What to wear to graduation
It can be difficult to know how you should dress for Graduation. Don't be caught out thinking your outfit won't be seen - your graduation robe will be fully open at the front. The dress code on your invitation is business attire which means you should dress as though you were going to a job interview. But, even armed with that information, there are still some tricks to making sure you look good, feel comfortable and are ready to celebrate on the day.
Men: A long sleeved shirt with a tie and dress pants will look great. Your graduation robes come with a coloured hood to designate your degree and this will be held in place by looping over a button. Your tie will sit on top. Make sure the shirt fits well and avoid lightweight fabric and open-necked shirts as the weight of the hood will pull the fabric up at the front. Wearing a jacket under the gown can be hot and bulky and is not recommended.
Women: Tailored, well-fitting tops and bodices are ideal to hold your hood in place and prevent it from slipping off your shoulders. The hood will be pinned to the front of your outfit near the middle of your chest. This can be challenging if your outfit has a high neck or is very low-cut. A shirt or blouse with buttons can be a good option but avoid lightweight fabrics or loose fitting tops as the weight of the hood will pull the fabric up at the front. Dresses and skirts both look great but remember that you'll be up on the stage so consider the length carefully. Dressy or work-wear style pants are also a great option.
Colour: Check this guide if you'd like to match the colour of your outfit to the hood that you'll be wearing as part of your academic dress
Shoes: Dress shoes are ideal. Choose something that you'll be comfortable in as you will be walking across the stage and may need to stand for longer periods of time. Make sure you can walk confidently and remember that the stage surface might be a little slippery. Don't let this be you!
Hair: Your trencher (your graduation hat) fits firmly over your head so avoid hairstyles or accessories that will interfere with this. Hat hair is pretty standard for graduation day... but don't worry you get to keep your trencher so you can wear it home!
Take a look at what others have worn
Staff will be on hand to assist with positioning and pinning your hood.
Tailored, well-fitting dresses and shirts are ideal, holding your hood in place and preventing it from slipping off your shoulders. High necked tops can make it challenging to pin the hood in place and open necked shirts can be pulled up at the front by the weight of the hood.
Dresses with tailored bodices and heavier-weight fabrics are ideal, preventing your hood from slipping off your shoulders. With light-weight fabrics the hood slips backwards pulling your dress or blouse up at the front.
Well fitted business shirts made from heavier-weight fabrics are ideal. The hood is held in place by looping around a button which can be covered by your tie. Open necked shirts in light-weight fabrics can be pulled up at the front by the weight of the hood.
You want to be comfortable and confident... there WILL be loads of photos!
Patterns or plains both look good - Check USC's academic dress guide to find out what colour hood you'll be wearing and match your outfit.