Graduation Day Outfit Ideas + Tips

Hey everyone! It is that time of year when seniors are preparing to graduate. I will be graduating from my university on May 8th, and I could not be more thrilled! This exciting time has inspired me to create today’s blog post! I will be sharing five different graduation outfit ideas as well as some tips for the big day!

I am aware that different schools have unique and specific rules on what to wear and not to wear for graduation, so you can modify each of these outfits depending on said rules. I will be sharing some tips and advice throughout this post that can be extremely helpful so there are no wardrobe malfunctions or issues with your graduation cap!

Before getting into the outfits, I wanted to discuss the many different graduation cap and gown colors. For my high school graduation, my cap and gown was purple. For college, it is black. I would recommend sticking to neutral colors if your cap and gown are bright colors or pastels (red, purple, green, light blue, etc.). If it is white, you would want to stick with a light colored dress underneath (anything bright and/or patterns should be avoided). If it is black like mine, you pretty much can’t go wrong! You can go with something bold and fun, or simple and pretty. If your cap and gown is black, you can even wear one of your school colors underneath. I’ve also seen people match their tassel to their dress (if the tassel is a different color from the cap and gown). I will be doing an ootd (outfit of the day) for my own graduation dress, so be on the lookout for that soon!

Let’s get into the outfits!

Outfit #1:

This first dress is very feminine and pretty! I love pastel colors, and of course I had to go with pink! Mini dresses are always a great choice for graduation day, and I love that this one is so comfortable and cute! The little flower details add such a nice touch to an otherwise simple mini dress. Since this detail is minor, it will not be seen while the gown is over it. You want to avoid dresses with big/3D details so that your gown can flow seamlessly over your outfit underneath. For the shoes, I went with a pair of short nude block heels. These are very easy to walk in and they look very stylish as well. If you are required to wear closed-toe shoes, you can always opt for a pair of closed toe heels, ballet flats, or a nice pair of loafers. Try to keep the shoes dressy, even if you do choose to wear flats. Neutral colored shoes are often best as well, however this may depend on the cap and gown color.

Outfit #2:

This next outfit is all about the midi dress. I am such a major fan of midi dresses; I feel that they are often so classy and elegant. One thing to keep in mind is that your graduation gown is most likely going to reach your calves, so I would recommend trying on your desired dress with your gown or measuring the length of both to make sure that the dress does not go past the gown.  I chose to go with navy blue this time, and once again, the dress is very comfortable and I don’t feel constrained while wearing it. There is a subtle lace design all over this dress and it also has a cutout on the back, brought together with a bow. For the shoes, I chose to wear my black block heels; these are a little taller than my nude ones. Once again, if you would like to wear flats, you absolutely can, and think about the possibility of a closed-toe shoe (if needed).

Outfit #3:

White dresses are always a very popular choice for many graduates, and it looks amazing under every cap and gown color! There are a variety of styles out there, and there are so many affordable options! This is a great choice for anyone! I chose this white crochet lace dress. It is strapless, however I would not recommend this because there is a chance that it can slip down underneath your gown, so try to go with sleeves or straps instead! This is also a midi dress, but it is on the shorter side, so it works very well! I went with the same nude heels from the first outfit to complete the look. When I tried this dress on with my cap and gown, I could definitely see why the color is a popular choice; it looked stunning!

Outfit #4:

Next, I decided to go for something bold. For any of you ladies out there who have a black cap and gown, red is a fantastic and beautiful choice! It works even better if your school colors include red, however it would look great regardless. This mini dress is flowy and fun, and it has small cutouts right above the waist. The shape of this dress is also very flattering to any body type! I chose to go with black block heels for this look. I normally do not wear bright colors too often, however wearing red is a statement and it makes anyone feel and look confident!

Outfit #5:

Lastly, I changed things up a bit and went with a romper rather than a dress! Rompers can be very comfortable while still very stylish! The one pictured here is navy blue, with a unique v-notch neckline. This is also a strapless romper, however I am simply sharing an example and I don’t think strapless is the best choice (unless you are absolutely positive that it will stay up). This romper also looks like it can be a dress, which is one thing I really like about wearing them! If you want to show off a bit more leg after stepping off of the stage, something like this may be perfect for you! With this outfit, I went with a pair of silver peep toe heels. The heel of this shoe is pretty short, and they look very chic as well.

Before you walk across that stage, remember to…

  • Bobby pin your cap to your head

When I was graduating from high school, the teachers were giving the girls bobby pins so that our caps were not slipping around or falling off during the ceremony. This was such a great hack and it worked so well! If your cap is a lighter color, you may want to stick to a lighter colored bobby pin. If your cap is a darker color, stick to the darker bobby pins.

  • Use a safety pin to keep your chords in place

 If you have received a graduation chord or chords to wear for the big day, make sure to take a safety pin and poke a small hole through each chord and pin them to your gown at the back of your neck. By doing this, it will stop your chords from sliding to one side, and they will stay even for the entire ceremony! This was another great hack I learned at my high school graduation, and I was even helping some of the other girls with this!

  • Wear comfortable shoes

If you are not used to wearing heels, I highly recommend wearing flats to your graduation. Walking in heels can take some getting used to, and you do not want to trip or fall as you walk across the stage. If you are a pro and you wear heels all the time then I say go for it, however if you even question it, I would go for flats just to be on the safer (and more comfortable) side.

  • Wear sunscreen

I know this isn’t a fashion hack, but it is so important, especially if your graduation is going to be outdoors like mine. Even if the sun is not shining, you should be applying sunscreen. You can do this before applying your makeup, and this way you can protect your skin while you’re seated and waiting for your name to be called. Remind your friends and families who are coming to support you to do the same!

  • Make your lunch/dinner reservation

Also unrelated to fashion, but still important! If you are hoping to go out to eat after your ceremony, be sure to book your table in advance. Many places will get booked very quickly due to the fact that graduation ceremonies are typically held on the weekends and that every graduate will be eating out in the area as well.

I really hope that you found these tips helpful and that these outfit ideas have inspired you in some way! Remember to take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy your graduation day! Everything will go well, and you will look amazing! To my fellow 2021 graduates, I am wishing you the best on your journey going forward, and congratulations!

If you are interested, you can also check out my Instagram, @sacchere14 to see my latest reel wearing each of these outfits! Until next time!

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