What to Wear Underneath a Cap & Gown at Graduation

Written by joanna swanson
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What to Wear Underneath a Cap & Gown at Graduation
What to wear under a cap and gown can be a dilemma for a graduating student. (Graduating Girl image by TMLP from Fotolia.com)

Graduation from high school or college is an important occasion in a young person's life. While graduates are usually required to wear a cap and gown, many students wonder what to wear under the gown. Even though the clothes worn under the gown will not be seen during the ceremony, the student should still be dressed in a proper manner since the gown is not worn before or after the ceremony.


Young women have the option of wearing a dress under their graduation gown. The dress should fit properly and not be too form-fitting or revealing to fit with the mood of the occasion. If the graduation is occurring during the late spring or summer, the dress should be of light material to prevent overheating. A winter graduation may call for warmer materials.

Blouse and Skirt

Young women may choose to wear a blouse and skirt instead of a one-piece dress. The blouse should not reveal too much skin or fit too tightly out of respect for the ceremony, and the skirt should not be so long that it causes the student to trip. The heaviness of the fabric should be determined by the season when the ceremony is held.

Shirt and Slacks

Young men should wear a dress shirt and slacks under their graduation robe. The shirt may be long- or short-sleeved, depending on when the ceremony is held, and should be properly tucked in. They should also wear a tie that coordinates with their shirt and slacks.


Because a graduation ceremony and the reception that follows it can last a long time, the graduating student should wear shoes that are comfortable and easy to walk in. Young women should wear dress flats or dress shoes with low heels, as a high-heeled shoe can quickly become uncomfortable when standing for long periods and can also be difficult to walk in. Young men should wear dress shoes that provide support for standing and walking.

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