If You’re In Need Of Some Ideas For Graduation Outfits, We’ve Got You Covered

Whether it's a bold suit or a slip dress, here's some outfit inspiration.

Street style graduation outfits

by Harriet Davey |
Updated on

If you're graduating in 2024, or you know someone who is, then we're here to help find the perfect graduation outfits to wear to the ceremony, but also the after-party. After all, choosing what to wear for one of the most memorable days of you life, is high pressure – right? Fear not, though, as we have plenty of outfit ideas for all types of ceremony. And with most graduation gowns being black, this gives you the freedom to basically choose any colour outfit underneath.

While your chosen colour is very much dependant on your style, we can help with different graduation outfits. And considering you'll most likely have your pictures hung on the walls of relatives for years to come, it's important you look back and love your outfit.

If you're a dress person, you could go for a mini or fully embrace the fancy ceremony with a full-length gown. Why not take advantage of the opportunity to get dressed up? If you prefer separates, you could try a tailored jumpsuit, a full trouser suit or even opt for shorts and a waistcoat if the weather's set to be hot.

It's all about looking the part and keeping your outfit on the smart side. And while most people wear heels, you could of course get away with a smaller block-heel style or even loafers if you want to make sure there are no stumbles on stage. Keep reading to get some ideas for graduation outfits.

Go For Head-To-Toe Black

Street style wearing black jumpsuit

While wearing all black may be seen as playing it safe (we don't judge), it's never going to be a bad move for graduation outfits. The colour is timeless, it'll always look smart and there's so many ways you can wear it – as a jumpsuit, an LBD or a 'nice' top and trousers will even do the trick.

Aligne Mariah Curved Sleeve Hourglass BlazerAligne

In a blazer that Aligne says is 'designed to make a statement', this hourglass-shaped blazer is a great alternative to a blazer with a more traditional silhouette. Paired with a matching wide leg black trouser and you're good to go to your ceremony.

COS, The Silk Scarf DressCOS

If you're still wanting to stick with a black graduation outfit, this COS dress is perfect for wearing to your graduation ceremony, then wearing again and again afterwards. In a midi length style, this silk dress dips to a 'V' at the front and back (albeit not so low that you flash your lecturers) and has an added scarf to wrap around your neck or wear over one shoulder.

Take The Opportunity To Wear A Long Dress

Street style wearing maxi dress

The slip dress is one of those styles you can buy for a fancy occasion, in this case a graduation (or a wedding), and you can rest assured that you'll be able to get lots of wear out of it afterwards. If you decide on a bold colour and it'll be sure to liven up your graduation gown as it shows underneath.

Mango Asymmetrical Gradient DressMango

This gorgeous blue dress will complement any black gown, especially if your graduation is in summer. With a midi design that also features an extremely flattering off-shoulder asymmetric strap, the back of this dress really is the talking point - it's the definition of business in the front and party in the back.

Rixo Bondi Floral-Print Satin Midi Slip DressHarvey Nichols

For a vibrant slip dress that's bound to make you stand out, the Rixo Bondi Floral-Print midi dress is perfect. Featuring elements from best-selling Holly slip dress, Rixo have changed the design slightly - noticeably the straps are wider and the back is lower and more scooped - but the dress still remains in the figure-hugging bias silhouette.

Mean Business In A Smart Jumpsuit With Blazer

Street style wearing jumpsuit and blazer

As an alternative to a dress, try a jumpsuit. There are so many tailored styles out there, and if you want to look even more polished you could always add a matching blazer for a super-professional edge.

Reiss Jacinta Viscose Linen Wide Leg JumpsuitReiss

This Reiss jumpsuit is made from a linen fabric to keep you cool during any June/July graduations and the wide leg design should also help with remaining cool (calm and collected too). Arguably the best part of the jumpsuit is the statement waist belt and unique cross-front halter neckline which gives it that more tailored look, even if the trousers are extra baggy.

Mint Velvet Green Linen Belted Bandeau JumpsuitMint Velvet

This Mint Velvet jumpsuit embodies the epitome of laid-back luxury, crafted from a linen fabric that drapes delicately against the skin. Its bandeau neckline is both understated and sophisticated, while the belted waist cinches in for a flattering silhouette. And this is a great piece for a day graduation ceremony, and an evening out partying.

Try Out A Shorts Suit

Street style wearing shorts suit
Street style wearing shorts suit ©Getty

With a lot of graduations held in peak summer, it's important to take the weather into consideration when you're planning graduation outfits. Instead of a trouser suit, why not try a Bermuda short with a matching waistcoat? You could wear undone over a cami top like this street-styler or button up as a shorts suit. (It can also double as a holiday outfit if you switch up the accessories.)

Make It A Mini

Street style wearing mini dress and heels

And easy go-to for graduation outfits is a mini dress with strappy heels. The shorter length of the dress will be balanced out by the longer length gown and if you're petite, this will stop you from feeling too swamped under all the extra material.

This dress screams graduation with its traditional blazer-style collar and wrap-around front. Its smart and not overly revealing, making it an ideal choice for a graduation - getting up on stage to collect your certificate has never been so stylish. The gold-tone button fastening can be paired with matching gold heels and a chunky necklace.

Stradivarius Short Dress With Puff SleevesStradivarius

Injecting a pop of colour in your graduation is never a bad idea, as demonstrated by this gorgeous royal blue dress from Stradivarius. And, it's not just the front that's impressive. The back is open with invisible back zip fastening and ties. Even though you won't necessarily be able to see this under your gown, it's still there for when you remove the gown once your ceremony is over.

Go For A Look-At-Me Dress

Street style wearing pink dress

If you want to make sure you have all eyes on you when you're collecting your graduation scroll, then go for a statement-making dress. A bold colour, or one with lots of detail such as ruffles and puff sleeves (or all three, like this street-styler) will be a way to make an entrance. After all, this is your big day!

Nina Ricci Bow-Detail Duchesse Satin Mini DressMy Theresa

You want something that stands out. You want something that makes a statement. Opting for this Nina Ricci dress to wear to your graduation will make the biggest statement. In classic Nina Ricci style, this dress comes in a bold light purple, and features a large bow (you can't really miss it) across the front. With rhinestone embellished shoulder straps this dress will have you shining in the spotlight.

What is the best colour to wear to a graduation?

For a timeless option, a classic colour like black or navy is a popular choice for many graduates. Its appeal ensures that you'll polished and elegant in your graduation photos for years to come. Alternatively, you could opt for a vibrant shade like green or purple to stand out in the crowd. But, if colour isn't really your thing (and let's be honest, it can be difficult to match), you can't go wrong with a sleek black ensemble. Black acts as an excellent canvas for accessorising with pops of colour or gold and silver accents.

Harriet Davey is a freelance editor and stylist who's contributed to British Vogue, Stylist, WhoWhatWear, Refinery29 and SheerLuxe, as well as Grazia.

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