Beauty & Fashion

How to Dress as a Guest

How to Dress as a Guest

Graduation season has arrived, so let’s talk outfit ideas! One thing I love about this job is hearing from you all via DMs and emails. Lately, I’ve received so many requests for event-specific looks, particularly, what to wear to a graduation ceremony. Since these celebrations are right around the corner, I wanted to tackle this topic today. Many of the spring favorites I’ve shared would make excellent choices. But, as a girl who loves to see all of the options, I’ve rounded up tons more! Today I’m going to cover some dressing tips and tricks as well as outfit ideas. So, if you’ve been wondering what to wear to graduation as a guest, keep reading!

Graduation Dressing Tips & Tricks

Before diving into my favorite outfit ideas, I wanted to share a few tips and tricks I use when dressing for a graduation ceremony. I previously discussed my thoughts on wedding guest outfit dos and don’ts. As I mentioned in this post, unlike my typical motto of “there are no rules when it comes to dressing”, I feel a bit different for certain events. Graduations and weddings are two of these exceptions. Here are some of the things I keep in mind when deciding what to wear to a graduation.

1. Keep it Comfortable

Graduations can be very long, so you want to take this into account. Trust me, this isn’t the time to break out the new platform heels that you haven’t broken in and hope for the best. Depending upon the location, there can be quite a bit of walking, long periods of standing, and sometimes you may even find yourself outside in the sun. The goal is to look chic and put together, but to also stay comfortable throughout the day.

2. Go for a Polished Look

Typically, there isn’t a dress code to follow when deciding what to wear to graduation as a guest. However, to show respect for the graduating class, I always try to wear something polished. I also ensure that it isn’t too tight, too revealing, or too short. While I typically opt for a dress, a chic summer suit is also a great option. Personally, I would rather be slightly overdressed than appear too casual for the ceremony. 

3. Take the Venue Into Account

It is very important to plan accordingly for the weather. This is especially true if part (or all) of the ceremony is outside. For outdoor celebrations, I always make sure to wear sunscreen, pack sunglasses, and sometimes even bring a hat. I also opt for more breathable fabrics in these circumstances.

Alternatively, for an indoor ceremony, I always bring a light sweater or spring blazer with me. Even in a packed room, I will sometimes get chilly in the air conditioning. It is also important to note whether or not the venue has size restrictions for bags. Be sure to look into this beforehand!

What to Wear to a Graduation Ceremony This Spring

Okay, now onto the fun part! These are some of my current favorite ideas on what to wear to a graduation ceremony this spring. While the exact pieces might not be available a year from now, I believe the outfit formulas will still be relevant. No matter the date, the goal is to look polished while staying comfortable for long periods of time!

1. A Chic Sundress and Sandals

chloe tuckernuck dress, green dress, hermes scarf styling

Let’s start with the most obvious outfit combination, a chic sundress and simple sandals. This will always be a wonderful option, and for good reason – it’s classic, appropriate, and comfortable! When choosing a dress for these celebrations, I typically opt for one with a slightly longer hemline and I avoid cut outs. I also look for a material that won’t have me overheating.

I can’t discuss what to wear to a graduation without mentioning Hill House Home dresses. These are always a winning option. And this rainbow poplin dress would be another great choice! It would look stunning paired with these strappy rainbow sandals and these fun silk stud earrings. Of course, I never forget to pack a cute pair of sunnies! These under $15 shades would complete the look perfectly.

For an indoor ceremony, Tuckernuck’s Chloe dress is a beautiful option. This timeless dress was originally introduced in my collaboration with the brand last year. It is now available in eight color options! The Chloe dress would look great with these floral sandals. They would add just the right amount of detail to complete the look.

2. What to Wear to a Graduation – Sundress Alternatives

veronica beard suiting, black and white styling, aire sunglsses, what to wear to graduation

Wondering what to wear to a graduation ceremony other than a sundress? A chic suit or pants set is a great alternative!

Veronica Beard has been a longtime favorite of mine. I don’t think you could go wrong with any of their pieces. I recently bought this classic jacket and the coordinating jacquard mini dress. This would be a perfect outfit for attending a graduation. If you’re more of a pants or skirt gal, the jacket can easily be paired with other bottoms as well. It is a great piece to keep warm in an icy auditorium, and I love that you can lose the jacket afterward for a breezy look. Since this dress is slightly shorter than some of the other options, I would pair it with flats, such as this under $20 pair.

If prints are your thing, this hydrangea print top and these coordinating pants are a must-see! This set would be stunning with raffia and straw accessories. Personally, I would style it with these woven sandals and this bamboo clutch.

Another grad guest look I’m loving is this gorgeous linen blend vest and the coordinating skirt. These pieces are from the collection that M.G. Style recently launched with Dillards, which I shared more about in this post. The lightweight linen is a great summer fabrication, especially for events that could potentially be hosted outside.

3. What to Wear to a Graduation Ceremony: Formal Options

Most graduations are pretty laid back when it comes to clothing restrictions. However, there are some formal daytime ceremonies and also some that take place in the evening. When deciding what to wear to graduation as a guest in these circumstances, I would ditch the sundress or linen suit. Instead, I would go with something a bit dressier and evening appropriate.

This organza midi dress is one of my favorite LBDs that I have seen in a long time. It would be perfect for an evening celebration. To complete the look, I would go with a low mule like this under $75 pair, which is elegant, but also comfortable. If you are looking for an outfit with a little more interest, check out this beautifully detailed dress. While I wouldn’t recommend this dress for a daytime event, as it would be too hot, it would be perfect for an indoor, evening celebration.

4. How to Accessorize

Overall, I try to not go over the top when I’m planning what to wear to a graduation ceremony. After all, the focus should be on the graduating class, not the guests. This rule applies not only to the outfits I choose, but also to the accessories.

I tend to keep my jewelry streamlined for these events – a simple necklace or stud earrings. Similarly, I typically opt for shoes that are timeless and not outlandish. However, you can still put together beautiful outfits following these guidelines. Don’t be afraid to play with color or mix and match patterns! And as I previously mentioned, I always pack classic sunglasses (like these under $50) and SPF for daytime outdoor ceremonies.

Graduation Ceremony Outfit Ideas

If you have an upcoming graduation to attend, I hope these ideas help get your creative juices flowing so you can put together the perfect outfit! What other types of looks can I help you plan? Feel free to send me requests via DM any time! And for additional spring style inspiration, check out my current favorites from Tuckernuck, Hill House Home, and Sézane.

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