NOTHING MORE DAPPER THEN A DAPPER DAY EXPO

Edited by Christopher Edelen
Photos from Ariel Landrum

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Dapper Day, the semiannual event founded to encourage Disney-goers visitors to don their favorite fashionable wear, took over Disneyland on Sunday, April 22, 2018. Dapper Day Expo, a companion to the event, took place over the weekend at the Disneyland Hotel Exhibit Hall. Guests could buy from vendors displaying vintage and classic-inspired clothing and accessories, as well as network with one another.

Though I’ve attended previous Dapper Days, this was my first year attending the Expo. It was an event I’d skipped not from lack of interest, but from lack of funds. Adding up the costs of acquiring a Dapper Day outfit, attending both Disneyland parks, and parking, I thought I’d never have enough mula to attend both. This year, however, my best friend Stefanie, a veteran of everything Dapper Day, convinced me that we could “window shop” the Expo.

Now that I’ve gone, I don’t think I will ever skip it again. Dapper Day Expo, occupying over 30,000 square feet, was a magical vintage loving experience of its own. At the parks, participants are mixed in with general guests. Though this makes for some fun photographic juxtaposition, seeing everyone at The Expo head to toe in chic attire was a feast for the eyes. As a photographer, the consistency made it easier to capture the essence of the Dapper Day experience. Variations on the theme of “Stepping out in Style” ranged from ‘50s wear, to ‘60s gogo boots, to Disneybounding. To be in a room filled with so much fashion was intoxicating.

The Dapper Day committee often picks a subtle secondary theme for their weekends. This year that theme was nautical. Officials sold a nautically inspired enamel pin, and created a seafaring backdrop for attendees to take photos with for free. Of course Stefanie and I flocked to pose in front of the setup. She fit the scene perfectly in her tiki wear.

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Vendors present ranged from individuals selling custom Mickey ears, to name-brand shops like Audrey K, to salons and barbers. I learned that people will often prepare their entire Dapper Day ensemble at the Expo: obtaining their outfit, scheduling hair and makeup, and buying coordinating accessories. I enjoyed watching men and women get slick dos done.

Another experience that really brought the Expo into perspective was engaging with other attendees. As the parks are often congested with guests waiting in lines for rides, food, or the next Instagram worthy background, I never get to stop and converse with other Dapper Day participants. At The Expo I met a variety of people eager to share their knowledge of, and love for, the vintage life.

Many women gave makeup tips, DIY secrets, or theories on pattern and textile mixing. One woman shared how she’d turned her Disneyland popcorn bucket into a fashionable purse, perfectly matching her Nightmare Before Christmas themed outfit. I even found another woman wearing a teal flamingo dress, like me!

Leaving the event to head to Disneyland, I knew that I would become a regular. The Dapper Day Expo is definitely a MUST for all enthusiasts. The camaraderie, the fashion, and the setting are simply the epitome of dapper.

Read more about my experience this Dapper Day; and don’t forget to check out the gallery for more fashion photos!

Follow Ariel L. on Instagram: @AirYell3000