Buying a Graduation Dress 101

Finding a dress or outfit for an occasion like graduation can be stressful – but there are some tips to help make it easier!

Make Sure You Aren’t Over or Underdressing

Graduation is an amazing event and time of year! It’s a big occasion that many people go to, whether it be other graduates, family members or staff of the university. This is a time to celebrate achievements and finish your time at school. It’s important to dress for the occasion, but you neither want to overdress nor underdress! This isn’t a time to wear any school gear and leggings. It also doesn’t require a long gown (unless you want to rock that – then go for it!). The biggest thing is to be comfortable in what you’re wearing in all ways. This could mean the type of clothing, the material, length, color or any other variables.

Keep the Weather/Time of Year in Mind

Our graduation here is early for this type of event (April 30th to be exact). That being said, it’s in the full swing of spring and the weather could go either way. It may be warm or cool, and precipitation may occur. Who knows, given the weather has been very unpredictable! Keep checking, and if anything, have a backup outfit ready and/or layers to bring, making you prepared for any sudden weather change.

Keep Price in Mind

This is an occasion where you can either splurge or be frugal. Unless you have the means or really feel that it’s necessary to buy something super expensive, it isn’t necessary! You will be wearing a gown most of the time, and the focus is the actual ceremony and you, not your outfit.

Find coupons or deals – student discounts come in handy and can really help if you aren’t trying to spend a lot on this dress/outfit.

Don’t Feel Pressure to Wear Anything You Don’t Want To

If you don’t want to wear a dress, don’t! Keep in mind that graduation is a Sunday during the morning and the afternoon for most of us here. Pitt graduates on April 30th, still spring, but knowing Pittsburgh and the uncertainty of the climate as of late, who knows what the weather will be like? Also, items may or may not look the same in a dressing room and elsewhere. To be safe, wear nude tones underneath in case of sheerness.

Good Places to Shop

Looking at factory stores (like Nordstrom Rack, T.J. Maxx, or J. Crew Factory), outlets and other stores of that sort are great! You can find high end brands at a fraction of the cost. They may not be the newest style, color or fit, but as long as you like it and feel confident, nothing else matters! You could also find amazing dresses from online stores like Tobi, Boohoo, ASOS, and Lulus. The only thing to be mindful of is sizing, as online can be tricky with a fit of a dress or piece in an outfit. Use online chatting tools or really analyze a sizing chart if you are unsure of the fit.  These sites both have incredibly cute clothes and good price points, plus shipping is pretty timely, as well, if you are in a rush last minute. Other stores like Old Navy, Gap, Loft, Forever 21, H&M, Topshop, Urban Outfitters, Express and department stores like Nordstrom and Macy’s are also great places to find an outfit, too.

Overall, a big takeaway from this day is that it isn’t about the clothes at all! It’s about you and your accomplishments; the outfit merely acts as an embellishment. Wear something you feel confident in and that reflects you and all you’ve done.

 

Photo credits: 1, 2, 3