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Arts and Entertainment

Photos: Dapper Day Brings Old Timey Fun To Disneyland

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Despite weather that tipped into the 90s, Dapper Day at Disneyland was a smashing success Sept. 18, bringing nattily dressed SoCalers by the thousands to the amusement park and the Dapper Day Expo at the Disneyland Hotel.

Bowties, suspenders, polka dots and parasols ruled the day, popping up among the families and foreigners in T-shirts and sneakers. (You want dapper DILFs of Disneyland? They had plenty.) Attire for the event is roughly inspired by American clothing from the 1930s through the '50s, with some Disney cosplay, steampunk, apparel from earlier decades and modern cocktail wear thrown into the mix.

Justin Jorgensen, creator of Dapper Day, was himself emblematic of Dapper Day attendees, dressed sharply in white shoes, a straw boater hat and differing patterns, in a striped coat, polka dotted shirt and square-patterned pants. He has been holding the biannual events since spring of 2011 and said the event appeals to those who love wearing “big, floral party dresses,” “bold suits” and “dressing with a sense of joy.”

The creative and brand consultant said he had the idea since a decade prior to the first event, inspired by the Walt Disney Imagineering concept design illustrations from the early days of Disneyland, in which the people populating the scenes were dressed in era-appropriate clothing. Since the attractions that were originally designed came to light and many of them still stand today, Jorgensen said, he thought, "Wouldn't it be funny if one day the entire vision became completely real?"

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The expo at Disneyland's hotel drew haberdashers, dressmakers and vintage clothing vendors selling everything from bowler hats and floral shirts you might see on a Highland Park hipster to doggy bow-ties. Attendees could shop, take pictures in booths while wearing their Sunday best or even meet with wedding planners to plan the dapper wedding of their dreams.

Ian Wilson, 18, of Cypress, was at his first Dapper Day. Dressed in a bow tie, suspenders and Chuck Taylors, he said he found out about Dapper Day from his barber. I'm definitely into the '50s style and a fan of Disney, so it's an easy way to get both," he said.

Alyssa R., 22, of Los Angeles, was at her second Dapper Day and dressed smartly in strappy Snow White attire this time. "I love Disneyland," she said. "I love a good reason to dress up, and it all goes together." Of the heat, she offered: "I'm just gonna accept it. It's gonna be hot, I'm gonna live that life."

Dapper Day people were everywhere throughout the day in the two parks, taking in live music, gathering on the Mark Twain Riverboat and the King Arthur Carousel for group rides and partying it up at a post-Dapper Day soiree at the Jazz Kitchen. Though the parks were crowded with dapper folk, participating attendees tended to be very polite (as one might expect), according to several concession workers. Today, Dapper Day continues on with a vintage car show, retro Disneyland slide show and more.

Disney claims more than 20,000 people attend the event. Jorgensen said they've only gotten bigger each time. In recognition of our brutally hot Septembers, Jorgensen said the next fall Dapper Day will move to November, while the spring event will move to late May.