What To Wear to Graduation: A Style Guide for Men to Celebrate in Style

It’s officially graduation season, and you’ve got plenty of happenings on the horizon. Maybe you’re celebrating your own accomplishments, or tipping a hat to other’s accolades. Whatever the occasion, we’re here to help get you dressed and ready, fellas. Figuring out what to wear to graduation can be tricky, especially considering all the different events and venues. Need help to decipher the various dress codes? That’s where we come in. Get spruced up with the season’s best from men’s summer fashion 2022. From formal affairs to casual backyard parties, read on for our top tips to mark these milestones in dapper style.

What To Wear Under a Graduation Gown: Ideas for Guys

Congrats, gents—you made it. Your hard work has finally paid off. As the graduate, you’ve got your plate full. Let us assist with the quandary of what to wear under a graduation gown. First and foremost, take into account the where and when of your ceremony. An evening indoor function will look different than a daytime celebration under the sun. Before getting dressed, double-check the details you’ve received from your school or university. There may be a dress policy clearly stated, which will easily shape your clothing decisions. Let’s break down the different threads that each setting calls for.

Fashion Tips for Formal Indoor Commencements

Does your ceremony come with a formal dress code, no matter the time of day? In these settings, a suit is expected for men when it comes to what to wear to graduation. Your black suit can stay on the bench for this one. Instead, reach for a dark navy or charcoal grey option. A crisp white shirt is always a classic piece to wear underneath. Don’t forget to check your button-down for the best possible fit. Partner your suit and shirt with brown shoes and a matching brown belt. If your celebration is happening during the summer, we recommend a cognac brown for a light and seasonal color palette. Pull it all together with a tie that coordinates with your suit. As a general ground rule, it’s better to arrive overdressed than underdressed.

Outfit Ideas for Outdoor Afternoon Ceremonies

Perhaps your commencement is set outside on your school’s sporting field or at a local garden. While this is common, it can be tough to know what to wear to graduation ceremonies in these settings. An outdoor event means long hours spent in the sun, often with little shade covering. Plus, graduation gowns are typically thick and can cause you to overheat quickly. These are all things to consider when getting dressed for your big day. 

While a daytime event may not require a suit, you should still look your best to mark this momentous occasion. Feel like the top of your class in tailored slacks or chino shorts, especially in neutral hues. Choose khaki or grey pants and match them with a collared dress shirt. Lightweight material such as cotton poplin or linen will offset your heavy robe. Avoid brightly colored or printed bottoms, as these will show underneath your gown. Itching to add a pop of fun to a graduation outfit for men? Try pairing patterned socks with your dress shoes to express your personality. Here’s one last daytime tip. Before you head out the door, make sure to apply sunscreen to protect against those hot solar rays. 

High School vs. College Graduation: How to Dress for Each

The institution you are graduating from can certainly impact your wardrobe choice. At the college level, you will have a bit more freedom when choosing graduation outfits for men. However, you’ll still want to err on the professional side. This moment marks a proud accomplishment in your life. So put your best-dressed foot forward as you step into your future. Remember, the neckline of your shirt and top of tie will show above your gown, so keep things streamlined. A light blue shirt will serve as an easy neutral for any color gown. Tuck it into black dress slacks and finish with a black belt. You’ll be looking sharp as you walk across the stage to accept your diploma.

High schools usually have their own daily dress code, which will extend to what to wear for graduation. Some may even require specific colors under your gowns. We advise doing a double read-through of your handbook so you don’t miss any important information. Want to give a nod to your future alma mater? Wear a tie in your school colors. This personal touch will keep you coordinated for all those photo-ops.

Guys, Here’s What to Wear to a Graduation as a Guest

Guys have a bit more leeway when it comes to what to wear to a graduation as a guest. After all, you’re just a supporting player at the main event. But you aren’t completely off the hook. Being invited to a ceremony is a huge honor, as attendance at these events can often be limited. Whether it’s a family member or close friend, show up in style to offer your encouragement. 

What To Wear to a Graduation Ceremony: Guest-Ready Styles for Men

Before taking your seat to cheer on the graduate, you’ll want to weigh a couple of factors. First up—the weather. Early summer weather can be unpredictable. Be prepared for anything by bringing an extra layer, such as a knit sport jacket or rain coat. An easy outfit for men who are considering what to wear to a graduation ceremony? Think of what you would wear to an office with a business casual dress code. Dress slacks with a long-sleeve button-down shirt are a grade A choice. Feel free to go either way when it comes to a tie, but it’s always a yes in our book. 

Now for the small details to set up your graduation guest outfit for success. Commencement events often mean a day spent on your feet, walking from one location to the next. Comfortable shoes will be key to keep you at ease. On bright days, a hat can help to shield your eyes and face from the sun. But don’t reach for just any lid. Leave the baseball caps at home and instead opt for a wide-brim hat or fedora. Keep it low profile to accommodate the guests behind you. For another option, tuck a pair of sunglasses into your shirt pocket. Just remember to remove them before getting your picture snapped.

What To Wear to a Graduation Party: A Man’s Approach to Festive Looks

Finally, the more formal stuff is out of the way. It’s time to roll up your sleeves and have a little fun. As you make the rounds on the graduation party circuit, comfort is key. Wondering what to wear to a graduation party? Especially for guys, you’ll commonly find that these parties are more laid-back and casual. For these occasions, we love short-sleeve button-down shirts featuring a standout seasonal print like bold florals. Feel like putting a preppy twist on your look? You can’t go wrong with classic stripes. On hot days, opt for linen-blend fabrics for extra breathability. Tailored shorts or skinny trousers will do the trick on the bottom. If you prefer pants, cuff the hem and slip into a pair of boat shoes. Add a belt, and you’re all set to toast the new alum.

Got a slightly more casual party invite in hand for the post-ceremony reception? If you’re headed to a backyard barbeque or pool-side celebration, swap your button-down out for a seasonal polo shirt. Dare to experiment with colors like earthy green or subdued salmon for those ultimate summer vibes. Lightweight shorts will keep you cool as the party winds down. For a footwear choice, canvas sneakers will have you walking with ease to the next event. You won’t want to show up empty-handed, either. A card is a quick and easy way to commemorate the graduate in your life.

What Not to Wear to a Graduation Ceremony, for Both Grads and Guests

Still not sure what to reach for when picking out what to wear for graduation? We’ll narrow it down by addressing what not to wear. For both graduates and guests alike, there are plenty of clothes men may want to leave hanging in their closet. Let’s start from the top. Skip T-shirts and tank tops, no matter how casual the event may be. Tuck away sweatshirts of any kind, along with activewear or sporting attire. When it comes to bottoms, save the jeans and joggers for another day. Keep in mind that this is a special occasion, whether you’re the one receiving your degree or a guest. Make it a day to remember in an outfit that’s both comfortable and appropriate. Style class dismissed.

Searching for some new threads to get you graduation ready? Our style experts are ready to lend you a hand. Get started today, and don’t forget to ask your stylist for graduation-approved pieces. Relax and receive five items that you can try on in the comfort of your home. Buy what you like and return the rest. If you prefer, head over to Stitch Fix Freestyle™ to instantly buy pieces tailored to your style and size. As always, shipping and returns are free.

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