How to dress for Dapper Day?
Twice a year is Dapper Day, that you could explain as the day of elegance. But what is Dapper Day? Where does it come from? And how to take part? Don’t worry, I’ll tell you all about it!
What is Dapper Day?
It is an event which happens twice a year in the Disney resorts in the US and in France. Every year, 2 days are dedicated to Dapper Day, one in spring and on in autumn. Participants dress and style their hair in a very elegant (”dapper”) way following the style of the various decades of the 20th century, but also contemporary. The favourite era is the 50s. Amongst these very elegant outfits you can also find references to Disney characters, either through colours or accessories. This is called Disney bounding, but I’ll touch upon that a bit later with examples.
Where is Dapper Day coming from?
It’s coming from Los Angeles and was created by designer Justin. J in February 2011. Dapper Day® ( http://dapperday.com/ ) is an organisation known for their outings to the Disney parks, but they also organise a large retro exhibitors’ market in the wonderful Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California. Dapper Day also have their own online shop. If Disney is at the centre of their universe and the two regularly collaborate, they are not affiliated. Dapper Day is an independent organisation and is not part of The Walt Disney Company.
Marion Dollykitten and Aspirine Vogh
How to take part in Dapper Day?
It’s very easy to be part of Dapper Day, you only need to go to the park on Dapper Day with a valid entry ticket or your annual pass.
To complete your participation you will need a dapper, i.e. elegant, outfit. That’s where it gets more complicated, especially for retro/vintage fashion neophytes. However the organisation Dapper Day reminds several times in their instructions that it is not compulsory to adopt a pin-up or retro look. Dapper Day celebrates elegance from the past and the present. It is also important to remember that this is not a dressing up event or a cosplay gathering; cosplay being strictly forbidden by the Disneyland Paris regulations. Therefore costumes like the ones of Agent Carter or Mary Poppins will be more relevant in events such as the Comic Con; this to avoid that other visitors mistake them for Disney characters from the park.
What to wear for Dapper Day?
Personally I will focus here on what I know the best, which is fashion of the 40s to 60s. These are very subjective examples and do be aware that contemporary fashion is very much liked at Dapper Day because it is more rare there. But personally I prefer fashion from the past.
As with any outfit for a special occasion, most often we fall for a key piece (dress, skirt, top) that we then embellish with accessories (brooch, belt, jewellery, hair accessories …).
Here are 3 examples for each decade mentioned previously:
The 40s :
This look is typical of the 1940s. Here you can recognise the colours of Main Street USA.
Here the young lady is wearing an outfit and hair that are typical of the 1940s, whereas the gentleman and the hats are representing a different period.
The gentleman is wearing a 1920s outfit but the young lady’s look is typical of the 1950s with the scarf and the sunglasses.
What is DisneyBound?
Disneybound is an outfit which is an homage to a Disney character, using its colours and little characteristics.
But here as well one can carry across a retro style. Here are a few examples.
One can recognise the colours of Cinderella, with Drizella’s pearl necklace. The under-skirt, called crinoline, is typical of the pin-ups outfits in the 50s. The skirt is an original creation that features the birds from Cinderella as well as the belt from the ball gown put together by her mice friends. This is a rather elaborated Disneybound that requires some preparation and often some investment when one is not familiar with this style.
However sometimes it doesn’t take much to create a rather efficient bound! Miss Sweetblack challenged herself in March 2020 to create one Disneybound outfit per day:
(Check out all her other outfits here: https://www.instagram.com/misssweetblack/ )
Woody’s colours are easy to recognise; a bandana scarf and a hat and hop you are on your way to infinity and beyond!
As for Rex, one single colour… You are free to accessorise to your liking.
Just like his friend Woody, Buzz is also iconic by his colours. And this is again a nice example displayed by this pin-up.
You can find many more examples on the Internet. Besides I advise you to have a look on Pinterest where you’ll find some nuggets of Disney outfits.
So, what will your Dapper Day outfit be?