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Graduate Advice
5 min read

What To Wear For Graduation

In the UK, when someone graduates from university, (meaning that you have finally received your degree after all the hard work that you have put in over the last few years), there will be a special ceremony where you are officially awarded your degree.
Written by
Joanna Clare
Content Manager
Published on
August 6, 2023

In the UK, when someone graduates from university, (meaning that you have finally received your degree after all the hard work that you have put in over the last few years), there will be a special ceremony where you are officially awarded your degree. The ceremony is a time to celebrate your achievements with other students and family and friends are often invited to share the day with you. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity so to feel confident is key - and to feel confident you must look and feel the part.

Every university will celebrate in a different way to one another and differing traditions that are sacred to each particular university are often upheld but in general they are all fairly similar.

So what should you expect the graduation experience to be like and what should you wear?

As tradition demands, you will most likely be expected to wear your ‘cap and gown’. The caps can sometimes be called ‘mortarboards’ but often just simply referred to as caps. The graduation caps and gowns are unique items of clothing and therefore universities will recommend either buying or renting the attire from specialised stores. You will need the gown to fit and your head measurements will be taken to supply you with the appropriately sized cap as you definitely do not want it slipping down or falling off when you receive your degree when all eyes are on you for those few moments.

Of course, it is wise to dress smartly underneath your gown and most universities will insist upon this and have strict dress codes. This will be a formal day and you should dress accordingly. The gown will allow the top of your clothing to show so consider what would look best - most graduates opt for a collar and tie or formal scoop necked top or blouse. Bear in mind the weather too as you do not want to get too hot if the weather is uncomfortably warm on the day of your graduation.

While it may look easy, wearing the gown may be a fiddly process for some so it is a good idea to have plenty of practice beforehand as you will want to get it perfected in time. The same goes for the cap - practice wearing it as much as you can and bear in mind that some universities like it to be worn at certain angles.

Colours and trimmings may be different on the clothing and have different meanings depending on the university. This is very symbolic and so it is important that time and effort goes into the final polished look. After all, you are representing a university and will be seen by many, many people on the day especially as the ethos and values of the university will be reflected in your appearance and behaviour on the day.

Once the ceremony has taken place, when you will usually have an official photograph taken receiving your degree, you will then be expected to have photographs taken with family and friends. This is a very proud day for everyone and is a chance to get dressed up for the occasion. Professional photographers will be taking individual and group photographs of  graduates and so family and friends will want to honour your achievements with many photographs that will be kept and shared through generations to come. It is your time to shine like never before and to look your very best for this momentous occasion.

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