10 Stylish Graduation Clothing Ideas for Women

Graduates throwing their caps in the air

Graduation season, for many, is right around the corner! It’s time to celebrate the hard work you put in. With all those morning classes, long hours, and sleepless nights behind you, you can focus on looking good when you finally get to walk across the stage.

Even though you may be wearing graduation robes over your outfit, many people wear them open or take them off for family photos and post-ceremony celebrations. You want to make sure your outfit shines and fits in with your plans for the rest of the day.

If you’re wondering what to wear under your graduation gown, check out these graduation clothing ideas from our team at The Willow Tree Boutique. With chic looks for every event, you won’t be able to wait to show them off! Explore the best attire for each type of graduation ceremony below.

Basic Guidelines

If you already have some graduation clothing ideas, you should check that they fit in with these basic guidelines to ensure a comfortable, stylish ensemble.

  • Classic, semi-formal attire
  • Dress for the weather
  • Put comfort first for shoes and clothing
  • Wear something colorful

Most graduations last several hours. So you want what you wear under your graduation gown to hold up to spending a significant amount of time seated or standing on a stage. And it should still look good for photos after!

1.Graduating High School

A young woman wearing a blue and white embroidered graduation dress

Graduating high school is an exciting time that stands on the precipice of adulthood. You want to celebrate the end of your formative years and show that you’re ready to leap ahead in an ensemble that expresses your personality and your hopes for the future. 

Some graduation clothing ideas for this time include something comfortable that you could easily wear to dinner or a party after the event. You’ll also want to ensure that your outfit is comfortable for the weather.

Our favorite pieces to wear under your graduation gown are floral styles that complement your school colors. An a-line silhouette that falls to your shins with lace floral applique is an elevated look for more formal graduations, while a strappy maxi in a bright print is a great graduation clothing idea for casual events.

2.University Graduation

Whether you’re graduating with your Bachelor’s or a Doctorate, you want to show off your style just as much as your degree! A tight-fitting bodycon dress will look sharp and professional with your cap and gown. But you can also opt for a flowy wrap dress that’s all about the party.

Your graduation clothing ideas for this event should be a little more energetic and enthusiastic. For many, it’s the end of their school years! So consider adding some glamor and sparkle to your outfit with metallic hues, rhinestones, and glitter.

3.The Ceremony

A young woman wearing a lavender jumpsuit

Some ceremonies take place on a stage, while others have you sitting in front of a podium. But regardless of where you are, everyone is looking at you! If you don’t want to wear something traditional as your graduation clothing idea, why not opt for a standout style in a boutique jumpsuit?

We love a formal, structured piece that people will be able to see even when you wear it under your graduation gown. Give the audience a preview of the full look with a high-waisted pant or jumpsuit outfit that peeks out from the bottom!

4.Graduation Party

Now it’s time for the real party to begin! Whether you want to wear the same outfit as you did for your graduation or change into something new, this is a chance to let your hair down — literally. A bodycon dress is a flirty graduation clothing idea, but you can also mix it up with a two-piece set.

We like dark, bold colors at a graduation party for a sophisticated feel that doesn’t clash with any of the fun. Don’t forget a chic hair accessory. And you can always add a hint of sparkle with glittery shoes and some jewelry to complete your look.

5.Dinner Celebration

A young woman wearing a maxi-length dress

If you’re heading out to lunch or dinner after your ceremony, you want to keep your outfit versatile enough to fit in anywhere. A tea-length dress is an excellent choice with nearly any silhouette, whether you like the a-line look or something a little more snug.

For events where you need to look nice, but heels are just a little too extra, consider platform mules or a pair of chic loafers to complete your graduation clothing idea. Ballet flats are also a traditional choice that enhances your style.

6.Winter Graduation

Some grads finish their schooling during the winter months, and a few universities hold a mini-graduation in their honor. So if you’re heading toward a chilly graduation season, your graduation clothing idea needs to take that into account.

Consider winter colors to keep it elegant or stand out against all those dark shades in a bright hue. Regardless of your silhouette, make sure you're ready for the weather in long sleeves and full lengths.

7.Spring/Summer Stage Walk

A young woman wearing a babydoll dress

Most graduations occur in the spring when the temperatures are just starting to soar. Lace, florals, and stripes are the prints of the season. And everything gets a little shorter — from your sleeves to your hemline.

Complement your graduation clothing idea with other seasonal touches, like dangling earrings, strappy sandal heels, and sunglasses which keep you looking and feeling cool during the ceremony.

8.Middle School Grad

Are you wondering whether your middle school graduation is an important enough event for you to get dressed up? We say, “yes!” Hit the stage in a gorgeous graduation clothing idea that elevates your everyday look to something special.

We like something that’s all about the details. Whether your personality is all frills and bows, crop tops and skirts, or high-low silhouettes, make every detail count! While pumps may not be the right choice for your age, you can still rock a little lift with a kitten heel or small wedge. Complete the look with a matching bracelet and earring set.

9.All-White Style

A young woman wearing a short white dress

When looking for a style that truly separates you from the pack, white could be the perfect graduation clothing idea. It’s a neutral hue that looks amazing when you wear it under a graduation gown — regardless of your gown color.

If white just isn’t for you, a different muted color palette could keep you looking sharp. Consider beige, nude, and fawn colors for a monochrome ensemble that ensures you look fresh, clean, and professional.

10.Supporting a Friend

Your graduation clothing idea may not be about what you wear under the graduation gown. You might need to dress up to support a friend during their walk across the stage. While you don’t want to steal the spotlight, that doesn’t mean you can’t dress up a little bit!

Keep your style classic with a midi-length dress that highlights your best features and looks great with your skin tone. You can also be the one that gets the party started when you wear a shorter romper in bright colors.

Why Is Your Graduation Clothing Important?

Your graduation is a time you’ll definitely want to remember — it’s a big milestone for everyone! While dressing up for the big day itself is important because it makes you feel special, you’ll also want to ensure you look good for photos.

Your photos are going to commemorate the ceremony for the rest of your life, so don’t succumb to wearing sweats or jeans on the big day. They might be the most comfortable outfit, but they’ll look too basic during your celebration photos — especially in the formal atmosphere.

Balance a semi-formal look with a comfortable graduation clothing idea to find the perfect blend of celebratory and easy-to-wear.

Shop Graduation Clothes at The Willow Tree Boutique

Ready to find the right pieces to bring your graduation clothing idea to life? The Willow Tree Boutique has the selection you’re looking for. With our chic, versatile styles, you’ll be able to find something that fits your aesthetic and your event!

Browse our spring ensembles for bright florals, or head over to our jumpsuit and romper collection to see how we can help you stand out! Our selection offers seasonal styles for on-trend looks no matter what!

If you have any questions or want more inspiration, check out our FAQs and explore our blog for additional style tips.