What to Wear to a Graduation Party

What to Wear to a Graduation Party

Graduation parties can be formal, casual, or anything in between, so curating an appropriate outfit for the occasion can be challenging. But we’ve got your back. Consider this your complete guide to dressing for a graduation party, whether you’re a guest or the grad!

What Guests Should Wear

As a guest, you should be mindful of what you wear. Like at a wedding, you should dress modestly so the graduates can shine. After all, it’s their special day! We recommend choosing simple, humble silhouettes and soft or muted colors. Try to avoid super bright colors or bold and commanding patterns. Delicate floral patterns, stripes, or polka dots work well, as they’re not too flashy but are still elegant and appropriate. Dark or subtle colors like navy, beige, or sage green are wonderful options because they’re lovely during spring but aren’t too dramatic or eye-catching. A tasteful maxi dress or sophisticated jumpsuit is perfect for a backyard or restaurant party. If you prefer, you can wear dress pants with a lovely blouse—a women's white blouse with a pleated skirt or striped linen pants.

If the party is particularly casual, linen shirts with fitted jeans can also work, but only if the party is laid back. Dark-wash or black jeans are better because they’re more formal than light-washed or distressed jeans. When choosing your outfit, try to avoid something you think a graduate would wear, like a brightly-colored midi dress or lace fit and flare. Keep it understated but tasteful and polished.

What Graduates Should Wear

What the grads should wear differs from what guests should wear. If you're the grad, you can go all out and wear something dramatic and eye-catching. We suggest flowy mid-length dresses with whimsical and cheerful patterns. Large floral patterns, lace overlays, and extra frills are perfect. We adore cocktail dresses with off-the-shoulder sleeves or playful ruffles that capture the exciting spirit of graduation. Many graduates choose to wear clean white dresses, often made with distinct and elegant fabrics, like satin, silk, lace, chiffon, or even tulle, if you want to be extra vivacious. While grads love to wear white because it tends to be a celebratory color, you can also go the opposite direction and wear something chic and black that makes you look mature and refined. If it’s springtime graduation, most guests will wear light colors, so wearing a daring black dress can make you stand out in the crowd! But you can never go wrong with a bodacious red dress or dazzling baby blue look.

As for silhouettes, midi dresses are the standard. If you’re going from the graduation ceremony directly to the party, your graduation gown will play a role in what you should wear. Most fall at the graduate’s mid-calf, so longer dresses can look awkward with the gown. If you really want to wear a maxi dress or long skirt to your grad party, we suggest changing between the ceremony and the party. The same goes for any grads who want to wear pants to their party. A new trend that we love is grads wearing co-ord sets. What’s a co-ord set? It’s just a matching top and bottom, usually a cropped top with a matching skirt. For something more hip and playful, find a beautiful matching set to wear to your grad party. Lastly, another trend we recommend is a romper instead of a dress, which is more comfortable and just as fabulous!

More Tips for Dressing for a Graduation Party

Below are a few more quick tips to ensure you nail your graduation party outfit, whether you're a guest or a successful grad.

  • Check the Weather: Make sure you plan for the weather, as it could be super hot or it may even rain. Choose fabrics, silhouettes, and shoes accordingly.
  • Check the Invitation: Most grad party invites will specify a dress code, such as cocktail or casual. Check the invitation before planning your outfit.
  • Prioritize Comfort: The best grad parties last for hours into the night and usually involve lots of walking and mingling, so dress comfortably and ensure your shoes are easy to wear.
  • When in Doubt, Overdress: If the invitation has no dress code and you’re unsure, always overdress instead of underdress. Also, the venue can clue you in, as a backyard is more casual while a restaurant is more dressy.
  • Accessorize Thoughtfully: Guests should stick to dainty jewelry and accessorize with restraint. But grads can opt for statement jewelry and dramatic accessories. Just ensure your outfit is cohesive.

Celebrate Academic Success in Style

Graduating, whether from college or high school, is a big deal! If you're the grad, we encourage you to embrace your moment in the spotlight and let your outfit shine. And for all you guests, we suggest looking elegant without outshining the grads, so you can celebrate with them.


Related Articles