What Dapper Means To You?

March 28, 2017

Traditionally dapper has meant someone (usually a man) who is stylishly or sharply dressed. But the word dapper has taken on a broader meaning and been adopted by many women and gender non-conforming folks who prefer the styles and designs of menswear. We wanted to find out what dapper means to you, so we held a contest.

We had a total of 23 entries!!! And wow, we were blown away by all the incredibly snappy dressers and thought provoking definitions. There was a consistent theme across all the entries: dapper definitely means looking sharp and stylish, but it's also about projecting confidence and feeling comfortable in your own skin. It is about being your full authentic self and not being afraid to show it off to the world! We want to send a big thank you out to all those who entered the contest. It was an extremely tough decision choosing the winners. Check out our winner, Airin and runners up, Emery, Anne and Keri below.



To me, dapper is concise, comfortable, expressive and unique to the individual! it isn't just $$$ and men in suits! (In fact, all the clothing in this outfits comes to less than $50.) It is genderless, fluid, fun and for all love. Thinking of dressing dapper allows me to confidently convert parts of my identity and personality before I even open my mouth. It is a way I take care of myself and is something I share with folks. Like this chill dapper dad vibe just screams me, ya know? This is my jam and I think I'l stick with it.



Dapper is a fluid playground for a transmasculine genderqueer like myself. You get to mix and match different patterns, textures, and accessories to create a stylish and empowering image that finally feels like you for once. More often than not, this clothing is not easily accessible. Therefore I take pride in supporting companies who provide affordable clothing that fits a range of body types/sizes and gender identities. Best of all, a dapper lifestyle facilitates community between those who find comfort, confidence, and creativity in queer masculinity.


tfw your gf surprises you by entering you in a contest and saying the most amazing things. ☺️// Repost & 📸: @leongstagram: "Q: WHAT DOES DAPPER MEAN TO YOU? A: In the advertising industry, only 11% of Creative Directors are women, and @kerizierler is one of the best. My activism can be loud and brash but what I respect most about Keri is how hers is quiet and strong, totally consistent, totally reliable to everyone who has ever known her. And although I love how she rocks #wingtips and #ghostties while she's taking care of so much business, it's her whip smart brain and soft mushy heart that's the most #dapper thing about her. ❤

Anne Kennealy

Since I teach English, I'm going to define dapper in an old-school, dictionary-style way:

Dapper (adj.): Authentic, creative, and inclusive

For many folks, being dapper means looking sharp and acting debonair. For me, being dapper means feeling like my best self and therefore being able to welcome others as their most authentic selves. When I reclaim dapperness for myself--through a crisply-ironed shirt, floral bowtie, or thoughtful color palette--I open possibilities for others to be as they are, regardless of gendered expectations. This is especially important to me because I work everyday with middle schoolers, who are seeking models of authentic living that respect others and create community across difference.

I put together the outfit in the photo below for a friend's fall wedding. I was inspired by the clothing of my Scottish, Irish, and English ancestors--and by Downton Abbey. I cut a few inches off the back of the tartan tie so it wouldn't hang out of the jacket and thrifted the tweed vest from Goodwill. (The vest's brand is "Sir for Her," which made it an irresistible purchase for me.) My white shirt is Crewcuts brand--from J.Crew's line for boys. I include this background info to offer an understanding of the kind of creativity sometimes required to be dapper in a world where that qualifier seems reserved for the few instead of the many.



Growing up the term "dapper" referred to men in nice suits. I remember thinking how cool they were. It wasn't just the outfit I admired but the attitude; the confidence. I wanted that. Dapper is more than a style of dress, it's a feeling. It's someone refined, sexy, and confident. It's more than being fashionable, it's being comfortable in your own skin and having the attitude to match. When I put on suspenders, I feel like a dapper superhero. When you feel like a superhero... obviously you're doing something right! 🎩👞💼🌹//


The amazing, driven and creative people over at @kirrinfinch are hosting a #Dapper contest for a giveaway. Entries must include a picture and personal definition of "dapper". To me, dapper isn't a style- It's a state of mind. It's a sense of feeling confident and comfortable with a little spice 🌶 😎. I feel confident and comfortable in a plain v neck T shirt and jeans. But there's something about putting on some #Suspenders, a #SkinnyTie and wing tips that makes me feel extra...That extra is Dapper👌🏽


Throwing it back to #Dandy #i-D #subculture 2015 entry modelling for @anneleenphoto Dapper is… when I dress smart, I guess I'm kind of a modern dandy. I like to buy good quality classic clothing and shoes that will last, but often mix them with unique vintage items. Dapper is about how you wear an item of clothing; it is an innate sense of style and sophistication as much as the garments. Being dapper allows me to explore my gender fluidity, I can combine masculine tailoring with feminine fabrics and slide along the gender spectrum. Being Scottish, I’m very partial to tweed and tartan as it’s accessible, beautiful and can be formal or casual but always stylish. My tweed coat, waistcoat and bowtie are firm favourites.

Melissa Burnias

As I grew up and began to discover who I am both inside and out, I have felt that dapper to me is a form of confidence, manners, and self representation and/or self identity. Waking up and getting dressed has always been dependent on how I feel and my confidence level. I also feel that it can be a gorgeous balance of masculinity and femininity. The meaning of dapper, to me, is definitely being bold and just dressing confidently/comfortably in what allows you to be true to oneself.


Dapper is more than a haircut or an outfit - it is a sense of pride and confidence in your identity. When I first began exploring more masculine clothing, I will never forget telling my cousin/fashion guru that "I can't pull this off" with every button up or bow tie I would put on. In a way I was right! I couldn't pull it off not because it looked bad, but because it still felt bad. I hadn't been open and patient with myself. I hadn't let myself explore my identity through clothing without judgement or shame. Now, however, I am dapper AF. I'm no longer afraid of menswear or shopping in men's stores. Here I am proudly trying on "men's" jackets in a "men's" store - feeling proud, comfortable and of course DAPPER!

Jennifer Velez @jenniferkvelez

"Dapper is a transformation. Dapper takes my confidence and opens my shell up a little wider, takes my smile and makes it a little bit bigger, takes my back and makes it a little bit straighter. It affects my body and my mind."


I dress dapper to set a standard. When you look great you feel great and with every piece of clothing I own, is an expression of me and who I am. I love the hunt of thrifting and shopping on eBay for great deals because it's never about the cost of clothing, it's how you wear it. It's never about the brand, but the quality and integrity of the clothing. You are your own brand and a silent statement when you walk in to a room. There is power in waking up and choosing the dapper lifestyle everyday because it shows that you love and care enough about yourself, thus inspiring others to look their best. It's contagious.


While in the military (and even now in my profession) I was, and am, very limited in clothing options. The day of my military separation party, I walked in wearing a tie, suspenders, and a pair of chucks. It seemed so natural and I felt so uninhibited . Since I was,and still am, very restricted in what I wear professionally, when I can dress for me, I will. Dapper to me is having people question your influences, your gender, your work, and your story. The unknown of those answers are priceless. You don't need a suit and tie (as shown with this outfit) and in that sense I would like to redefine the definition of what is to be dapper.


What does Dapper mean to me? The embodiment of good fabric, rich texture, a fitted button down shirt, cuff links, a tailored jacket, and a fashionable cut that creates a confidence no one can dismiss!


Being dapper is an art form. It takes drive, confidence, creativity, and passion. Dapperness is all about the details. The bow tie, the cufflinks, the tie bar, the lapel, the suspenders, the pocket square folded just right, the tie pin, the collar stays, the socks, the sunglasses, and everything in between. It is a sense of being, a force that you do not want to reckon with. It can be formal or casual, LGBTQIA or straight, young or old, and can have any gender identity. Dapperness makes the world a better place. It makes me a happier person, and is EVERYTHING!


Well of course I always thank my Grandfather for teaching me from the 👞 shoe up to the 💇 hair I prefer a 20's look but love the new hipster look always as long my shirt can have buttons 😀 I can wake up just to go to the corner store in NYC and still Iron everything and make sure the hair is cut and clean before I step 🚶 out in the 🌎 world. Like @androswag caption says "Do It Right, Do It Big and Do it with style!" -Fred Astaire"

Angie Salazar @one.outfit

Being dapper is a state of being, not just a state of mind. The essence of being dapper emanates from your person, the way you carry yourself and your demeanor when you interact with others. It complements every ensemble, because you wear confidence and convey a sincere awareness that you have the qualities to be great, polite, compassionate, and joyful. And this is what makes the outfit.

Dapper doesn't have a gender or a stereotype, much like the word beautiful can apply to any one person, a place or a quality either tangible or metaphysical. I consider myself to be dapper, as shown in this photo, with me wearing a wearing a suit, collar tips and cufflinks, not only because I am comfortable in my own skin, but because I am dressed like I mean business. Style transcends fashion trends, landscape, background, age or time. I know myself and my worth, which is a style that never fades.

Kim Nguyen

To me, to be dapper is to be confident - confident in who you are and how you want to portray yourself to the world. Living in a society that likes to put people into neat little boxes, being dapper means having the willingness and the strength to step outside the box of what is expected, and into a box that only I have control over.


Some Christmas Eve looks. #bowtie #dapper #batman #androgynous @kirrinfinch dapper means being able to play with all different types of fashion and presenting it in with your most confident self. Dapper is an expression of certain folks best self.


For a while in middle school, my fashion encompassed anything green and baggy. Even though I've since learned to appreciate other hues and well fitted clothes, my main goal stays the same: wear clothes that feel comfortable, that feel like me. That is where the idea of dapper comes into the picture. Discovering dapper fashion let me know that I don't have to be traditionally femininely beautiful to dress nicely--Beauty, femininity, and fashion are so much more complicated than that. So with slick shoes, a good blazer, my signature sunglasses, and a boldly patterned button down I feel like not only can I take on the world, but also that I can look fantastic while doing it. I'm dapper.

George Hurvitt

Dapper means community.

It means feeling exactly right, but not being one-of-a-kind.

Dapper cannot happen in a vacuum because its strong spirit needs others to riff off of.


A tip of the top hat to a sense of style that has its roots in jazz, funk, and cabaret. Dapper --

Flaunt your bowtie, snap your suspenders, crisp your pocket square, and

Don't. look. back.

You have arrived in the middle of your best day, feeling like a million bucks.

RM Glass

Dapper, to me, means looking sharp and well tailored with a current sense of style. I'm at the Red Black & White Ball this winter in Santa Fe, NM. It's a semi-formal event with emphasis on those colors. This charcoal "joven" suit from Madrid, Spain is set off perfectly with a crisp white shirt, red bow tie and jaunty hat. The hat band also brings the charcoal and white together. The bow tie is a nod to the current Butch trend of wearing bow ties with a buttoned up shirt.


Being dapper just doesn't mean that you look great, or have a costume outfit (this was though@kipperclothiers). To me it's a feeling that you have when you walk outside, go to work or waiting for your soon to be wife to see you for the first time on your wedding day. It's about being who you are no matter what is around you. (Photo @jessicaschillingphotography)

Mandana Mofidi

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.