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What to Wear For a Graduation Ceremony

Tuesday May 20 2014    |     Views: 6857    |     Comments: 0   |     Print    Bookmark and Share

 Yayy! Its graduation season!


 Completing a University education is a huge feat worthy of celebration. The graduation ceremony celebrates the beginning of a new chapter of your life as well as recognizing your hard work and achievements throughout your University years.


 Whether you’re the graduate or an attendee, you should ensure to look modest but stylish. 


You (the graduate) may think that what you wear under your gown is not imperative, however the ceremony is still a big occasion in your life and you should endeavor to look your best. You’ll be taking a whole lot of pictures; and I mean dozens and dozens. I’m sure you see why your hair, makeup and outfit have to be totally put together.


Here are a few tips to guide you in pulling off a remarkable look on your big day:


1.      Pick out something conservative but still sassy to wear. You’ll want a look that depicts the responsible and mature adult you’ve become but also shows your personal style as well. I used to think that because of the bulkiness of the graduation robe, the dress underneath didn’t really matter. It does though. A whole lot. Apart from the fact that you may not have time to change between the ceremony and whatever celebration your family and friends may have planned, the simple truth is, a pretty dress will make you feel pretty. And feeling unpretty is not what you want to be on graduation day. Also, this may just be the last time you’ll ever see some of your classmates and you should leave a good lasting impression. Moreover, you will take pictures sans the robe anyway.


2.      If you can, wear a dress with pockets! Carrying a clutch or even a cross-body bag may turn out to be such an inconvenience. Important things like your shine-control compact powder, lip colour, phone, or camera could easily be slipped into your pocket.


3.      It would be a good idea to don something fairly slinky. A graduation gown will add quite an amount of bulk on its own, so a really full skirt will look strange under it. I’m not saying only skin-tight or clingy bandage type dresses would be appropriate; flared dresses are the most popular graduation choice. Just don’t wear one with any extra volume.


4.      Wear the cutest shoes ever! The only part of your outfit that people will be able to see fully is your shoes so you might as well make a statement. Be sure to have on pretty, somewhat dressy and most importantly, comfortable shoes. Sexy, sky-high stilettos might be a little inappropriate; wedges, chunky heels and shoes with platforms are generally more comfortable anyway. Also, you could get gel pads and cushions inserts (Dr.Scholls makes the best) to ease the strain of the heels. Don’t forget to paint your toenails!


 Carrying cute back-up flats is a great idea because afterall it is better to look a bit shorter than to have severe pain and discomfort ruining your big day.


5.      Soft, shoulder length (or longer) locks would look amazing with a graduation cap. Wearing you hair down will look better with the graduation ensemble. Tresses around your face will help soften the severe academic dress.


Hat-hair is almost inevitable so be sure to condition your hair and apply hair products that would minimize it. Remember that we’re trying to pull off a subtle but glam look so loud dye-jobs are a no-no.


6.      Your makeup doesn’t necessarily have to be nude or fresh-faced(I highly suggest that though) but you may want to chill with the electric blue eyeshadow or gigantic false lashes. Perhaps you could try those for the after-party. A strong lip colour with soft eyes or dramatic eyes with a softer lip colour should work.


7.      Stick to statement jewellery. I wouldn’t say that your jewelry has to be extremely simple, but you also don’t want to overdo it. Stick to one staple ornament. Whether that means rocking a statement necklace or having an arm party, be sure to keep the rest of your jewelry simple. a ladylike ring, pearl earrings or medium-sized studs could suffice. Try to avoid anything that jingles around as you will probably be shaking hands, waving, and giving hugs all day.


8.      Lastly, check the weather. It could be a huge downer if something were to cramp your style quite like freezing (or burning up) on your big day. Also, you may have to keep your portable umbrella handy.


For male graduants

Make sure that you are wearing a suit that is both smart and comfortable. Even though you don’t usually pay much attention to dressing, if at all you’re wearing a suit, you must wear it well. You don’t want to end up with an ill-fitting jacket, or trousers that drag along behind you, or in a suit which creases easily. To make sure you find the perfect suit, try on as many different styles as possible to find the best fit; whether it’s skinny, slim or regular. 

To add some extra pizzazz to your suit, pick out a stylish and smart tie and square which will allow you to add a personal touch to your outfit. Make sure that you avoid bright colours that contrast with your robe colours. Smart, dressy shoes only please. Sneakers or loafers have no business being on your feet on that day. Don’t forget your socks!

Ensure to get a nice haircut and a clean, neat shave for your big day. You may also want to invest in teeth-whitening strips and a chapstick.


For the attendee

As an attendee of a graduation, you are there to celebrate and support your loved one. You don’t want your daughter, son, sister, brother, boyfriend or girlfriend with whom you came to felicitate with, to spot you clad in some unsightly attire on their big day. Put in some effort to look good if not for yourself, but for the celebrant. At the same time, ensure that you don’t go over the top in your outfit choices. Remember, it’s not about you. Here are some tips to guide you:

  • Be well groomed with attention to detail e.g. clean nails, hands and hair; no creased clothes – avoid linens that crease easily.
  • Ensure your clothes fit you well and you are comfortable in the outfit.
  • Wear clothes that reflect you and your personality, so that you are confident and feel good.
  • Avoid high fashion styles, otherwise they will look dated in a few years when you look back at the photos.  Stick to more conservative chic styles, but stay true to your personality.
  • Wear comfortable shoes, you could be standing a lot of the time
  • Dresses are fashionable - choose a plain or patterned item, but avoid loud patterns. You could add a blazer or cardigan. A skirt/trouser suit or smart trousers, a colourful blouse and a neutral blazer( or a neutral blouse with a colourful blazer) with toned in accessories are also fantastic options. Add smart somewhat dressy shoes and bag, and you’re good to go.


I hope this helps you put your best foot forward in front of your professors, classmates, family and friends as you graduate in WOW style.  Oh and congratulations! xx

 Mowale Ajose-Adeogun




For the attendee
For the attendee

For the attendee
For the attendee

For the attendee
For the attendee

For the attendee
For the attendee

For the attendee
For the attendee

For the attendee
For the attendee

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