Thousands of people channeled a more sophisticated time at the Disneyland Resort Friday night by dressing up and attending the growing Dapper Day event.
Dapper Day is a social gathering for those who appreciate the finer days when people used to take more care of what they wore.
Fueled completely by social media and word-of-mouth, the event is now in its third year of existence, and it all began with inspiration from vintage concept illustrations of the various Disney parks.
A man known to his Internet followers as Justin J., a dapper himself, started the affair with the urge to provide others with a reason to get done up as people used to many decades ago.
“For years, I just thought that I should make this event where we make the paintings come to life,” Justin said. “I made the first event happen, I got a few friends to join me where I knew we could get some really good photos and those photos would sell the next event.”
At its core, Dapper Day is simply a day where many people get together to go to Disneyland dressed up. There is no extra ticket, no membership fees, just intentions of having fun and looking good while doing it.
From humble beginnings of just an outing with friends to now bringing in crowds of an estimated 4,000 dressed up people, Dapper Day even brought out students and professors from Cal State Fullerton.
Sophomore communications major Mia Calabretta attended the evening celebration in full attire after having heard about it through design sites and Facebook.
“It’s been great. I’ve only been here for a few hours and everybody greets each other with ‘Happy Dapper Day.’ It’s fun to dress fancy,” Calabretta said.
The night was filled with happy theme park goers both in slacks and dresses, but also those who figured it would just be another day at the park. Inquisitive stares and many questions were raised as to why there were so many people dressed up.
“I’ve been asked a lot tonight why I’m dressed like this,” said Rebecca Guzman, junior Radio-TV-Film major, who also put herself together for the evening.
The bewilderment of guests raised a valid question: Is it that out of the ordinary for people to dress up?
Southern California residents are pretty spoiled with having to deal with sunshine year-round, but this isn’t simply an excuse as to why most people’s closet only consists of jeans and T-shirts.
“I definitely think people should dress up more often, or at least put more effort into the way they look, even college students,” Guzman said. “We all have our off days where we just throw on a pair of sweat pants and a T-shirt, but dressing up on a more consistent basis is a great image to have.”
History professor David Freeman is known by his colleagues and students as someone that puts thought and care into the way he looks.
“As a professor it shows that you take your job seriously and expect the students to do the same. It also establishes a relationship appropriate to a professional environment, which is what a classroom is,” Freeman said. “It is important for students for the same reasons and shows a courteousness towards others.”
Often wearing a suit when he teaches, it was not out of his element to attend Dapper Day the way he usually dresses.
“After (going to Dapper Day) I no longer feel that I am a solitary voice crying in the wilderness,” Freeman said. “I felt that the pendulum had swung too far away when it came to dressing up in public. I have a sense that it is now swinging back at least a bit among young people – and that is a very encouraging sign.”
With so many people who did make it out to Disneyland in their best, maybe not all hope for dressing up has been lost by the general public.
“I think there’s a renewed interest in general in finer things and dressing well and adult sophisticated events,” Justin said. “And I think there’s an enormous amount of people who wish there were more events to dress up at and so I wanted to create an opportunity for that.”
The next Dapper Day event will be taking place Feb. 24, 2013.