What To Wear Under A Graduation Gown

A graduation ceremony is an honorary event held to commemorate a graduate’s achievement and commencement of future endeavours.

All the aspiring graduates at the ceremony are expected to be clad in a uniformed graduation gown and cap.

When dressing for graduation, men should wear a collared dress shirt under their gown for a professional look. Women should wear a collared blouse or a modest cut neckline dress. The clothing under your gown should also match the weather in your area. In areas with high temperatures, humidity can cause you to sweat and become uncomfortable. For footwear, both men and women should wear closed-toe shoes.

Yet, if you want to give this decision more thought, let’s review the options and the criteria to help you decide.

What To Wear Under A Graduation Gown

You may wear a comfortable, modest cut dress under your graduation gown while men may wear a collared dress shirt. Below are dress options influenced by factors you may want to consider.

Type Of Event

Graduations are semi-formal events, so corporate-casual attires are recommended. Most graduation ceremonies may either take place in a hall or outdoors on a field. Your outfit choice may reflect if it’s an outdoor or indoor event.

Ladies can wear a short sleeve dress with a cover toe-heel while men may wear a dress shirt and khaki-colored trousers.


Your dress choice should factor in the weather. During hot or humid weather, be sure to wear something that keeps you from sweating profusely. You may also consider that you wil be dressed in this outfit for some hours.

For humid weather, you should pick light fabric materials with a reasonable sleeve like a jumpsuit or short-sleeved dress. This is both practical and stylish.


Pick colors that brighten you up. You do not want to look washed or tired. Experiment with shades that compliments your skin tone. You may also go with a color theme for that time of the year. Settle for the colors that favor you. For example, in autumn, you may consider mustard yellow or light brown.


You may consider picking an outfit that dresses for both at the same time. You may not need to change clothes. Choose an appropriate outfit for a graduation ceremony and a celebratory dinner/party like a jumpsuit.

What Can A Girl Wear Under A Graduation Gown For Pictures?

We have put together a detailed recommendation.


In your Graduation portrait, you will be dressed in the graduation gown, sash, and cap. In sitting positions, the focus would be on your top half. Pick tops or shirts with modest cuts and in a complementary color.

There would be other traditional graduation poses. For standing poses, wear dresses that are shorter than the graduation gown. Long skirts/ dresses make the bottoms look heavy.

You may also wear a suit depending on the weather. This is an all-time classic. Consider corporate-casual slacks as well. Make sure your entire outfit is wrinkle-free or pressed. Avoid busy patterns or overly embellished clothing. They will distract the attention from you.


Pick comfortable hairstyles. You want your pictures to turn out great. This may not be the best time to try a new hairstyle. You may experiment a week before to be sure you are comfortable with the new look.


Try not to do too much. Keep it simple as a natural look is most flattering on pictures. Do the regular makeup look you would normally do. 

Pay attention to shiny areas and dark spots. Conceal blemishes, and you are ready.


Props reflect your personality. Go along with exciting accessories that will make your pictures fun. Accessories like sports gear or a musical instrument.

What To Wear Under A Graduation Gown For A College/University Graduation

You have worked so hard and completed your degree program, collect that degree in a stunning outfit. A bodycon dress or a wrap shift dress maybe that outfit. They would look fabulous during the day and even extra at your after-party.

other outfit options are;


The neckline on a graduation gown is usually low, so the shirt you wear underneath would show. The men may wear a dress shirt, add a statement tie, or even opt for a jacket.

The women may wear a scoop-neck top or blouse with a collar.


Women may slip into nice fitting dress pants or a mid-length skirt underneath their gown. Remember that a full-length skirt will probably make your outfit look too heavy. A bright-colored pant could look too much for a formal ceremony, so opt for dark colors of skirts or slacks. Men can wear khakis colored pants or dark-colored slacks.


A modest cut V-neck or scoop neck top or gown is recommended. Collared shirts for the men will work.


If you wear a suit and tie, opt for a crisp white dress shirt. A statement tie that works with the colors of your sash and gown is a great choice.


For the men, that little facial hair could give you a 5 o’clock shadow. The camera may detect the stubble, so make sure you shave a few hours before your session. Wash your face thoroughly to reduce shine. 


Given the firm hold of the graduation headgear, hairstyles options are few. It would be best if you style your hair down. Buns may not fit into the cap. Guys, get a good hair cut as you would normally do. Wash and brush your hair.


Please keep it simple. You want an elegant look. Ladies may wear simple jewelry. Men may wear their school class ring. Avoid bold necklaces.

What Do I Wear Under A Graduation Gown In Different Weather?

Winter ceremonies are often done indoors instead of outside. So, you should dress accordingly. Stick with a thick and warm fabric. 

In the summer, the graduation ceremony is mostly outdoors. Wear lighter fabric while bearing in mind that you may be wearing your gown for most of the ceremony. You want to pick airy clothes.

Avoid any polyester material clothing for your graduation is in May and June. These are among the most humid months of the year. The polyester fabric is not airy.

Do not wear a complete suit and tie under your cap and gown. You would be uncomfortably hot. Remember, you do not want to look sweaty in your pictures from the ceremony. During raining season, wear nice shoes that may not be affected by the rain. This is not to suggest that you wear a pair of rain boots. Keep it functional yet chic.

For indoor events, both men and women should wear cover-toe dress shoes. Sandals or sneakers are not recommended. Women may opt for a good height heel for this is more convenient. 

For an outdoor event, wedges and platform shoes are advised. Do not wear any stiletto heel shoes, especially to outdoor graduation. Yes, they are cute and lift your overall look a notch, but you should consider comfort first. You don’t want to ruin your stiletto heel when it sinks into the soft ground.

What Do I Wear Under My Graduation Gown At My High School Graduation? 

High school graduations are all about having fun, so come prepared for it. To commemorate the end of your high school, consider wearing a short dress. Whether you prefer bold or dark, don that outfit that you can comfortably wear to an after-party or dinner.  If it is cold, you choose a dress with long sleeves.


Graduation is a semi-formal event, so dressing up corporate-casual is recommended. The right outfit makes you enjoy the ceremony better because you are comfortable yet trendy. Your outfit makes your pictures turn out great. Weather and location are two factors that greatly influence your choice of wardrobe at a graduation ceremony.