College is hard, no matter which way you slice it. Studying constantly for years is tough work that leads you to a path of low sleep and constant caffeine intake. These tiring studying hours, combined with the lack of time in general, make taking care of your looks much more difficult than it has any right to be.
You’re not alone in this either, as student women from all over the world prefer wearing a basic sweat suit over following the latest fashion trends. Luckily, graduation season is upon us, and it’s time for you to treat yourself to a graduation outfit that makes you look and feel amazing.
That said, what exactly should you wear to graduation? Can you wear any outfit you want, or are there some strict guidelines to follow? If you’re in a similar boat of uncertainty, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a complete guide on everything you need to know about women’s graduation outfits, the best existing ensembles, and mistakes to avoid. Let’s get started.
What to Wear to Graduation?
Before we get into the specifics and recommendations of graduation outfits, you have to understand a few key considerations. The first of these essential considerations is the graduation dress code of your institute, as most schools have one. It might not be super strict or in-depth, but it is still important to know about so you don’t encounter any issues during the actual event.
For example, some institutes don’t want you wearing a leather jacket while others have no problem with them. Reading the code early in your outfit selection will let you avoid them completely if they’re not allowed. Generally speaking, most graduation dress codes come down to just wearing decent clothes with a professional aesthetic.
The second key factor to consider before picking your graduation outfit is the weather. If you’re graduating in the fall, layered outfits with items like a classy blazer are the way to go. Alternatively, if your graduation is in late spring, you’ll have to focus more on lightweight and breathable chic summer outfits.
Once you’re done contemplating these two factors, it’s time to craft your graduation outfit. The only thing you have to remember is that the outfits need to look professional. So, stuff like hoodies, sweatsuits, and bell-bottom jeans are not a good choice. However, you don’t have to rock a complete corporate office look either with pencil skirts, suit jackets, and button-downs. The ideal graduation outfit falls somewhere in the middle of office attire and everyday casual.
Graduation Outfit Ideas
While you can spend a lot of time and effort into theory crafting and figuring out a unique graduation outfit, the better option is to learn from the best. These existing graduation outfits have stood the test of time and are just as effective today as they were when they first became popular for these events. You can also copy them outright for a hassle-free yet gorgeous outfit. Or, you can use them as inspiration for your outfits that have a lot more personal flare thrown into the mix. In either case, here are a few of the best graduation outfits for you to try. Take a look.
Black & White
Color plays a huge part in women’s everyday fashion, and graduation outfits are no different. But take away that color, and you’re left with the perfect blend of minimal and attention-grabbing outfit. A great example of this monochromatic outfit would feature a black thigh-high leather skirt under a white top and a black leather blazer. Make sure both the skirt and blazer have shiny semi-aniline finishes to make them stand out from other black clothes at the event. You can also add black knee-high boots to complete a contemporary smart casual/semi-professional look.
A completely different way of going about this outfit is to rock the black as the leopard pattern on a white maxi dress. Make sure that the pattern isn’t small enough to make the dress look gray from a distance, and you’re good to go. If you’re graduating in the fall, then toping this dress with a black biker jacket is a fantastic idea.
Jumpsuits are one of the most underrated fashion items at women’s disposal, and graduation is the perfect opportunity to unleash their potential. However, a basic jumpsuit will get boring, especially for such a cheerful event. So, keep your jumpsuit options limited to the colorful variety with eye-catching patterns. A white jumpsuit with a floral pattern of at least three colors would be the perfect example here. Also, make sure that the jumpsuit you choose isn’t very tight, as the slightly loose fabric looks better in jumpsuit designs.
If the jumpsuit on its own feels too little, try pairing it up with a black cropped blazer. The blazer will not only improve your silhouette but also provide a break from the repeating pattern – making it feel even more special. Accessories like handbags and fancy footwear are also a great opportunity to spice things up. Some jumpsuits also include belt loops to break up the monotony of certain patterns and colors.
Simple Yet Effective
The simplest outfit you can pull off successfully on graduation is the pairing of tight-fit cropped pants and slightly loose-fitting button-up shirts. However, rocking this outfit in a basic blue and white will be extremely uninspired and bland. Instead, try this look but with fun colors. For example, pick a pair of green pants and match a shirt that you think looks the best. You can pick a brown shirt that completes the earthy look with utmost subtlety, or you can go with a pink shirt to create a fun contrast that stands out in a crowd. Just remember to tuck in the shirt and wear a thin but clearly dividing belt in between to look your best.
Dresses are a massive part of women’s fashion. They offer elegant outfits in almost situation, and graduation events are no different. Now, the difficult part is picking a type of dress for the special day, and the midi dress fits the bill perfectly. It has the upbeat vibe of an A-line while maintaining the professionalism of a maxi or pencil dress.
Picking the right color and pattern is just as important, though and large abstract patterns with pastel colors seem to work the best. You can also opt for darker dresses if that’s more your thing, especially in fall, to match the environmental aesthetics.
The last step of rocking a midi dress is wearing dress-appropriate footwear, and ankle strap heels are a great place to start. You can also expand into peep toes and platform heels, but those types only work best with certain patterns.
Skirt & Blouse
For women, skirts are tied with jeans when it comes to versatility. If outfitted correctly, you don’t even need any patterns or memorable colors to make the outfits work. For example, a blue handkerchief hem skirt with a matching blue crop top sounds just okay on paper. But the exciting shape of this skirt is enough to make this a chic choice for your graduation ceremony. Similarly, a knee-high A-line skirt worn under a button-up and sweater combo is the perfect smart-casual outfit for graduation day.
If you’re willing to add another layer to the outfit, pick a dark blazer and swap out the crop top for a string top. This change will further complement the skirt and make it stand out even more.
Essential Tips for Graduation Outfits
Now that you’ve seen a handful of the best graduation-worthy outfits, you’re almost ready to make this choice. The only thing left are these essential tips that you must follow for success.
Avoid Showing Too Much Skin
While you don’t need to be completely covered from head to toe, you can’t wear a super skimpy outfit as well. In other words, clothing items like short shorts, miniskirts without leggings, and tube tops are not a good idea for graduations.
Wear the Right Shoes
Your footwear choice matters more than you might initially think. Pick the right shoes, even if you think that they’ll be covered by the dress most of the time. Unfortunately, there is no “right shoe” in absolute terms, and we can’t give you a clear recommendation. Instead, observe the outfit you’re wearing and choose footwear accordingly. For example, an outfit with a leather jacket would look better with leather pumps, while a colorful summer dress would prefer to be over cut-out heels.
Don’t Go Too Vibrant
Color is an essential part of women’s graduation outfits, but don’t overdo color vibrance. A basic red dress is fine, but a hot red is not. Similarly, baby pink and lavender are gorgeous choices for tops and dresses alike, but neon pink and royal purple should not be an option beyond minor accent roles.
Do not wear clothes that are too skimpy, too vibrant, or too distracting. Most importantly, don’t wear clothes that are too lazy. So, no sweat suits or basic t-shirt and jeans outfits. Also, don’t wear anything that will be uncomfortable in the long run, as graduation events can last for hours, often out in the open. Lastly, don’t wear anything that contradicts the weather, so no wool blazer in spring and sundress in fall.
It depends. On the one hand, you will be wearing a graduation robe on top, so most of the color will get covered anyways. On the other hand, wearing something super vibrant and distracting would not be a good look. You’ll be attracting a lot of attention, sure, but much of it will be negative and puzzled. Another reason why the choice of the color matters is your own desires and aspirations that become a part of fashion over time. So, if you want to wear light blue, go for it. It matters to you, and that is the most important part.
Yes, you can wear jeans under your graduation cap and gown, but only if it’s paired with the right top. Stuff like button-ups and crop tops and good, but a sweatshirt and tube tops are not.
You can wear sneakers to graduation, but only if they match your outfit. If you do decide to wear sneakers, make sure they’re as plain and simple as they could be. This is because a super detailed and unique design would be extremely distracting with the robe covering the rest of the outfit.
After years of studying and hard work, the graduation event is a breath of fresh air. It is also the end of an era and the beginning of a new one. So, why don’t you reflect this change in your graduation day ensemble, stay away from comfy PJs, and focus on professional and chic dresses, skirts, tops, and pants.