Style Guide: Dressing for Graduation Day

Graduation is of course a wonderful celebration. Not only does it mark an entirely new chapter of life, it’s a ceremony that recognizes your hard work and achievements throughout four years of college. It’s a special occasion, so it’s a good idea to put a little extra effort into your look. Since I’ve been to many graduations, I’m pretty well versed on the topic of dressing for the occasion. And recently, I’ve been thinking about a few tips to help all of you upcoming graduates put your best foot forward in front of your professors, classmates, family and friends. Here are a few things to keep in mind on the day of the ceremony…

  1. Choose a cute but conservative dress. 
    You will of course want to look cute in photos with friends on the big day, but also keep in mind that graduation is a ceremony for people’s parents, grandparents, and professors. That said, don’t reach for the trendiest, tightest dress in your closet. Instead, opt for a cute and conservative style that will look appropriate in front of friends and family alike. Since graduation is in the spring, I would recommend choosing a sleeveless style—especially since those robes can get a little toasty. This little number from my Paper Crown spring collection is an adorable option:

    Style Guide: Dressing for Graduation Day
  2. Wear comfortable shoes. 
    Being comfortable on graduation day is a must. You will be walking, standing, sitting, posing and more! If you don’t want to go the sandals route, I suggest finding a pair of wedges that is comfortable to walk in. They will give you support and make your look more dressed-up than flats. It’s also important to remember that when you’re wearing your cap and gown, the only thing people will see are your shoes, making them equally as important (if not more!) as your graduation dress. Find a pair that is classy, cute and comfortable, like this pair by Joie.

    Style Guide: Dressing for Graduation Day
  3. Sport your sunnies.  
    If your graduation festivities are outdoors, you will want to bring along a pair of your favorite sunnies. Just like your shoes, your sunnies can be fun and stand out since you will be wearing a cap and gown to cover the rest of your outfit. These circle sunglasses from my LC Lauren Conrad collection definitely do the job!

    Style Guide: Dressing for Graduation Day
  4. Stick to statement jewelry. 
    I wouldn’t say that your jewelry has to be simple to the extreme, but you also don’t want to overdo it. Stick to one staple bauble—whether that means rocking a statement necklace or having an arm party. Then keep the rest of your jewelry simple—a ladylike ring, pearl earrings. Try to avoid anything that jingles around as you will probably be shaking hands, waving, and giving hugs all day. This lovely pink statement necklace from Bauble Bar would be perfect with a high-neckline dress.

    Style Guide: Dressing for Graduation Day
  5. Create a natural, fresh beauty look. 
    You want your makeup give you a natural glow so that you will look radiant. If you pile it on and you’re spending the entire day outdoors, you will probably feel like you are melting. Keep it light with these sweat-proof beauty tips, and choose a feminine lip color. Apply a few coats of mascara, and be sure to use a moisturizer that has SPF in it (no one wants a post-grad sunburn!). The photo below is perfect graduation makeup, in my opinion.
Style Guide: Dressing for Graduation Day

I hope these tips have helped to prepare you for graduation day! As long as you dress to flatter your figure and channel your true personal style, I’m sure you will look great.

What tips do you have for dressing for a special event?

Leave your two cents below!

XO Lauren

P.S. For more style guides, click here!

Photo: Paper Crown, Shopbop, LC Lauren Conrad, Bauble Bar, Shanina Shaik
Categories: Makeup, Style Guide
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  • Monica_in_Heels

    Great tips! I am currently loving statement jewelry pieces now!

  • nic89

    Great necklace! Where can I get one just like that?

  • Megan Bailey

    Definetely wear comfortable shoes when it comes to graduation. Your on your feet a lot so comfy shoes are a must. If you like heels, wedges are the way to go. Cute flats are also a nice!

  • Deanne Castro

    Love that dress! Great picks!

    For more on fashion and beauty, please check out my blog: Today’s post: Hilary MacMillan: Debut for F/W 2013

    Follow me on Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest: @MyFashAvenue


  • Christy Tab

    Great LC thanks. Love it :)

  • KJ

    Thanks for these tips. I love the dress and the make up so much.
    My graduation is so near!

  • hooleywithaz

    i made the mistake of wearing strappy heels to my 3 hour long graduation ceremony…such a bad idea. go with wedges all the way!

  • drcarlisecullensdreamdaughter57

    Thank you, I’ve been fretting about what to wear to graduation. Anybody know any good stores to shop at for a dress?

  • CTan

    Any tips for hairstyles to wear under a graduation cap?

  • Valeria Alvarez

    Love the make up photo!! and the tip for confortable shoes is sooo true!!!

    <3 Val

  • megan magers

    its almost been a year since i graduated with my b.a. in english creative writing and i wore a flowing spring dress with nude wedges but wish i had this article sooner! this outfit is perfection, i forgot the statement jewelry!! and the makeup here is seriously stunning. I always go for natural freshness with a touch of sparkle, goes with everything! and makes it look effortless! xo

  • Ashley Rizzardo

    Great tips! So true on the shoes! Flats or wedges are the way to go.

  • Rachelle

    Love this natural makeup look.


  • AnselSf

    I also would recommend to dress more classically. Not only because of the parents and teachers present in the graduation, but because you will look back on your graduation pictures years and years from today. You want it to be timeless, so in five years from now you don’t say “”What the heck was I thinking?””

  • LS

    ahhh but only a year too late !

  • michelle gowing

    I actually bought your black and white pola dot with bow cut out dress from your Kohl’s line for my college graduation this June. Your style inspired my look for a newer look of Jackie O.

  • Rachel Trampel

    LOVE LOVE love this makeup! So gorgeous!

  • Leanne

    Here’s what I wore to my graduation:

  • Laura Napoli

    I wish I had these tips for my graduation!


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  • Ashley

    I fully agree with all of these tips! I wore a cute but adorable dress, comfy heels and natural makeup. Check out a picture of it on my profile and stop by my blog! :)

  • Ashley

    I fully agree with all of these tips. I wore a cute but conservative dress, comfy heels and natural makeup. You can find a pic on my profile and stop by my blog too! :)

  • My Style Diary
  • marissa contreras

    Does Lauren ever look at the comments? cx c:

  • Kelby Peachey

    I think these tips are useful if you’re attending a graduation party as well! :)


  • jill s

    Love this outfit! please check out my latest blogging project! would love to hear your comments

  • JMR

    I would definitely recommend a knee length dress and conservative heels. For my graduation I wore a knee length black dress and business height heels. I can’t begin to tell you how terrible the ladies with tight, short dresses and sky high stilettos looked. Its a day to be sophisticated and professional, save the shorter dresses for the celebrations later that night

  • Kayla Bressi

    waterproof mascara! Things can get emotional.

  • Laura Thomson

    Any tips for hairstyles??? I have short hair (shoulder) however when I put all my hair up I look about 12 :-/ any ideas for styles that won’t make me look too young??? <3

  • Mindee Krymer

    I just wanted to put in my two cents about the sunnies!

    They are a DEFINITE must for an outdoor ceremony – however, don’t forget to take them off for pictures! I didn’t even think about it and I am wearing them in EVERY SINGLE PICTURE I HAVE – including the professional ones they take right before you walk across the stage. Whoops!

  • Bethany

    You should do this article again but with new spring fashion :) I’m finally graduating!

    • Guest


  • engy

    May someone plzzz tell me wats the last model skin tone????… :)



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