Should You Hire or Buy Your Gown?

Deciding Whether to Hire or Purchase Your Graduation Gown

8th October, 2019

If you're considering whether to rent a gown for your ceremony or spend a little extra money and purchase it, Churchill Gowns Managing Director, Oliver Adkins, has come up with some factors for you to consider.

Once upon a time university students in the UK wore academic gowns regularly. Students would often be spotted striding through town, books in arms, gowns billowing in the wind! However over the past hundred years regular use of gowns at universities has dwindled. Apart from some notable exceptions, including Oxford University, Cambridge University, Durham University and the University of St Andrews, most universities now only require students to wear gowns on graduation day.

With this in mind, the majority of students now just rent a gown, cap and hood for their ceremony, but is it ever worth buying your academic dress? We reckon there are a few things to consider before you write off the idea of purchasing your gown.

You Can Keep it as a Memento

You've worked hard for a number of years to earn the right to wear your cap and gown so what more befitting an object symbolises your academic achievement than your graduation attire? Academic dress designs are steeped in history and the style and colours of your gown and hood tell a story: about what degree you were awarded, the university you attended and sometimes even the subject you studied. When the time comes, you might even be able to pass it on to your children on their special day!

You Can Personalise It

If you've bought, it's yours to do with as you chose! Most universities in the UK wouldn't be too impressed if your turned up in decorated academic dress, but after the ceremony why not decorate your gown and mortarboard with personal messages from friends and family? You could even get creative with your mortarboard and then hang it in a frame on your wall. Here are some really cool designs we found...

Decorated Designs of Mortarboard Graduation Caps


Save Some Money

It seems counter intuitive to suggest you might actually save money from spending more to purchase your gown, cap and hood but if you have other friends graduating around the same time as you you could buy one set of robes between you to cut costs. We charge £79 for a gown cap and hood so, if you can team up with two similar-sized pals who don't graduate at the same time as you, you could split the cost and pay a bargain rate of £26 each to graduate. When you've finished with them, you could even sell them on to someone in the year below who's due to graduate the following year!

No Need to Worry About Returning or Damaging Your Gown

No need to stress about damaging your mortarboard when you throw it jubilantly in the air, or spilling champagne down your gown. You could even wear it out to a fancy dress party, halloween or just dress up for a harry potter movie marathon! Plus, if your graduation photos arrive a few weeks later and aren't all you hoped for you've still got the gown to recreate that special moment.

You Might Need it for Your Career

You'll probably spot your professors on your graduation day in all their colourful robes and one day that could be you! If you become an academic at a university you'll have plenty of occasions to wear your gown. Many schools also require their teachers to wear academic gowns for special occasions, such as assemblies and prize givings. If you're tempted by a career in academia we can guarantee this won't be the last time you use a gown!