What To Wear For Graduation

By on April 27th, 2023


It’s graduation time!

Graduation for many students is the most exciting part of the education journey, so enjoy every minute. You will want to look your best for the day and make sure everything runs smoothly, so here we have put together a guide of our top tips for graduation.

Downing Student Graduation

Dress code for graduation

Most universities will have a dress code for graduation on their website but if yours doesn’t, don’t worry. Graduation is a smart occasion so dressing appropriately in formal and comfortable clothing will help. If you still need some inspiration, search online for similar dress codes at other universities if yours doesn’t have one.

What to wear – Male

Many male graduates find that a formal suit is appropriate to wear under graduation gowns. You can rent a suit at a much lower price than buying one, meaning you can choose a more expensive one than you would usually go for.

What to wear – Female

Female students are typically expected to wear a dress or smart suit. Dresses should ideally be longer, avoiding anything too revealing.

Parents & Guests

A common piece of advice for parents, family or those alike attending graduation is to dress as if you are attending a wedding. Not overly flashy, but smart and comfortable for the many photo opportunities you will have throughout the day.


Cap & Gown

Graduation cap and gown are very specific items of clothing that alternate to match your university branding and colours. Most universities work with specific companies that provide academic dress for graduates, so you should be provided with information about this by your university. It is a good idea to hire your cap and gown well in advance for availability, following instructions on how to collect your cap and gown. Look at these websites for ideas of how much cap and gowns usually cost to hire or rent.

  • Graduation.co.uk
  • Evess
  • Churchill Gowns

Graduation Cap

Finally Finished

Choose Something You feel comfortable in

When putting together your graduation outfit, it is important you are comfortable as you will have a long and exciting day ahead of you.

  • Outerwear – consider a coat for when you a travelling to and from Graduation, especially if you are collecting and returning your cap and gown on the same day.
  • Footwear – graduates often have a long way to walk, sometimes across a stage so wearing comfortable flats or mid- heel shoes you are confident walking in is key to a comfortable day.

The best clothing rental apps for graduation

Clothing rental services are a sustainable way to save money and help reduce your carbon footprint. It is the cheaper option than buying a full outfit and requires no laundry (just make sure you don’t stain anything). Here are some of the best places to look.

  • Selfridges Rental – chic designer menswear & womenswear available to rent for 10% of their usual costs.
  • Baukjen – a select range of sustainable womenswear wardrobe staples, where you can rent items for up to two weeks.
  • My wardrobe HQhas a huge selection of menswear, womenswear, bags and shoes. Perfect if you are looking for some designer shoes today and a fraction of the price renting rather than buying.

Top Graduation tips

  • Check the weather-Plan your graduation day with the weather forecast in mind. For example, you might have the perfect outfit in mind, but it may not be weather appropriate. Give yourself options that cover all possibilities.
  • Bring safety pins and clips– this will help you make sure your gown fits well and doesn’t slip, and that your cap is comfortably in the right position for you on your head.
  • Listen out for instructions –Pay attention to all instructions and announcements from staff on the day and in the build up to make sure you know when to walk on stage, when to sit, and how to receive your diploma.
  • Plan- Make sure you know the details of your graduation ceremony such as the time and location. Arrive early so you can find your seat and get settled.
  • Celebrate with family and friends– celebrate your achievements with family and friends by especially as many graduations are limited to how many guests you can invite.
  • Stay connected– keep in touch with your university organisation after graduation. They often offer networking opportunities, career advice and other graduate benefits.

Top Graduation Tips

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