How a 3rd grader wearing suits to school led to a 'Dapper Day' movement in Maine (2024)

James Ramage isn’t quite like other third graders.

The Chelsea, Maine 8-year-old likes to don his best suits each week for school, sometimes opting for a red and green Christmas-themed getup.

Some days, he goes for a more subtle look and wears a blue suit with a nice tie.

He has worn suits to school since first grade. Another student, Lincoln Bolitho, eventually joined in.

Last October, ed. tech Dean Paquette was on lunch duty and noticed how nicely the boys were dressed.

“I kept seeing these two young boys in third grade wearing suits every once in a while to lunch,” he said. “One day, I came around the corner and there they are again. I just felt like I wanted to support them and let them know that there were other people around that like to dress up also.”

How a 3rd grader wearing suits to school led to a 'Dapper Day' movement in Maine (1)

So, he went up to the boys and told them to let him know the next time they plan to wear suits to school.

“We can do this together,” he told them, adding that the next week, he wore his own suit to look like them.

It continued over the next few months and by December, 'Dapper Day' was a hit and had gained popularity at the school.

‘Dapper Day’ gains popularity at Maine elementary school

Since the schoolwide event began, even girls have joined in, wearing dresses and bows in their hair.

Things picked up even more after Christmas. Lots of kids had asked for new clothes for the holidays and couldn’t wait to show them off in school, Paquette said.

James seems thrilled that he wanted to join him in looking sharp at school and help others.

“I felt like that was really cool,” James said. “I really liked that.”

He and Lincoln, his 8-year-old friend, got a shoutout at the school’s last assembly for creating such a fun, school-wide event.

Lincoln said his friend inspired him to get all dressed up for the school day. He has three suits now and loves his gray one.

“It’s my go-to because some of my other suits are a little out of shape,” Lincoln told USA TODAY.

How a 3rd grader wearing suits to school led to a 'Dapper Day' movement in Maine (2)

He really likes wearing bow ties with his suits and said he has one that lights up. Some days, he even pairs his suits with a fedora his older brother gave him.

When 'Dapper Day' took off, he thought it was pretty cool.

“Mostly every kid in the school was dressed up,” he said.

How a 3rd grader wearing suits to school led to a 'Dapper Day' movement in Maine (3)

‘Fuller House’ character inspired ‘Dapper Day’

James said he was inspired to wear suits to school after watching “Fuller House.”

“There was this one person who always used to wear suits and I wanted to try that,” he said. His mother, Susie, added that the character he’s referring to is Max, D.J.'s son.

James has five suits. His green one is his absolute favorite.

“I just like the color,” he said.

His mom said he gets dressed for school pretty quickly.

“Usually, he just goes in and picks out which suit he wants to wear and kind of goes with it and then gets himself dressed,” she said.

And the third-grader isn’t too much into bow ties. He prefers regular ties.

“My bow ties, they kind of hang on my neck a little and I don't like it,” he said, lifting his chin a bit. “It hits my chin a lot, so I don't like that as much as the ties.”

How a 3rd grader wearing suits to school led to a 'Dapper Day' movement in Maine (4)

A fun idea turned fundraiser

Since ‘Dapper Day’ took off, donations have poured in and the school wants to start a ‘Dapper Day’ closet so every child can partake.

James' mom, Susie, said 'Dapper Day' has turned into a really great cause and she’s glad more kids are getting involved. She’s ecstatic that people have made donations and they want to create a 'Dapper Day' closet for kids to pull from.

“There's some kids that don't have anything to be able to participate,” she said.

Paquette bought 40 bow ties to hand out to kids who want to look fancy at school, he said. They also have head pieces and barrettes.

“The next step is for us to identify kids that don't have a shirt and would like one,” he said. “We're going to make sure that they do get shirts so that they can wear their ties also and participate.”

Someone even sent items from Vermont. They sent a box with shoes, pants, shirts and ties from their young sons who have grown up, Paquette said.

How a 3rd grader wearing suits to school led to a 'Dapper Day' movement in Maine (5)

Paquette said 'Dapper Day' is about more than just looking nice, too. It’s an opportunity to make people feel good about themselves. It helps the kids build confidence and makes things easier on the teachers too.

“I wear my suit every Wednesday and go around to every homeroom in the morning and talk to the kids that are dressed up,” he said, adding that he compliments them. “The other major thing for me is by kids dressing up, they feel good. And it also allows teachers to be very positive with the kids also.”

To donate and help out with 'Dapper Day,' contact Chelsea Elementary School Principal Allison Hernandez at

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'Dapper Day' at a Maine Elementary School

'Dapper Day' is an event that has gained popularity at a Maine elementary school. It started when two third-grade boys, James Ramage and Lincoln Bolitho, began wearing suits to school occasionally. Their ed. tech Dean Paquette noticed their attire and decided to support them by wearing his own suit to school. He encouraged the boys to let him know when they plan to wear suits, and he would join them. This led to the establishment of 'Dapper Day', where students and even girls started dressing up in suits, dresses, and bows. The event gained more popularity after the Christmas holidays when many kids received new clothes and wanted to show them off at school. 'Dapper Day' has become a school-wide event and has inspired donations to create a 'Dapper Day' closet for children who don't have appropriate clothes to participate.

Inspiration from "Fuller House"

James Ramage, one of the boys who started wearing suits to school, was inspired by a character from the TV show "Fuller House". He saw a character named Max always wearing suits and wanted to try it himself. James now has five suits, with his green one being his favorite. He enjoys picking out which suit to wear each day and prefers regular ties over bow ties. His friend Lincoln Bolitho also got inspired and now has three suits, with a gray one being his go-to choice. He likes wearing bow ties and even has one that lights up. Both boys received a shoutout at their school's assembly for creating the 'Dapper Day' event.

'Dapper Day' as a Fundraiser

'Dapper Day' has turned into a fundraiser at the school. Donations have poured in, and the school plans to create a 'Dapper Day' closet so that every child can participate. The school has received donations of bow ties, headpieces, barrettes, and even clothing items from other people. The next step is to identify kids who don't have shirts and provide them with appropriate clothing so they can wear ties and participate in 'Dapper Day'. The event not only allows students to dress up but also helps build their confidence and creates a positive atmosphere in the school. The teachers also find it easier to be positive and engage with the students during 'Dapper Day'.

If you would like to donate or help out with 'Dapper Day', you can contact Chelsea Elementary School Principal Allison Hernandez at

I hope this information provides you with a good understanding of the 'Dapper Day' event at the Maine elementary school. Let me know if there's anything else I can assist you with!

How a 3rd grader wearing suits to school led to a 'Dapper Day' movement in Maine (2024)
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