What to Wear Under Graduation Gown | Top to Bottom Tips for Graduates' Attire

What to Wear Under Graduation Gown | Top to Bottom Tips for Graduates' Attire

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.


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What to Wear to Graduation (Male)

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.

Man wearing a suit and graduation gown

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 or red 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.

Nimble Made

Nimble Made has the best slim fitting dress shirts for graduates who want to look sharp without the hassle of finding a tailor. Their slim fit is the best on the market and ready-to-wear without the hassle. They also offer free shipping, exchanges, and returns which make finding the right size hassle-free. Nimble Made has a variety of dress shirts in solids and fun patterns, making it the go-to brand for graduates who want to look professional in their grad photos! 

For those in chillier climates, go for a smart casual look by wearing a dress shirt over a sweater.

 mens white shirts

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Accessorize with a pair of sunglasses for those in sunnier climate. We love these large group personalized sunglasses so you can share with your fellow grad mates. 

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For Women

Girl in a white dressWomen 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.

Consider decorating your graduation cap as it is a way to showcase your personality and ambitions after graduating. And it makes it easier for your family to spot you in a crowd of graduates!


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.

Graduate girl in a black dress


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.

ladies graduation outfit

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. These are our favorite business casual shoes.

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.

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Graduations are full of all sorts of fun, with pictures, smiles, and a real sense of accomplishment. Remember to frame your diploma so you can remember the moment forever.

After the graduation ceremony, there will be graduation parties with large yard graduation decorations like this neon sign and graduation yard signs with stakes.

You’ll remember this day forever, and so will everyone else since there will be tons of cap and gown pics of you. That’s why you want to dress well, with a great top, a good pair of bottoms, decorated and beaded graduation caps 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.

Graduation caps in the air



1. What should you not wear under a graduation gown?

As a general rule, keep away from anything that is very brightly colored. Keep your attire a bit darker so that it does not detract from the ceremony's solemnity. The color of your skirt does not matter if it is concealed beneath your gown.

2. What should you not wear to graduation?

Insufficiently formal or too formal clothing can make you feel out of place at a time when you should feel comfortable. Wearing jeans to your college graduation is definitely not a good idea, but neither is wearing a ball gown. Wear business casual or professional attire.

3. Are you supposed to wear white under graduation gown?

The wearing of white began as a way for many institutions to maintain a consistent image for their graduates. The majority of institutions have eliminated the requirement that women wear white to graduation. The majority of women today wear white to graduation whether it is required or not.

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