Your graduation cap and gown make up what is probably the most important uniform you will ever wear, and dreaming of the moment you will put on your cap and gown on your graduation day may be the only thing that gets you through University (I know it was for me!). But it’s not really as simple as it looks (whatever is?). To help you through it, here is the ultimate guide to wearing the cap and gown correctly!
1) What Outfit to Wear Under Your Gown
This is the first – and very important – thing to figure out before you even put on your gown, because what you wear under it, will impact its overall appearance. Traditionally for women in England, the gown is worn with a plain white blouse a plain black skirt. These days, women often opt for dresses or trousers. Whatever you choose, make sure it is comfortable and smart in appearance. For shoes, it is best to opt for something smart, like a heeled brogue or a classic pair of courts. Again, ensure your footwear is comfortable as you will be walking across a stage fairly quickly, and may even be walking up and down steps to ascend to and descend from the stage.
2) What Material to Wear Under Your Gown
It is important to opt for the right material to wear under your gown; your gown needs to grip your clothing for it to maintain its position; anything too slippery, such as satin or silk, and your gown will be sliding all over the place! Not a good look!
3) Choosing Your Gown Size
This is where things get a little more complicated; graduation gowns come in different sizes and lengths, so it’s important to order the correct size! Measure yourself to ensure you order the appropriate size for you; don’t be the one person who attends the graduation ceremony wearing a gown twice their size and dragging along the floor behind them!
4) Ensuring Your Gown is Sitting Properly
This can be an absolute nightmare! The graduation gown is much heavier than it looks so it can be frustrating to get it to sit properly on your body and stay in its assigned position. It slides easily, so adding a safety pin or two to keep it in a place is a good idea.
5) Choosing Your Cap Size
Like the gown, the cap also comes in different sizes. It is extremely important that you measure your head to get an accurate indication of the size you should order. If you get this wrong, your cap and gown just won’t look right!
6) Ensuring Your Cap is Sitting Properly
Unfortunately, wearing the graduation cap in real life is not the same easy affair as it is in films, where everyone’s caps seem to sit comfortably and snugly in the right position on their heads all day. In reality, the cap moves around constantly and can fall off your head easily with one tiny touch. The best thing to do is to leave it alone; don’t touch it often, as this will minimise the risk of it moving out of place and/or falling. On the day of my graduation, I asked a classmate who was sitting next to me to fix my cap before I walked on stage to receive my degree. So, if all else fails, you could always resort to this!
7) Choose Your Hairstyle Wisely
When you’re going to be wearing a graduation cap, it’s best to opt for a simple hairstyle. Graduation caps are not designed to be worn over-elaborate or big hairstyles, so stick to safe options such as leaving your hair down or wearing it half-up. This will allow your cap to sit well on top of your hair.
8) Standing and Walking in Your Gown
As I mentioned, the gown can be very heavy so it can weigh you down easily while you’re walking. This does not for a smart and confident appearance make! And after years of struggling and working through uni, this is certainly not what you want! You want to appear proud of your achievement, not timid and shy. While you’re wearing your gown, ensure that you’re standing up straight, as tall as you can, at all times. Really emphasise standing up straight, even if you think you look a little silly, as, in reality, you’ll be pushing up against the weight of the gown, appearing smart and confident!