Graduating is a milestone. Whether it's the successful completion of high school or college, or even just a small event hosted for those who completed middle school or elementary school, it's important to show your support and celebrate this special moment with the ones you love. So you know you are going to a graduation, but you aren't the one planning the occasion. You are one of the attendees. What if it's outdoors? What if there's no air conditioning? And the weather is starting to move from spring into summer? Great questions! Here's what to wear as a graduation guest when it's hot.
One thing you'll want to do is to pay attention to the formality of the occasion. Generally speaking, the younger the student and the lower the grade he or she has passed, the more informal the setting. As students get further and further in their education, the event tends to be correspondingly more formal. If you have questions on the level of formality of your student's graduation, ask parents or other attendees for their recommendations. When in doubt, it's usually best to dress up than to wear a less formal outfit.
Another item to consider is what you can bring with you to offset the heat. Wearing a fitting outfit is helpful, but no clothing choice in the world is going to make multiple hours in 90-degree heat comfortable. If you're in a desert region, you're definitely running a risk as we move into the summer months. Prepare yourself by hydrating thoroughly in the early morning before the event so restroom visits can be mostly completed by the time the graduation starts. See if you have a mini battery-power fan that can help cool you off. If your event is outside, apply some sunscreen and bring it with you. Frozen water bottles are also a great idea to take along. These are just a few ideas you can use to be prepared for warm weather and stay focused on the ceremony instead of your discomfort in the heat.
If you're going to a preschool graduation or an elementary school graduation, you'll want to look nice, but you probably don't need to dress up. The only exception is if the school your student is graduating from is an expensive private school or some kind of boarding school. In that case, you'll probably want to move up a level of formality, just to match the decorum of the environment.
Aside from that, let's get into the outfits! If you want to wear pants, jeans are the typical go-to, but you may want to consider thinner, lighter fabrics like cotton or linen. Loose taupe pants with a women's white blouse and some brown or white sandals would keep you cool while still looking nice. Another idea is white pants or white capris with a loose pink top under a light floral patterned kimono overlayer. While we are in the pants category, a jumpsuit might also be a fun outfit. Patterns in general tend to be less formal and solid colors tend to be more formal, so you can decide which direction you want to go. Remember to bring a floppy straw hat and some sunglasses to complete your sun protection if your event is outdoors!
Since it is going to be hot, you may want to avoid pants altogether. Switch them out for a cute light-colored skirt to pair with your white top. Shorter skirts mean less material to trap heat but also mean full exposure to the sun if you're outside. A longer skirt will protect you, but you may need to fluff it every once in a while to keep your bottom half cool. If you choose to go for a dress, a cotton sundress with flowers paired with sandals or open-toe wedges would make a great combination. To go more formal in this category, choose solid colors and fancier fabrics like chiffon or something with a lace overlay. Opt also for heeled shoes if the distances aren't too far and there's little to no grass. Longer dresses are more formal, though generally hotter. However, you may be able to strike the right balance between keeping cool and keeping with the occasion if you can find a nice maxi dress and pair it with some large statement jewelry. Don't forget that hat and those sunglasses!
Now that you know how to beat the heat and you have ideas for outfits to start you off, see what you can find in your wardrobe that will fit the occasion and let you give a big ol' hug to your graduate!