A Disney fan creates a stylish form of cosplay which doesn’t run afoul of Disney’s parks rules!

Disney theme parks offer a wide variety of activities on their annual calendar: marathons, pin trading, D23 and Disneyana shows… and Dapper Day.

What’s “Dapper Day”? What movie did he appear in? Can I buy vinyl figures? Is there a hipster version I can share on Facebook?

Nope. It’s quite simple:

What is Dapper Day?

Started in February 2011, DAPPER DAY® Events organizes fashionable outings to Disney Parks twice a year (spring and fall) in LA, Orlando, and Paris. These events include a “DAPPER DAY at the Parks” with informal in-park meetups, plus other happenings outside the parks such as our DAPPER DAY Expo (in the Disneyland Hotel® Exhibit Hall), DAPPER DAY Car Show, and our official after party FOLLY in Downtown Disney Anaheim. We sometimes organize other events at non-Disney locations throughout the year.

DAPPER DAY Events celebrates the tradition of “stepping out in style” and are meant to showcase you at your best. We do not aim to recreate a specific period. All sophisticated attire is encouraged from vintage-inspired classics to chic contemporary looks. Active and retired military are encouraged to wear your dress blues or service uniforms if you like. (Please note costumes or cosplay are better suited for other events.)

In other words, dress up in your finest finery, promenade around the park, to see and be seen. (Not unlike the olden days, when couples and individuals would spend a day at the park, and flirtation was done by discrete “escort cards”.)

Disney Insider, one of the many official blogs of The Walt Disney Company, recently reported on the Disneyland Dapper Day event, which took place on September 18.

While reading the article, I discovered a new term: Disneybounding.

That lead me to a Time/Money article, which mentioned Leslie Kay, who created the idea. What’s the definition of “Disneybounding”?

“Using items you can find in your own closet or local mall, create the looks outside of costumed or cosplay looks, which represent your favorite Disney character, while having fun with fashion!”

Since Disney has strict rules on Disney cosplay (so other guests don’t confuse amateurs with paid park “friends with” employees), this is an elegant and creative way to show your love for Disney characters!

Here’s an example from Dapper Day:

How many Disney characters do YOU recognize?

…and a group photo from the same day, from the Disney Bound tumblr:


When I was new to comics fandom, attending comic cons around the country, I knew I would meet a lot of new people, and wanted to not only make a good first impression, but to stand out from the many other young fans wandering about. How did I do that? By wearing an ironed button-down dress shirt with a matching Donald Duck necktie! (I’m not a big fan of Mickey Mouse.)  Nowadays, I ditched the necktie, and wear a sports blazer instead (lots of pockets = fashionable tote bag, plus it insulates against frigid air conditioning).

Disneybounding is more abstract, finding inspiration from a character, but not replicating the exact costume. Here’s an example: The Winter Soldier.

Disney Bound Winter Soldier

Of course, when I see something like this, fractal butterflies flutter in my imagination creating brainstorms, the pulse quickens, I get that long-ago-and-far-away look in my eye as a grin slowly creeps across my face…

What if this spread to other fandoms?

Call it “fanbounding“. (Or insert the fandom into the name, if you want to be more specific, like “superherobounding” or “eightbitbounding” or “muppetbounding”. ) It could be something you do for fun; or something you do everyday, to add a little fun and excitement to a drab workplace dress code. (Those Disney ties? I wore them to work until they got rid of the strict dress code.)

There could be subcultures, like historical periods, where everyone uses the same Sears catalog to create fanbounding outfits. (Disneyland, in celebration of their 60th anniversary this year, encouraged park goers to dress up in 1950s clothing for a day.)

There could be color wars, or color days, where people choose a favorite color.

Fans could gender-swap characters, like the Winter Soldier example above.

“Negative Compliments” would be where the color scheme is flipped, either like in a photographic negative, or via the color wheel. For example, instead of Disneybounding a red-and-yellow Winnie the Pooh outfit, it would be green-and-purple instead. (One might wear a character pin upside down to help others decode the scheme.)

“Topsy Turvy” would flip the clothing upside-down. A character’s shirt color would instead be linked to pants, for example.

What if Comic Cons hosted a “Dapper Day”?

Imagine a day at a comic con, where everyone dresses to impress! It could be like the Easter Parade on Fifth Avenue! Of course, wear sensible shoes…

If you don’t cosplay, would you create an outfit based on a favorite character? Would you wear your Sunday Finest to a comic con?