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What to Wear to a Graduation

What to Wear to a Graduation

Whether you’re the one accepting a diploma, or are going to be congratulating and supporting a friend or family member who is graduating, you’re sure to want to look your best during that special occasion!

Finding the right outfit for a graduation ceremony is easy to do when you shop Kohl’s. We offer a selection of apparel that’s ideal for special events, no matter if you’re looking for men’s, women’s or kids’.

Picking the Perfect Graduate Outfit

Since a graduate has worked so hard to reach their big day, it’s time for them to dress for the occasion! Any graduate can feel their best as they walk across the stage to accept their diploma.

Depending on the event, there are a variety of outfits and wardrobe options to consider if you’re a graduate.

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Girls’ & Women’s Graduation Outfit Ideas

High School Graduate

Girls graduating from high school are sure to want to choose an outfit that reflects their personality as well as their excitement. Look for a juniors’ dress that lets you feel stylish, but is also ready for any get-togethers you’ll be attending after the graduation.

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College Graduate

Graduating from college is a huge accomplishment. Your studies for the last few years have prepared you to enter the workforce, giving you lifelong lessons that will help you become a productive member of society.

To honor this occasion, take your look to a whole new level. Ladies can wear a women’s bodycon dress for a stylish look that’s still well put together. For additional comfort that’s also stylish, try a women’s jumpsuit or romper for a fun, yet elevated ensemble.

If you’re celebrating a winter graduation, try a look with dress pants and a blouse or sweater, combined with dress boots. Ensure you’re comfortable during the ceremony. Even though the event will likely be inside, choose clothing that will keep you warm as you venture outside before and after the ceremony.

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Graduation Party Outfit

The graduation party is the time where you can relax and enjoy time with friends and family as you all celebrate your big accomplishment! Parties may range in formality, so choosing an outfit that works at a more elevated get-together, as well as an informal backyard cookout, is essential.

You can never go wrong with a simple, yet stylish midi dress. If the party is in late spring or summer, choose a dress with fun and seasonal patterns, like flowers. Pair the dress with timeless accessories like a classic clutch or handbag. And finish off the look with strappy sandals or heels for added sophistication. If the party is after a winter ceremony, look your best in dress pants, a longer skirt, a cozy sweater, or an elevated blouse that could even be paired with smart-casual jeans.

You can also try an ensemble with a button-down blouse and dress pants or capris for a versatile look that’s ideal for any graduation party setting. If the celebration is a casual affair, you can still aim to look stylish while being ultracomfortable! Try an outfit with wide-leg pants and a camisole, paired with trendy sunglasses and a glamorous purse. This will have you looking chic, while staying cool and feeling great!

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Boys’ & Men’s Graduation Apparel Options

High School Graduate

Boys will want to put together an outfit that provides a classic look that will help him look great, showing off a style that’s worthy of the occasion. Consider young men’s dress pants, dress shirts, a tie and dress shoes. For a more relaxed look, go with a polo or button-down shirt and khaki pants.

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College Graduate

 Guys graduating from college can take similar advice. Perhaps a well-fitting men’s suit is ideal for wear under your cap and gown on graduation day. However, going laid-back and comfortable is another option, so consider those ever-versatile khaki pants paired with a dress shirt or polo. Seasonality plays a role here, too. If you’re having a late spring outdoor ceremony, the weather is likely to be unpredictable. If it’s quite warm, consider lightweight materials and short-sleeve shirts like a polo. If you’re graduating in the winter, opt for men’s dressy sweaters, khakis and boots. Be sure to pick up a stylish winter coat to ensure complete comfort.

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Graduation Guest

You’ll want to be sure that you also look your best if you’re attending a graduation as a guest. Consider the time of year the graduation will take place, as well as the venue in which the ceremony will be held. Some graduations are held in an indoor location, like a gymnasium or auditorium, while others might be held in large outdoor spaces.

For women, a look that includes a timeless pencil skirt and a button-down shirt or blouse with a blazer is a classic look. It’s one that will look great for any graduation, even outside events if the weather permits. If the temperature is chilly during an outdoor ceremony you’ll attend, try a fashionable sweater with dress pants. Wear comfortable shoes that match your look—anything from heels to flats or even dress sandals for a warm-weather day will fit the bill.

Men can stick to a standard smart-casual look, including khakis or other casual pants, paired with a polo, a button-down or a sweater or pullover. Add a tie if you want to elevate the look. Smart-casual sneakers will keep your feet comfortable, but consider wearing dress shoes for men if you’re going the route of more formal attire.

No matter how you decide to dress, be sure to do so in a way that honors and respects your graduate! They worked hard for this moment, so be sure to consider how you’ll be representing them during the event. But be mindful that graduation ceremonies can be lengthy, so consider comfort to be of utmost importance as well.

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Other Graduation Apparel Tips

A tradition for female graduates is to wear white, as it symbolizes a new start and fresh beginnings. But it’s not a requirement. That said, white is a color that pairs well with lots of wardrobe accents, like various accessories and shoes, so you can opt for white and still get a pop of color with additional outfit pieces.

Graduates should wear shoes on the day of the ceremony. You’ll likely be on your feet for a fair amount of time, so your shoes should be as comfortable as possible. Also, make sure your shoes are easy to walk in—the last thing you want is to trip as you cross the stage to accept your diploma! Shoes are an important part of the graduation outfit, as they are likely the most visible part of your ensemble. The apparel you wear under your gown will be covered for most of the day, so the shoes will be the only thing others see.

Ladies wearing a dress to their graduation should opt for a dress which has a length that’s shorter than that of the graduation gown. This provides a more clean look. Lengths that will work great here include midi dresses, knee-length dresses or short dresses.

There will be plenty of pictures taken on graduation day. You’ll want these memories to be captured with you looking your best. Consider clothing that is timeless and flatters your body type. This will ensure you feel great about how you look in the photos for years to come. Since pictures last many years both in physical form and online on social media (which prospective employers are sure to scope out as you apply for jobs), you want to be able to look back on your graduation and see that you knocked your look out of the park and were proud of how you presented yourself that day.

Choosing a stylish, comfortable, and on-trend look is essential for any graduate. You want to look your best on the big day, while ensuring that you feel great during the ceremony. With a look built from clothing at Kohl’s, you’re sure to craft a graduation day style that earns a passing grade!

Kohl’s is also the place to pick up other graduation essentials, like gifts for graduates, a frame in which you can display your diploma, and even dorm essentials for your high school graduate that’s moving on to college in the fall.

Shop Kohl’s and pass your graduation day style exam with flying colors.  

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