Dapper Day is my favorite Disney event of the year, and it isn’t even operated by Disney. Beginning in February 2011, the event began in Disneyland in the hopes to bring back the idea of “stepping out in style” at the parks. When we look back at the park in the 1950s and the concept art that accompanied it, guests were dressed to the nines. Dresses and heels, suits and ties, hats and glasses. It paired so nicely with the parks. The event hoped it bring that sophistication back to the parks one day a year.
Since that initial event, it has only grown. Twice a year, the parks in Orlando, Anaheim, and Paris deck themselves with classy looks to celebrate fashion and Disney. In California, the event is usually paired with an expo of photo ops and shopping opportunities to further celebrate style. Some people serve period looks, while others serve modern sophistication. Disneybounding has also become synonymous as some guests try to evoke a certain character with their style. Few things make me as happy as walking through the park and seeing so many people looking so gosh darn classy.
I always tell as many people as I can about the event, but some are still overwhelmed by the ordeal. It can be quite daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. I’m compiled a list of some tips and tricks I’ve used during my Dapper Day experiences that can benefit newcomers. Now, I am not a pro whatsoever and I don’t believe that I am a style icon (as I write this, I’m wearing my hair in a Survivor: Guatemala buff, like the garbage person), but I want to help newcomers experience the magic of the event anyway I can.
- Come up with a concept: It’s hard to start from scratch or get inspiration from shopping aimlessly, so I go into stores with a specific goal. I like to Disneybound these events, as it adds another layer of fun, so I usually go with a character in mind. That way, I can look for certain colors and hues. If you aren’t Disneybounding, go in with a time period or outfit concept. Say to yourself “I’m going for Tinkerbell 1950s realness,” and from there, you can search for green dresses, yellow accents, flats, etc.
- Don’t be afraid to dye: This past Epcot Dapper Day, I wanted to evoke an underrated character that embodied Epcot, Jose Carioca. However, his green and yellow colors are very specific, and it was hard to find dress pants and blazers that fit that hue exactly. What I did instead was bought a plain white pair of pants and jacket that fit me well and dyed it using RIT’s products. It was relatively simple, you just place the dye in a big vat of hot water and stir for 20 minutes, throw it in the wash, and you get these vibrant colors that match the character beautifully. Disneybounding or not, if you have a specific color in mind for your look, research the possibility of dyeing your own clothing.
- Accessorize: The art of the outfit lies within the details. For my Jose Carioca outfit, I found an adorable parrot broach that was the exact same colors. For ladies, handbags in various shapes and designs can add that last bit that creates a full look. Gentlemen, don’t be afraid of hats.
- Thrifting is your friend: Goodwill, Salvation Army, and other thrift stores are an essential stop to creating a look. Here, you can find items that fit the look perfectly and for cheap.
- OMG SHOES: Comfort is key. I have walked around the parks in shoes I haven’t broken in and upon removal, my feet throbbed for three hours after. It was bad. I’ve been with friends in heels who are in so much pain it hurts to watch them walk. Make sure you take your shoes out for a spin first to make sure they are wearable. Even if you are comfortable in them, make sure to bring some thick socks, band-aids, and mole skin just in case.
Here’s hoping your inaugural Dapper Day visit is as magical as it can be. Feel the best you possibly can and think of the parks as your runway! *cue America’s Next Top Model theme song*