Fashion Instinct: What to Wear to Graduation

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Just when you thought the day would never get here, the time has finally come. No more seeing your friends from semester-based schools posting graduation pictures all over Facebook and Instagram, leaving you bitter with another month of the quarter left. Now it’s our turn! But amidst cramming for your last batch of finals and running on nothing but Red Bull and junk food, you forgot to plan what to wear the day of. Whether you’re the graduate or the guest, here’s how to look your best on that special day.

The Graduate:

Your last hurrah. You can wear whatever you please — it is your day, after all. However, there are some etiquette tips to keep in mind to stay looking tasteful for the pictures sure to come. First, check the weather forecast so you can dress accordingly. You don’t want to be sweating or shivering underneath your gown. To prevent yourself from looking bulky, avoid layers or anything too thick.

A strapless dress in floral, or a solid coral, mint green or any other pastel color will be perfect for my ladies. Gents, keep it classy in neutral-colored dress pants or slacks with a collared dress shirt. Feel free to ditch the tie if the ceremony takes place in the hot outdoors, but absolutely skip the graphic T-shirt and polo.

With your gown on during the ceremony, your shoes will be the most visible, so wear a nice pair. Ladies, wedges or flats are best since you’ll be standing constantly to take pictures. Guys, dress shoes or some formal slip-ons in black or brown will do.

The Guest:

When planning your outfit, think semi-formal attire. It’s a celebration of someone’s hard work; the least you can do is show some effort. Avoid wearing anything too distracting or flashy. Guys, you don’t necessarily need to wear a tie, but do wear an iron-pressed dress shirt. Nothing too stuffy and formal. Ladies, a simple summer maxi dress or flare skirt will keep you looking appropriate. You can even get away with a pair of nice dress shorts in a printed pattern and a colorful chiffon top. Select your footwear according to the graduation layout. If it’s on the grass, avoid tall skinny heels that will sink into the ground. Be prepared to bring a light cardigan or shawl in case the ceremony takes place at night — or if the AC indoors is too strong.

Graduates, whatever you end up wearing, just know that it is your day. Wear whatever you feel is most comfortable. You are one of the few who have survived college.

Congratulations, class of 2013!

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