Michele Sinfield

“Whenever someone is having a bad day, I always tell them ‘feel shitty, dress pretty’,” said first year physics major Clara Glassman, the host of University of California, Santa Barbara’s Dapper Day. “I think when life gets you down its important to remember all the positive things in your life to switch up your perspective.”

Chances are, if you stumbled upon any fancily dressed classmates this past Friday, May 15, you witnessed Glassman’s words of advice brought to fruition through her UCSB Dapper Day event.

Dapper Day, which began at Disneyland, is an annually coordinated day where theme park visitors dress up, often in clothing inspired by the 1950s or an earlier era, and explore the park with other spiffily dressed park-goers. The event is open to anyone and encourages all to join in and dress up. But the problem, Glassman explains, is that it isn’t exactly accessible to everyone.

“I was a little taken aback that the only way to participate was to spend almost 100 dollars for a ticket to the park,” she said. “This prompted the idea to just bring that event here and have it be a free opportunity for UCSB.”

What began as an idea between roommates quickly spread across Facebook and nearly 1,000 people RSVP’ed to the event.

“It just exploded into this big thing of beauty and it warmed my heart to see how many people supported the idea,” said Glassman.

The success of the event has led her to consider how it could further expand as a tradition for the UCSB campus. She mentions the possibility to “incorporate ballroom dance lessons from past periods, or perhaps a movie night showing of a bunch of old movies,” to create a truly vintage-inspired atmosphere.

The event at Disneyland is simply a day of dress up, but Glassman believes it could extend past this.

“I would love to use it as a way to make a difference,” she said. “Since it focuses on clothes, we could raise awareness about sweatshops… [or] how shopping at vintage or consignment stores can save so much waste from being created.”

Although she looks ahead to potential philanthropic aspects of the event, she maintains a positive outlook on the start of Dapper Day at UCSB.

“If at least one person’s day is brightened, then I’ve reached my goal,” she said. “I’m hoping it can just bring a day of fun as a quick interruption between all the stress that midterms can cause.” The rapid spread of the event seems to be a sign of exactly that. Although midterm season is often a time of high stress on campus, participators in the event were able to experience a day of fun and fancy clothes to take their minds off of school. 

Amid all the fun, Glassman reiterates her hope that the event will offer an outlet to anyone who needs a pick-me-up or a day to set aside the stress of school.

“As a child, I never got many chances to dress up,” said Dalia Juarez, a second year music major who participated in the event.. “After my first prom, I realized that dressing up was extremely empowering for me. In my day to day life, I make it my goal to dress as ‘dapper’ as possible so most people were not surprised by my get up. But going around campus wearing what I did made me feel extra confident.”

Glassman said that she hopes Dapper Day will become a reoccurring event that provides a stress-free atmosphere of fun. She said, “As they say, all you need for a change of perspective is to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, especially their vintage 1950’s high heeled blue-trimmed kitten heels.”