Firstly of course, congratulations are very much the order of the day! You’ve graduated which is a fantastic achievement and for now, it’s time to celebrate all the hard work of the last few years before you head off down your chosen career path into the world of full time employment. That’s going to be a real shock to the system after your student years.
Do you even have anything appropriate?
Your thoughts turn next to your graduation ceremony. You’ve spent the last couple of years shuffling around campus in your jeans and runners with a t-shirt and hoodie. You can’t exactly be wearing that tired old scruffy look with your revered cap and gown. Besides which, you’ll feel like dressing up and doing your parents proud.
There are probably going to be framed photos of you in all your regalia peering down from the mantelpiece for many years to come. Your thoughts turn next to what exactly you are going to wear on your student budget. Maybe now might be a good time for one last visit to the bank of Mom and Dad to assist you with purchasing exactly the right outfit for this prestigious occasion.
Some outfit considerations
This could be the first suit you’ve bought so it may be quite a landmark occasion. Alternatively, you might decide that renting some formal wear is the best option for you. A suit isn’t strictly necessary; you could just go with smart dress pants and a blazer for example. However, if you are also about to embark on a round of job interviews, it could turn out to be a savvy investment. Choose wisely then, as chances are you might only graduate once and there will be plenty of photographic evidence from the day, so you’ll want to look back proudly at how smart and intelligent you look, not think, “what was I wearing!”
Let’s look at some of the basics
There aren’t any hard and fast rules but here are some guidelines on what appropriate graduation attire might be. If we are talking shirts, then a classic white dress shirt is going to look smart and elegant under your black gown and will cut quite the stylish and mature figure. The important thing when it comes to shirts is to make sure you have one that fits you properly around the neck.
You don’t want a gaping space where the collar is too big for you or anything that’s so uncomfortably tight that it cuts off your circulation. Don’t just throw on a t-shirt or be tempted to go for any wacky designed Hawaiian shirt either. Yes, this is your big day and you might feel like throwing caution to the wind, but remember, those pictures will be there to literally haunt you for years to come!
Remember that it’s a celebration
As graduation is a real cause for celebration, there’s no need to wear anything overly stuffy either. We’re not turning out graduation robots. Go for a nice, bright colored tie to off-set and contrast against the formality of your black gown and cap. Do pay attention though to how you fasten your tie. Try and make sure that the knot itself is nice and symmetrical as this is likely to be the only part that is really visible above your gown so you don’t want it to look sloppy. We recommend a good Windsor knot for your important graduation day.
Pants, Jackets, Suits or a Blazer?
Next, you are going to want either a suit or a pair of formal dress pants and coordinated jacket. You have a couple of options here, depending upon what you might already have access to in your own wardrobe or how much the budget stretches for something new.
Gowns aren’t especially warm, so depending on what the weather might be like when and where you are graduating, the likelihood is that you will want to wear some form of jacket underneath. A classic formal color like black, navy or dark charcoal grey will look the best. A new graduation suit need not blow the budget either. There are plenty of options; the most important thing is to ensure that it fits well. There is nothing worse than a badly fitting suit so don’t just borrow your dad’s or your older brother’s, unless you really are the same size. Make sure you are wearing something that fits your frame.
Renting formal wear is a great alternative if you don’t have anything appropriate in your wardrobe and you’re not anxious to spend even more money just to finish off your education.
If a suit is not your style just yet, then you can easily get away with some smart dress pants and a blazer. This is again a great classically elegant look that you will get lots of wear out of in your future career.
Don’t leave your shoes as an after thought
Last but by no means least, don’t forget about your shoes. You need to polish up those lace-up dress shoes for the occasion. No sneakers are allowed. We don’t really recommend slip-ons or boots either for a graduation and definitely don’t think you are being defiant by wearing flip-flops! A stylish but practical and comfortable pair of black laced shoes is the best option and do make sure that you have thoroughly polished them for the day. No dirty scuffed shoes allowed. Whichever shoes you do go for, it’s also a good idea to coordinate your belt too, so black with black, not black with brown if you really want to look the part.
Remember to smile
Your graduation day is an important rite of passage and you really do need to ensure that you look your absolute smartest. There will be friends and family taking copious amounts of photographs to commemorate the day so you want to both make and create a classy impression that lasts.
Talking of which, now might be a good time to plan a haircut too and perhaps get yourself a good clean shave. Enjoy your graduation day and the best of luck with your future employment!