Ask Belle: Graduation Attire
Apr 16, 2012
This time of year is a very repetitive one for the Ask Belle inbox. Every other email asks either “What should I wear to my college/law school/biz school graduation?” or “What do I wear to a summer wedding?” So I’m going to save myself a LOT of trouble and just do one Ask Belle post on each. This week, graduation attire.
Don’t Forget About the Cap and Gown. When choosing graduation attire, don’t forget that you’ll also be wearing a cap and gown made of cheap polyester. If you’re indoors, you may be grateful for the protection from the air conditioning. However, if you’re outside, you might as well be wearing your own personal sweat lodge.
I recommend that graduates choose natural fibers, avoid satin and silk and skip the sky-high high heels (You always end up walking and standing more than you thought.).
Also, don’t spend an hour doing your hair until you consider what your mortar board is going to do to your coif. I recommend wearing your hair down in a loose wave for the ceremony. Otherwise, you risk ruining your hair for pictures afterwards.
Think About the Photos. Much like your wedding pictures, you will have these photos for the rest of your life. (Unless, like me, your Father deletes them all from his camera because technology isn’t his friend.) So you need to think about how you’ll look in the pictures. Here are a few things to avoid:
Strapless dresses: You’ll look naked in head shots.
Neons, big prints and sequins: This is an occasion for timeless colors and patterns.
Big earrings: No large hoops, chandeliers or giant zircon studs. They’ll be too overwhelming in head shots.
Runway makeup: Save the smoky eyes, neon lips and other trends for another time. Neutral shades and natural makeup is best for graduation.
Keep It Appropriate. Every time I go to a graduation, I run into the same problem: girls dressed like they’re going to the club. Body con dresses, miniskirts, 5″+ stilettos, halter tops, etc. When choosing a graduation outfit, ask yourself one question: Can I wear this to a religious service with my Grandma?
Oh, and wear underwear. When I finished college, one of my fellow grads decided to go commando and was more than a little surprised when a sudden breeze exposed her to an entire parking lot full of families.
WWBW, What Would Belle Wear. My college graduation was in a huge arena, so I knew I would be freezing. So I wore a white suit with a black blouse underneath. If I had it to do over, I would probably wear a dress similar to the ones below.
I would probably add a skinny belt to all three of these (red for the first one, metallic or snake for the other two). I’d add a cardigan (red) to the first dress. I’d wear bangle bracelets with the second one. And I’d wear a statement necklace with the third dress, likely gold or turquoise.