Once May rolls around, wedding invites are probably not the only thing lining your fridge, as it’s graduation season as well. Whether it’s a family member graduating high school or a friend getting their Master’s, there are probably people to celebrate in your life! Or, you might be the person getting ready to graduate! And if you have no freaking idea what to wear to a graduation, today’s article is here to help.
I actually have multiple younger siblings (#oldestchild), so I’ve been to my fair share of graduations – everything from high school to college to med school, and have graduated myself, which were all somewhat different. But don’t worry y’all, I’m breaking down all things graduation style below
What to Wear to Your Graduation
First up, let’s talk about those graduating – congrats! Obviously such an exciting day and achievement, it’s a time when you want to look and feel good! Here are my tips on what to wear to your graduation.
What to Wear to Your Graduation – Clothing
Even though you’re going to have some huge robe on for most of the ceremony, it’s still important to look nice underneath. After all, you’ll likely be in photos before/after the robe, and probably celebrating at lunch after. Since the robes aren’t what we’d call flattering, I highly suggest wearing a dress. This way, you’ll still be able to show off at least your ankles and you won’t be dealing with pants bunching up under the robe.
As far as the type of dress, wear something you’d wear to church or that you’d be comfortable in in from of grandparents. It’s definitely not the time to pull out the Vegas dresses or wear anything too revealing. I suggest a dress that hits right above your knee or that stops mid calf. This way, you’re still breaking up the robe with your ankles showing, and you’re conservative enough for the occasion.
Also consider the heat. Most graduations are HOT, whether they’re inside or you’re hanging out after, just because of the time of year. Stay away from colors that show sweat (gray and most light colors), or at least wear something with a pattern that would hide anything. Because let me tell you, you’ll be sitting for a LONG time, and that plus the weight of the robe will add body heat. I suggest a dress that lets you breath – nothing too tight, and something with cap sleeves, sleeveless, or at least breathable material. White is a great color for grads, as you don’t have to worry about getting it dirty since the robe will be covering your booty when you sit – and it holds up well in heat.
What to Wear to Your Graduation – Accessories
Since your head and feet are really the only thing that will be showing when you have your robe and cap on, play up your features with accessories! Shoes are the main attraction here, so pick a pair that you love. I’d definitely walk in them a good amount before to break them in and ensure that you’re confident wearing them. Remember that you’ll probably be walking on grass at some point (a lot of graduations take place on fields), so a wedge or mule is a good option. Don’t wear anything too high, as you want to look comfortable (and be comfy) throughout the ceremony. Especially when walking up to get your diploma/degree! I think 2-3″ is the sweet spot.
Then, don’t forget about earrings or a fun necklace to spruce things up. Your hair will likely be down (don’t forget you’ll have a cap on), so grab a pair of earrings that stick out even with hair down, or a statement necklace to place over the gown/robe.
You likely won’t be allowed to carry a purse to your own graduation, so either keep it at home or give it to a family member before. But either way, don’t splurge on a new bag since you won’t be wearing one for most of the day.
What to Wear to a Graduation
OK, for those of you simply attending a graduation, this section is for you. It can be tricky knowing what to wear to a graduation when you aren’t the one walking, but I’m here to help!
First up, there are a couple things to keep in mind for all types of graduation. You’ll likely be sitting for long periods of time, so it’s important to keep that in mind when planning what to wear. You definitely don’t need to be as dressed up as the grads, but you still want to look polished and presentable. After all, it’s an important day for your loved one and they’ll have these pictures forever.
What to Wear to a Graduation – Clothing
As mentioned above, remember that wrinkles will show up when sitting for extended times, so wear a fabric that holds up. If the ceremony is outside in the heat, also forgo colors that show sweat easily (most grays and light colors). Like weddings, there aren’t any colors you must avoid, but again, consider where you might be sitting. If you’re in bleachers or a stadium, white is probably not the best option.
While jeans might seem fine, I’d suggest skipping them for all types of graduations, as it’s always better to be slightly overdressed. If you want to wear pants, consider wide trousers or cropped ones for a polished look. Or, choose a dress that you’d wear to work or church. A long jumpsuit would be cute too if you want to spice things up! But remember, you’ll probably be meeting the grads teachers, so be presentable (aka don’t embarrass them).
What to Wear to a Graduation – Accessories
Do the grad a favor and bring a larger purse, as you’ll likely need to carry some of their stuff. You also want to be able to hold anything like a blanket to sit on, a camera, etc, and don’t want a ton of bags (some schools will only allow one per person) and seating space is usually limited.
As far as shoes, pick a pair that’s comfortable, as you might have to walk a far distance from where you’re allowed to park. I’d skip anything with a stiletto heel as they often aren’t allowed on turf and can be slippery inside arenas. Choose something like wedges, mules, or slides instead.
And there you have it! The simple guide to what to wear to a graduation – whether it’s yours or someones you love. Let me know if you have any other questions and I’m happy to answer them in the comments!
Shop The Look: DRESS: WAYF white midi dress (wearing size XS, it’s lined and super comfortable! Plus, it’s under $70!) // SHOES: Steve Madden Carrson Heels (Under $90 + run true to size + the thicker heels makes it super comfortable compared to other heels of the same height) // BAG: Chloe // NECKLACE: Panacea // WATCH: Michael Kors // NAILS: Essie ‘She Said Yes”
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