What To Wear to Graduation as a Guest: Celebrate in Style


‘Tis the season for commencement celebrations. Snagging an invite to a graduation ceremony is a huge honor. Congrats to you. Many schools hand out a limited number of tickets per graduate, and you were one of the chosen ones. Ladies, you might be wondering what to wear to graduation as a guest. Deciding on your attire may seem like a simple task, but there may be a few factors you haven’t considered. Similar to celebrating anyone’s major life milestones, you don’t want to take attention away from the honoree. Cue the graduation march, and let’s dive into how to dress for any graduation as a guest

What To Wear to a High School Graduation as a Guest

Graduating from high school is one of the biggest moments in a young person’s life. They’ve worked hard and experienced a lot of growth over the last four years. That alone deserves a celebration. While they are deciding what to wear to graduation for their big day, attending the ceremony warrants extra thought. You’ll want to strike a balance between dressed up and not stealing the spotlight. When researching what to wear to a graduation ceremony as a guest, check the invitation. Unless the invite requires a certain dress code, we recommend a smart casual approach.

Since high school commencements typically take place in late spring or early summer, be sure to select lightweight fabrics. Cotton, linen and rayon will keep you cool while sitting outdoors on a warm day. Preppy checkered prints are a women’s summer 2022 fashion trend that’s here to stay. Rock a gorgeous green gingham sundress with romantic puff sleeves for a nod to the cottagecore trend. Complete the look with a chain-link purse, and you’ll be ready to cheer on your graduate in style.

Protection from the sun should be top of mind when deciding what to wear to graduation as a guest during the spring. It’s always smart to have SPF on hand for an outdoor ceremony. Some attendees may bring umbrellas along for extra coverage. A wide-brimmed sunhat and sunglasses are the perfect finishing touch to your outfit on graduation day

What To Wear to a College Graduation as a Guest

According to U.S. Census Bureau’s recent data, approximately 42% of Americans over 25 have a college degree. That’s definitely worth commemorating. If you have the opportunity to celebrate a recent college grad, be sure to dress the part. We’re here to break down what to wear to a college graduation as a guest. Certain universities may require a specific dress code for a formal graduation ceremony. If that’s the case, be sure to adhere to those guidelines. When in doubt, always err on the dressier side to be safe. 

While you can’t go wrong wearing a dress, why not break out your separates for a dark academia approach? Don a pleated skirt with a bodysuit for a sleek and fuss-free ensemble. A plaid blazer in a pastel shade lightens up the outfit while also keeping you polished. A pair of loafers add a bit of whimsy to your graduation guest look. Now you are ready to hear that special name called. 

Ladies, if you’re stumped on what to wear to graduation as a guest, look no further than your favorite LBD. The little black dress is a wardrobe wonder that will never leave you looking overdressed or underdressed. We call that a win-win. Opt for a midi-length black dress for graduation with delicate button-front details for a feminine flair. Here is how to accessorize your black dress for a fresh summer spin. Adorn tortoiseshell earrings styled with a woven crossbody bag. You’ll be the epitome of elegance at the ceremony. Hats off to you.     

What To Wear for the Parent of the Graduate

Is your child graduating soon? This will be an important moment for you as a parent, and you’ll want to make sure you dress accordingly. Figuring out what to wear to graduation as a guest is similar to how you select women’s wedding attire. You likely don’t want to wear the wedding party’s color scheme—or in this case, the school’s colors. Why? Save these shades for the graduates themselves. Instead of matching your son or daughter’s commencement gown, wear complementary colors. This will ensure you don’t clash with the graduate’s gown in all of those precious family photos. 

A classic wrap dress in a breezy botanical print is an always-flattering choice. Delicate layered necklaces lend an elegant touch. Grab a colorful tote with plenty of room for spare tissues, so you’re prepared for those inevitable happy tears. Feel confident as you beam with pride, watching your child turn the tassel. 

Think a frock is your only option for wearing to your child’s graduation? Think again. Jumpsuits are an effortless style that you can wear for this remarkable occasion. A wide-leg cropped silhouette is equal parts comfortable and chic. This easy one-and-done style will keep you feeling breezy, even after sitting for several hours.

What Shoes To Wear to a Commencement Ceremony

Now that we’ve established what to wear to graduation as a guest, it’s time to find the perfect pair of shoes. Unless you know the ceremony will take place on hard ground, such as an arena, find an adaptable pair. An outdoor graduation ceremony might mean the seating area is on the lawn. Stiletto heels and grass are never a great combo, trust us. If you’ll have to walk on the grass at some point during the day, leave your pumps at home. The last thing you want is to worry about sinking into the ground and ruining your shoes. To keep comfort top of mind, stick to espadrilles, loafers, ballet flats or a style that’s easy to walk in. If you’re set on wearing heels, opt for wedges, block heels or platform shoes. Learning how to make heels more comfortable is sure to elevate your graduation guest attire.

What To Wear to a Graduation Party as a Guest

After the grads toss their caps into the air, the fun begins. Now that we’ve explored what to wear to graduation as a guest, it’s time to plan your grad party guest look. Just like any soiree, you’ll want to consider the setting when selecting your ensemble. Backyard barbecue bashes are a popular pick for celebrating graduates. In this case, you can keep your attire on the casual side. Flaunt those glorious gams in a pair of high-rise paper bag shorts. Complete the look in a coordinating cropped blouse and slide sandals. You’re ready to hit the grad party circuit in style.

If the grad party invite includes a garden gathering, opt for a more charming ensemble. Garden party attire calls for your most feminine and flirty dress. A strappy midi in a fashionable floral print is always a chic choice. Complement the colorful blooms with matching low block heels and a simple clutch. And just like that, you’re looking fresh for summer and in the mood to mingle with the other partygoers.

Looking for a new outfit to wear to a loved one’s bestowal of honors? Our stylists are here to lend a helping hand. Take your style quiz and request a Fix with an outfit suited for a springtime ceremony. Sit back, relax and receive five pieces delivered directly to your doorstep. Try before you buy with ease. Or, instantly buy pieces curated for your style and size using Stitch Fix Freestyle™. Keep what you love and send back the rest. Shipping, returns and exchanges are always free. 

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