The scene is iconic: hundreds of graduation caps go flying into the air. You’ve graduated! The day has long been circled on your calendar and the invites sent out for family and friends to attend. There is only one more thing you need to think about. What are you going to wear?
Don’t panic. You already conquered the hard stuff, so here are some tips to give yourself the best tension-free day amidst the fun, chaotic moments.
History of college fashion
When universities were just forming during the 12th and 13th century, the idea of wearing something specific while enrolled in college was born. The outerwear worn by students and teachers alike were more clerical in fashion. Later on, became colors were specific to what you studied, such as green for the study of medicine and gold for the sciences. It wasn’t until 1932 that the official gown we see today was adopted, thanks to new academic code.
There are rules to collegiate fashion that colleges and universities follow. Undergrads and those in the masters programs wear gowns without anything on them, or “untrimmed”. The good news for you is that while the outside of your college gown may have to be specific, you have the freedom to express yourself anyway you wish underneath. That is where the fun comes in.
Forget the mortar board and gown for a moment. Think about how you want to look and feel when you approach that grand piece of paper with your achievement printed on it. You should be comfortable, while still wearing something appropriate. Begin at the top, with your hair. It doesn’t matter if you sport a short or long style, you can wear it as is but add a little flair to your hair. Adding a hair clip can be a fun addition.
Place your cap on to see if you should use the clip to set your hair or use it to clip the cap right into it. Some ceremonies are held outdoors, so keep in mind that longer hair might flip around in the wind. You can pin it down or sweep it up in an updo like a simple ponytail or french braid. Add a stylish holder with small crystals or a headband to keep it in place. If your hair is shorter, you can style it and add semi permanent dye (you can match your school colors) for an extra pop of pigment sticking out from your cap.
Choose lightweight clothes to keep you cool in the heat outside, and you can bring layers with you in case of a change in weather. There’s a great variety of graduation dresses out there. Small patterns are always a cute way to show off the accessories you pair up with your outfit. A classy pants suit paired with a kitten heel can be a glamorous touch. You can easily go from ceremony to a party without having to get changed into another set of clothing. In addition to taking these looks to a brunch or dinner wearing a lower heel can help prevent any stumbling on uneven floors or ground.
If you like to keep things simple, pair up your graduation gown with just a splash of color on your lips. Shades of crimson, fuschias, or even hues of blue can give you that boost of confidence no matter the color of your school. Not into makeup or anything too flashy? No problem, you can add some extra flare yourself by decorating a pair of dress shoes or some other funky soles. Add some beautiful drop earrings or simple studs and you will be ready for your commencement. This is your day, so enjoy the moment!