Whether you’re graduating from middle school, high school, university, or with a graduate degree—congratulations! School is difficult, and finishing whatever stage of school is a great accomplishment. Walking across that stage with your graduation gown is a proud moment but you need to figure out what to wear underneath that gown. It can be difficult to choose your graduation clothing, but here are a few simple tips to help you get started.
A Suitable Top
Girl or guy, your top will show when you have your graduation gown on. The gown won’t cover you completely, even when you wear a hood over your neck and shoulders, so whatever you end up wearing as your top will need to be suitable.
Men should try to wear something collared that will look nice sticking out from the top of your gown. You can pick out a professional shirt that will still be great for celebrating after the ceremony is over. It’s never a bad idea to pick out a good tie either, although that’s not completely necessary.
Try to go for something white, since that matches with everything. A shirt like this White Dress Shirt is a good option, and can be worn even outside of graduation too. Patterns are fine, but be careful not to go overboard, and not to choose something that clashes too terribly with your gown.
When it comes to your tie though, don’t be afraid of a little color to help it stand out from your gown. If you have something like this Dark Blue Textured Dress Shirt, a bright yellow or pink tie will really pop. No matter what tie you wear though, be sure to tie it correctly, and not to have it so tight that you feel it at your neck.
Women have the choice of a shirt and pants combination, or a skirt/dress option. There’s nothing wrong with wearing something that scoops a little, or you can choose something that has a more modest cut. You can even choose a collared blouse, or wear a dress with a small cardigan over it.
Make sure that you’re comfortable in your dress, and that you don’t choose heels that are too high or uncomfortable to walk in. The last thing you want to do is trip up on your way to get your diploma.
An Appropriate Bottom
Your bottoms are what will stick out from underneath your gown, so you need those to look good. Women often wear some nice dress pants or a shorter skirt, since longer skirts can stick out awkwardly with the hem of your gown. Men will do great with some khakis or dark dress pants. Just make sure that they match your chosen dress shirt.
As a general rule of thumb, avoid anything that’s too brightly colored. Something that’s too bright will distract from the formality of the ceremony, so keep your clothing a little darker.
If you’re wearing a skirt that can’t be seen beneath the gown though, you don’t have to worry about the color. Do make sure that you don’t wear anything too puffy though, since it has to fit comfortably beneath the gown.
And don’t forget about your shoes either. Women should be careful not to wear any heel that’s too high or clunky, but as long as you can walk in it, you’ll be fine. Men will do well with some black dress shoes, since those will match easily with everything.
Dress According to the Weather
No matter what you wear, be sure to dress according to the weather. You don’t want to be struggling in the heat with that heavy gown over you. If you live somewhere humid, you’ll need to be even more careful not to wear something that will cause you to overheat. Usually, it’s smart to dress lightly, but some places will be a little cooler and require heavier clothing.
It’s important to wear the right shoes for the weather too. Even if it’s raining, do not wear rain boots, but pick out something that you can get a little wet if there’s some rain when you walk outside. Even if your ceremony is inside, pick out a shoe option that will feel comfortable and that won’t sink awkwardly into the dirt when you step outside. Oh, and avoid sandals or sneakers.
Either way, you may want to bring a change of shoes, or dress with a layer on top that you’re able to take off if it’s too hot.
Graduations are full of all sorts of fun, with pictures, smiles, and a real sense of accomplishment. You’ll remember this day forever, and so will everyone else since there will be tons of pictures of you. That’s why you want to dress well, with a great top, a good pair of bottoms, and some shoes you can really walk in. Make it a day to remember and enjoy every moment in the right attire that’s both appropriate and comfortable.