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Arts & Culture

Live Active Cultures: Dapper Days at Disney

Annoying and pretentious, or a refreshing return to Sunday-best styles in public?



It’s fair to note that not everyone is a Dapper fan. I understand how the spectacle can seem over-the-top and off-putting to the uninvolved majority of guests; the multi-hour queue of people schvitzing through their steampunk costumes to ride the Mark Twain riverboat around Frontierland was especially absurd. And while most of the outfits showed obvious care in their assembly, can we please call a moratorium on wearing belts and suspenders simultaneously?

But any bothersome aspects were outweighed by the event’s sociological value. As a professional people-watcher, I was struck by the demographic that embraces this type of thematic throwback. With countless creative tattoos and piercings spotted beneath the retro couture, I’d guess that a generation ago many of these same people would be considered post-hippie punks; today they are embracing their grandparents’ fashions, the same ones their parents probably rebelled against. Of course, not every attendee was a 20-something hipster; I got a little teary seeing some stylish seniors making the most of their midcentury-mod closets.

Most of all, for a day or two out of the year, isn’t it nice to remember a world where people – even those vacationing in a mousetrap – gave a crap what they looked like in public? Find out for yourself this Sunday, March 9, as Dapper Day returns to Orlando’s Magic Kingdom.

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