What To Wear Under A Graduation Gown in 2023

Woman with blonde hair throwing graduation cap in the air with sky blue background for article what to wear under a graduation gown

First of all, congrats to you! If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you or someone you love is graduating. Whether it’s from high school, college, grad school, or anything else you should be extremely proud of your dedication and hard work.

Before you take the next step in your journey, you’ll walk the stage on graduation day! This is your chance to say farewell to your amazing journey that got you to where you are today. And what better way to celebrate than wearing an outfit you love? That’s why I’m so excited to give you the best tips and tricks for what to wear under a graduation gown.

Now let’s dive into what to wear under a graduation gown so you can feel and look your best on your special, well-deserved day.

Table of Contents
1. Tips For What To Wear Under A Graduation Gown
2. Graduation Dresses To Wear Under The Gown
3. What Shoes Do You Wear To Graduation?
4. What Should You Not Wear To Graduation?
5. Additional Graduation Questions

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Tips For What To Wear Under A Graduation Gown

First, we’re going to touch on some general tips you should keep in mind when figuring out what to wear under a graduation gown.

Comfort Is Key

Above all else, it’s important that you are comfortable under your graduation gown. Remember that you’ll likely be wearing this outfit for a majority of the day from pictures, graduation ceremony, dinner afterward, etc.

This means you should avoid anything too tight that may ride up, or too loose that may fall off your shoulders. Avoid itchy materials and anything that will be too hot or too cold, which we will touch further on in a bit.

Comfort goes beyond how you physically look and feel. It comes down to your confidence as well! So make sure that you’re not compromising your comfort just for a supposedly cute outfit or for an outfit that someone else wants you to wear.

The Color Of Your Gown

The color of your graduation gown can make or break your outfit. Obviously, you don’t have a choice, which is why you have to work your graduation outfit around it.

When picking out what to wear under a graduation gown, I highly recommend sticking with neutrals, unless your gown is black or white. If you gown in red, blue, yellow, green, or purple, it will be tricky finding a complementary color that doesn’t clash which is why it’s best to stick with neutrals. This means black, white, beige, etc. I have listed a number of neutral dresses below that can give you a head start.

If your gown is black or white, you’re in luck. Your options are essentially endless for what color you should wear.

I’m definitely not saying you can’t wear color with a red, green, blue, etc. graduation gown! You do you, I’m simply saying that neutral tones will be complementary for any brighter, loud colors. At the end of the day, you wear whatever you feel more comfortable in.

Keep Weather In Mind

Of course, you want to consider the weather during your graduation day. A majority of graduations happen in spring/summer but many happen in winter as well!

For warmer weather graduations, you want to avoid any hot fabrics such as polyester, acrylic, and nylon. I suggest avoiding clothing that has multiple layers along with avoiding items that are skin tight as this could potentially show sweat marks.

When doing research for this article, I saw many people asking “what do I wear for a winter graduation?” This is where I suggest wearing a jumpsuit or a pantsuit which can help keep your legs warm enough to wear under your graduation gown. If you find a jumpsuit that you love but the top is made for warmer weather, you can always layer a silk button-down underneath or above your top.

Graduation Dresses To Wear Under The Gown

Now that you know some tips for what to wear under a graduation gown, I’ve listed some of my favorite places to buy graduation dresses.

You definitely don’t need to wear a dress to graduation! You can wear also wear an elegant skirt or pants, however, I know a majority of people start their search with dresses so that’s where this list comes in!

The below options vary across different price points and styles so you can find the best one for you. The dresses you see pictured are items hand-picked by me to wear under your graduation gown, however you should definitely check out each brand’s full selection to find what’s best for you.


Price Range: $$-$$$ | Shop Anthropologie Dresses


Price Range: $-$$ | Shop ASOS Dresses


Price Range: $-$$ | Shop Express Dresses & Jumpsuits


Price Range: $ | Shop Lulus Dresses


Price Range: $$-$$$ | Shop Revolve Dresses

What Shoes Do You Wear To Graduation?

Comfort is definitely key when it comes to the shoes you should wear to graduation. After all, you’ll be standing and walking for a portion of the ceremony so you want to make sure you’re comfortable.

If you’re looking to wear a heel, I suggest one with a platform and/or a chunky heel. If you don’t want to wear a high heel, you can still add some height to your look with a shorter mule-style heel.

Plus, you can always bring a pair of shoes to change into after the ceremony. This can even be a cute pair of white sneakers (which are actually one of my favorite shoes to wear with a dress). It may not be as elevated as you want, but if you’re done walking the stage and taking pictures you’ll likely want to be comfy the rest of the day.

If you’re looking for some places to find graduation shoes, I recommend checking out Steve Madden or Lulus for cute, yet affordable options.

Check out some of my favorite graduation shoes below!

What Should You Not Wear To Graduation?

I’m very much in the boat of owning your fashion freedom and wearing whatever you want, whenever you want. However, if there is one thing you shouldn’t wear to graduation it’s jeans. Just don’t do it. Please? Okay, thank you.

Take this as an opportunity to elevate your style for such a special occasion.

Additional Graduation Questions

Can girls wear a suit to graduation?

YES! If you’re considering wearing a power suit to graduation, please do it. And send me pictures because you are going to look SO badass. I wish I wore a suit to one of my graduations because it makes such a statement.

The best place to find a cute suit that won’t cost an arm and a leg is Express. Check out some of my favorite looks below!

Do you zip up your graduation gown?

You typically zip up your graduation gown throughout the ceremony, but afterward, you can unzip it to show off your cute outfit!

Let’s Wrap It Up!

As someone who has 3 graduations in my lifetime, I understand the stress of finding the perfect graduation outfit. I also graduated from one of the top fashion schools in the world so I’m not exaggerating when I say I totally understand the pressure to find the perfect outfit.

I hope this article helped you feel confident with picking your graduation outfit. Finding what to wear under a graduation gown should be fun, so enjoy it! And again, congrats to you and all your hard work.

With love or whatever,

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