Graduation day! What a time of celebration. You’ve finished either four years of high school or four years of college/university, and now you’re celebrating it with a ceremony. Now you’re wondering… what should I wear?
Many people won’t know what to wear for this special occasion, because it’s not every day that you graduate. And you want it to be special and perfect. Some people might go all out with a dress that looks like it should be worn to prom, and others might skimp out by just wearing jeans and a casual t-shirt. But these are all wrong!
Appropriate Graduation Attire: How to Dress for a Graduation Ceremony When You’re the One Graduating (Women’s Guide)
Here is how to dress for a graduation ceremony when you’re the one graduating:
1.Don’t wear long floor-length ‘prom’ dresses under your gown
Your graduation gown will most likely not be touching the floor, so make sure your dress doesn’t touch the floor as well. You will be doing a lot of walking in the graduation stadium and also across the stage. If you wear a long dress, you might trip on it or have a hard time keeping it up since you will have to grab your diploma with one hand and shake hands with the administrators with your other hand – leaving you to drag your dress across the floor and maybe even down some steps. So make sure you don’t wear a floor-length dress!
2. Consider your school dress code… if you want
Some schools might still enforce a dress code during graduation ceremonies. If so, follow it so you won’t get in trouble. However, considering that you’ll have your gown on top of your dress the whole time, you won’t have to worry about wearing something backless or a dress with no sleeves. The only time you’ll be taking off your gown is after the ceremony. Which brings us to the next point:
3. Wear something you’re confident and are comfortable in for after-graduation parties/events
You may be going out to dinner (or lunch), or another party after the ceremony. If this is the case, wear something you’re comfortable and confident in when you take off your gown.
4. Wear a dress with pockets!
During the ceremony, you won’t be able to bring a purse or wallet with you, but you will need to bring your phone with you to text or call your family/friends after the ceremony! It will be hectic after the ceremony, and you will need to find your family/friends. For this reason, try finding a dress with pockets so you can put your phone in it for after the ceremony.
5. Dress appropriately for the weather
If it’s winter, wear something warmer – a thicker dress with sleeves. If it’s summer or spring, wear something cooler – backless or sleeveless dress.
6. Consider wearing accessories to add flair
A necklace, bracelet, or earrings. During the ceremony, people will only be seeing your gown, so consider wearing something on the outside that people will be able to see.
7. Do your hair differently
Consider doing your hair in a different way than you normally would; curling if it’s usually straight, or straightening if it’s usually curled. Here’s a tutorial on curling your hair for graduation and a tutorial for straightening your hair here. Also, check out Lulus’ graduation cap hair tutorial.
8. Do your makeup
Even if you’re not a big makeup person, you can still do it in a way that enhances your facial features. You can also do it in a simple way that shows you’re not even wearing makeup! (Click here for a no makeup makeup look tutorial.)
9. Wear formal shoes you’re comfortable with
Since you will be walking across the stage and most likely in a big stadium, you’ll need to wear shoes you’re comfortable with and also shoes that match your outfit. If you’re comfortable with heels, go ahead and wear them. If not, flats will also suffice. But make sure they’re formal, and not sneakers or gym shoes or anything.
Cute Graduation Dresses: What Outfits to Wear Under Your Graduation Gown for Girls in the Summer/Springtime
Short or medium-length dresses
Lily Melrose wore a simple pink short dress underneath her black graduation robe with black pumps.
Wear a simple white dress
Melodi wears a simple plain white dress and black heels underneath a black robe.
Wear a skirt with a blouse top tucked in
Melodi here again wears a skirt with a blouse tucked in underneath her graduation gown.
Wear a simple fitted dress
This girl from BlackBallad wore a fitted white dress with black heels for graduation.
Wear flair out dresses
Even flaired out dresses look good with or without a graduation robe.
Wear a pop-off accessory (necklace) with a plain dress
Wearing a popoff accessory like a necklace will put more flair to your graduation dress.
Wear a backless and/or sleeveless dress underneath your gown
This pinterest pinner showed off a graduation outfit so sleek and revealing, it’s almost as if you need to steal this look.
Even just plain pastel-colored dresses show beauty in a non-show-offey kind of way
Virginia, a travel blogger and a languages graduate wore a plain dress along with her friends on graduation day.
An over-the-shoulder purse hidden underneath your robe to hold your phone during the ceremony
This graduate from thetab.com shows an over-the-shoulder purse where you can hide your phone during the ceremony.
A long floral dress for graduation
I know we said don’t wear a long dress for graduation underneath your robe, but Melodi here shows a perfect example of an acceptable and appropriate long dress for graduation ceremonies. The key here is to not wear a dress that drags a lot.
Cute Winter Graduation Outfits: Dresses to Wear When It’s Cold Outside for Girls
For other women, graduation day comes in the winter around December time. For this, make sure you wear something a little bit warmer, especially if you’re going to be walking across the stage outdoors.
Wear black stockings or tights underneath your skirt or dress for graduation
Since it will be cold outside, one of the best things you can do to protect yourself from the cold and keep yourself warm is to wear black stockings or tights underneath your clothes. This will help keep your legs and feet warm. (Image from HerCanvas)
Wear closed-toed shoes for winter graduation ceremonies
The second best way to keep yourself warm during graduation is to wear closed-toed shoes. Examples are pumps, ankle boots, booties, and knee-length boots. (Image via)
Wear a sweater for cold graduations
Wearing a sweater underneath your gown will also help keep you warm. Avoid wearing thick and heavy jackets or coats, because they could bulk up your gown and make your outfit look awkward. (Image via)
Wear a cardigan over your dress for graduations
A cardigan is a great staple piece for your wardrobe. Pairing it up with a dress is perfect for protection against the cold weather and also great for under-graduation-gowns since they’re light and warm. (Image via Chictopia)
Other Graduation Outfits:
For men’s graduation outfits, click here
For plus size graduation outfits – coming soon