If you or someone you know is graduating this year, you may be wondering what to wear.
It depends on the time, location, and formality of the graduation ceremony. They’re not all created equal.
Let’s take a closer look:
Graduation ceremonies held in the morning or afternoon (before 6 pm) tend to be less formal than evening ceremonies.
Just like weddings and cocktail parties, fancier dress it typically required after 6 pm.
If the ceremony is held outside, there are several things to consider:
If it’s raining, you’ll need an umbrella. If it’s cool, you’ll need a sweater. If it’s hot, you’ll need sun screen, sunglasses, and probably a sun hat.
Check the forecast before you leave home so you know what to expect.
How Far You’ll Need to Walk
If the ceremony location is a long walk from where you park your car, you’ll need shoes that can go the distance over gravel, concrete, or grass.
Don’t wear too high a heel, too thin a heel (you’ll aerate the turf), or fabric shoes that can be stained by freshly-mowed grass.
Instead, opt for a low-heeled, closed-toe shoe that works well with your ensemble.
You can change into your “strutting shoes” for the graduation party afterward, but opt for practicality if you’ll be walking a quarter mile or half a mile to a stadium. Your feet will thank your for it later.
If the ceremony is held indoors, again there are a few things to consider:
Large gathering spaces tend to be either too hot or too cold. Rarely are they “just right.”
So opt for layers. Have a sweater handy if the air conditioning makes it too cold; take it off if the crush of people makes it too hot.
How Far You’ll Need to Walk
Again, consider the distance you’ll be walking from your car to the ceremony when selecting your shoes. Opt for comfortable shoes for the walk and change into your “cute” shoes later.
Kindergarten, Grade School, and Junior High graduations tend to be more casual than those for high school or college. As a guest, opt for a cute casual dress or a blouse and skirt (or trousers).
High school ceremonies can be casual or semi-formal, depending on the school. Wear a casual dress or a blouse and skirt (or trousers) for a public high school, a semi-formal dress or a pastel social suit for a private high school.
College or university graduation ceremonies can also be casual or semi-formal, depending on the school. Wear a casual dress or blouse and skirt (or trousers) for a community college or public university; wear a semi-formal dress or social suit for a private college or a prestigious or Ivy League school.
Professional or Military School ceremonies tend to require semi-formal attire. If you’re going to watch a doctor, lawyer, or officer collect his or her diploma, opt for a semi-formal dress or social suit.
Most graduations involve the ceremony followed by a social gathering at the school or at a relative’s house. Wear clothes and shoes that are comfortable, allow you to move and eat freely, and that you can wear for several hours.
Finally, remember that these kinds of milestones mean lots of pictures, so opt for clothing colors and styles that are flattering to your skin tone and figure. If you’re not sure what’s right for you, download a copy of Wardrobe Magic to find out.