Is a graduation ceremony in your future? Are you wondering what to wear? If you’re the graduate, not to worry. You’ll totally rock it in your cap and gown. And what you wear underneath–well, we really don’t want to know.
But if you’re part of the cheering section, it gets a bit more complicated. So here’s the 101 on graduation ceremonies.
It’s a long day, one that could very easily begin with a lengthy trek across a crowded parking lot. And even if you’re there to see Alan Anderson walk across the stage, etiquette says you have to stay until the end and extend the same courtesy to Zach Zurich.
Graduation is a momentous occasion, so it’s not the time for distressed jeans and a tee shirt. The level of formality differs depending on the specific school and community. Typically, the higher the degree, the dressier the attire. So you might wear something more formal to see your niece graduate from law school than to see your nephew receive his bachelor’s degree or your son graduate from preschool as the cutest graduate ever.
Business casual or dressy casual is always appropriate. For women, a classic choice is the type of dress you might wear to the office, flattering in color and silhouette, but not revealing. Or pair a jacket with a dress or skirt. Adding a jacket over a maxi dress is an on-trend look that’s perfect for graduation. You could even wear perfectly fitting jeans if you combine them with a dressy top or jacket and heels.
For men, try a jacket or blazer over khakis or dark jeans. To really show support for your graduate, consider wearing a pocket square or polo shirt in the school’s colors under your jacket. Is it an outdoor ceremony, and triple-digit heat is predicted? Then rethink the jacket, and instead wear a dress shirt and tie over jeans, or a shirt, with or without tie, over slacks.
Whatever you choose, make sure it fits you well. The morning of the ceremony isn’t the time to pull out your tried-and-true navy suit only to discover that it’s too small or too baggy.
Don’t forget the accessories. A super-cute handbag not only finishes your look, but it’s a great place to store those tissues that could come in handy on this emotional day. And make sure your phone is fully charged, as you’ll want to take plenty of photos. It’s a day to celebrate, so congratulations!