Graduation Outfit Dos and Don'ts!

Your graduation day will be one of the most important (and most photographed!) days of your life, so it's understandable that graduating students put a lot of thought into their outfit for the big day.

Here we'll run through a few things to consider when picking out an outfit to wear under your gown at graduation.

Match Your Outfit to Your Academic Dress

Most universities require students to wear academic dress to their graduation. Usually this will consist of a black or navy cap and gown and then a coloured hood. Hoods come in all different colours depending on the university you are graduating from and the degree you have completed. You can check the colours of your graduation hood on the Churchill Gowns website, or by using free resources such as Pinterest and Google images. Once you have worked out what colour your hood will be you can select an outfit that complements that colour scheme. 

We would also recommend choosing a colour that contrasts with the gown. If you wear a black dress under a black gown, the dress you have spent so long choosing will probably get lost in the photos.

Consider Renting Your Outfit

Let's face it, most students spend most of their days in trackies and trainers, so before rushing out to buy a formal outfit for graduation consider how much wear you are likely to get out of it. If it'll be more of a one time use it might be a more affordable and sustainable choice to rent an outfit.

There are lots of great websites now offering clothing rental, and most have a large selection of formal wear. Sites such as Hurr and By Rotation are full of outfits from designer labels which can be rented for an affordable price, and you'll feel doubly great knowing you won't be contributing to the 92 million tonnes of fast fashion landfill generated each year.

Graduation Dresses for Rental

Dresses from Nadine Merabi, House of CB and Rixo, all available to rent from By Rotation.

Wear Comfortable Shoes

Having attended a few graduations we can guarantee there will be a fair bit of standing around, so make sure you're wearing comfortable shoes. Between the drinks receptions and processions you'll be lucky if you get much time to put your feet up. So if you've bought a new pair for the occasion make sure you've broken them in and scuffed up the soles, you don't want to slip over walking on stage!

Consider a Button Down Dress or Shirt

The academic hood you wear will be draped over your shoulders but is secured in place with a loop in the middle of your chest. Ideally this loops around a button to hold the hood in place, so a button down shirt, blouse or dress is an ideal choice for graduation day. However, if that doesn't fit with your vision don't worry - a discreet safety pin will work just as well. 

We recommend trying your gown, cap and hood with your outfit in the days leading up to graduation, so you can make sure you have these details worked out in advance. If you order from Churchill Gowns your gown set will be delivered to your home a few days before, giving you plenty of time to prepare.

Avoid 'Up-Dos'

With graduation being a formal occasion, it may be tempting to put long hair into an elaborate up do. However, before you do so, check whether you will need to wear a mortarboard cap to graduate. Most universities (apart from in Scotland) require a hat to be worn which will be very difficult with this type of hairstyle. The last thing you want is to spend money on professional styling and then have to dismantle it to get the cap to fit! So if you do have long hair we would suggest leaving it down.

That said, the most important thing on your graduation day is to be unapologetically 'you', so above all make sure you choose an outfit that makes you feel confident and we're sure you'll look fantastic!