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What to Wear to a Graduation Party

As graduation day nears you're probably wondering, what is the proper graduation attire? The answer is that it depends. Graduation attire can vary depending on where the graduation will be held, age of the graduate, plans after the graduation ceremony, etc. Below you'll find some tips for graduates, friends and family on how to choose the most appropriate graduation outfits for the occasion!

Tips for the graduate: 

  • Attire: You'll have your cap and gown on over your outfit, but it's customary to wear sometthing nice underneath. For guys that means nice pants and a button down shirt (maybe even a tie). And for ladies, that means a casual dress/skirt or nice pants. Graduation dresses can be as simple as a little black dress or something bright and colorful. Just make sure your pretty graduation dress doesn't clash with your cap and gown!
  • Footwear: Be careful when choosing your shoes, especially for the ladies. If your graduation will take place on the grass, you might not want to wear stilettos (especially if it's recently rained—you'll sink right in!). Instead opt for a cute ballet flat or a wedge heel. Open toe shoes are acceptable, but avoid too casual flip-flops.
  • Try it out: You only have one graduation day so it's worth doing a test run. Try on your cap and gown ahead of time to see how it looks with your outfit. Does your hair look better up or down? Does your black graduation dress look funny with your gown color? Graduation is a day when you're the center of attention so there will no doubt be plenty of pictures taken. You'll want to look your best!

Tips for the parents/family: 

  • Attire: Consider the location of the graduation. Will you be sitting outside on the school's bleaches under the scorching hot sun or inside an air conditioned auditorium? You'll want to dress nice as well, but do consider where you will be so you can be comfortable too.
  • Photo ready: You will also probably want to be in the pictures with your graduate so remember that as you pick out an outfit. Avoid crazy patters and colors that clash with your grad's cap and gown.

Tips for friends/guests:

  • Attire: Most graduation parties occur in the spring and early summer months. This is a great time to showcase that new sundress or skirt with cute sandals. For guys, a light button-down with khakis is appropriate.
  • Event type: Graduation parties can range from the very casual (cookout at the house) to the more formal (cocktail parties). If you get an invite that calls out one of these events, use your best judgement to dress appropriately. If you're invited to a graduation pool party/cookout, grab your swimsuit and shorts and have a blast. If you're invited to a cocktail party, throw on that little black dress (LBD) and enjoy yourself.  

For those hosting a graduation party, queue your guests in on the graduation party invitations as to what type of event you're hosting. As always, if there's a specific graduation party attire requested, make it known on the invites.

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