What Should You Wear to a Graduation Party?

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A graduation party is a celebration of students’ accomplishments and memories during their time in their respective courses. However, the preparation for both the graduation and the party afterwards can be a source of worry for students and guests to the party alike who may find themselves confused about what to wear. The choices can be overwhelming for students simply looking forward to celebrating their accomplishments. With that in mind, what exactly do you wear to a graduation party?

To put it briefly, a graduation party is a place to celebrate the successes and memories of the graduating students, yet it also occurs after a graduation ceremony has taken place. Outfits worn to graduation parties are typically semi-formal, in order to acknowledge the effort taken to graduate. In addition to this, outfits worn are also generally lighter, in both silhouette and colour, to reflect the joy of the student(s) being celebrated.

While this may have given you a brief overview of what a majority of outfits may look like at graduation parties, the rest of this article may help you decide on something more concrete and personalised.

What do you wear to a graduation party?

There is a general ‘dress code’ to graduation parties: a blend between casual and sophisticated. There is no need to panic over outfits, because it’s such a wide range of outfits that can easily be put together from staple pieces that are widely accessible.

To put it into perspective, something like a floor length gown or tuxedo is much too formal, whereas a pair of jeans and T-shirt (especially with a slogan; that is a big no-no) is way too informal. The outfit for a graduation party should ideally be a happy medium between the two, and it is commonly based on one of the items of clothing listed below.

Dresses, skirts, suits, pantsuits, dress shirts and dress pants are all staple pieces that graduation party outfits can be built around; they are a solid foundation to experiment with. They are timeless (unlike T-shirts with slogans!) and are well balanced in terms of formal and casual.

For more information on what to wear at a graduation party, this handy article from Soxy can offer some more helpful guidance on how to choose an outfit.

However, like most things in life, the dress code for a specific graduation party can vary from the typical. It is therefore important to double-check to make sure you have the correct dress code for the graduation party before picking out your outfit. The following sections will cover some more outfit ideas for men and women to give you some more ideas.

5 ideas on what to wear at a graduation party (women)

An important thing to consider when selecting an outfit is the location of the graduation party, as well as the forecast. Make sure to check the weather conditions in order to plan a weather-appropriate (and season-appropriate!) outfit for the day.

With that in mind, look at the following headings for five ideas on some outfits themes for women to wear at the event. For more looks for women, check out these outfit ideas from Murston Co.

Casual graduation party outfit ideas for women

No, this does not include the forbidden jeans and T-shirt combo. A more casual, but still dignified, look (in other words, comfortable) can be achieved through looser dresses, such as sundresses, in breathable materials such as cotton or linen.

This theme is perfect for summer graduations. This look can be accessorised with simple jewellery but can be personalised with any jewellery on hand.

Sophisticated graduation party outfit ideas for women

 This look is more business-like and creates a bolder silhouette for an unmissable look. It can be achieved through pantsuits or tailored suits, or suit jackets and tighter skirts.

What is great about this look is that it’s very flexible; the material of the suit can be adjusted to suit the weather, and the colour can also be changed to anything you desire. This look can be accessorised with chunky jewellery to really accentuate that striking silhouette.

Fancy graduation party outfit ideas for women

It’s a day for celebration, so why not dress up more? The fancy look can be achieved with a longer dress, or one with a tighter silhouette (like the sophisticated look).

An elegant dress can look very memorable, and it is also a very flexible option in terms of silhouette and colour, as well as material. It is also easy to wear under your graduation gown if you’re a graduate.

This look can be accessorised with pretty much any jewellery. Just remember that balance is key – the more intricate the dress is, the simpler the jewellery can be in order to create that lovely contrast.

Minimalist graduation party outfit ideas for women

This look also draws on the casual, but it also has a simpler silhouette than the casual. This look is extremely elegant due to its simplicity; less is more!

An example of this look is a plain jumpsuit in neutral tones, and this cuts a striking figure at any graduation party.  Where the fancy look seeks to be accessorised with simpler jewellery, the minimal look can be balanced with brighter, or fancier jewellery or colourful accessories.

Fun graduation party outfit ideas for women

The fun look is an extension of casual, and an example of this look is a chic romper in plain colours. It depends on the dress code, but this is about the most casual one can be at a graduation party, typically. This look can be accessorized with just about anything.

5 ideas on what to wear at a graduation party (men)

Once again, it is important to check the forecast to select a weather-appropriate outfit. You will also want to base your outfit on the location or setting of the graduation party.

Check out the headings below for five outfit themes for men. For more ideas for looks for men, this article by Stitch Fix may be able to help.

Dressy graduation party outfit ideas for men

The dressy style can be a great look as it is truly the happy medium between casual and formal. To achieve this look, tuck in a polo shirt into some dress pants and add some smart shoes, and instantly a cool look is created. To add some visual interest, accessorise with a watch or bracelet.

Sophisticated graduation party outfit ideas for men

This look is a notch up from dressy. It is more on the formal end of the spectrum. To achieve this look, a suit can be worn, or dress pants and a dress shirt.

The tailored figure creates a striking silhouette that is hard to forget. This look can be accessorised with some elegant cufflinks or a watch to give it that classy, timeless feel.

Monochrome graduation party outfit ideas for men

This look is very visually dynamic due to only one colour being worn. To achieve this, you can practically wear anything semi-formal, as long as it’s within the boundaries of the colour.

This could be brown, grey, or any colour you like. Monochromatic outfits are very dynamic and are easy to pull off well.

Classic graduation party outfit ideas for men

This look is the timeless cousin of the sophisticated look. It’s the classic waistcoat, dress shirt, tie and dress pants combo that’s always a hit.

This look provides a very elegant, well-dressed image and is more on the formal end of the spectrum. This makes it the perfect outfit style for a more traditional and formal graduation party.

Patterned graduation party outfit ideas for men

 This look allows the wearer to achieve a funkier, more casual look, while still maintaining an air of formality. To achieve this look, the garments themselves should still have a more formal silhouette (pleated trousers, shirt).

Patterns can be incorporated into the fabric or layered with a patterned shirt on top to achieve a more dynamic look. Alternatively, the wearer could wear more subtly patterned garments, like striped shirts or trousers, or the pattern can be reduced to maybe just a funky tie if the party is more solemn.

What should you wear to a graduation ceremony?

For a lot of people, there can also be some panic about what to wear at the actual graduation ceremony, which is arguably more important than the party.

The most important thing in the graduation ceremony will likely be the cap and gown (for graduates). Underneath, the graduate should dress smartly (and comfortably!) as there may be many photos taken to commemorate such a momentous day.

Universities will have a dress code on their website for graduations, so it is important to check that out to make sure to stay within appropriate guidelines. Universities may also provide a specific store to buy or rent a gown to wear to the ceremony.

To find out more information about what to wear during a graduation ceremony, check out this helpful guide from Think Student.

To find out more information on how and where to hire a graduation gown, check out this article from Think Student.

Lastly, guests at graduation ceremonies are also held to the same dress codes: dressing smart! It is also recommended to not be overly flashy with the clothing as to not draw the attention away from graduates.

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