumes also appear to be themed for Dapper Day, such as Mickey wearing his Dapper Dan attire. David McCarthy revealed the parks in Orlando also have planned themed food offerings for the Spring 2017 season (April 29th and 30th) such as picnic lunches, themed cupcakes, and even fresh boutonnieres. There are also additional events such as the Dapper Day Expo at Disneyland and Justin, the creator of Dapper Day, will be making a rare appearance for a meet and greet Saturday April 29th in the Emporium at the Magic Kingdom. The Dapper Day brand has done a fantastic job of creating events, both inside and outside the parks, helping to create a strong sense of camaraderie and community for Disney and fashion fans alike.
Dressed to the Nines
Dapper Day is intended as a call back to a time when going to the parks was a special occasion and people dressed accordingly. David McCarthy compared Dapper Day to looking at the original concept drawings and early photos of Disneyland “with everyone dressed to the nines even though it’s hot.” While there’s nothing wrong with the shorts, t-shirts, and tennis shoes that have become the uniform of a Disney Parks day, one of the things people consistently love about Dapper Day is having the ability to dress up! Darcy Prevost (@darcyeprevost) called Dapper Day “a slice of history” recalling a time when “everybody cared about what they put on.” Victoria Matautia (@toriam16) was attending her first Dapper Day and said her favorite so far has been that on Dapper Day dressing up is the norm when on any other day it would be weird to see someone dressed up in the parks.
Community, Camaraderie, and Creativity
One of the things I have, personally, always adored about Dapper Day is the strong sense of support and community that surrounds these events. Creativity, camaraderie, and coming together were common themes among those I interviewed. No one is a stranger on Dapper Day. Complimenting the outfit of a perfect stranger is not only acceptable but encouraged. Jeanine Ringer (@mrsringer) shared that one of her favorite things is “appreciating the effort and creativity that [other attendees] put into it.” James of @jameschatstv said Dapper Day is a “wonderful day to express yourself, get into the Disney spirit, and get creative”. Alex Ryser (@lex_ryser) at the park for her 4th Dapper Day outing said, “My favorite part is coming together for a whole group Disneybound. It’s a day to be together, bond, and have fun.”
Here are some of the other sentiments that fellow park goers shared with me:
Shawn Rios (@cravaliershawn @riosoriginals): “Dapper Day is an opportunity to express creativity but also to connect. In my group there are a wide array of instagramers, cosplayers, designers, people who appreciate vintage [fashion] and it represents an opportunity to bring those many many different backgrounds together in a way that show a similar interest and appreciate each other.”
Taylor Simonds (@taylor_on_tour): “It’s my favorite day of the year! I love having an excuse to dress up.” “It’s amazing to feel beautiful but more importantly I love all the people I’ve met through this. It’s such a wonderful community of people. It’s so easy to instantly spot someone [on Dapper Day] and know that you’re like minded, that you also care about fashion and aesthetic and Disney and looking and feeling your best. It’s such an easy way to make friends with people that have the same interests as you.”
David McCarthy on behalf of Dapper Day added, “Dapper Day loves to see everyone’s marvelous styles and see everyone make it their own. We look forward to seeing you out in the parks in the future and at our outside events in your most stylish attire whether it be current or vintage.”
Our ensembles for Fall Dapper Day 2017 are already in the works and we can’t wait to share them with you. Fall Dapper Day at Disneyland is scheduled for November 4th and 5th of this year. Go to dapperday.com for more information.
Check out our Instagram accounts (@sasakitime and @krisnick16) for a close-up look of our Spring experience with Dapper Day in the parks. We hope to see you all Stepping Out in Style next season!