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How a Maine 8-year-old inadvertently became a fashion trendsetter at his school

How an 8-year-old became a fashion trendsetter
How a Maine 8-year-old inadvertently became a fashion trendsetter at his school 02:29

Chelsea, Maine — Most 8-year-old boys don't get dressed to the nines. But James Ramage loves to dress for third-grade success. 

He started wearing a suit to class a few years ago to his school in the small rural town of Chelsea, Maine, located outside Augusta. At first, the other students didn't know what to think.

"Every time I saw him, I was just like, 'OK,'" one of Ramage's classmates told CBS News. 

"And I'm like, 'Why is he dressing up?'" said another.

Ramage knew he stood out. But he soon decided he didn't care what others were wearing.

"I don't need to look like them any more," Ramage said. "I can be who I want to be."

In any school, a decision like that can go a few different ways. You could be accepted for who you are or ostracized for who you are not. Or, in very rare circumstances, you could become a trendsetter. Ramage fell in the latter category.

"More people started to do it," said a classmate.

"And now people absolutely love it," added another.

Now, once a week, students at Chelsea Elementary put on their finest for what is known as "Dapper Wednesday." It is not a dress code, it was solely created by the students.  

Teacher Dean Paquette was an early adopter and is now an avid advocate of dressing up.

"Being dressed up, kids are different," Paquette said. "I think it's a self-esteem thing.  And then it carries with them all the way through the day."

The kids agree, telling CBS News they love how it feels.

"It feels like I'm not a kid anymore," said one, while another declared that "it feels like I'm like a president."

The school has also started a "Dapper Closet," for which it receives donations, to ensure everyone who wants to participate can. 

When Ramage started all this, he had no idea the impact it would have. But he doesn't think every kid should wear suits — just whatever suits them.

"Just wear what they want to wear," he said. 

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