Proper way to wear a graduation gown

Written by barbie carpenter
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Proper way to wear a graduation gown
Look the part by wearing a graduation gown to match your peers. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Graduation ceremonies are events steeped in tradition, and the cap and gown serve as a symbol of the tradition surrounding commencement. Do your best to look the part of the proud graduate by wearing your cap and gown properly. Refer to your school's guidelines for what you should wear under your gown and make sure you order your gown following school instructions to ensure you match your fellow graduates.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Wear appropriate clothing under your graduation gown. For women, this means a knee-length or longer dress, skirt and top or dress trousers and blouse. For men, this means dress trousers and a button-down shirt. Choose dressy but comfortable shoes -- you don't want to fall as you walk across the stage and receive your diploma.

  2. 2

    Wear your graduation gown over your attire. Typically, you put the gown on like a robe and zip it up in the front. Make sure that it hits around your lower calf or ankle. A gown that is too long is a tripping hazard, and a shorter gown will simply look silly. It is acceptable for men's or women's trousers to show a bit underneath the gown.

  3. 3

    Put on your cap. The top of the cap should sit at the top of your forehead -- do not pull it down lower because it will cover your face. Women might choose to attach their caps with hair clips to keep their hair in place and prevent the cap from falling off during the ceremony.

  4. 4

    Attach your tassel to the cap. Loop the tassel to the button on the top centre of your cap. Place the tassel on the right side of the cap. You will move the tassel to the left side to signify you are a graduate once the school has conferred all degrees.

Tips and warnings

  • Some schools allow students to purchase and decorate their caps so their families can spot them in the mass of graduates. Check your school's guidelines before you alter your cap.
  • Men might need to wear ties with their dress shirts, depending on school standards.

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