Graduation Stole

What Should You Wear Under Your Graduation Gown? Dressed For Success

How To Dress Up For Your Graduation

Graduation is an exciting day, getting to put on your cap and gown, collect your certificate and celebrate your academic achievements. However, many get stuck on what should you wear under your graduation gown.

We’ve put together our top tips for what to wear under a graduation gown for women and men. Bear in mind you worked hard to get to this point over many years, so putting thought and effort in at this stage to look your best reflects your achievement and approach.

Things to Keep in Mind Before Selecting Graduation Attire

Before we proceed what should you wear under your graduation gown? Firstly, let’s talk a little about what things we should consider before selecting our graduation attire.

1. Dress for the Season/ Weather 

Make sure that the clothing under your cap and gown is seasonally appropriate. Graduation gowns can be quite warm, and many graduation ceremonies are held in the early summer. So you want to be cool and comfortable. The clothes you wear under your graduation gown will be very different if you’re graduating in August or November.

The gown itself will add a layer of warmth it was a medieval overcoat after all. So if it’s going to be a hot day, make sure you’re wearing something light underneath. If your graduation is in winter, make sure you wear layers that can easily be removed and added if you find you’re too hot when inside but want some photographs outdoors.

2. Comfort

You’re going to be in these clothes for several hours if not all day. There will be pictures, walking, and a lot of standing around. Being comfortable is key to enjoying the day. You won’t be able to enjoy yourself as much if you are not comfortable with your clothes, hairstyle, accessories, and even footwear.

3. Formality

As fun as it is, graduation is a serious occasion and should be approached with the appropriate dignity and respect. Your clothes should be appropriately formal – it’s typically not a black tie, but don’t be the person who shows up in a t-shirt. Bear in mind these photographs will be around for a long time, and a more classic look will stand the test of time better.

What Should You Wear Under Your Graduation Gown?

Selecting the right attire to wear under your graduation gown is an important aspect that reflects both the significance and importance of the event and even your style. What you wear underneath contributes to the overall look and feel of your graduation day. Here, are a few tips and ideas for what should you wear under your graduation gown.


For men, deciding what to wear under a cap and gown typically comes down to finding a nice shirt and formal trousers. Neutral colours are ideal and dark trousers will look best under any colour gown.

  • Ties are optional in most cases, but they do add another formal element, meaning they can help elevate your look.
  • Blazers or suit jackets can also be worn if you are graduating in winter.
  • Make sure your outfit is ironed so you look sharp.
  • Shoes for men should be closed-toe, formal shoes, and should be clean and polished.


There are many options for what to wear under a graduation gown for women, from skirts to dresses, trousers, pantsuits or playsuits. However, when asking ‘What do you wear for a graduation?’, there are some guidelines you should follow.

  • For women who prefer skirts or dresses, try to ensure that the skirt isn’t too long or puffy – combined with a gown, this can make the outfit look heavy and shapeless.
  • For shoes, avoid tall, narrow heels. Wedges or block heels are a great way to get the lift from the heel while also staying comfortable. Flats, pumps or formal sandals are the best options to combine style and comfort.
  • Most graduation outfits favour neutral, darker colours to avoid overshadowing the gown.

Beyond The Gown

The attire you choose to wear under your graduation gown holds a special significance. We tried our best to guide you on what should you wear under your graduation gown with this blog. Striking the right balance between tradition and personal style is key. Whether it’s the classic business or business casual ensemble or a personal touch with accessories, hairstyle, or customized grad stoles ( explore MyGradStole for customized stoles) your graduation attire is a reflection of your achievement and the respect you hold for the solemnity of the event.

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