Skip to main content

What to Wear to a Graduation

June 20, 2023 |

Graduation day is a big deal, whether you’re the one getting that well-earned diploma or you’re cheering on a loved one from the audience. While figuring out “what to wear to a graduation” might not be at the top of your to-do list, trust me, it deserves a thought or two. After all, the photos from this day will likely find a permanent spot on your mantelpiece.

What to Wear to a Graduation Ceremony

Let’s start with the basics. Graduation ceremonies are typically formal or semi-formal events, and your attire should reflect this. Whether you’re a guest or a graduate, it’s essential to maintain a certain level of decorum. A general rule is to opt for business or business-casual attire. That means no casual jeans, no flip-flops, and definitely no midriff-baring tops.

What to Wear as a Male Graduate or Guest

Alright, gentlemen, it’s your time. If you’re a male graduate, the trick is to balance comfort and formality under your graduation gown. A light-coloured dress shirt with a conservative tie is a safe choice. Pair it with dark slacks or dress pants. Don’t forget the dress shoes! A clean, polished look will make you shine on this big day.

If you’re a guest at the ceremony, the same rules apply. Business casual is your friend here. A dress shirt, a blazer, and trousers are an unbeatable combination. If the event is more formal, don’t hesitate to wear a suit.

What to Wear as a Female Graduate or Guest

female graduation clothes

For our leading ladies, the question of “what to wear to a graduation” comes with a myriad of options. If you’re graduating, remember that your outfit will be partially visible under your gown. A knee-length dress or a nice blouse with a skirt or dress pants would work well. Stay away from too bright colours, as they may clash with the gown. Comfortable but stylish low heels or flats are preferable.

As a guest, opt for a chic dress or a stylish pantsuit. A semi-formal jumpsuit can also be a modern twist. The key is to look classy and comfortable. Just like the guys, steer clear of overly casual clothes.

What to Wear Under Your Graduation Gown

It’s easy to overlook what goes under the graduation gown, but it’s crucial. The gown is typically made of heavy, non-breathable material, and you could be wearing it for hours. Choose light, breathable fabrics to avoid overheating. Stick to solid, neutral colours that won’t distract from the gown.

Remember, your shoes will be on full display. Make sure they’re polished, appropriate, and comfortable. You don’t want to trip while crossing the stage!

What Parents and Guests Should Wear to a Graduation Ceremony

Parents, family members, and friends, this one’s for you. When pondering “what to wear to a graduation,” consider the event’s formality, the weather, and the venue. A polished dress or a pantsuit works for moms, while dads can’t go wrong with a blazer and a pair of dress pants. Always lean towards business or business-casual attire. The aim is to complement the ceremony’s solemnity, not to steal the show.

What You Shouldn’t Wear to a Graduation Ceremony

Avoid overly casual clothes like shorts, t-shirts, or ripped jeans. Remember, this is a formal event honouring academic achievements. Dress to impress, not distress.

Stilettos or other impractical footwear are a big no. Both graduates and guests will do a lot of standing and walking. Make comfort and practicality your priority when it comes to shoes.

Also, while it may be tempting to make a fashion statement, this isn’t the time or place. Avoid loud, flashy colours, distracting patterns, and overly revealing attire. Respect the dignity and formality of the occasion.