What to Wear: To a Graduation

Graduations are generally formal occasions…so start channelling the Duchess of Cambridge look  – rather than Lily Allen or your own inner rock chick.

You’ll be wearing a gown with a silk…or “Full Academic Dress” including a mortar board, so find out the length of your gown and choose a skirt or dress that looks right underneath. If your skirt is too short it’s just going to look odd…What to Wear to Your Graduation

You’ll need a button or something to anchor your silk in place so a blouse and skirt is a good option…and the preferred dress for ladies at Oxford and Cambridge.

At other universities and colleges you may be able to wear colour although perhaps not acid colours or very pale pastels…choosing a colour to complement the silk works well.

No bare legs…tights are essential ~ at the more formal colleges it must be black, otherwise go “nude”.

Black closed-toe shoes work best with the gown – no peep toes or sandals.

Perfect grooming is also called for – ditch the just got out of bed look and opt instead for a sleek pony tail or smart chignon.

Go natural, with neutral makeup and just a hint of colour on the lips and nails.

Avoid chains and necklaces – sometimes the silk can slip and may break a fine necklace – go for classic pearl earrings, classic watch and bracelet with one simple ring.

And finally…

Take a hanky…it can be a pretty emotional occasion. You’ll see friends you haven’t seen in a while, all dressed up, it’s a rites of passage occasion…Enjoy!

Please note: This is not the time to express your personality! The dress code is very often very carefully upheld – and you can be barred from graduating.


Defintion: “Sub fusc” The dark formal clothing worn for examinations and formal occasions at some universities.