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What to Wear to a Graduation this Spring

April 7, 2023

Do you have a graduation to attend this spring? Congratulations! It’s a big deal in a family when someone earns a degree or a diploma. I hope you enjoy the celebration. To help you look and feel your best for the big event, I’m sharing my thoughts about what you might want to wear to a graduation this spring.

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While at first thought it may seem like a graduation is an event for which you should truly “dress up,” comfort and functionality really need to rule your choices for this outfit. Because both of my children have graduated from high school and college in the last 15 years, I remember those events pretty well. Both included a lot of walking and a lot of waiting. And all four graduations were a combination of indoor and outdoor events.

What to wear to a College or High School Graduation this Spring
linen top (runs large, size down) (30% off) // pants (also in white, TTS, 30% off now) // sandals or here // denim jacket // shoulder bag // necklace // earrings

So while you certainly could wear a skirt or dress – and I did wear a dress to at least one of those graduations, if not more – I think a pair of casual but elevated trousers like these Bristol pants are a perfect choice, too. This outfit checks several boxes that I would take into consideration for this momentous occasion.

What to Wear to a Graduation this Spring
  • If it’s warm and you’ll be doing a lot of walking and/or sitting in the sun, wear something comfortable and cool. I’ve worn lightweight trousers and a linen top. Both are 30% off for a limited time.
  • Wear something loose fitting that let’s your skin breathe. Maybe opt to leave the belt off your pants like I did here.
  • If you’ll be doing a lot of walking across campus, wear something that won’t chafe or rub you wrong.
What to wear to a College or High School Graduation this Spring
pink linen shirt (runs large, size down)
  • Don’t forget your sunglasses.
  • And consider taking a hat or visor to provide additional sun protection and better visibility. But steer clear of hats with super wide rims that may annoy others in the bleachers with you.
  • Wear sunscreen.
  • Opt for comfortable shoes you can stand and walk in extensively.
What to wear to a College or High School Graduation this Spring
black strappy block heeled sandals // same strappy sandals in a flat

For my outfit I wore black strappy block heeled sandals. They’re perfect if you’ll only be walking a short distance. But you can get the same strappy sandals in a flat, too.

Or you could opt for the Naturalizer sandals I am showing below with my outfit. These are some of my most comfortable sandals for walking. I wore these and the birchwood pair so much last summer and I’ve kept them for this year.

What to wear to a College or High School Graduation this Spring
black leather flat Naturalizer sandals
  • Take a bottled water with you. Check the policies at your event, but many facilities will allow you to enter with an unopened bottled water or they will provide or sell them. Drink up!
  • Keep your jewelry lightweight and simple.
What to wear to a College or High School Graduation this Spring
  • Be sure to take a jacket, cardigan and/or wrap. The weather will undoubtedly change as the sun sets.

I like wearing/taking a denim jacket to events like this because I can also carry things like glasses and phone in my interior pockets. That may keep me from having to carry a handbag at all.

What to wear to a College or High School Graduation this Spring

Speaking of handbags, that leads us to a situation you’ll want to check on before the big day. Many venues such as stadiums and coliseums, whether at universities, high schools or municipal facilities, no longer allow you to carry in large bags. They have various bag policies. Some allow you to bring in a small bag, like this crossbody (not shown). But others will only allow you to bring in clear bags, such as this one (great price).

Because there is so much more to consider than just what you’ll wear to a graduation, my assistant Holly gathered up lots of other great accessories to consider for your celebration.

Purses for Graduation

Like I said, the most important thing you can do as far as choosing a bag to take to a graduation is to check the event policy. Below we’ve gathered some that are simply small and others that are clear.

What to wear to a College or High School Graduation this Spring
red clear bag // taupe bag // brown floral bag // black bag // green bag // patterned Baggalini clear bag // clear bag with blush insert // small black clear bag // pink clear bag // camel bag

Shoes for Graduation

Keeping in mind that we all choose comfortable shoes differently, we’ve selected several different types of footwear. But the most important tip is to break in any new shoes sufficiently before the graduation. And you might want to carry along a second pair if your day will be extended with two ceremonies. Many universities have multiple services with one commencement ceremony for the student’s school during the day (or even the day before) and one graduation celebration in the evening. Swapping out footwear during the day could save your feet!

What to wear to a College or High School Graduation this Spring
Havana tan sandals // yellow espadrilles // pink sandals // black ballet flats // white mules // denim block heels // gold loafers // white braided block heels

Outerwear for Graduation

Like I said, I love my denim jacket for this kind of event. But we’ve pulled together a variety of other options that are lightweight but will provide warmth and wind protection if needed. Make your selection based on the day’s weather and your location.

beige poncho // linen jacket // black & white quilted jacket // tan wrap // metallic wrap // green utility jacket // white with black moto jacket // blue print ruana

Sunglasses for Graduation

Just in case you’re looking for some new sunglasses, we’ve got those, too! If you’re attending an outdoor ceremony you really will need these.

What to wear to a College or High School Graduation this Spring
brown tortoise // pink // light tortoise // neutral aviators with tortoise tips // gold aviators (30% off now) // navy and blush (30% off now) // green lens // Ray-Bans

Hats & Visors for Graduation

If you’ll be sitting outside you’ll be so glad you brought a hat. It will protect your face and neck from the sun, but it will also shield your eyes from the sun.

What to wear to a College or High School Graduation this Spring
green visor // white wide brimmed hat // navy hat // floral visor // white visor // woven ribbon cloche hat // tan visor // pink visor // black combo ribbon hat // grey Panama hat

One final tip for selecting what to wear to a graduation this spring. Consider that people will undoubtedly be snapping photos. And yes, you DO want to be in them. So I suggest wearing something that will not look dated when looking back at the event ten years from now. And the best way to do that is simply to wear basic pieces with clean lines and in solid colors. Also wear a color that is flattering to you. In fact, this pretty pink linen top I’m wearing also comes in beautiful pineapple yellow and cerulean blue.

What to wear to a College or High School Graduation this Spring
linen top (runs large, size down) (30% off) // pants (also in white, TTS, 30% off now) // sandals // denim jacket // shoulder bag // necklace // earrings

Oh, and while this is not part of your outfit, it will help preserve it. Consider taking a small hand towel or stadium cushion to sit on for an outside graduation.

I hope you enjoy the big day of celebrating your graduate. Put a little thought into what you’ll wear and carry, get dressed for you day and then forget about it. Focus on your graduate and have fun!

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Blessed for My Day

Our sicknesses – emotional, mental, physical. Our pains – real and felt. Our offenses – toward a holy, righteous and good God. Our wrongdoing – in secret and exposed, flagrant and seemingly small. All of this was laid upon Jesus, pure and undefiled, without guile or sin. And He bore it all so that He might pay the price and relieve us of our guilt…for once and evermore.

We know this, but, like sheep who have ignored the voice of their familiar and caring shepherd, we still turn away to go our own way at times. Blessed Savior, He pursues us and brings us back into the fold. How good a Shepherd we do have! Today let’s run to Him and remain safely in His flock as we awe at the price He paid for our sweet salvation. This Friday is good because the debt has been paid and Sunday’s coming.

However, it was our sicknesses that He Himself bore,
And our pains that He carried;
Yet we ourselves assumed that He had been afflicted,
Struck down by God, and humiliated.
But He was pierced for our offenses,
He was crushed for our wrongdoings;
The punishment for our well-being was laid upon Him,
And by His wounds we are healed.
All of us, like sheep, have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the wrongdoing of us all
To fall on Him. ~ Isaiah 53:4-6

xoxo, Kay
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7 thoughts on “What to Wear to a Graduation this Spring

  1. Thank you for the reminder about clear bags! My daughter and son in law are both graduating with Masters from TCU in May! Your post reminded me to ask about the bag codes. TCU does require clear bags so guess I’ll leave my new purse at home☹️. That’s a bummer but I understand the security issues. Thanks for the heads up! Love your blog. Read it every day.

  2. Great ideas for graduation outfits. I especially like the idea of taking two pairs of shoes in case you had to switch them out for comfort. T
    I know you like to wear the denim jackets, but to me, they are too casual for this event I wear them for every day I will go with a dressier blazer, maybe in linen. I think one would look very nice with the black dress slacks. I do have a graduation and wedding coming up next month. Have a great day.

  3. Thank you Kay for all your advice about attending a Graduation , you’ve covered All Bases there , some I hadn’t even thought of Bless You . That pink looks amazing on you. Thank you also for the Blessed For My Day , so right and real for Good Friday and this Easyer weekend . I wish you and your family a beautiful and peaceful Easter. And also to all the lovely ladies on the community sight Xx❤️