What To Wear To A Winter Graduation

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Tips and hints from the Hound!


Most people think of winter as a time of festivities – Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and the welcoming of another New Year.

However, it’s also that time of the year when something just as significant happens for a large group of people – yes, it’s graduation!

Graduation marks the culmination of all those years of school or college and you’re finally going off into the big, bad world.

They hold this event to celebrate that tradition. You will remember this day forever and so will all of your friends. So of course, you need to look your best. But what happens when your graduation is in the bitter cold? Don’t worry, read this article to find out more on dressing for your winter graduation.

An important detail to remember is that a graduation is a formal event, but it’s not as formal as a business dinner. You will after all spend a lot of the day with your friends from school or college and your family.

Men – Okay guys, we know you’re graduating too and we’ve not forgotten you! Just go to the bottom of the page and you’ll find tips on how to dress for your winter graduation.

What’s The Problem With Graduation Dresses?

Let alone the fact that you’re at this crossroads in time and you need to pack up your apartment, say goodbye to all your friends, and move out. You barely have time to get any sleep, let alone find a graduation dress.

But the biggest problem with graduation dresses is that even if you find the perfect dress, they’re hidden under your graduation gown.

However, you will have your moment though- later on, when everybody is posing for photos and the graduation party so here‘s some ideas to consider for the perfect graduation dress:

The off-the-shoulder dress

Long-sleeved off-shoulder dresses are perfect for almost all occasions, and they are definitely suitable for a graduation party. Our colors of choice for this dress would be black, white or red or gold- if you want to create a lasting impression. Red looks good on everyone, and it will go great with some red lipstick. It’ll also show up well in photographs too!

The black dress

The black dress should be a staple in every closet for everyone. It is timeless, cute and is perfect for so many occasions. Black has a way of hiding all your insecurities while bringing your positive traits to the surface.

There are several black dresses you can wear – a black wrap dress, sleeveless, spaghetti straps or the timeless little black dress. Pair it with a pair of high boots, and you’ll look like an absolute charm.

If the weather is cold you might want to wear a pair of tights beneath your dress and  gown, you could go for a nude pair if you wanted the impression you weren’t wearing any. Or if you don’t fancy wearing tights, choose a pair of knee-high boots which always look great, they can be worn with lots of different colors too and a wide-range of clothes and dress styles.

The sheath with a sweetheart neckline

You know where we’re going with this. Sweetheart necklines aren’t just for weddings – unless they’re white. However, colors like black, blue and red look great with sweetheart necklines. A sheath, transparent cover from the neckline to the neck not only looks great but also protects you from the cold too.

These dresses will also look great under an unbuttoned graduation gown. It’s a fashion statement and the perfect way to mark an end to your school or college days.

The lace dress

Lace is a classic graduation choice, and it makes for a perfect elegant yet flirty look. You can have patterns over your hands or go for a sheer look if you want to keep it more streamlined and straightforward. For many people, this combination perfectly encapsulates their personality and will make you and your fashion sense the talk of the party.

The lace silhouette also perfectly complements and is in contrast to a dull, dark, black gown. Don’t be surprised if you suddenly find a huge group of people who want to take their photos with you, even if you weren’t that close with them before.

So that‘s the dresses you could wear, now here’s a few tips to make it even more special.

The sweater dress

Another idea is to wear bright colored sweater-dresses. These dresses are immensely comfortable to wear in winter, and the long sleeves keep your hands covered too. If you’re sensitive to cold, sweater dresses are an easy decision.

The velvet dress

Another often overlooked choice is a dress created with velvet. It takes a little courage to pull off a velvet dress, but you can guarantee a velvet dress, regardless of the color will make an impact.

People will talk about it and of course, looking back at your photos, you and everyone else can appreciate how wacky you were. A college graduation party is one of the very few times in your life where you can totally let loose and be whoever you want.

Also, velvet will last you long into the future and serve you on plenty of special occasions. So it’s a good investment to have a couple of velvet dresses with you.

The asymmetric skirt dress

I get it; asymmetric skirts are kind of yesteryear. But it is winter. You can’t wear your miniskirt cause your legs will feel too cold. Asymmetric knee-length skirts will keep your legs warm and also make for a classy addition to your outfit.

Asymmetric skirts will also show under your graduation gown. So that’s an added benefit. To complete the look, consider wearing a stylish belt above your skirt and wear brown or black boots.  

Wear bright colors

Your graduation party will probably be one of the most fun and enjoyable parties of your life and you want to not only look your best but also stand out from the crowd and look stunning in all your photos. Not everyone wants to wear black even though granted it is sophisticated, elegant and classy, so if you don‘t want to melt into your black graduation gown, think about wearing bright colors to stand out.

Try V-neck dresses with bright colors like bright yellow, red, bright blue, etc. You get the idea. They will contrast nicely with your gown.


We don’t mean jewelry or belts, we‘re talking about winter wear. You’ve still got to get from the venue of your graduation to the parties or from the parking lot to venue and that might mean a walk. So, consider grabbing a tote bag and stuffing it with a hat, some gloves and a scarf. Shove it all back in the tote bag when you arrive and a quick bathroom break to fix your hair and you’ll be ready to party! That‘s better than arriving with blue lips!


We know you’ve worked just as hard and can‘t wait to hit the dance floor! But first you need to look your best to collect your diploma and have lots of pictures taken with your friends and family. Most men will agree, that your graduation is a time to wear a suit and look your best. But even though it‘s a formal occasion, this doesn‘t mean you have to hide your personality or taste. So, choose a suit which expresses your personality, whether that’s in the color choice or design.  Because it’s winter pick a winter weight wool suit which will be warmer than lightweight fabrics.

Wear a white dress shirt or a plain button-down Oxford style in plain colors to complement your suit. Or be bold and wear a funky design or pattern that will stand out in the photos!

Add a splash of color with a funky bow tie or necktie and matching pocket square. And if you‘re bringing a date to the party, why not wear a necktie or bow tie that complements her dress or his necktie?

Wear funky patterned socks to add a touch of color and flair to your shoes. Choose thick socks to keep your feet warm.

Footwear – you’re best bet is a smart pair of Chelsea boots or other formal boots. These will give you more coverage than traditional shoes but still look smart enough for the occasion. Just make sure they fit well and the color complements your suit.

Base layers are handy if it‘s really going to be cold, these can be wool thermals or a simple vest. Just make sure that any undergarments don’t show through beneath your shirt.

Final thoughts

Congratulations! You’ve studied hard, played even harder and earned your certificate and now it‘s time to party and forget about all the big decisions that await you for the next chapter in your life. So, when you’re deciding which dress to choose, think about how you want these lasting memories to look like. Your dress should say, “I killed it in college” or “come at me, world. I’m ready.” That’s what graduation is all about, and that’s what your dress should say.

We hope you’ve had fun reading and we’ve given you a few cool ideas.

Congratulations and good luck for the future.

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