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What to wear to your winter graduation

by Dominic Chandler
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You’ve spent years working towards this moment. The exams, assessments and all-nighters in the library have all led you here.

A simple walk across a stage, a shake of a hand and you’re finished; usually, as a Masters or Doctoral graduate, although it is also the first time for some Bachelors Degree students who were unable to graduate in the summer.

It’s a day you’ll remember for a lifetime. One filled with pride, joy and the support of your friends and family celebrating your incredible achievement.

You’ve got your cap and gown sorted, your hood is ready and the champagne is chilling.

But, what do you wear underneath your gown?

You’ll have all eyes on you as you walk across the stage, there’s going to be a lot of photographs taken so, naturally, you’ll want to look and feel your best.

The outfit you wear to your graduation can be tricky to get right. You want to look fantastic while also being dressed appropriately for the occasion.

After all, this is a university event; you will be surrounded by your lecturers and high-level members of faculty, not to mention any guest speakers that may be present.

For male graduates, it’s generally pretty simple, a smart suit with a crisp shirt and complimentary tie should see you through the day just fine. Coordinating your tie to the colours of your hood is a nice touch, or opt for a different, but complementary, colour to create an appealing colour palette. Something that we recommend for male graduates is to wear a waistcoat as well as a suit jacket. This is great for winter graduations as it will ensure you look incredibly smart whilst also being as warm as possible for all outdoor pictures!

Finding the right graduation outfit can be more of a challenge for female graduates however, and that challenge gets even harder when you graduate in a winter ceremony.

You need an ensemble that will keep you warm while you experience graduation and have pictures taken outside but won’t leave you melting once you get into the ceremony hall.

So, to give you a helping hand, we’ve compiled some inspiration in the form of nine outfits, perfect if you’re struggling with what to wear to your winter graduation.

Smart and feminine in a satin midi dress

A satin midi dress is perfect for a winter graduation. The luxurious sheen of the satin fabric will add a touch of sparkle to the day, while the mid-length of the dress will keep you warm as well.

Long sleeves mean your arms will stay warm and, if it is particularly chilly, you can layer a thermal top underneath for extra heat.

This green Kitri satin dress is great if you’re looking to bring a pop of colour to your graduation ceremony. Pair with some colourful court shoes for an on-trend colour-block look and add a simple velvet clutch bag to keep hold of all your essentials for the day.

For something a little more tonal, try a slip dress layered over a thermal turtleneck, this rust coloured Topshop dress is perfect. Adding some heeled ankle boots with a deep green coloured crossbody bag will give your graduation look a fashionable nod to the current 70s trend.

Or, go classic and demure with this yellow jacquard spot dress from Marks and Spencers, the fit and flare cut is very flattering for a range of body shapes. Wear with a pair of simple black suede shoes and a timeless black envelope bag to complete the look.

Professional in a power suit

There’s an undeniable confidence that comes from putting on a suit. Maybe it’s the power of sharp tailoring or the corporate connotations of a two-piece. Whatever the reason, a suit is a great option for anyone looking for a smart, winter graduation appropriate outfit that doesn’t include a skirt.

Go bright and bold in a colour block suit for an attention-grabbing outfit. This mustard yellow Mango suit jacket and trousers are great for a comfortable yet striking graduation look. Pair with simple ankle-tie heels and a floral blouse that matches the colour of your suit for a clever coordinated style.

A relaxed-fit suit in a deep wine coloured hue is a great choice for anyone looking to put an androgynous spin on their graduation look. This burgundy contrast stitch suit from Topshop would look great paired with a simple blouse  and a smart flat brogue for a smart-casual winter graduation look.

For a more luxurious take on tailored dressing for your winter graduation, why not opt for the opulence of a velvet suit? This bottle green number from Ghost is a beautiful investment piece; the wide-legged flared velvet trousers have a vintage feel that makes them timeless. Add a blouse in a complementary colour, such as this dusky pink satin buttondown, and a pair of show-stopping platforms and you’ve got yourself a graduation outfit fit for the catwalks!

Classically chic in a skirt and sweater combo

What better way to stay warm during your winter graduation ceremony than wearing a sweater? But, being warm doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style. A chic sweater and skirt outfit can be ideal for a winter graduation ceremony.

This satin polka dot skirt is the perfect balance of cute and chic, the classic camel colour stops the spotty skirt looking too childish. Add in a pair of simple heeled pumps and a matching camel sweater and you’ve got a cosy yet stylish graduation outfit.

For a contemporary twist on traditional tartan, try this pencil skirt from Hobbs; the burnt orange colour is perfect for a winter graduation. Pair with some stylish heels and a crisp cream sweater for a winning winter graduation look.

Or, take inspiration from the 1960s with a mini skirt and knee-high boot pairing. This floral printed skirt from Zara is feminine without being too girlie and, when worn with a coordinating coloured sweater and stylish knee-high boots, it makes for a stand-out graduation look.

Hopefully, the outfits above have given you some inspiration to find a graduation look. But ultimately, whatever you choose to wear to your winter graduation, the important thing is that you feel comfortable and confident.

You’ve worked so hard to get to this point, you should be able to enjoy your day without worrying about your outfit! Would be good to say something about that it has to represent you as a person as well. But it is a day to look back on for years to come, so make sure you are proud of yourself!

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