As students, graduation can feel like a faraway goal. It’s something to aspire to after you work your absolute hardest to ace your exams. In a way, it’s a way of rewarding everything you have put into your degree. From the late nights finishing up essays or reports to the last-minute cramming before an exam.
Despite the gratification of finishing your degree, graduation can also be a stressful event to prepare for. Especially as you have so much to get together, including your graduation gown. This can leave you feeling lost about some of the most crucial questions, such as how you even hire one.
In short, the process of how you hire a graduation gown will depend on what university you go to and what their policies are. Some universities will require you to hire your graduation gown and accessories from a specific graduation gown retailer. However, other universities may only recommend certain retailers, or they may not mention any specific one at all. If this is the case, then you are free to hire your graduation gown from any graduation gown store that works best for you, whether this is a physical store or online.
Continue reading to learn more about how to get a graduation gown, how much it will cost and whether you even have to wear one. This article will be particularly use to you if you have graduation coming up or simply want to know a little more.
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Where can you hire a graduation gown and cap?
Graduation gowns and caps are very specific items of clothing and so you can’t just get them from anywhere. While they won’t feature in the average clothing store, you will be able to buy them from a specific gown or graduation dress store as well as some higher-end fashion stores.
You can also hire a graduation gown online. The ranked 4 best online graduation gown stores are Graduation.co.uk, Evess, Churchill Gowns and J. Wippel & Co Ltd. For more information about these, check out this article by UniFresher. You can also click on their respective links to check out their websites.
Some universities will have their own specific places for you to hire your graduation gown from. Sometimes they will require you to get your gowns from these specific stores but other times this may just be a suggestion. For example, the University of Sussex uses Ede & Ravenscroft, which you can find more about here on their website.
How much does it cost to hire a graduation gown?
The cost of your graduation gown will depend on which retailer you buy it from as well as when. This is because if you buy it on the day, it will often be more expensive. Also, the cost may change if you buy it as part of a set rather than on its own.
To get the gown alone, it may cost as little as £15. However, it could also cost up to about £100. Please note that this is true for 2022 and is likely to increase after this.
For more about these figures, please refer to this article by UniFresher.
How do you wear a graduation gown?
If you’ve not yet got your graduation gown, this can feel like a silly question. However, putting on a graduation gown and figuring out what’s supposed to go where can be a bit difficult to figure out due to all of the different parts.
As your graduation ceremony is such an important event, making sure that you put it on correctly is an absolute must. To learn how to put your graduation gown on properly, check out the steps below.
Step 1: Wear the right clothes underneath your graduation gown
While not a part of the gown itself, the clothes you wear underneath your gown are still very important. To begin with, most universities will have some kind of dress code to do with what you wear underneath your gowns.
It is likely that they will require you to wear some kind of formal or “smart” clothing. For an example of what policies, a university may have for the clothing beneath your gown, check out this guide by the University of Reading.
On top of that, certain items of clothing can make it easier for you to put on your graduation gown. In particular, this is clothing, such as shirts, that have buttons. Buttons are useful when putting on your graduation gown as you can use them to secure the hood of your graduation gown to your clothes.
Step 2: Put on the main part of your graduation gown
The easiest part of putting on your graduation gown is putting on the gown itself. While the entire graduation gown set or academic dress is made up of multiple pieces, that can be hard to arrange, the gown itself is fairly straightforward.
To put on your graduation gown, do so as you would any other jacket or coat, by putting your arms through the sleeves. For master’s degree graduation gowns, you will need to also put your arms through the slits in the sleeves. Regardless of the level, your graduation gown should be left open.
For more about the term “academic dress”, check out this guide by Ede & Ravenscroft, a graduation gown supplier.
Step 3: Put on the hood of your graduation gown
The last part, putting on the hood, is also the most difficult bit. This is because it is slightly fiddlier, and you may not be able to do it by yourself.
To put on the hood, you will first have to hold it in front of you with the loop at the top but facing downwards. Then you will need to put it over your shoulders and make sure that the V-shape is central.
Take the loop and put it around the button closest to where it falls naturally of your shirt or blouse. If you are not wearing anything with buttons in the right place, you will need to secure the loop to your clothing using a safety pin. This is to prevent it from moving around.
With the help of someone else, you will then need to turn the coloured lining of your hood outwards. This shows off your degree type. For more about what each colour means, check out the section below.
What do the graduation gown colours mean in the UK?
The different colours signify the different types of degree, as well as different levels. They also signify different universities as many universities have gowns specific to their university. This is shown here on the Churchill Gowns website.
For bachelor’s and master’s degree graduates, their gowns will normally be black, but the hoods will be different colours to signify the department or type of degree. For doctorate degree graduates, the gown will normally be red, but the hood will still be coloured to signal the degree area. For more on this, check out this guide by UniFresher.
The colours of the hoods or trimming will depend on what university you go to. For example, at the University of Surrey, both a BA and an MA degree have red trims, an MBA has gold, an LLB has purple, an MRes has apricot and neither a BSc nor a PhD have any trimming colour at all.
Whereas, at Queen’s University, Belfast, a BA degree has a furry hood on black fabric, an MA degree has blue silk or red fabric, an MBA has gold on red fabric and an LLB has pale pink silk on black fabric.
Do you have to wear a graduation gown?
A graduation gown is very symbolic. The different colours and styles assigned to each degree makes it even more so. This means that as a whole, the graduation gown is an important part of the graduation ceremony, and it is important for graduates to wear.
However, you may find trouble getting the right graduation gown for you or you may simply not feel comfortable wearing one. This can lead you to wondering whether wearing such a gown is a necessity.
To put it simply, whether or not you will have to wear a graduation gown will depend on which university you go to.
Many universities say that is compulsory for you to wear the official gown with all the right colours and designs. Universities such as these may not allow you to attend the ceremony or may not allow you to cross the stage nor take part in the graduation ceremony.
An example of a university that uses these policies is the University of Dundee. For more information about the graduation policies on graduation gowns at the University of Dundee, check out this page on their website.
Other universities may still recommend that you wear graduation gowns. However, at these universities it will not be compulsory.
Although the graduation gown isn’t compulsory at all universities, the vast majority will still expect you to wear formal clothing. For example, the University of Hertfordshire’s policies state that they will deny access to the ceremony for anyone who they consider to be inappropriately dressed.
For more information about the University of Hertfordshire’s graduation policies, check out this page on their website.