Fashion & Beauty

What to Wear To Outdoor Graduations This Spring

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Graduation season is about to be in full swing, and if you have a ceremony to attend this spring, it’s time to start thinking about what you’re going to wear.

When you have a friend or a relative attending a graduation, it’s important to dress for the occasion. And if you’re a grad, well… You can’t just throw your cap and gown over any old thing from your closet! You’ll need a great look so that you’re ready to celebrate in style when the cap and graduation gown come off on the big day.

Many graduation ceremonies take place outdoors, which means there are some special fashion considerations to think about before arriving for the festivities. Whether you’re a soon-to-be graduate, a proud parent or a guest who’s been invited to an upcoming ceremony, here’s everything you need to know about what to wear to an outdoor graduation! 

10 Things To Wear To An Outdoor Graduation:

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Anthropologie Maeve Floral Wrap Mini Dress

Anthropologie Maeve Floral Wrap Mini Dress

Banana Republic Ramie Open Back Dress

Banana Republic Ramie Open Back Dress

WHBM Sleeveless Reversible Matte Jersey Dress

WHBM Sleeveless Reversible Matte Jersey Dress

Zara Flowy Jumpsuit With Belt

Zara Flowy Jumpsuit With Belt

H&M Wrap Dress

H&M Wrap Dress

Calvin Klein Belted Floral Print Dress

Calvin Klein Belted Floral Print Dress

Sleeveless Summer Flare Tank Dress

Sleeveless Summer Flare Tank Dress

Ted Baker London Thorss Shirt

Ted Baker London Thorss Shirt

Brooks Brothers Stretch Regular-Fit Dress Shirt

Brooks Brothers Stretch Regular-Fit Dress Shirt

J Crew 770 Straight-Fit Stretch Chino Pant

J Crew 770 Straight-Fit Stretch Chino Pant

Graduation Day is a Big Deal!

Graduation day is a special occasion that calls for celebrating. 

And you know what that means…

You’ll be posing for lots of pictures!

Whether you’re about to celebrate your high school graduation or your college graduation, choosing an outfit that reflects your personal style, feels comfortable and helps you stand out is key. If you’re attending a graduation for a friend or a loved one, dress with the goal of looking polished and put together in… 

A colorful, flowy dress with an allover print!

A slim pencil skirt with heeled sandals and a pretty blouse!

A solid sheath dress in a bold color!

A dress shirt with trousers and dress shoes!

All of these are excellent options for an outdoor graduation ceremony. That said, some schools or institutions may have a specific graduation dress code. Be sure to check with the grad to see if their school has laid down any fashion rules before you put your look together.

If your school does not have a set dress code, err on the side of caution and opt for a look that’s either business casual or smart casual. While it’s not uncommon for younger graduates to opt for a slightly more casual look, adults attending a ceremony should remember that if you would wear an outfit to a business meeting or to the office, it’s probably appropriate for graduation, too. 

Tips for Choosing the Right Graduation Outfit

Before heading off to an outdoor graduation ceremony, do yourself a favor and check the weather forecast. If there’s any chance of rain, take precautions and pack a small umbrella or wear closed-toe shoes in the event that the ground will get wet.

On the other hand, since most graduation ceremonies take place in May or June, there’s always the possibility that it will be a sweltering hot day. To ensure that you’re not sweating your way through the processional, the speeches and the handing out of diplomas, make it a point to dress in lightweight garments.

Should the weather be cooler than expected, you can always top off your look with a cardigan sweater or a chic blazer. It’s also important to consider what you’re going to do when the ceremony is over.

Do you have plans? Are you heading straight to a graduation party? Or maybe you’re going out for a fancy dinner. Either way, no matter your plans, keep them in mind when planning your outfit for graduation. Before choosing your ceremony look, consider where you’re going afterwards, and dress appropriately for that part of the celebration.

The more graduates there are, the longer the ceremony will be. No matter what look you choose, make sure it’s a comfortable outfit so that you can fully enjoy the experience instead of wishing you wore something else! 

What NOT to Wear to an Outdoor Graduation

Fashion rules were meant to be broken, but there are some items of clothing that you should definitely NOT wear to a graduation ceremony. From T-shirts and hoodies to shorts and flip flops, other items, like sneakers and athletic wear, are each a major no-no when it comes to attending graduation.

See, graduation is a special day, so treat it as such. If you would wear a certain outfit to the beach or to the gym, it’s not at all appropriate for an outdoor ceremony.

Related: The 5 Best Online Custom Dress Shirts [Look Good, Feel Good]  

Graduation Dresses and Jumpsuits We Love!

Here are a few dresses and jumpsuits that are simply ideal for a graduation. We recommend pairing them with flats, wedges or block heels rather than skinny heels because those might sink into the ground… And you don’t want to have to deal with that! 

1. Anthropologie Maeve Floral Wrap Mini Dress

Anthropologie Maeve Floral Wrap Mini Dress

Vibrant and colorful with an allover floral print, this dress is perfect for an outdoor graduation, especially if you’re expecting warm weather. The Maeve Floral Wrap Mini Dress features a sleeveless silhouette with a V-neckline, a self-fabric tie belt and ruffle trim for added charm. Pair it with block heels for a gorgeous head-to-toe look! 

2. Banana Republic Ramie Open Back Dress

Banana Republic Ramie Open Back Dress

Puffed sleeves add ultra-feminine charm to the Banana Republic Ramie Open Back Dress. This mini dress features a flared A-line skirt, a high round neckline with shirred details and a tie that can be knotted into a bow in either the front or back. It comes in a variety of trendy colors, but if you’re looking to stand out, we love it in magenta!

3. WHBM Sleeveless Reversible Matte Jersey Dress

WHBM Sleeveless Reversible Matte Jersey Dress

A black and white pattern makes this knee length dress a chic option for any type of graduation celebration. The White House Black Market Sleeveless Reversible Matte Jersey Dress features a diagonal floral print with a solid tie belt, wide straps and a deep neckline. 

With a slim, straight fit, it’s ideal when layered with a chic blazer or a lightweight sweater. The best part about this look is that it’s also reversible, so if you’re not in a floral mood, flip it inside out and rock it as a little black dress instead. 

4. Zara Flowy Jumpsuit With Belt

Zara Flowy Jumpsuit With Belt

Not in the mood to wear a dress to graduation? This Flowy Jumpsuit With Belt is a great alternative, especially for a graduation guest. 

Graduation gowns usually hit a few inches above the ankle, so most grads prefer to wear a dress or jumpsuit with a hem that is ever so slightly shorter than the length of the gown. But for graduation guests who won’t be covered up in a long or shapeless robe, the vibrant color, the sleeveless cut and the wide-leg silhouette make this jumpsuit a fabulous option for an outdoor graduation this spring! 

5. H&M Wrap Dress

H&M Wrap Dress

With short sleeves and a bold allover print, this floral dress offers a fun, feminine look for any grad or graduation guest. This H&M Wrap Dress features a V-neckline, a tie at the waist and an easy drape that makes it super comfortable to wear beneath a graduation gown, too! 

6. Calvin Klein Belted Floral Print Dress

Calvin Klein Belted Floral Print Dress

Short flutter sleeves and a flounce at the hem add charming style to the Calvin Klein Belted Floral Print Dress. Covered in a pretty pink print, this midi dress features a V-neckline, a tie at the waist and lightweight, sheer fabric, making it incredibly ideal for a warm graduation day. 

7. Sleeveless Summer Flare Tank Dress

Sleeveless Summer Flare Tank Dress

Available in dozens of solid colors and bold prints, the Sleeveless Summer Flare Tank Dress offers comfort and style for any and all outdoor ceremonies. This sleeveless sundress features a V-neckline, wide straps, a fitted bodice and a flared A-line skirt with side pockets! 

Related: How to Dress The Pear Body Shape [Look Your Best, Feel Your Best]  

Classic Graduation Looks for the Guys

When choosing a look for a graduation ceremony, guys can never go wrong with a just-pressed button-down shirt and a pair of trousers. Complete the look with dressy loafers or oxfords and you’ll be good to go! 

8. Ted Baker London Thorss Shirt

Ted Baker London Thorss Shirt

With a slim fit and button cuffs, the Ted Baker London Thorss Shirt looks solid from a distance. However, look a little closer and you’ll see that it offers a cool and interesting pattern up close!

This button-front shirt is made from breathable cotton fabric. The best part is that it can be dressed down with flat front chinos or dressed up with suit pants and a sport coat or blazer! It’s up to you.

9. Brooks Brothers Stretch Regular-Fit Dress Shirt

Brooks Brothers Stretch Regular-Fit Dress Shirt

It doesn’t get any classier than this! The Brooks Brothers Stretch Regular-Fit Dress Shirt isn’t just perfect for a graduation ceremony. Rather, it’s perfect for any occasion. 

A staple that belongs in every guy’s wardrobe, this shirt features long sleeves with buttoned cuffs and a button front placket. Plus, it has a spread collar, meaning you can wear it with or without a tie.

10. J Crew 770 Straight-Fit Stretch Chino Pant

J Crew 770 Straight-Fit Stretch Chino Pant

Polished yet comfortable, the J Crew 770 Straight-Fit Stretch Chino Pant pairs effortlessly well with any button down shirt of your choosing. Easy to dress up or dress down, these pants feature slant front pockets in the front with welt pockets in the back. 

They come in a slew of colors and sizes, giving you many options to choose from based on your preferences. Plus, there are three different inseam lengths for guys to select from, ranging from a bit shorter to a bit taller than average.

How Should You Dress for an Outdoor Graduation Ceremony?

With so many graduation outfit ideas to choose from, finding a great look is easy to do, no matter what your style is or what the budget you’re working with looks like.

Whether you’re heading to your own ceremony or you’re attending someone else’s graduation, keep this one rule in mind: 

When in doubt, opt for a dressier look over a casual one. It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed! 

You might also be interested in: How To Style And Dress The Rectangular Body Shape  

What to Wear To Outdoor Graduations:

  1. Anthropologie Maeve Floral Wrap Mini Dress
  2. Banana Republic Ramie Open Back Dress
  3. WHBM Sleeveless Reversible Matte Jersey Dress
  4. Zara Flowy Jumpsuit With Belt
  5. H&M Wrap Dress
  6. Calvin Klein Belted Floral Print Dress
  7. Sleeveless Summer Flare Tank Dress
  8. Ted Baker London Thorss Shirt
  9. Brooks Brothers Stretch Regular-Fit Dress Shirt
  10. J Crew 770 Straight-Fit Stretch Chino Pant

Jessica Heston

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