Disneyland Dapper Day: when Disney fans dress up

Disneyland fans have created many of their own theme days, some of which I've been lucky enough to happen upon or attend -- Bats Day (goths); Gay Days, and more. But I didn't know about Dapper Day, where 10,000+ people descend on Disneyland and Walt Disney World in natty outfits and style their way through the fun park. Just looking at the official gallery makes me want to mark this in my calendar for next year.

"People are looking for an excuse to dress up," said Justin Jorgensen, who started Dapper Day in 2011 and has organized five of the events, all at Disneyland. The latest Dapper Day — the same Sunday as the Oscars, Hollywood’s own dress-up day — drew an estimated crowd of 10,000 to the Anaheim park and about 1,000 more at Florida's Disney World.

"Everything, including the workplace, pushes this idea of being casual," said Jorgensen, 38, of Burbank. "When do I get to wear my great stuff?"

Most of those in attendance that day were in their 20s and 30s. They had come of age in a time of shoulder-padded power suits, windbreakers in neon colors and frizzy hair — not exactly a time that will be remembered for its classic elegance.

"I think people like history, people love nostalgia," said Heather A. Vaughan, a historian studying 20th century fashions. "People love imagining a time they didn’t live in."

Dapper Day at Disneyland, the nattiest place on Earth [LA Times/Rick Rojas]

(Photo: Christina House)


    1. When done right I think people dressed like this look impressive, at the same time I think, it’s Florida and probably humid as hell….god I’d be sweating buckets wearing that.  Stylish yes, comfortable to wear where it gets above 80F and 60%RH probably not.

  1. cute and all, make no mistake… but is “Dapper” the same as dressed for the 1940s?  i thought it just meant to be in formal dress.  (in which case, i would choose… “The black Russian, That always scares the clergy”)

    1.  I think the name might be a reference to Disneyland’s Dapper Dans, which is a 1940s-themed barbershop quartet that roams the park.

      1. Well so long as it isn’t a Fop quartet because…..

        “Well, I don’t want Fop, goddamn it! I’m a Dapper Dan man!”

  2. If it’s mostly people in their 20s and 30s, wouldn’t most of them come of age in the mid 90s through the 00s? (Nitpicking, I know. It occurred to me because I sat trying to remember if there was anything particularly different about office wear when I was a teenager, other than slightly different cuts and shorter heels).

    1. Yeah. This is my age group. I came of a age in a flurry of heroin, stompy boots, red hair dye, striped tank tops, smeared red lipstick, “thug life” tattoos, and giant (and I mean giant) gold chains.

      Oh… and fairy wings, shiny black corsets, and god I hate to remember it but… flannel.

      Of all of these things it’s the flannel I still loathe.

      1. I was too young to develop a horror of flannel. I mostly remember bell bottoms that dragged on the ground and long sleeved short waisted shirts, and guys showing off their boxers. Also, the swing revival. I bet that might be an influence here, actually.

  3.  Now, wouldn’t it be nice to bring something like this to Disneyland Paris?
    So far it has no Dapper Day, no Bats Day, or if something similar exists, it would be confidential.

  4. They had come of age in a time of shoulder-padded power suits…

    Okay, I’m totally with the jab at fluorescent wind breakers and scrunchies… But I can’t endorse that power-suit wearers like Annie Lennox, David Bowie and Grace Jones didn’t utterly nail elegance.

  5. Dig up pictures of Disneyland in the early fifties.  This is how most people dressed to go out.   My Grandfather always wore a suit or a nice sports jacket when we went to places like htis when I was a kid.

  6. Because what this guy said in the LA Times article:

    “Everything, including the workplace, pushes this idea of being casual. When do I get to wear my great stuff?”— Justin Jorgensen, Dapper Day founder

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