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What to Wear Under a Graduation Gown: 8 Outfit Ideas

Last Updated: April 29, 2022

Graduations signify the end of one chapter and the beginning of another, so most of us want to select the perfect outfit that we feel comfortable and confident in. Read on to learn what to wear under a graduation gown.

Under your graduation gown, you’ll want to wear something that highlights your personality and style; something you’ll still be happy in during the 100th picture of the day despite the hot sun.

Read on to discover our 8 outfit ideas to wear under your graduation gown (and what to avoid wearing). 

What NOT to Wear Under Your Graduation Gown

Before we dive into some outfit inspo for your big day, let’s talk about what you shouldn’t wear under your graduation gown.

Since graduations are often more formal events, you probably shouldn’t wear a pair of ripped jeans or your favorite gym t-shirt to the occasion. On the other hand, the event isn’t so formal that you need to wear an evening dress or a suit and tie.

For the most part, we recommend sticking to neutral colors since they look good with anything, and plan to wear something a little nicer than sweats. This can mean dress pants, khakis, a collared dress shirt, dress, or skirt. 

We also recommend avoiding wearing any type of jacket or blazer underneath your gown. If it’s even a slightly warm day, you’ll probably be sweating buckets and won’t be able to take it off once you realize you made a mistake.

What to Wear Under a Graduation Gown

Mini Gingham Dress

Gingham is truly a summertime fabric. It’ll help you stay cool (and stylish) under your grad gown. Though gingham patterns are often checkered, they also come in solid colors. 

For a bright, summery look, go for a solid pastel or cream-colored gingham mini dress and pair with heeled sandals. 

Bold Satin Midi

Though white is a cool and common color worn on graduation day, it can also be fun to make a bit of a splash with a bolder color. 

Go bright and pick a flashy midi dress––satin fabric will keep you cool and add a bit of shine to pictures. Wear with strappy heels for height. 

A Classy Jumpsuit

Not a fan of dresses? Opt for a jumpsuit or romper instead.

A classy jumpsuit like will mark the occasion while keeping you cool and comfortable. Pair it with your favorite statement necklace and you’ve got an easy, classy outfit.

Wide-legged Romper

If you want the look of a mini dress but the comfort of shorts, you can’t go wrong with a romper.

You’ll look dressed up for the occasion, but casual enough to stay comfortable. 

Off-the-Shoulder Dress

An off-the-shoulder look will give you the reassurance of sleeves yet space for your shoulders to breathe.

It’ll scream summer and celebration, perfect for graduation day. 

2-Piece Pants Set

Stand out on your grad day in a 2-piece set like this one.

If it’s going to be a hot day, make sure the fabric is thin and the legs are wide, giving you some room to breathe. 

Wrap Dress

No need to squeeze into something tight and uncomfortable!

Wrap dresses are easy to put on, adjustable, and typically more flowy so you have room to breathe.

Skirt Set

Pair a midi skirt with a matching crop top, turning a 2-piece look into a cohesive ensemble. 

The Bottom Line

Overall, it’s up to you to decide what look you’re the most comfortable in. But, there are a few guidelines to keep in mind when picking out the perfect outfit. 

Keep these tips in mind on what to (and what not to) wear under your graduation gown, and you’ll walk across that stage confidently in whatever outfit you choose!

That said, most (if not all) of your outfit won’t be visible when you have your graduation gown zipped up. So if you can’t find the perfect outfit, don’t stress – you can always wear something basic and keep your gown zipped up.


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