Spring is a season filled with celebrations. Weddings, Mother’s Day, recitals and awards banquets have been on my spring calendars in past years. But some of the most joyful occasions we have celebrated in our family were graduations, both from high school and college. It’s been a couple years now since one of my children graduated from college, but I remember how confused I felt about what a mom was supposed to wear to the commencement ceremonies. Shoot! We were even confused about what our kids should wear. So today I thought I’d share with you some ideas about what to wear to a college graduation.
Our culture has relaxed the dress code in most every arena, wouldn’t you agree? Even my 24-year-old daughter, an actor, complains about how people really don’t dress up to go to the theater any more. Sure enough, at the recitals, showers, awards banquets, graduations and end-of-year concerts you attend this year, women are likely to wear most anything from shorts to dresses and everything in between. Come to think of it, I wore shorts to church last night! Something I never would have done even ten years ago. So rarely is there a true dress code anymore.
But y’all! I still like to dress up a little. So now, more than worrying about being under dressed, sometimes I worry about being over dressed.
Such was the case when I was trying to determine what to wear to my children’s college graduations. The simple faux wrap dress I’m showing you today is the one I wore to my son’s graduation from the University of Arizona five years ago. I can’t believe that much time has passed!
Daniel’s graduation was an all-day affair. His commencement ceremony for graduating from the school of science was held indoors in the early afternoon. This was the ceremony where they called out each student’s name and they walked across the stage to be acknowledged. Then the whole family went out for a meal and returned to the campus in the early evening to attend the university-wide graduation celebration in the football stadium – complete with fireworks, laser light shows and a fly over. So I needed something to wear that would be comfortable for the duration and that would work in different climates.
My rayon/spandex blend dress was perfect for the occasion. It was comfortable and easy to move in. I’m the kind of gal who likes to put myself together the best I can in the morning, and then I rarely look in a mirror for the rest of the day. I don’t want to have to fuss with my outfit, hair or makeup again. I took a simple red cardigan with me in case there was a chill in the air. And I remember feeling comfortable, pretty and appropriately dressed all day. Plus, the University of Arizona’s colors are red and navy, so I felt like I was sporting school spirit as well!
I know I kept my accessories simple that day, too. I wore this James Avery silver butterfly pendant necklace and probably my charm bracelet seen here. By the way, James Avery is still promoting its “buy two charms and get a free charm bracelet” sale. That’s quite the deal – up to $70 value. I remember I wore a pair of Brighton earrings similar to the ones I have on here…because I lost them that day!
I’ve provided some links in the widget below to a beautiful selection of wrap and faux wrap dresses for the spring. Honestly, for an event like this I prefer a faux wrap dress because it’s just easier to deal with. But you just have to try them on. I do have some true wrap dresses that are every bit as comfortable and easy to wear.
At the time of Daniel’s graduation I actually had a pair of these strappy patent leather sandals in bright red, and that’s what I wore that day. But, alas, after five years of wear, they gave out last summer. These are from Talbots and they have several like them now, like these bow leather sandals and these capri leather sandals.
Sure enough, as it turned out, there were women dressed in everything from shorts to dressy dresses and everything in between at that college graduation. Three years later, on a much hotter day, I ended up wearing cropped white pants with a pretty top to my daughter’s graduation. I felt nice that day, too.
I guess I wanted to share this dress with you because there are times when a woman wants to wear a dress, but she doesn’t necessarily want to feel frilly or extremely “dressed up.” At least there are times like that for me. And I think it’s nice to have a couple of dresses in your closet that fit the bill – feminine and pretty, but also comfortable and easy to wear.
Check out the shopping widget below for some beautiful wrap dresses, cardigans and sandals. And be sure to check back in with me tomorrow. I have a great post line up with Fitting Room Tips for the Savvy Shopper. I think you’ll like it!
Blessed for My Day
Honestly, in the absence of dress codes, sometimes I struggle with what to wear. What will everyone else have on? What is most suitable? Is it better to be under dressed or over dressed? Ugh! But the Bible makes it very clear what we should wear on any given day. We’re to put on the character of Christ so that when others look at us, talk with us, interact with us they see Jesus. Today, whether we dress up or down, let’s remember to put on the attributes of Christ.
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. ~ Colossians 3:12-13
13 thoughts on “What to Wear to a College Graduation”
Good Morning Kay,
Nice outfit, I like the colors in this dress, the V-neck is very flattering, and the fabric looks very comfortable. I have several events in the next couple of weeks, a wedding, a “casual” dinner gathering, a ladies conference, and I keep staring blankly into my closet! I am encouraged that it’s not just me who’s paralyzed with indecision about what is “right”. This will certainly help me assemble my outfits .
Yes, Wendy, it’s those unusual, out-of-my-ordinary events that throw me off, too. I’m sure you’ll find the perfect things to wear. When I go to a ladies conference of any kind, I like to make sure I wear something that I can wear with or without a cardigan, jacket or kimono because of the air-conditioning. Other than that, it does seem like once again, anything goes! I hope you enjoy your events! 🙂
If only I had a cardigan for my feet! My feet freeze in air conditioning. I often plan my summer church outfits around “what will look ok with oxfords”. Do you have any ideas about summer footwear that is ….warm?
Ha! That’s an interesting dilemma. I get it. You know, I’ve seen a lot of people making booties work with dresses and pants even during the summer. In fact, I love short boots with some spring and summer dresses. I had a sweet friend who often wore pretty, feminine sun dresses with her cowboy boots and looked amazing. So maybe just go a little edgier and try some booties with those skirts, dresses or ankle pants.
OOOOH- I have three pairs of cowboy boots on my top shelf, and one conservative pair of gray booties, all which aren’t quite warm enough for our Adirondack winters, but might be just right for summer air conditioning. I am going to experiment ! Thanks !
Yay! I hope some of those work for you!
Casual dresses are a wonderful option, Kay!!
And I always think that dresses are much cooler when it’s hot outside—so this fits the bill in many ways!!
Exactly, Jodie. I think dresses keep me cooler, too. Thanks for commenting! 🙂
I love dresses! Totally agree with your daughter. There are just certain places, occasions we should get dressed up, like church! We moved from GA to the Gulf coast, very casual here. I’m the most dressed “up” person at church, but I was taught to wear my best. That’s the way I feel most comfortable and confident.
I was thinking just yesterday about why I still like dressing up for certain things that others are dressing down for. Honestly, I don’t feel ill toward those who dress down, I just really like dressing up. So, me too! I feel most comfortable and confident dressed up a little, too. Thanks for commenting! 🙂
I love your look. I have a college graduation in 2 weeks and am wearing a skirt or dress, most likely from Target. I like to dress up more, especially for such a momentous occasion. I just found your blog and like your style.
Oh, I’m so glad you found the blog, Christa. Thanks for reading and sharing. Enjoy that graduation! It’s a big day!
Thanks for sharing your insights. I especially like your reminder to ‘put on the attributes of Christ!’ Something we need to be reminded of every day!